Tag Archives | war

Rediscovering Nonviolence in the Vatican

All of the world’s major religions have opposed the taking of human life, but when religions gain political power, the story becomes much more ambivalent, particularly with respect to the acceptance of warfare. Early Christianity expressed a strong commitment to pacifism and opposed Christian participation in war; this shifted once Christianity became the official Church […]

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Weapons of Mass Democracy

In this article, originally published in September 2009, Stephen Zunes reveals how veterans of successful nonviolent movements are spreading their knowledge to activists around the world, who are increasingly adopting nonviolent action to overthrow dictatorial regimes or foreign occupiers.  As he emphasizes, though, successful nonviolent revolutions are homegrown affairs that involve a large cross-section of the population, […]

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The Pacifist Dilemma: Women Peacemakers’ Responses to Islamic State

In American scholar Theodore Roszak’s wonderful fictional debate between Ghandi and Churchill, the British Prime Minister challenges Gandhi’s commitment to nonviolence by asking him what one is to do when the enemy is at the gate. Gandhi’s response does not waver: the enemy was “the product of a long catalogue of vengeful and selfish actions” […]

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The Syrian Resistance: A Tale of Two Struggles

Maciej Bartkowski and Mohja Kahf suggest that it is a tragedy of history when so many people regardless of sect, ethnicity, religion, and gender join in nonviolent resistance to demand freedom for all, and achieve so much with so little during such a brief time, only to have their accomplishments go largely unrecognized, and their […]

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Defeating ISIS through Civil Resistance?

Maria Stephan of the United States Institute of Peace looks at the potential of using nonviolent resistance against ISIS.  This article, written in July of this year, picks up from where “The Pacifist Dilemma” ends by addressing how organized nonviolent civilian action could be effective in disrupting and denying the key sources of power on […]

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Deploying Art Against War

Joshua Levkowitz addresses the potential of art to oppose violence and trigger further community resistance, as well as to help communities heal from war. While the results have been varied, the author discusses examples of public art from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East that were presented at a recent forum organized by the United […]

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Countering Hybrid War: Civil Resistance as a National Defence Strategy

This article examines the possibility of deterring aggressive actions by a powerful state through civil resistance. Maciej Bartkowski argues that, while the Western response to Russia’s recent actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine has been predicated on a show of military force, nonviolent civilian defense promises another path. His argument draws both on an understanding […]

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An Introduction to Gender and Peacebuilding (2)

Violence is one of the most gendered of social activities, but this goes beyond the fact that the perpetrators of violence are overwhelming male, keeping in mind that far more men are victims of other men’s violence than perpetrators themselves. Violence is also gendered in terms of how we think about violence, and specifically how […]

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The Refugee Crisis: Demilitarising Masculinities

In international politics, men are regularly viewed as security threats. All military age men killed by US drone strikes are automatically counted as combatants, unless information conclusively identifying them as civilians is available. In its decision to open its borders to 25,000 government-sponsored Syrian refugees, the Canadian Government set its priorities: women, children, families and […]

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The Masculinisation of Complexity

Our understanding of the gendered nature of war has been profoundly shaped by the thought-provoking work of one eminent feminist scholar. In this next article, Marion Bowman interviews Political Scientist Cynthia Enloe; they begin with the situation that confronted the courageous women who sought to end WWI and then continue into a discussion of today’s […]

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Getting to Peace

In this article, first posted in 2010, Cynthia Cockburn addresses the fundamental questions How can we create more peaceful world? What underlies war’s continuing widespread acceptance? She suggests that we need to “create a nonviolent movement for a nonviolent world,” and that this must be grounded in a “transformative change in gender relations.” ********** Today’s […]

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Women’s Power to Stop War: Hubris or Hope

As the world’s oldest women’s international peace organization, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, prepared for its 100th anniversary this year, Cynthia Cockburn looked back to the roots of women’s peace activism, illustrating that from its beginning women took a holistic perspective, drawing out the links between women’s rights, social justice and peace. […]

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Plotting a Woman-Shaped Peace: Syrian and Bosnian Women Confer

Wars eventually end, but the peace that is implemented may do little more than reinforce the divisions that deepened through war; the needs of ordinary people tend to be ignored as the male war leaders negotiate “peace”. In 2014, while the UN mediated Syrian peace talks, without any representation from the country’s women’s organizations, twenty […]

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Understanding the Recruitment of Women and Girls to the Islamic State

While many women worldwide are working to build peace, locally and globally, it is important to remember that the connections between men and war and women and peace have never been accurate representations of reality. Women also provide necessary support for war. Despite the brutality and repression being currently inflicted by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq […]

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Iraq’s Female Citizens: Prisoners of War

In our western media, Middle Eastern women are often depicted as passive victims needing our rescue; indeed in 2003, the defense of women’s rights was presented as a justification for the US invasion of Iraq. The occupation, however, intensified religious extremism and resulted in massive violence against women. Jennifer Allsopp’s interview with Iraqi human rights […]

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A Call to Remember Peace

November 11 is once again upon us – a time to reflect on the costs of war and show our respect to those who have fought on our behalf. As citizens, these are responsibilities that we should never ignore, but we invite you to go further and take some time this month to consider what […]

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Reconciling Red and White Poppies

Pat Romano reflects on some of the difficult truths of war through the lens of the conflict over red and white poppies. Both symbols arose out of the devastation of WWI, the world’s first industrial war. From the start, many perceived the white poppy as offensive to the soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice; the […]

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On Teaching Trauma and Witness

Most of us who teach about war likely worry at times about whether we really should continue to subject our students to such dark subjects. In her course Trauma and Witness, Wendy Eberle-Sinatra encourages her students to recognize that averting their gaze is not the answer by exposing them to disturbing materials about the Holocaust, […]

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War, Critical Thinking and Self-Understanding

Every once in a while, one comes across an article that captures the issues at stake so completely that there seems little left to add. Arguably this is what ethicist and educational philosopher Nel Noddings did in her provocative March 2004 Phi Delta Kappen article on how education must encourage students to think critically about […]

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Life Lessons from Belfast

  Vanessa Gordon reflects on how studying peace and conflict in Belfast during “the Troubles” gave her important insights into privilege, responsibility and an understanding that those living in conflict zones are just like us.     ********** Confess: it’s my profession that alarms you. This is why few people ask me to dinner, though […]

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A Losing Battle

In this poignant contribution to War Stories:A Dawson Peace Project, Louise Arsenault reminds us of the psychological cost of war in this story of a grandfather she never knew—one of the lucky ones who survived the battle of Vimy Ridge. ****** I never knew my mother’s father because he died in the Veteran’s Hospital in […]

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Spleen à Ramallah

Seeking to experience first-hand thousands of years of history, Dawson student Simon Massicotte travelled to the Middle East to spend some time in Israel and then the West Bank. He writes that his first week in Ramallah was filled with appreciation for the warmth, resilience and cultural richness of the Palestinian people. Slowly though he […]

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