This past week, I had the valuable opportunity to step out of my usual role as a graduate student at Georgetown and instead, for one day, serve as a teacher/facilitator for a graduate seminar on non-violent conflict resolution. I had been invited to come speak on behalf of TechChange, make a presentation and lead the discussion on a week devoted to the intersection of new technologies and non-violent civil resistance. The timing of such a course could not be more appropriate considering the recent and ongoing uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Algeria and other parts of the Middle East/North African region.
2011 has begun as a momentous year in the history and practice of nonviolent civil resistance. Tunisia and Egypt have sparked movements across North Africa and the Middle East as ordinary people rise up to resist the autocracy, corruption, and abuse they have lived under for decades. This method of struggle is by no means new, however. People throughout history have waged nonviolent struggle to gain independence, dissolve oppressive structures, and demand rights. With each new movement we are given an opportunity to learn from those who wage these struggles. Here’s what we can learn from Egypt…so far. (more…)