Arseh Sevom–In part two of Arturo Desimone’s interview with the civil society activist “O” in Azerbaijan, we read about the struggles to create capacity for critically analyzing the actions taken by the government. Education, O, argues is something that cannot be left to the government. “I think we have to start now with realism,” O states, “actually depicting the sufferings as they are, in their immense intensity and contrast, in all their extreme dimensions.”
Arseh Sevom — In the first of a two-part article documenting his conversation with Azeri opposition member “O.”, Arturo Desimone uncovers a movement struggling to reclaim its heritage of critical thinking. It does this through education, translations, and social movements. After ninety years under Soviet Rule followed by authoritarian rule rife with human rights abuses, O. describes a society in need of reconnecting to its own culture and in learning again to question, think critically, and create its own Enlightenment.
Arseh Sevom–The final post of a three-part series summarizing the Hivos report, The Green Movement: Seizing the State or Democratizing Society, examines the long struggle for democracy in Iran and the stunted growth of its civil society. Editor Shervin Nekuee states that “The most essential question these citizens have to deal with is whether they are capable of preventing the arrival of yet another tyrant…” Civil Society activist Sohrab Razzaghi says, “The fundamental issue is that the idea of a civil society is not yet considered a social project among Iranian intelligentsia and social forces [...]”
Arseh Sevom–The presence of women in the public demonstrations of the Green Movement before and after Iran’s 2009 presidential elections was undeniable. They were on the front lines, in public, advocating for change. Their voices were strong during the nightly chants from Tehran’s rooftops. The non-hierarchical structure of the womens’ movement and its long history building coalitions among people with different political ideologies was key for the dispersed leadership of the Green Movement. While the women’s movement may have contributed to the discourse on non-violence, violence is unavoidable for a resistance movement writes author Ammar Maleki in his contribution. He writes, “Civil resistance avoids violence, but it never escapes it; if that were the case then it would never be resistance.” In this short piece, chapters two and three of the Hivos report, The Green Movement: Seizing the State or Democratizing Society, are summarized. This is part two of a three-part series.
Arseh Sevom — In a recent Hivos report examining Iran’s Green Movement since the 2009 presidential campaign until now, researchers and activists reflect on different aspects of the movement. This is the first of several posts summarizing the content of the report.
In a new series, Arseh Sevom summarizes reports on civil society throughout the world. This post looks at the 2012 publication of Defending Civil Society. This report notes that the space for civil society throughout the world seems to be shrinking even as consensus on the need for an independent civil society is growing.
Iranian-American journalist and peace activist Roxana Saberi, who will present the HOPE Concert at the Velodrom in Berlin on June 7, announces the concert at a press conference on May 21, 2013. On June 7, Iranian-American journalist and peace activist Roxana Saberi, who was arrested in Iran in 2009 and freed after international outcry, will [...]
Arseh Sevom – The lives of six million patients in Iran are adversely affected due to shortages of medicine, as an immediate result of unprecedented sanctions. On top of the existing crippling sanctions, the European Union ministers agreed to a new set against Iran, on October 15, These new sanction ban the import of natural [...]
Interview with Dr. Sara Bazoobandi, Economic Analyst by Reza Haji Hosseini Arseh Sevom – The shadow of sanctions is over Iran. Economic sanctions with the objective of putting pressure on the government are hitting ordinary people hard. Prices are rising moment by moment. The value of the currency is dropping, the price of gold is [...]
The hashtag RememberIran is being used on Twitter to share memories from the events of three years ago in Iran. A small sample of the tweets follows: [View the story "RememberIran" on Storify]
Arseh Sevom — In 2009, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of Iranians took to the streets to express their desire for more open and democratic governance. Most were wary of revolutionary promises and seeking reform with space to participate in society.
“I stood on the streets with women in chadors who were protesting for my right not to wear a veil,” a 29-year-old school teacher in Tehran told us. “It surprised me.”
That year many people urged Time Magazine to consider the protesters in Iran as the person of the year. They were disappointed by the choice of Ben Bernanke This year Time Magazine focused on The Protester, which professor and activist, Michael Benton calls, “Protest the way the American media establishment wants it — faceless and ambiguous. Note that last month’s time covers in the USA were different from the rest of the world’s — asking Americans to be ‘OK’ with ‘anxiety.’”
Scott Lucas of Enduring America tells Arseh Sevom, “”It is not just The Protester as the Person of the Year. It is the resurrection of belief in protest as a positive, a belief that rights, justice, and a better way of life are not simply to be held and withheld by those who claim to be leaders.”
Arseh Sevom — Arseh Sevom spoke with South African activist Jasmin Nordien about her experiences working in civil society organizations in South Africa. In a post published in the Civil Society Zine, we focus on her experiences throughout the 1990s, when she worked with the Network of Independent Monitors (NIM) reporting on state violence and supporting individuals and grassroots organizations. Jasmin shares some of the lessons she learned about the importance of creating networked organizations, the differences between leadership and management, and the need for clarity of purpose. Jasmin tells us, “…I no longer wanted to monitor the society I did not want to live in. I wanted to build the kind of society that my children and grandchildren would group up in.”