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Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Art of Non Violent Revolution.

What follows is a profound truth, written expertly, eloquently, and with perfect timing by a man with a keen intellect, and a person I am proud to call friend, Nael Noaman. A blue print for success.
All through history people have struggled against the rulers or the governments, some turned sour and failed some succeeded but created dictators that were far worse than the original ruler, some took the peaceful approach and some chose the armed and violent approach. Looking back at these struggles, what was the percentage of success of each approach and how to measure this success?

Prof. Erica Chenoweth from the University of Denver's Josef Corbel School of International Studies answers these questions and more in her award-winning book " Why civil resistance works ", she defines the civil resistance as " a method of conflict in which unarmed civilians uses tactics like strikes, protests, boycott and other methods without physically harming their opponents, which could be more effective than armed conflicts in removing a leader or creating an independent territory".

The study explores the strategic effectiveness between violent and non-violent campaigns from 1900 till 2006, and came up with some amazing facts:
1 – Non-violent campaigns have scored 53% success rate compared to violent campaigns that only scored 26% success
2 – Repressive regimes are 12 times more likely to grant the non-violent campaigns some concessions more than the violent campaigns.
3 – Defections of security forces are more than 4 times more likely in non-violent campaigns
4 – Non-violent campaigns are 6 times more likely to fulfill complete success against repressive regimes.
5 – Non-violent campaigns are 4 times larger because all ages could participate thus reducing the risk calculation of security forces which will eventually lead to unlikely violent outcome.
6 – The non-violent campaigns could get the support of big corporates and investors which could lead to a faster compromise from the regime.
7- Societies that emerge out of a successful or even none successful non-violent campaigns are more likely to have democratic institutions with in 5 to 10 years and 15% less likely to lapse into civil war than violent campaigns with in the same period 3 images of world's greats whom led non-violent campaigns and succeeded, Prof. Chenoweth added that behind such successes came important reasons:

1 – Their commitment to non-violent campaigns enhanced their domestic and international legitimacy and encouraged more people to participate thus increasing the pressure on their governments which then started thinking about the economic and security impacts.
2 – Against violent movements the governments easily justify their violent moves, whereas against the non-violent movements, it could easily back fire on that particular government
3 – International condemnation could be an immediate result and that exactly what happened with South Africa which eventually gave in.
4 – leading a non-violent movement keeps the door open to negotiations, since these governments never sensed a threat towards their lives, and what better story regarding this point than Gandhi's refusal to go violent even after the Brits turned the Ameristar demonstrations into a massacre killing hundreds in 1919 and imprisoning him in 1922 and later the massive imprisonments of 60,000 people after the famous 1930 salt marsh were he and his followers covered walking as a protest to salt tax a distance of 241 miles,,,,, but finally the Brits gave up and signed the famous Gandhi -Irwin pact which basically Britain agreed to free all the political prisoners in return for the suspension of civil disobedience.

I could not help thinking while reading this great book about Syria, 207,000 civilian deaths and 11 million left their homes to settle elsewhere , what if Condoleezza Rice did not bring up the " New Middle-East idea" which sprung the Arab spring (Fall in my opinion) which resulted in a million deaths across the Arab world and is still harvesting lives, what if the Saudis, Turks, Qataris and Israelis did not arm the rebellion, and what if AL Assad forces did not use excessive force on the first day,,,,,the what if's could have been stopped if the people were more educated to learn from both studies and history that NON-VIOLENT resistance works better during and after the confrontations.