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Peace News log archive: December 2013

Articles from the Peace News log.
For archive articles from the whole site, look here

Learning lesson for social justice organising using Harry Potter as an illustrative narrative.

Have you daydreamed about being a member of an intergenerational social justice organisation like the Order of Phoenix? Do you want Dumbledore to be your mentor? Have dementors ever burned you out to the point where you doubted your ability to take on the Voldemorts of our world? Do you find yourself analysing Dumbledore’s Army for lessons on developing liberatory vision, culture, leadership, and organisation? Me too. Let’s develop our magic, build our liberation movement, and defeat the Voldemorts in our world. I’ll meet you in the Room of Requirement, and until then, here are my top lessons from Harry Potter for social justice organising.

1. The Voldemort Principle of Systems of Oppression and Getting Free

Voldemort and the Death Eaters suck and they want to impose pure-blood supremacy in the magical world as a means to consolidate their power. Their strategy follows a familiar logic. Organise society into classes according to socially perceived biological differences. Criminalise those on the margins, those born of muggle parents, like Hermione. Position themselves as the defenders of Tradition and the Natural Order. Divide society according to socially perceived biological differences and political loyalty. Use fear and hate to weaken the bonds of solidarity throughout society, while simultaneously uniting the right. Fight the Left, take power, and remake the world in their own image. Dismal? But there’s more, and here’s where the insight lies.

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The human cost of war in Afghanistan remembered.


Hashim at extreme left with eyes closed, Naseem and Hazrat in front.

On the 16th of November, 2013, eight-year-old Hashim s/o Abdul Hamid and nine-year-old Zukoom s/o Abdul Majid were on the streets of Kabul polishing boots when a suicide bombing (in opposition to the U.S./Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement) killed them.

Johnny Barber, a peace activist from New York, and Ronya, an independent, freelance journalist from Germany, accompanied the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs) to Hashim’s and Zukoom’s funeral in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp two days later. We had a conversation with Hashim and Zukoom’s classmates, Kahar and Naseem, which you can view at “At least 13 Afghan civilians killed, including Hashim & Zukoom”.

The daily struggles of ordinary people against elite-driven injustices hovered in the mud-walled room, like a scent.

I was swept up by voices both personal and familial.

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