The first anniversary of Jina Amini’s death just passed. On September 13, 2022, a woman by the name of Jina Amini, also known as “Mahsa,” was arrested by Iran’s morality police for “improperly” wearing her hijab.
For more than 2,000 years China was ruled by emperors. These men who commanded the country possessed absolute authority and governed by divine right. During this time, cycles of political struggle and war facilitated the rise and fall of dynasty after dynasty. Of course, no empire lasts forever, and in the autumn of 1911, the last Chinese dynasty (the Great Qing) was toppled by a coalition of revolutionaries.
February 2022 marks the 36th anniversary of the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) People Power Revolution in the Philippines, when the population overthrew dictator and kleptocrat Ferdinand Marcos and abolished the martial law implemented during his rule. However, history is at risk of repeating itself as Marcos’ son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., won the presidential elections in May 2022, marking the Marcos family’s return to Malacanang after 36 years.
Japan’s devastating defeat in World War II led many ordinary Japanese people to develop a general antipathy and aversion to war and militarism. Pacifism was enshrined in the famous Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which states that Japan “forever renounce(s) war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.”
SEALDs (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy) was a student organization founded in May 2015 as part of the protest movement against Shinzō Abe and his government’s legislations to reinterpret the Japanese Constitution to allow Japan to engage in collective self-defense on behalf of its allies, e.g., the United States.
In 2014, the world saw Hong Kong stop in its pace to make way for the Umbrella Movement. The protest started in response to a decision made by China that would allow elections in Hong Kong in 2017, but only from a list of candidates pre-approved by the Chinese government.
The country of East Timor, now better known as Timor-Leste, had been occupied by Indonesia until their independence on May 20th, 2002. The occupation can only be described as violent and brutal, while the resistance focused on a strategy of nonviolent campaigns, both in East Timor and internationally, in order to push forth their agenda for independence.
Resistance in India has been commonly characterized by nonviolent tactics for centuries. Mahatma Gandhi popularized this nonviolence globally and coined the term, “satyagraha,” a form of nonviolence resistance in place of using force as a political weapon. The Chipko Movement comes from the word, “chipko,” which means to hug or to cling to. During the 1970s rural villagers held on to trees as a way to protest tree felling in regions, notably in Uttar Pradesh.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, famously known as Mahatma (great-souled) Gandhi, is often credited as the leader of India’s independence movement and the father of nonviolence. The Salt Satyagraha, led by Gandhi, is subsequently recognized as the turning point in the Indian independence movement and the moment at which Gandhi’s practice of civil disobedience gained popularity.
In August 1942, Gandhi famously proclaimed the words “We shall either free India or die in the attempt, we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery.”