The Arab Spring showed once more that in the end people are more powerful than states. Several authoritarian regimes in the Middle East that looked like made of granite, proved to have foundations of desert sand. The region witnessed unprecedented and sensational changes: in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt the walls of fear collapsed, and the dictators fell. Also in other countries, such as Syria, Bahrain, or Yemen, the people rose against the regime, but these revolutions turned into violence, and did until now not succeed in ousting the regimes.
But even in the countries where the dictators did fall down, the situation is in most cases far from positive and promising. Growing ethnic, religious and/or sectarian tensions, a deterring security situation, escalating into local violent conflicts or full-blown national or even regional wars. No, the picture is far from positive.
Looking back and analysing the current situation, what did we learn?
- Yes, a well-thought through and implemented nonviolence strategy can change the situation;
- To change the situation for the better, it is not enough ‘just’ to fight against a dictator or a regime;
- Much more work needs to be done at the same time to unite society, to prevent ethnic, religious and/or sectarian divide and violence, and to build an inclusive, peaceful and democratic society. Peacebuilding work.
The task of the peace activist is to work within their society to make this happen. No-one can do this on his or her own, and therefore many activists are connected through real or virtual networks. The main reasons for this networking are:
- Learning new tools & tricks
- Sharing (alternative) information
- Showing solidarity
- Showing mass
Main tools are:
- Exploring and making available new methods and tools;
- Helping activists to develop effective activist strategies;
- Promoting successful peace activism;
- Linking activists, creating a solidarity network of peace activists;
- Seeking funds for peace actions.
The organisational model is simple: it is based on supporting each other. This has two approaches:
- Each individual activist has certain skills and knowledge that someone else is lacking. The idea is to link the requester with the provider.
- By linking up and sharing experiences, lessons can be learned and new methods and tools can be developed.
Activist Academy and Activist Lab
The first approach will be organised through social media, live meetings, workshops. conferences and all other standard (and new) ways of making connections, but for the second we want to develop something extra: the Activist Academy and Activist Lab.