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A Nonviolence, Civil-Disobedience Voice in the Muslim World

August 10, 2007

Violence only begets violence. To end war we will have to use nonviolent means. Akbar Ganji is arguably Iran’s most famous dissident intellectual. Recently released from five years in an Iranian prison, he is on a speaking tour in the U.S. talking about Iran and world politics. His book, “Dungeon of Ghosts,” implicated senior Iranian officials in a series of assassinations of Iranian writers and intellectuals. Like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and other wise users of nonviolence, Ganji advocates civil disobedience by his own people as the means to build a Republican government in Iran. He stresses the need for a strong middle class, a market economy and political and social cultures based on pluralism and tolerance. He also says that a just resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict would be the best contribution the United States could make to the Middle East. (Northwestern Univ. News Center, 3 August 2007).

His compatriot, human rights lawyer and Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi also argues that change from within Iran by Iranians rather than interference from external forces is the way forward for any positive outcome. Her book, “Iran Awakening,” is a beautifully written, powerful memoir chronicling forces that have swept through Iran since the CIA collaborated in the assassination of the elected nationalist leader, Mohamad Mosedegh. (PNCR, SD)

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