As part of Movements.org’s Dictator Appreciation Month, David Keyes’ piece on laughtivism was published The Daily Beast. He writes:
“Dissidents throughout the world understand the power of humor. It reveals the deep insecurity of dictatorial regimes. Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef summed it up this way: “Laughter destroys fear and opens the doors of the imagination. It is the strongest weapon for deconstructing an oppressive system.” That is why satirists are often the first victims of tyranny.
To stand in solidarity with these courageous voices, Movements.org, a division of Advancing Human Rights, has declared June “Dictator...
Srdja Popovic (CANVAS) and Mladen Joksic (Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs) with a first-hand look at how "laughtivism" is bringing power to the people.
An earlier version of this piece appeared on Foregin Policy magazine’s Democracy Lab blog under the title: Why Dictators Don’t Like Jokes.
To help Movements.org launch Dicatator Appreciation Month, Srdja Popovic and Mladen Joksic, veterans of Serbia’s cutting-edge revolutionary movement Otpor, break down how ‘laughtivism’ is changing the way revolutionary movements are tearing down dictatorships. Stay tuned throughout June as guest bloggers give us look inside authoritarian countries and how activists in each are becoming laughtivists.
Revolutions are serious business. But even the most somber of revolutionaries can’t afford outdated...
Saudis are constantly in danger of facing retribution for speaking their minds, whether it’s on social media or on a street corner. But that isn’t stopping many of them from taking to Twitter with renewed calls for the release of three political prisoners. New hashtags making the rounds are: #اطلقوا_تركي_الحمد# ,اطلقوا_حمزة_كاشغري# ,اطلقوا _رائف_بدوي translated as “Release Turki Al Hamad”, “Release Hamza Kashgari”, and “Release Raef Al Badawi”.
Each of these men were arrested in 2012 and are among the thousands of political prisoners being held in Saudi Arabia.
- - Saudi writer and...
Around the world today, human rights activists and authoritarian regimes are locked in a PR battle for your hearts and minds. The battleground? Twitter. Recently, a new hashtag has emerged in Egypt that roughly translates to “#tweet_like_an_egg.” It’s an attempt to fire back at Muslim Brotherhood tweeters who are trolling the activists. Confused? That seems to be the point. Here’s what’s going on:
Popular protest movements across the Middle East have used twitter to organize and spread ideas, making the social media site a powerful tool in the fight for freedom. This is especially the case in places where public discussion of...
People are questioning their political beliefs now—it starts with the people… We have come to a point where the government is much weaker than the people, and they [the government] are panicking… I’m not worried what they’re going to do. The only thing I’m worried about is if we stop talking. - Dr. Bassem Youssef
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Jon Stewart. (See left, proof.) Not the animated, greying political satirist with the sharp tongue that many Americans have grown accustomed to seeing on their TV screens nightly. I actually met his brother-from-another-mother, the fan-dubbed “Jon Stewart of the Arab World,”...
As part of Movements.org’s ongoing work to amplify the voices of digital activists fighting for basic human rights in closed societies, each Monday we’ll highlight critical events from the past week, trending cyber activism tactics, or growing movements that you should know about. Occasionally, we’ll also provide an opportunity for you to directly engage with the activists on the front lines of the struggle for their rights. We hope you share and discuss these updates widely and we look forward to hearing your feedback!
This week, it’s the Movements Monday Passport Edition. So grab your passport and let’s get traveling!
- First Step for Civil Marriage in Lebanon
- Movements Monday: Emin Milli Free, Burmese Journalists Hacked, Vietnamese Blogger in Mental Hospital
- Bitter Protests in Bahrain
- Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Granted 3-Day Furlough
- Movements Monday: Azerbaijan Cracks Down on Demonstrators, Egyptian Protestors Killed
- Protests and Clashes Mark Second Anniversary of #Jan25 [Updated 27 Jan]
- Five-year sentence for Egyptian Activist Arrested During Pilgrimage to Mecca
- Movements Monday TwitterChat Summary: Lessons on #SaudiRights with Young Activists from the Kingdom
- More activists lose freedom of movement - this time, in Lebanon
- Movements Monday
- Digital Memorial for Sattar Beheshti (Updated 12/13 11:15amEST)
- Extensive Torture Kills Iranian Blogger in Prison
- Exclusive: Inside an Egyptian Prison with Google Earth
- Robert L. Bernstein: Saudi Textbooks Incite Hate, Say Leaders in American Publishing
- Morocco Cracks Down on Democracy Rappers
- Maikel Nabil on the Fate of Egyptian Bloggers
- Google Warns Gmail Users Over ‘State-Sponsored Attacks’
- Iran Restores Access to Gmail
- Iran Readies Domestic Internet, Blocks Google
- Kacem El Ghazzali: Freedom of Belief in the Islamic World
- How To: Crowdmap Introduces Facebook Open Graph Support
- Activist Arrested Over ‘Innocence’ Allegations
- Role of Technology in Inciting Violence - Bloomberg
- No Internet-Fueled Arab Spring For China’s 538M Web Users
- Syrian Christian Activist Hadeel Kouky Opposes More Than the Syrian Regime
- Conference Call with an Iranian Dissident Ehsan Noruzi
- Iranians Say No to Hijab on Facebook
- Tragedy Brings First Successful Cyber Campaign in Iran
- David Keyes on Al Jazeera: Syrian Defection Mapping
- Interactive Syrian Defection Tracker Launched by Movementsorg and Al-Jazeera
- Interactive: Tracking Syria’s Defections
- Russia Adopts Stringent Internet Controls Amid Censorship Concern
- China Blocks Access to Bloomberg and Businessweek Sites
- How Connective Tech Boosts Political Change
- Analyzing the Veracity of Tweets During a Major Crisis
- Human-Rights Activist Robert Bernstein on Alliance With Movements.org
Press: E-Publish or Perish
AHR Press is a new e-publishing venture whose mission is to find and publish the boldest, brightest and most eloquent works of dissident literature available around the world. We will publish books in their original language as well as in English translation, and seek to ensure the widest possible distribution for them.
Dissident writers often cannot be read or heard either at home or abroad, because their writings—either in print or on the Internet—have been banned or because they are lost in its overwhelming deluge of information. We believe that by raising the profile of such brave dissidents, we can promote their views, protect...
Over the past few months, several hackers have targeted Advancing Human Rights’ websites. Days ago one of our divisions, CyberDissidents.org, was attacked and briefly taken down. Though we quickly restored the site, it is clear that not everyone is a fan of our work. Despite these repeated attempts to silence our organization, Advancing Human Rights remains committed to amplifying the voices of dissidents in closed societies.
The threats we face are negligible compared to the the daily repression faced by activists in China, Syria, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other closed societies around the world. Advancing Human Rights will...
Writing for the Daily Beast, David Keyes says:
After releasing Majid Tavakoli due to an outcry at home—and an article on The Daily Beast—Iran’s regime has quietly reimprisoned the famous dissident.
Last month, Iran’s foreign minister took to Facebook not once, but twice, to denounce me as a warmongering liar. Think of the absurdity. Iran is a nation of nearly 80 million people. Its economy is plummeting. Hundreds of political prisoners remain behind bars. Its nuclear program has led to crushing international sanctions and isolation. Yet somehow, the foreign minister found time to post two online rants in a single week...
Cyberdissidents.org Blogger Board member and Moroccan activist Kacem Al Ghazzali, spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 17th about human rights abuses in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member-states.
Al Ghazzali emphasized the case of Jabeur Mejri who was sentenced to 8 years in prison in Tunisia for posting pictures on Facebook that were considered insulting to the Prophet.
Al Ghazzali also pointed at the arrest of Saudi activist Raif Badawi, founder of the online forum Free Saudi Liberals, who was sentenced to 600 lashes and 7 years in prison for his cyber activism. Ghazzali also spoke...
Cyberdissident’s Arabic Program Manager Ahed AlHendi has spent the past few weeks briefing members of Congress and the media on the ongoing human rights crisis in Syria under the Assad regime, as well as addressing what kind of international response is warranted. Alhendi’s interviews can be found here:
Cyberdissident’s Arabic Program Manager was interviewed by The Clarion Project regarding his experience as an activist in Syria. You can find the interview here.
The full text of the interview is below:
Ahed al-Hendi is a Syrian Christian and is an activist against the regime of Bashar Assad.
He is the Arabic program coordinator for CyberDissidents.org, a New York-based human rights organization that amplifies the voices of pro-democracy bloggers in the Middle East. As a student in Syria, he was imprisoned and tortured by the regime for establishing a secular, anti-Assad student organization.
He has met with many members of Congress in...
In an article in The Times of Israel, Cyberdissidents Board Member Maikel Nabil explains how the situation in Egypt could impact the Christian population: “Some estimate that one-third of Egypt’s 12 million Copts left the country over the past five decades, and that hundreds of thousands are leaving each year. They are being pushed out, and I fear they may even face a genocide and become extinct in Egypt,” Nabil said. To read the full article, click here.
- Latest from Egypt: They Burned the Churches, and With Them, My Childhood
- Over 200 Dead and Thousands Wounded In Egypt During Bitter Clashes
- 600 Lashes and 7 Years in Prison for Saudi Activist
- Kuwait a Hotbed of False Sentencing
- Large Protests Against Morsi Expected on June 30
- Yemeni Gay Activist Faces Death
- Saudi Female Activists Face Imprisonment and Travel Ban
- Saudi Women Protest Detained Family Members
- Kacem El Ghazzali Speaks at UN Human Rights Council (UPDATED)
- Saudi Arabia Blocks Viber
- Sharif: In Iran, Journalists Live in Fear
- Jordanian Government Bans Hundreds of Websites
- Social Media Used to Support Saudi Political Prisoners
- Saudi Activists Systematically Arrested
- Sharif: Iranian Men Wear Dresses in Viral Protest
- Nir Boms: Syria, by Body Count
- Al Hendi: The Failure to Support Syrian Liberals
- Saudi Arabia to Ban Twitter? Clowns Respond
- Twitter Campaign Calls for Release of Saudi Activists
- Crackdown on Long Hair In Gaza is Latest Limit on Free Expression
- David Keyes: Saudi Arabia’s Feminist Revolution Has Begun
- Blogger Board Member Featured in Spiegel
- Saudi Activist Arrested, In Poor Health
- Ghost Tweets Push Blogger’s Sentence to Five Years
- Sharif: Google Reader Death May Aid Internet Censorship
- Iran’s Repression of Baha’i Gets Worse
- Saudi Regime Conditions Release on Facebook Post
- Palestinian Women Prohibited from Participating in Marathon
- The Iranian Struggle for Internet Freedom
- Kuwaiti Blogger Arrested
- Saudi Online Activists Document Shiite Repression
- 500 Day House Arrest for Iran’s Green Movement Leaders
- Cyberdissidents Blogger Board Member Featured as Blogger to Follow
- Jingsheng on Internet Freedom and the Future of China
- Kuwaiti Bloggers Detained
- Interior Ministry of Bahrain Strips Activists of Citizenship
- Eight Iranian Female Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike
- Alber Saber Speaks Out from Prison
- Twitter Gives Saudi Arabia a Revolution of Its Own
- Maikel Nabil: Yes, I’m a Blasphemer - Get Over It
- Kacem El Ghazzali: Freedom of Belief in the Islamic World
- For Iranian Regime, Tehran Bazaar Protest Could Be A Game-Changer
- The Kingdom of Silence and Humiliation
- Online Activists React Kuwait Sues News Anchor After Report on Prostitution of Minors
- Muslim Brotherhood Dictators
- Criminals of Opinion and Free Expression
- Ai Weiwei Must Be the Strongest Man in China
- Iranian cyber-activists take on Ahmadinejad’s trip to New York
- Twitter Campaign for Detained Kuwaiti Activist
- Ahmadinejad’s Final Visit: New Video Highlights Eight Years of Deception
- Egyptian Blogger Arrested: Alber Saber
- Free Saeed Malekpour
- Ahed Al Hendi: Outrage About Film, Not Assad’s Horrors
- Summary of the Conference Call with Ehsan Norouzi
- Twitter Reactions to Canada-Iran Diplomatic Rift
- Jordanian Protesters Arrested
- UAE Arrests More Bloggers, Activists
- The Political Future of Iran
- Nabil Rajab Tweets from Prison
- AHR Blogger Board member Featured in Washington Post
- Syrian Activists Mourn Death of Japanese Journalist
- Saudi Activist Arrested for Describing Prison
- Ahed Al Hendi Blasts Syrian Regime in UN Human Rights Council
- Online Activists Protest Egyptian Book Ban
- Activist’s Facebook Status Reveals Friction Among Syrian Opposition
- Iran’s Female Olympians Face Extra Hurdles
- Interview with Zahra’s Paradise’s Writer
- CyberDissident’s Board Member Arrested on Questionable Charges
- Compulsory Hejab in Iran: There Is No Room for Appeasement
- Bloomberg - David Keyes Discusses Massacres in Syria
- Hadeel Kouki Speaks at the New America Foundation, 12:30 Today
- Conference Call with Iranian Dissident Parvaneh Vahidmanesh
- Iranians React to Syria’s Bloodshed
- Moroccan Blogger Pushes Limits
- Hadeel Kouki Arrives in US
- Cartoon Highlights Iranian Journalist’s Resistance
- Iranian Blogger Slams Freeing Rapists
- Ahed Alhendi Blasts Syrian Regime in UN Human Rights Council
- Moroccan Blogger Faces Two Years in Jail
- 5 Cartoons Young Tunisians Are Sharing on Facebook About the Islamist Riots
- Rantings of Sandmonkey: The Egyptian Revolution
- Iranian Blogger: Ban from Finals for Nail Polish
- Support Mohamed Sokrat: A Plea from Moroccan Blogger Kacem El Ghazzali
- PBS: How CyberDissidents Evade Chinese Censorship
- Ahed Al Hendi: Can we Expel Assad Along with his Ambassadors?
- Conference Call with Exiled Syrian Dissident
- Online Campaign for Saudi Hunger Striker
- Children of Evin Prison
- Syrian Helicopter Strikes Caught on Tape
- One Iranian lawyer’s fight to save juveniles from execution - animation
- Arab Spring Update
- Ahed Al Hendi: “The World is doing nothing” on CNN’s Back|Story
- Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari faces charge of blasphemy after tweets about Muhammad
- Ahed Al Hendi to Join CNN Panel February 9th
- How Iran Blatantly Violates Human Rights and Oppresses its Own People
- Education under Fire in Iran
- Transcript of CyberDissidents.org’s Conference with Iranian Blogger
- Maikel Nabil’s First Statement After his Release
- Statement from Irwin Cotler Regarding the Release of Maikel Nabil Sanad
- Online Activists Chide Saudi Grand Mufti