All posts tagged: dissent

From the Archive: Cordoba and “The Edge in Dissent”

“Cordoba had the edge in dissent,” begins Pakistani writer and commentator Tariq Ali in a section devoted to the one-time intellectual capitol of Al-Andalus, the once Muslim southern half of contemporary Spain that is home to one of the most spectacular works of Islamic architecture, The Mezquita, in his larger post-September 11 work, The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity. Much has happened in the ever-complicated relationship between mine and Ali’s country in the last week since U.S. Navy Seals raided, killed and then buried at sea Osama bin Laden, who it turns out has spent several of the past fugitive years in an elaborate compound just off Kakul Road, the drive leading to Pakistan’s elite military academy equivalent to Sandhurst in the U.K. or West Point here in the U.S. The compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan was just 40 kilometers from the capital Islamabad. Not even former President and Head of the Pakistani Army Pervez Musharraf received such treatment, although he did assert he had gone jogging in the area in the past. The …

China Blocking Gmail; Reprint of Foreign Policy Article on Google in China “Raging Against the Machine”

China is blocking Gmail in China right now in an effort to stymie internet activism against the regime (given that it is an information war, seems most appropriate to link to the Voice of America story). Last year for Foreign Policy I wrote about the experiences Xu Zhiyong, a public interest lawyer and member of the Beijing City Council representing the Haidan district, a voice of dissent who has sought to work within the system to advance the causes of human rights and civil liberties. He was arrested in August of 2009 and held incommunicado for nearly a month in Beijing. A day following the arrival of former American Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Xu Zhiyong and two other activists were released. Below is my article for Foreign Policy published under the title “Raging Against the Machine” on January 19, 2010 (free subscription required for access on Foreign Policy’s website): Xu Zhiyong was watching the 2004 Democratic convention in a shared common area at a Columbia University dormitory when we first met. After just a few words, …

Shown Trial: Emin Milli and the Future of Azerbaijan

Shown Trial Fortnight Journal November 26, 2010 What happens to the Vaclav Havels of the world when their velvet becomes bloody? Azerbaijan, after its 2005 push for openness and reform in government, found itself somewhere among Budapest in 1956, Prague in 1968 and Poland in 1981. A human tragedy began; replete with obligatory (in the post-Soviet world) sideshows, show trials, political arrests and imprisonments of intellectuals—followed by their occasional, conditional release. When I met Emin Milli, one such Azeri prisoner of conscience, he was on leave from prison in Azerbaijan this summer for one week to attend his father’s funeral and mourn his passing. He sat with his wife, Leyla, and mother, Natella, in a cousin’s home, surrounded by friends and family in the village of Boyuk Oyrad, in his native Neftcala region of Azerbaijan. Leyla would later remark to Radio Free Europe how unfortunate it was that “someone had to die, so that we may talk.” Among such circles of dissent, history has provided for the emergence of several archetypes. Some dissenters are reluctant …