Research Journal #Final

Just figured that I am missing one research journal. So here is how my paper was framed. It begins with laying a conceptual framework to both political participation and citizenship education. Afterward, the paper revisits the previous literature about the topic of citizenship education with a particular focus on post-conflict, Middle East North African countries. It then proceeds to investigate the Civics and National education textbooks as well as the “Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Education 2009-2013” considering themes such as the rhetoric around democracy, citizenship identity, and civic skills as well nationalism and belonging. Finally, the paper concludes that Citizenship education in Jordan aims to promote “blind patriotism”  and seeks the “functionalization” of Islam for political legitimization. Moreover, democratic priciples are often idealized and depicted as contingent to cultural relativism.

Research Journal#12

My first research question is: what is the role civil society in the peace building settlement?  and what could be done differently in the Yemeni context during the national dialogue and after to ensure a stronger impact?

I went through different literature review to understand the role of CSOs in the democracy consolidation and peace building settlement. And also I went through two cases study of CSOs in peace building in two countries Seri Lanka and North Ireland to compare to the Yemeni experience from 2011 till now. And I was optimistic to find a critical role in peacebuilding settlement like forming it or sign on it as a political element especially in the weak government countries. However, the roles of CSOs will vary from country to another (Bell. C & O’Rourke. C, 2007) argue that CSOs could be involved in one or more of the following;

“Humanitarian Relief role, Peace Agreement Monitoring human rights, Legitimating Peace Agreements and Resulting Administrations, Transitional Governance and Institutional Development. Also, Transitional Governance Role and some agreement will state for Protection and Promotion of Civil Society and Institutionalizing Civil Society. In a closer approximation to a formal institutionalization of participatory democracy, some agreements give civil society organizations distinct deliberative forums in order to debate and formulate positions and input into formal government policy processes”( p. 298-303)

The role for most Yemeni CSOs during the NDC and after were focusing overall humanitarian relief role, peace agreement monitoring human rights and sort of  Legitimating peace agreements and resulting administrations if they get the permission from the political elites. And in conclusion, the limitation of the Yemeni CSOs role of the peace building settlement was due to the evictor political environment and organizational weakness between all the CSOs. Based on that here some recommendation:

  • The CSOs should form a strong and untied form or network to be able to coordinate and participate in the political scenes.
  • The international community should push for the CSOs inclusion in all the political transitional process and not only in the humanitarian and the monitoring work.
  • It is very important the complementarity of both the elite power-sharing and grass-roots participatory approaches is critical to building a sustainable peace and to accommodating both traditions in places like Northern Ireland.
  • The CSOs need to start the scale up their work to services provider to re- gain the population trust and to widen their grass root support.
  • The CSOs should be natural and avoid the polarization but I know it is difficult in the poor country.

Research Journal#11

Yemen context and conflict started from the Arabic uprising 2011 update:
Although I lived the Yemeni experience during the Arabic Uprising in 2011 and worked National Dialogue Conference closely, I will try to be natural and rely on international reports and articles to expresses the political transition and conflict since 2011.
According to UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE (2014) report written by Erica Gaston, the Arabic spring revolution started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Libya. In Yemen, the protest led by youth and civil society who was for years dissatisfaction with the regime president Ali Abdullah Saleh due to long-standing frustration over the lack of economic improvement, corruption and the lowest levels in the region for food security, health, and education (Gaston.E, 2014). In addition, there was fragile and unstable political situation between the south (al-Hiraak) and north and government against a minority (Houthi), thus led to central cracking in the Yemeni politics (Gaston.E, 2014). So a number of key political parties, power brokers, and tribal actors joined the protest movement in the street which causes complaint civil activists and makes the ambiguous objective of the whole revolution and protest (Gaston.E, 2014). In November 2011, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreement signed by the country’s main political parties to prevent escalating armed conflict (Gaston.E, 2014). This agreement was two years transition period with arrangements Saleh step down from power and give him immunity (Gaston.E, 2014). The GCC agreement ends the fight to start transitional period lead by Former vice-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and suggest a platform for all political civil to discuss the country problem and critical issues and come with the new constitution to guarantee the rights of all public (Gaston.E, 2014). However, the GCC neglect the important facts of the country situation; a poor economic situation with lacks of state control and law in different areas and a major transnational terrorist problem (Gaston.E, 2014).
National Dialogue Conference started on March 18, 2013, 565 delegates from all the political parties, youth, women, and CSOs (Gaston.E, 2014). It was a hope for all Yemeni to get over the unstable situation and start the new Yemen with solid state (Gaston.E, 2014). In the NDC there were nine discussed issue and the most critical two were the southern and Houthi issues (Gaston.E, 2014). This dialogue was planned to finish after 6 months but it finished after ten months in early August 2013 after hard negotiation in some stages and worth mentioning that all the international support was focusing on NDC and its activities with a shortage in the basic services support (Gaston.E, 2014). The NDC had 1800 outcomes for the 9 issue with consensus from all the delegates even that some outcomes were not fully agreed upon like the formulation of 6 states in Federal context as the new Yemen. The NDC was a public process and had national settlement element but the government focused on the success of the NDC while the population face worsening situation regarding the basic services and need (Gaston.E, 2014). As a result, there was a weak buy-in from the community and that increase the trust gap between the transitional government and the population (Gaston.E, 2014). Because people expected the transitional government to be responsive to their daily need and challenges (Gaston.E, 2014).
After the NDC there was a suspended issue in the state building in how many regions will be in the federal state (Al-Ali.Z & Lackner. H, 2016). President Hadi created a small committee from all the political parties and decided to create six regions and that was highly rejected by the Houthis because it “divides Yemen into poor and wealthy regions.” (Al-Ali.Z & Lackner. H, 2016). Hadi neglects the reject of the Houthis and assumed the will deal with the reality. Then he established the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) to move on with the transitional period and translate the NDC’s work into a draft constitution to be submitted to a referendum (Al-Ali.Z & Lackner. H, 2016). The draft had 446 articles and provides an excellent basis for better governance in Yemen but some of NDC’s outcomes were contradictory that leave the CDC with unclear direction how to resolve contentious issues (Al-Ali.Z & Lackner. H, 2016). Even with the excellent basis the draft offer with the adoption of an unconvincing issue to a number of actors including the Houthis and Hirak (Al-Ali.Z & Lackner. H, 2016). The unsatisfactory of political parties lead to political disagreement and end with a takeover of Sana’a alliance with Saleh’s elite forces moving to the south generating the start of a full civil war and give an excuse for the intervention of the Saudi-led coalition (Al-Ali.Z & Lackner. H, 2016). Now Yemen under Saudi-led coalition blockade and attack since 26 of March 2015 and since then the United Nation and the international communities tried to hold national and regional negotiation for peace (Al-Ali.Z & Lackner. H, 2016).
The role of the Civil Society in Yemen during 2011 till now:
According to the World Bank (WB) Group article in 2014 about “A New Role for Civil Society in Yemen”, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) number in Yemen witnessed a rapid growth up to 8,300 registered and a quarter of them raised since Yemen’s transition got underway in 2011 as initiatives and networks. Most of their work was development (capacity building to the community and provide some service) and charity (WB, 2014). The CSOs and their networks had a good grassroots connection to the Yemeni people, including marginalized and have unique access to remote and rural districts and most of the international and government outreach programs rely on them (Sharqieh,2013).
During the NDC the CSOs had 40 seats from different organization and governorate along with 40 for activists’ youth and 40 for activists’ women (Gaston.E, 2014). This was the first time to directly involve the independent’s population in political negotiation (Gaston.E, 2014). And a large number of the CSOs were following the NDC update and made a lot of effort to communicate the processes and outcomes of the NDC to the public and to incorporate broader public consultation on key issues (Gaston.E, 2014). And CSOs was given a massive task to reach the isolated population (only 30 percent of which is urban) and to communicate a number of complex issues through public dialogue tents, awareness campaign and training (Gaston.E, 2014). Also during the NDC the delegates did outreach program outside of Sanaa and hold a number of discussion forums were held both under NDC auspices and outside it to discuss key NDC issues, solicit input, and encourage broader debate (Gaston.E, 2014) in order to increase the public buy in.
Worth mentioning from my involvement that the NDC secretariat and UNOPS tried to provide the independent parties with a free platform with mediators and consultants to unified their vision and input in the NDC and after.
Interestingly during my Google search, I did not find a consolidated report or articles about the role of the civil Society, so I am presenting some of individual report or articles in specific areas. Some highlighted activities of the CSos during the war are;
• Submission of Letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2015 from 53 GSOs inside and outside Yemen as per global research website asking to push the political settlement and warn about the humanitarian crisis.

• Civil society’s efforts to revive a war-ravaged education system in Yemen through The Yemeni Coalition for Education for All (YCEA) as an example which advocates for conflicting parties to protect education facilities from all sectarian, regional and partisan conflicts ( Al Refai , 2016).

• Safer world fund resonate organization to building youth capacities for peace, work with the National Organization for the Development of Society (NODS) on piloting a number of community security project sites and works to promote women’s political participation and address issues of gender, peace, and security(2017).

Research Journal 12

My first research question is: How does a formerly violent group incorporate themselves in the civilian democratic politics?

Earlier I chose the research question as I could not find any previous article on this issue on Nepal context. There is a lot out there on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration. So it was easy for me to pick the question and justify why I chose this topic. I specifically focused on reintegration since this is the last and stage for integrating ex-combatants to the mainstream society. However, once I started writing on it, I found there is rarely any updated information about reintegration of ex-combats of Nepal! So, I had to write the argument based on whatever information I found. I used McMullin’s three challenges – political, ideational, and structural aspects to analyze the reintegration of Nepalese ex-rebels.

My overall conclusion of the paper is Nepal lacks legitimacy in political arena. The ex-rebels made the decade long violent movement as a response. However, even they got the ticket to represent their agenda in parliament, the power still concentrated among the elites. On a grass-root level, the ex-combatants are being marginalized and excluded from the politicized reintegration process.

Research Journal # 12 (Oh God! Here goes the last one!!)

Final overview of the paper:

My paper provides a brief relationship among democracy, religion, nationalism, Hindu nationalism. While democracy is a continues process to achieve inclusivity at its highest, it sometimes experiences components like religion, nationalism, religious nationalism can in/directly determine the path of democracy. In that context, this paper wanted to find out if Hindu Nationalism in India compatible to democracy or not? If not, then does it pose any threat to democracy?

With the help of a brief discussion of HN and its emergence in India and the case example of the Gujarat pogrom in 2002, this paper showed that HN is not compatible to democracy and possess a substantial threat to democracy. HN is incompatible to democracy as in it fosters some crucial elements like exclusion, hierarchy, oppression of minorities etc. which hindrances the functioning of a democratic system. This is potentially a threat to democracy and can create challenges of democratization in future in India. HN is threating democracy of India in mostly for three ways: A) by fostering a rigid ideology of non-inclusive religious nationalism, B) by creating a systematic elimination of political representations from the minorities, and finally, C) by creating an atmosphere where state institutions are ‘used’ for maintaining the systematic elimination of the minorities.

This paper provides a theoretical extension by exploring that in the advent of HN, lack of effective and strong political representation from the minorities, particularly from Muslim plays an important role. That means, HN and the expansion of it is not only related to Hindutva itself as an internal factor, but also external factor like absence of Muslims from the effective political dialogue contributed. In previous literatures, HN and its expansion has been showed mostly as an internal factor by bypassing the role of Muslims as the largest minority group in it. Hence, this paper calls for further research on dynamics of minority groups with HN and the role of it in addressing the challenges of democratization in India.

 

Research Journal # 11

Hindu nationalism equals to or not equals to Democracy in India?

            In the paper, for understanding and analyzing the relationship between Hindu Nationalism (HN) and Democracy, I used the example of Gujarat Pogrom, 2002. Based on that, it is high time asked “if HN is compatible to democracy?” Answer: NO! Reasons are several.

  1. As Bhargava (2003) stated HN cannot survive against a real/imagined enemy. Likewise, in the case of Gujarat Pogrom, HN believed Muslim community as its enemy and initiated the ethnic cleansing on the Muslim community. This is nothing but a direct blow to democracy.
  2. In the same event, it is also evident that HN is not willing to incorporate secularistic ideas in it, otherwise it would not be possible for HN to kill more than 2000 man in the name of secularity. If there is secularity, there cannot be any atrocity like this. Though it is true all democracies are not secular, there are some democracies who practice limited secularism etc. but in no democracies a systematic, pre-planned killing against one group is possible.
  3. BJP/VHP was using the religion to serve their political interest. Furthermore, institutions like police and arm force were also used by the state power to commence and maintain the pogrom on Muslim. It was a clear indication that state institutions were used from one group against another group. In a democracy, institutions are part of a process ensuring that everybody will have access to those institutions equally. Academicians often identify democracies as more or less successful on their ability to engage these state institutions more proactively and equally. Opposed to this criteria of democracy, HN in Gujarat Pogrom 2002 abused state institutions against a certain group of people. Hence, HN was not only making direct confrontation with minority, rather engaging state institutions to maintain the confrontation against the minority.
  4. To add with the previous point, state institutions in democracy will be serving to protect the rights of minorities. HN practically influenced state institutions to oppress minorities. This means, HN was responsible for making a “divide” between groups during the pogrom. The impact of the divide can obviously be long lasting, just like it has been observed in the case of post-pogrom Gujarat. Along with the political separation, economical degradation and physical torments, the victims of the pogrom are bearing psychological trauma to date (Ghassem-Fachandi 2012).
  5. It is to be understood that Muslims political representations faced systematic elimination gradually in the political arena of India soon after the British rule started. However, with the passage of time Muslims political representation practically became entirely ineffective in terms of protecting the rights and raising the voices of their people in local-national politics. It was evident, not only for Gujarat incident, but also in other times and places, Muslims in India lack political and cultural entity as opposed to the Hindus. To be more specific, Muslims do not have a strong representation against the HN. Not facing any practical opposition made HN to gain more confidence in terms of the willingness of oppressing the minorities. For instance, no literature provides evidences of an organized protest in Gujarat against the pogrom. Even Muslims all over India did not have at the time of Gujarat pogrom as a single voice/leader/political platform to speak on behalf of the entire community, they still do not have that. This situation has two implications: A) It gives more authority to HN to exercise power over minorities, and B) It makes the democracy in India less democratic as without proper representation there is a limited option for negotiation and renegotiation.

Democracy is an ongoing, evolving process the path of is determined by negotiation and renegotiation. For the sake of proper negotiation, violence is also oftentimes justified, but oppression is never welcome in a functioning democracy. HN is more willing to adopt measures of violence and oppression to sustain on power, spread Hindutva, create a strong hierarchy of power. Every steps with these elements HN takes is pushing it away from a ‘functioning’ democracy which is supposed to be, as per the given definition in the theoretical section, an inclusive one for all of its citizens. Thus, HN is incompatible to democracy to a great extent as in it lacks common characteristics with democracy. Furthermore, HN also creates/try to create an environment which has exactly opposite components of an inclusive democracy. This is exactly what Chandra argues that over influence of rigid nationalism can create obstacles for minorities and make the democracy disfuntional.

HN does pose a threat to democracy. But, what I would argue keeping the evidence of the Gujarat pogrom in mind, it is not the ideology of HN that possess threat against democracy rather the people who are integrating HN into the “democratic” institutions of India are creating the sense of threat against democracy by HN. As democracy is a process which depends on inclusivity, if majority of India support HN, democracy needs to work out with HN in the process of finding out a middle path for everyone. Democracy needs to negotiate and renegotiate with HN to ensure both the interests of majority and minority are served. But if people who will initiate the conversation remain less willing to negotiate and compromise, when necessary, democracy is bound to fail. Hence, with the processes themselves, people play crucial role in making or breaking of democracy.

The Types of Populism in Latin America

There are several types of variations of populism in Latin America. Whether it be rooted in a historical context, or it is originated because of other reaons. The existence of populist political parties in Latin America are historically rooted post-Marxist institutionalized parties of the left (The Brazilian PT), left-leaning governments rooted in preexisting populist parties (Argentina’s Peronist Government), populist governments based on top-down political mobilization via charismatic leadership (Chavismo), and the leftist governments based on new social movements (Evo Morales in Bolivia).

One of the major things that I want to look at in this paper is the differing between the bad populism that has plagued Venezuela, and the successes of populism that we have seen in countries like Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina. Lula rose to the Presidency of Brazil because the populist movement he attracted, and many Brazilians, other than the opposition party, Lula favorables in Brazil were very good. Under Lula, Brazil devloped their economy into a global economy and Brazil became known as a BRIC country, he also lifted millions out of absolute poverty. Dilma did not have the same success as Lula, but much of that is political posturing by the opposition party. Uruguay and Chile have some of the strongest democratic institutions in Latin America. So there has been some successful cases of populism in Latin America.

My hypothesis aboout populism is it can be dangerous when democratic institutions are weakened because of a concentration of power, change in constitution, and a decrease in checks and balances. This is what has happened in Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. The type of populism that has been going on in Venezuela has spread to countries like Ecuador and Bolivia. I don’t think populism in general is dangerous to the institution of liberal democracy, but I think that populism can be used to raise important questions in a democrcacy and address problems such as economic inequality, technocrats, elite politicians, and a messy swamp. Populistic mobilization happens when too much power is concentrated among the elites and large companies control politicians, nationalism wavers, or a cultural change occurs such because of immigration. If we look at the rise of Trump, Brexit, these are the types of themes we see.

What is Populism?

A big part of my paper is not only understanding the type of populism that is prevalent in Latin America, because populism exists all over the world. Populism has also existed for many historical periods, it dates back to the 30s in Latin America, and within the 19th century it existed in Europe. However, what is Populism? Is it a ideology? Is it a political party? Is it a social movement?

Yes and no is the answer.The challenge of defining populism is at least partially due to the fact that the term has been used to describe political movements, parties, ideologies, and leaders across geographical, historical, and ideological contexts. Indeed, “there is general agreement in the comparative literature that populism is confrontational, chameleonic, culture-bound and context-dependent” (Gidron and Bonikowski, 2013). Populism can be every one of these. Much of the discourse on populism is centered around the problems of conceptualizing populism. Populism can be left and it can be right, it can be liberal and it can be conservative. Populism can be Trump and populism can be Lula from the PT party in Brazil. One of the main problems is populism has been thrown around so much in many different contexts within political science, sociology, and economics.

Though Latin America has been regionally trending towards left-leaning populism for many decades, there has also been right-wing populists in Latin America in Mexico and Guatemala. Populism has occured in both institutionally strong countries, and in countries where institutions are weak and economically marginalized.

 

This has been the toughest part throughout this paper. Latin America is a different type of populism in a different context, and it is as recent as 1998 with the election of Hugo Chavez, and since then Latin America has been facing a major trend of populism. However, it is different populism compared to what we see in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world. How populism is used is also different. In Latin America it is not so much an ideaology, where in other countries it can be defined as an ideaology. But, in Latin America, populism is seen as a social movement and a political discursive style.

Research Journal # 10

I finished the literature review that I will use to critice the Yemeni experince of Civil Socity involvmnet in transition period with accopying to two case studies.

Literature review:
The role of the civil society in democracy and peace building is debatable between some authors’ embrace their important in consolidation of democracy and other authors warn against civil society intentions and role (Lerenzo&Fiori, 2010). This started from the definition of the civil society is different throughout history and governmental stages. There are three general arguments for the meaning of civil society. The first one, treat civil society as a domain for associational life that educates the ground for democratic value and contribute to strength the mutual trust and the horizontal connection in their society( build the social capital) (Putnam, 2001). The Second argument sees the civil society as a base for organized citizens face and request the government to widen bottom-up participation and protect civil and political rights (Seligman, 1992). The third argument refers to the German philosopher Hegel, that contrast the other two as he considers the civil society as not- independent actor in the society and it is an instrument for the government to impose and spread their culture and order in the society.
In the past, the civil society role in politics and transition to democracy was not clear and non-appreciable (Lerenzo&Fiori, 2010). As O’Donnell and Schmitter (1986) who give the credit to the political elite in demise the of authoritarian regimes rather than the civil society movements and as Gunther and Higley (1992) who argue that the choices of political elites and the institutional setup is the reasons behind the success of the post-transition period, rather than participation and the action of the civil society groups.
However in the late 1980s-early 1990s, the role of the civil society in democratization and any political transition started to be noticeable and valued and that was only after the mass mobilizations in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.” Civil society had become important in promote political liberalization, prepare the way for democratic reform, support institution building and improve the quality of democracy” (Diamond, 1992; Ignatieff, 1995; Monshipouri, 1997; Pearce, 1997). And it became agreeable that “a vibrant civil society is essential for consolidating and maintaining democracy than for initiating it” (Diamond, 1994: 7).
Interestingly even the Consolidation of democracy and the role civil society are understood in two conceptual. First is the negative way because the grey area between maintaining democracy against a slow erosion towards hybrid regimes due to the residual presence of antidemocratic forces and the weakness of the state (O’Donnell, 1992, 1994, 1998; Carothers, 2002; Valenzuela, 1992; Zakaria, 1997)and for that the civic engagement is relatively less than the institutional arrangements, however the civil society could support the democratic erosion by community mobilization(Lerenzo&Fiori, 2010). On the other hand, other authors view the central and positive role in the consolidation of democracy as a process of constant transmission of democratic practices at both elite and mass levels (Karl and Schmitter, 1991; Pridham, 1995). Civil society could promote vertical accountability through encourage popular engagement (Geremek, 1992). Also Larry Diamond has argued that promotion of the popular participation by civil society could lead mitigate and reduce the polarity of political conflict through structure channels for articulating, collecting and representing interests people (Diamond, 1999). And for Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan (1996; 1997) democracy consolidation “is necessary to secure more than the behavioral loyalty of elites and the constitutional arrangements of institutionalized democratic methods of conflict resolution” (Lerenzo&Fiori, 2010, p.87).
Guillermo O’Donnell believes that developing countries there is a ‘brown area’ Guillermo O’Donnell (1993, p.1360) termed between the urban and rural in democratic development. So that lead for the remaining of the authoritarian reserves longer the local level, especially in rural and less developed areas of a country but the civil societies can contribute to change that. Worth mentioning that Philippe Schmitter (1993) believes that the civil society negatively impact the democracy by making the construction of the majority difficult since each CSO has their own interests and passions and this also, by imposing complicated processes of negotiation in political life (Schmitter, 1993).

 

 

Research Journal 9

For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate the naming and shaming literature into a study of human rights reform in China. While some of the literature points to the strategy being effective in autocratic regimes, I have found weak evidence that this holds true in the Chinese case (especially in the context of Xinjiang and Tibet). To try and account for this rift between theory and reality, I’ve been considering possible explanations for exactly why this is. One possible reason (and the evidence I’ve encountered points to this as the strongest) is due to China’s involvement in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a Central Asian security organization headed by Russia and China. All states in the organization have problems with specific ethnonationationalist and separatist groups, and have framed the discourse around human rights to reflect a broader security risk for the state. Considering China has re-framed its domestic issues in Tibet and Xinjiang to fit within the broader context of the global war on terror post 9-11, it seems that the SCO provides an insular environment to promote less-than-democratic norms and to reject Western influence in the region. SCO member states all fall under “authoritarian” or “competitive authoritarian” categories (China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan), so it seems that the organization provides its members a degree self-made legitimacy. Interestingly, the SCO regularly conducts “peace missions” (not to be confused with the UN’s peace keeping operations, although China participates in those too), which consist of military exercises that simulate terrorist and separatist crises.

So, it seems that the SCO postures itself as an alternative to the liberal democratic structures in the West, which by definition offers its member states a degree of insulation from attempts at naming and shaming. As I’m getting deeper into writing the analysis, I’m finding that exploring situations in which the processes of democratization have stalled can contribute to the overall understanding of the rise of competitive authoritarianism.