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The secret to effective nonviolent resistance

17 Jun

We’re not going to end violence by telling people that it’s morally wrong, says Jamila Raqib, executive director of the Albert Einstein Institution. Instead, we must find alternative ways to conduct conflict that are equally powerful and effective. Raqib promotes nonviolent resistance to people living under tyranny — and there’s a lot more to it than street protests. She shares encouraging examples of creative strategies that have led to change around the world and a message of hope for a future without armed conflict. “The greatest hope for humanity lies not in condemning violence but in making violence obsolete,” Raqib says.


Kenyan protesters release pigs over parliament pay

The secret to effective nonviolent resistance

General Carter Ham’s Case for Dismantling AFRICOM

16 Jun



There is enough evidence that the US Africa Command has increased resource exploitation and imperial expansion, instigated more violence, intensified regional conflicts and undermined the authority of regional organizations and the African Union.

First published as: “Dismantle AFRICOM! General Carter Ham makes the case?”
By Horace G. Campbell
Pambazuka, 2012-12-13, Issue 610


On Saturday December 8, 2012, General Carter Ham, Commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) spoke at the 2012 Achebe Colloquium and Africa at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. The thrust of his presentation was the role of AFRICOM in relation to the theme of the Colloquium: Governance, Peace and Security in Africa. From the content of his presentation, this writer discerned that his arguments could be a very good justification for the dismantling of AFRICOM. In the past few weeks, General Carter Ham has been giving public lectures raising the alarm about the…

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useful guide for communication inside Iran by rsf

11 Jun



Advice for foreign reporters

trying to cover censored elections

Published on Thursday 6 June 2013.

Media freedom has been crushed and, aside from websites that support the Supreme Leader, Internet access has been blocked, including sites belonging to senior government officials. And to top it all, the authorities are now trying to discourage foreign journalists from coming to Iran.

200 visa requests “closely examined”

Last week, culture and Islamic guidance minister Mohammad Hosseini asked the intelligence ministry to “closely examine visa applications by foreign journalists wanting to cover the 14 June presidential election so that, contrary to what happened during the last election, Zionist spies are prevented from coming to Iran.

This request followed an announcement by the foreign media chief in the culture and Islamic guidance ministry on 18 May that “200 journalists from 105 media and 26 countries have filed applications for visas to cover…

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5 Jun


Gracefully upgrading a website

26 Mar

From time to time all web masters get the urge (or the order from on high) to re-vamp their site. For websites that do not include e-commerce business or transaction processing, this SHOULD be a fairly painless procedure.

Unless you are also running a personal web server, it makes sense to discuss your plans with your web hosting provider. At the very least, you will be ensuring they don’t have plans of their own that clash with yours.

Suggested outline procedure:

  • 1 Create your plan.
    • Walk it through in a “dry run” – it’s very useful to do this with another webmaster.
    • Identify milestones with details of how you will recover from potential failures
  • 2 Issue advance warning of your plans, and updates if needed, using every communication tool at your disposal
  • 3 Create a subdomain for your new system and restrict access to developers only.
  • 4 Build, upgrade, or upload your site using the subdomain. 
  • 5 Test the entire site on the subdomain – use scripts to speed this step if there is a lot of testing required
  • 6 Test making and restoring from a backup.
    • Note how long it takes to complete steps 6 and 7: this is your “downtime estimate”.
  • 7 If your site uses APIs, commenting, imports, feeds, etc, test methods for temporarily freezing access to those functions
  • 8 When you’re sure everything is okay:
    • Freeze all updates to the live site (if you can’t do this, your downtime clock just started ticking)
    • Make a backup of the live site database
    • Upload the database to the subdomain
    • Run a final batch of tests on the subdomain
  • 9 If all tests are positive:
    • Temporarily redirect visitors to the new subdomain, keeping interaction frozen, or at least choose the quietest time of the day/night/week.
    • Make a complete back up of the new system from the subdomain
    • Replace the old site with the new build using the tested system backup from the subdomain
    • Test the new build on the main domain
  • 10 If all tests are positive, remove the temporary redirect and restore access/unfreeze interactive functionality

General advice

Document every step you take in detail, especially file names and locations, whatever changes you make, tests and results. Check your backups, don’t leave it to chance.

You can add extra insurance by creating a complete copy of the old site on a second subdomain, which you can bring into service with a temporary redirect if the plan fails and you run out of time, or if you need to put the project on hold part-way through.

If, having consulted this check list, you do not feel confident about managing your web site upgrade – save yourself the headaches and hire a professional.

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