What an amazing year is coming to an end. First of all: well done to everyone who in one way or another has been involved in nonviolent protest this year!
People connected with WRI have been playing their part in these social protests. As WRI has extensively reported, Maikel Nabil - an Egyptian conscientious objector and pacifist - was part of the movement which toppled Hosni Mubarak, Maikel was one of the first to say that getting rid of Mubarak was not enough but it was also necessary to get rid of the military junta. For this he was arrested and first sentenced to 3 years in prison, a sentence later annulled only for him to be sentenced this week to two years in prison. WRI has not only worked supporting Maikel as well as connecting with other members of the Egyptian uprising, but also WRI denounced the export of arms from western countries to Egypt as to many other repressive regimes in the region.
The emergence of the 15M movement in the State of Spain, which started the whole Occupy movement wave, demanding a complete change in the system, brought hope to many. There was a special energy, that brought people together. Particularly interesting was that for many people this was their first involvement in social protest. Groups connected with WRI have been active in the indignad@s and Occupy movement, providing various forms of training, including in consensus decision making, and also making the links between militarism and the destructive economic system.
If people were expecting these protest to suddenly change everything, they were wrong. Social change takes time, so don't feel dis-empowered if you sense that the movement is losing momentum. The powerholders cannot ignore this challenge to their agenda, and will use what methods they can to weaken the movement, even asserting that now they have listened to the people, it is their job to decide what to do next. No, now is the time to continue the work more than ever, trying to reach to new sectors of society that the movement still has to reach, to find other forms of nonviolent pressure and make change happen. That's why we are really looking forward to a lively protestful 2012.