Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Political Violence Related Abstracts

4 Turbulent Election History: An Appraisal of Triggering Issues in Nigeria

Authors: Olajumoke Tolulope Esan, Odunayo Stephen Faluse


Nigeria’s electoral politics from independence has been tumultuous. Violence has continued to damage the conduct of almost all general elections in Nigeria, Thereby making free and fair elections an event that seems to be unachievable in the history of the nation’s politics. Apparently, electoral violence has subjected the Nation into stereotyped electoral procedures that are always dictated through powerful political Godfathers. However, the shameful act of riotous and tumultuous election processes has led to a political, national instability festering irregularities that manifest at different stages of the election, thus subjecting almost all elections carried out in Nigeria below the minimum democracy standard. Hence the fact that an average Nigerian is being deprived of his or her individual electoral rights should be enough to attract Global political interventions from the western world as Nigeria is part of the commonwealth countries and every Nigerians have the right to demand for posterity to be ensured by protecting individual rightful votes. Basically for elections to be termed democratic, it must be free and fair. In view of this, A deep understanding of this paper is a reflection on the tides of electoral violence and the alarming precipitating factors that make free and fair election almost unreachable in Nigeria.

Keywords: Democracy, Political Violence, election, electoral violence

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3 The Impact of the Constitution of Myanmar on the Political Power of Aung San Suu Kyi and the Rohingya Conflict

Authors: Nur R. Daut


The objective of this paper is to offer an insight on how political power inequality has contributed and exacerbated the political violence towards the Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar. In particular, this paper attempts to illustrate how power inequality in the country has prevented Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi from taking effective measures on the issue. The research centers on the question of why Aung San Suu Kyi has been seen as not doing enough to stop the persecution of the Rohingya ethnic group ever since she was appointed the State Counsellor to the Myanmar government. As a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Suu Kyi’s lack of action on the matter has come under severe criticism by the international community. Many have seen this as Suu Kyi’s failure to establish democracy and allowing mass killing to spread in the country. The real question that many perhaps should be asking, however, is how much power Suu Kyi actually holds within the government which is still heavily controlled by the military or Tatmadaw. This paper argues that Suu Kyi’s role within the government is limited which hinders constructive and effective measures to be taken on the Rohingya issue. Political power in this research is being measured by 3 factors: control over events such as burning of Rohingya villages, control over resources such as land ownership and media and control over actors such the Tatmadaw, police force and civil society who are greatly needed to ease and resolve the conflict. In order to illustrate which individuals or institution have control over all the 3 above factors, this paper will first study the constitution of Myanmar. The constitution will also be able to show the asymmetrical power relations as it will provide evidence as to how much political power Suu Kyi holds within the government in comparison to other political actors and institutions. Suu Kyi’s role as a state counsellor akin to a prime minister is a newly created position as the current constitution of Myanmar bars anyone with a foreign spouse from holding the post of a president in the country. This is already an indication of the inequality of political power between Suu Kyi and the military. Apart from studying the constitution of Myanmar, Suu Kyi’s speeches and various interviews are also studied in order to answer the research question. Unfortunately, Suu Kyi’s limited political power also involves the Buddhist monks in Myanmar who have held significant influence throughout the history of the country. This factor further prevents Suu Kyi from preserving the sanctity of human rights in Myanmar.

Keywords: Inequality, Political Violence, Political Power, Rohingya, Aung San Suu Kyi, constitution of Myanmar, Tatmadaw

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2 In Patribus Fidelium Leftist Discourses on Political Violence in Lebanon and Algeria: A Critical Discourse Analysis

Authors: Mehdi Heydari Sanglaji


The dramatic events of the 11 September, and their tragic repercussions, catapulted issues of the political violence in and from the ‘Muslim world’ onto the political discourse, be it in patriotic speeches of campaigning politicians or the TV and news punditry. Depending on what end of the political spectrum the politician/pundit pledges fealty to, the overall analyses of political violence in the West Asia and North Africa (WANA) tends towards two overarching categories: on the Right, the diagnosis has unanimously been, ‘they must hate our freedom.’ On the Left, however, there is the contention that the West has to be counted as the primary cause of such rage, for the years of plundering of lives and resources, through colonialism, the Cold War, coups, etc. All these analyses are premised on at least two presuppositions: the violence in and from the WANA region a) is always reactionary, in the sense that it happens only in response to something the West is or does; and b) must always already be condemned, as it is essentially immoral and wrong. It is the aim of this paper to challenge such viewpoints. Through a rigorous study of the historical discourses on political violence in the Leftist organizations active in Algeria and Lebanon, we claim there is a myriad of diverse reasons and justifications presented for advocating political violence in these countries that defy facile categorization. Inspecting such rhetoric for inciting political violence in Leftist discourses, and how some of these reasonings have percolated into other movements in the region (e.g., Islamist ones), will reveal a wealth of indigenous discourses on the subject that has been largely neglected by the Western Media punditry and even by the academia. The indigenous discourses on political violence, much of which overlaps with emancipatory projects in the region, partly follow grammar and logic, which may be different from those developed in the West, even by its more critical theories. Understanding so different epistemology of violence, and the diverse contexts in which political violence might be justifiable in the mind of ‘the other,’ necessitates a historical, materialist, and genealogical study of the discourse already in practice in the WANA region. In that regard, both critical terrorism studies and critical discourse analysis provide exemplary tools of analysis. Capitalizing on such tools, this project will focus on unearthing a history of thought that renders moot the reduction of all instances of violence in the region to an Islamic culture or imperialism/colonialism. The main argument in our research is that by studying the indigenous discourses on political violence, we will be far more equipped in understanding the reasons and the possible solutions for acts of terrorism in and from the region.

Keywords: Terrorism, Political Violence, leftist organizations, West Asia/North Africa

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1 The New Far-Right: The Social Construction of Hatred against the Contemporary Islamic Community in Multicultural Australia

Authors: Angel Adams


In Australia, the contemporary social construction of hatred against the Islamic community was facilitated through the mainstream media. Australian public figures who have depicted Muslims and Islam not only as potential terrorists but also as incompatible with the country’s values and identities have helped to increase the level of fear against the Islamic community, leading sympathetic far-right movements to shift discussions towards anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim rhetoric. Political opportunities combined with a socially constructed narrative of fear of the ‘other’, introduced during the White Australia Policy of 1901, has allowed extreme and radical far-right movements to justify hate against the contemporary Australian Islamic community. This study aims to answer the following question: How does Australia’s founding provide a fertile environment to the spread of hatred against the contemporary Islamic community? The paper demonstrates that a forged social construct of grievances concerning the Islamic community in Australia has led to a surge in supply of far-right activism to combat what has become a perceived ‘national threat’. In essence, Australia’s history of a fear of the ‘other’ brings challenges to a multicultural society, and can potentially lead to a more unstable socio-political environment where abuse and violence are normalized and more likely to develop. Furthermore, the paper aims to bring a more nuanced understanding of what is considered ‘new far-right’ discourses with shared anti-Islam and anti-Muslim agendas in Australia. The political opportunity structures theory was the mechanism used to determine how new forms of far-right groups have become more mainstream in Australia. Previous studies on far-right groups in Australia have relied on qualitative data, but further empirical research in this area is sorely needed. Above all, this paper clarifies how hatred against minorities can have a negative impact on wider communities and allow a global narrative of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ to erupt from the fringes of society in Australia.

Keywords: Islamophobia, Political Violence, Australia, Nationalism, Social Construction, far-right, political opportunity structures

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