USIP and the Conflict Prevention & Resolution Forum presented an exciting new movie and corresponding panel discussion on the intersection between music and nonviolent civic action.

Rythms

Across the world, nonviolent civic mobilization has become an increasingly recognized force for social, political, and economic change. A recent study found that in the last 100 years, nonviolent movements have been twice as successful as violent movements. A key part of this success is the unique ability of nonviolent civic action to mobilize large numbers of people to participate in the struggle, particularly across lines of cultural difference. Music and musicians often emerge at both the center and periphery of nonviolent movements, providing a megaphone for demands and a platform for expressing grievances and preserving or building collective identities.

This event brought together three individuals whose work meets at the nexus of music and nonviolent action: Arash Sobhani - an underground musician from Iran, Timothy O'Keefe - a music producer and co-founder of Freedom Beat Recordings, and Dr. Maria Stephan - one of the world's leading scholars on strategic nonviolent action.

Looking through a musical lens, these three leaders guided us through an exploration of nonviolent action, past and present. The event also featured a 25-minute film chronicling Arash Sobhani's 2013 journey through Egypt, Lebanon, and Turkey to interview and jam with artists whose music has helped capture and fuel nonviolent movements that have emerged in those countries. Never before had such a musical exchange occurred in the Middle East.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #FreedomBeat.

Related Publications

Egypt Timeline: Since the Arab Uprising

Egypt Timeline: Since the Arab Uprising

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Since 2011, Egypt has witnessed protests, political turnovers, sporadic violence, and waves of repression. This analysis spans key events: a new generation of activists energized long-stagnate politics and countrywide demonstrations; political rivalries pitted secularists against Islamists; and internal turmoil led to the election of a former field marshal.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Not Just a Punchline: Humor and Nonviolent Action

Not Just a Punchline: Humor and Nonviolent Action

Thursday, May 16, 2019

By: Adam Gallagher; Anthony Navone

In the span of a few weeks in April, two longtime North African dictators—Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algeria and Omar al-Bashir in Sudan—were toppled by nonviolent movements. These successes further bolster what nonviolent theorists have long argued: nonviolent resistance is twice as effective as violence in achieving major political goals. Less understood and examined is the special, disarming role that humor can play in propelling nonviolent movements and defeating oppressive structures.

Type: Blog

Nonviolent Action

Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen on the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty 40 Years Later

Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen on the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty 40 Years Later

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

By: Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen

Reflecting on the 40th anniversary of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, Kurtzer-Ellenbogen says, “One of the big factors with the Egypt-Israel agreement was … bold, courageous leadership that was willing to make unprecedented moves … That’s of course eventually what’s going to need to happen to come to an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

Type: Podcast

Peace Processes

Middle East Peace: What can we Learn from Camp David 40 Years Later?

Middle East Peace: What can we Learn from Camp David 40 Years Later?

Monday, March 25, 2019

By: Robert Barron; Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen; Michael Yaffe

March 26 marks the 40th anniversary of the signing ceremony of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty that resulted from the Camp David Accords. Negotiated by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the treaty has been a cornerstone of regional security and U.S. strategy in the Middle East.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

View All Publications