New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Family Talk

April 11, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Robert C. Koehler

Exploring the Alchemy of Forgiveness and Reconciliation

by Robert C. Koehler

“Fifteen men beat us and raped us,” the young woman said. “I was 12. There was one man I knew. My uncle. That man I still see around — whenever I see him I feel afraid.”

This was during Sierra Leone’s civil war, 11 years of hell that ended in 2002 but in point of fact hasn’t really ended, because the survivors, their culture shattered, their sense of community broken, were left in a state of seemingly unbridgeable mistrust of one another. More than 50,000 people died in the war. Many more were crippled and disfigured; thousands of children were abducted and turned, on pain of death, into child soldiers — into murderers. This was the war that popularized the term “blood diamond.”

When the truce between government and rebels was signed, part of the agreement was amnesty. Those who took part in the brutality simply went home. So did those who had fled to refugee camps. (more…)

Nonviolent Nigeria

February 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Matt Meyer, Politics

The Roots (and Routes) of Resistance

by Matt Meyer

It is tough now to believe: Chidi Nwosu was murdered just a little over one year ago. He was hardly the first prominent Nigerian human rights leader to be assassinated, nor was he the last before the Occupy Nigeria movement of 2012 began taking to the streets, forming a new, nationwide emphasis on the need for sweeping economic and political change in one of the most populated and resource-rich corners of the planet. Nwosu, founder and president of the Human Rights, Justice and Peace Foundation (HRJPF), was a friend and colleague of the secular pacifist War Resisters International — but his death was anything but nonviolent. Tortured in his home while his wife and young daughter were locked in an adjacent room, he was shot in the head and dragged around the house as a symbol of what happens to those who dare take on questions of police misconduct, government corruption, and an end to rule by multinational corporations. It is no coincidence that this killing took place a short time after a major conference had been held (with Nwosu as central organizer), linking the issues and calling for a “total cleansing” of the Nigerian scene. (more…)

Occupied Nigeria

January 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Matt Meyer, Politics

Deploying Nonviolence Against Colonialism

by Matt Meyer

For too many expatriate Africans living in the West, the phrase Occupied Nigeria raises scary images of U.S. or NATO warships bearing down in AFRICOM-commando fashion, reestablishing Eurocentric hegemony over the worlds’ fifth largest supplier of crude oil. Before these early days of 2012, we had barely heard news of the spreading Occupy hashtag on the continent that helped re-popularize mass nonviolent civilian resistance around the world last year. Now #Occupy Nigeria in just two short weeks has mobilized thousands in cities across the diverse West African country, along with support demonstrations (including some of those ex-pats) in London, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and elsewhere. The widespread strike by Nigerian oil workers continues to grow, as calls for an end to economic and political corruption gain momentum.

The short-term issue which birthed the network now being called Occupy Nigeria was the hastily-announced January 1, 2012 end of the federal fuel subsidies which had enabled average Nigerians to afford gas pumped from oil reserves on their own land. This resulted in an overnight 120 percent price increase, and an outburst of fury at decades of governmental collusion with the multi-billion dollar oil industry. (more…)