Monday, February 14, 2011

Gene Sharp: the New York Times story of the origins of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings

Look.  Even if there are some attempts by US or other outside parties to influence events in Egypt and elsewhere, the underlying causes of the revolutionary efforts by people on the ground are largely domestic and home grown.  Most people, I insist, have not heard of Sharp.  Here what the NYT story says: "For their part, Mr. Maher and his colleagues began reading about nonviolent struggles. They were especially drawn to a Serbian youth movement called Otpor, which had helped topple the dictator Slobodan Milosevic by drawing on the ideas of an American political thinker, Gene Sharp. The hallmark of Mr. Sharp’s work is well-tailored to Mr. Mubark’s Egypt: He argues that nonviolence is a singularly effective way to undermine police states that might cite violent resistance to justify repression in the name of stability."  Now on Gene Sharp. My friend Amer reminded me that back in 2005, an American foundation had contacted me to hire me to review the quality of an Arabic translation of a book by Gene Sharp.  I thought the task (and book) to be boring and I passed and I suggested that my friend, Amer,  can do the job.  He too thought it was boring.  It seems that Sharp now wants to claim credit for the uprisings simply because his book was translated by an AMERICAN foundation into Arabic.  Let us be clear: no one knows who he is, except those who were assigned to read it and peddle it.  Why does the White Man insist on taking credit for everything good the natives do?   As for the organization Otpor, I am told it has strong outside connections but its links to Tunisia and Egypt are non-existent or superficial and focusing on a few individuals who "were made available" to the NYT to talk to.  I expect that the US, now that its puppet has fallen, wants to plant stories to try to fabricate an American links to the uprisings.  Be vigilant: the propaganda and counter-propaganda have just begun.