Is this man, now 82 years old, giving the world’s assorted dictators their worst nightmares?
This is Dr Gene Sharp, a Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the US, he is widely known for his extensive writings on nonviolent struggle, which have influenced numerous anti-government resistance movements around the world. He is now credited with the strategy behind the recent toppling of the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak.
The New York Times on 17 Feb 2011 profiled him with the title: “Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution”. The article noted: “Few Americans have heard of Mr Sharp. But for decades, his practical writings on nonviolent revolution — most notably “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” a 93-page guide to toppling autocrats, available for download in 24 languages — have inspired dissidents around the world, including in Burma, Bosnia, Estonia and Zimbabwe, and now Tunisia and Egypt.”
“Gene Sharp is the world’s foremost expert on non-violent revolution. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages, his books slipped across borders and hidden from secret policemen all over the world,” says Ruaridh Arrow, Director of the upcoming documentary titled ‘Gene Sharp – How to Start a Revolution’.
In 2009 Arrow, a producer with Sky News in the UK, began filming a documentary following the impact of Sharp’s work from his Boston house, across four continents and eventually to Tahrir square in Cairo, “where I slept alongside protesters who read his work by torchlight in the shadow of tanks”.
Arrow shares the story of the film in the making on BBC Online: Gene Sharp: Author of the nonviolent revolution rulebook
Extract: “Gene Sharp is no Che Guevara but he may have had more influence than any other political theorist of his generation. His central message is that the power of dictatorships comes from the willing obedience of the people they govern – and that if the people can develop techniques of withholding their consent, a regime will crumble.”
The film is due for release in the Spring of 2011. More info on its official website.
Director Ruaridh Arrow
Director of Photography Philip Bloom
Composer Tom Smail
Gene Sharp – How to Start a Revolution Trailer
Here’s another interesting video featuring Gene Sharp:
Gene Sharp: A Primer on YouTube:
Read “From Dicatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation” by Gene Sharp.