Gene Sharp, Egypt and Tunisia

The New York Times recently ran an article about how Gene Sharp’s writings influenced the resistance movements in Egypt and Tunisia.

Peaceful protest is best, he says — not for any moral reason, but because violence provokes autocrats to crack down. “If you fight with violence,” Mr. Sharp said, “you are fighting with your enemy’s best weapon, and you may be a brave but dead hero.”

Even though I took half a dozen Peace & Conflict Studies classes in college, I don’t think we ever read Sharp’s work. I first heard about him from an article my grandmother gave me when I visited one year at Christmas.

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2 responses to “Gene Sharp, Egypt and Tunisia

  1. hey eric!

    thanks to the wonders of google reader, i read your blog pretty regularly. and enjoy it, good work! you are very good about updating and it makes me think i could be less terrible about that myself.

    when i was writing my pecs thesis with vernie, he brought up gene sharp as a potential source, specifically because he advocated peaceful means without a moral or religious rationale. i don’t think i ended up using him, but it was interesting to see him talking about doing all the stuff gandhi and mlk were doing, but for completely strategic reasons.

  2. Thanks, Phil! I think the strategic argument is more universally convincing, though honestly it depends what you’re fighting for. I think it’s interesting to compare Sharp with “How Nonviolence Protects the State” or Fanon or Ward Churchill.

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