As the people of the Middle East continued to provide inspiration to the rest of the world this week, there have been some fascinating pieces on Dr Gene Sharp, the foremost expert on non-violent revolution, whose books have inspired numerous protest movements:
As soon as you choose to fight with violence you’re choosing to fight against your opponents best weapons and you have to be smarter than that.”
– The power of non-violent resistance (The Atlantic) ;
– Shy US intellectual created playbook used in a revolution (New York Times) ;
– on a similiar theme , a profile of the Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies, or CANVAS, an organisation run by young Serbs who cut their teeth in the student uprising against Slobodan Milosevic and have been exporting their expertise to other countries (Foreign Policy);
– Why do protests bring down regimes (The Monkey Cage) ;
There are some similarities between a novel and a city. A novel, of course, is not merely a book, a physical object of pages and covers, but a particular kind of mental space, a place of exploration, of investigation into human nature. Likewise, a city is not only an agglomeration of buildings and streets. It is also a mental space, a field of dreams and contention. Within both entities, people, individuals, imaginary or real, struggle for their “right to self-realisation”. Let me repeat – the novel as a literary form was born out of curiosity about and respect for the individual. Its traditions impel it towards pluralism, openness, a sympathetic desire to inhabit the minds of others. There is no man, woman or child, Israeli or Palestinian, or from any other background, whose mind the novel cannot lovingly reconstruct. The novel is instinctively democratic. I hope that the authorities in Jerusalem – a twin capital, one day, I hope – will look to the future of its children and the conflicts that potentially could engulf them, end the settlements and encroachments and aspire creatively to the open, respectful, plural condition of the novel.
Have a good weekend.