December 20, 2009

DOING THE SONS OF LIBERTY PROUD:

Revolution of the mind: Under siege at home, Iran’s dissidents draw comfort and ideas from some visionary thinkers based here (Farah Stockman, December 20, 2009, Boston Globe)

To the residents of East Boston, the faded townhouse on a working class block is just a house. But to Iran’s ruling regime, it is the epicenter of a foreign plot to overthrow its Islamic government.

The house belongs to Gene Sharp, an 81-year-old author whose books on the use of nonviolent methods to undermine authoritarian rule have been read by would-be revolutionaries all over the world.

In the wake of widespread protests in Iran after a disputed presidential election, a mass indictment accused more than 100 Iranian politicians and activists of following the instructions of Sharp, as well as spying for several other US academics. [...]

“When you write about how to exploit weaknesses of a dictatorship, the dictator usually isn’t happy,’’ he said, adding that he will keep up communication with activists who reach out to him. “They contact us because they want liberation. They know they are taking a risk. That’s their choice.’’

Iran specialists dismiss the prosecutors’ portrayal of American pro-democracy advocates as leaders of a conspiracy, saying it is evidence of a paranoid streak in the regime and a propaganda tactic aimed at isolating protesters as puppets of the West. But scholars and activists outside Iran do play a role sharing information and providing moral support for a repressed movement.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2009 10:01 AM
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