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Has Science Discovered God?
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God in the Cosmos
I remember being struck by author and peace activist Gene Sharp of the Albert Einstein Institution a couple of years back upon reading a review of his book "From Dictatorship to Democracy". It is only now--in light of recent events surrounding the conviction in absentia of opposition democracy leader Sam Rainsy and the re-awakening of my own conscience to re-evaluate my duties and responsibilities as a Cambodian, as a human rights advocate, as a human being deeply distraught by the plunge toward an autocracy all-too familiar with all the danger signs reverberating prophetically of a blood-drenched Cambodia not yet in the distant past--that I am reminded of him again and reading his work.
"From Dictatorship to Democracy" is available in its complete updated version at:
A Khmer version should be made available soon. The interview of Gene Sharp by The New York Times Magazine gives a telling glimpse into the man and the mission.
- Theary C. Seng, Phnom Penh, 28 Sept. 2010
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Questions for Gene Sharp
Give Peace a Chance
Interview by DAVID WALLIS
Published: November 24, 2002, The New York Times
Q: You're the president of the Albert Einstein Institution, a nonprofit organization that promotes nonviolent struggle. With war in Iraq looming, why has the antiwar movement in America failed to generate much public support?
A: The peace movements, with a few exceptions, focus on what not to do rather than what to do instead. They do not answer the question, What do you do if you have a Saddam Hussein, a Hitler, a Stalin?
A: What would most likely oust Hussein is noncooperation. He and his entourage at the top of the pyramid can't function if the bottom of the pyramid doesn't function.
A: Gandhi, but not ''Mahatma.'' Gandhi as a calculating political operator.
A: No. Gandhi did not write systematically. Bush needs to read the political scientist Karl W. Deutsch, who points out the weaknesses of dictatorships and that these weaknesses over time can cause the regime to liberalize or fall apart.
A: You don't need them. If you have one, O.K., but be careful, because charismatic leaders can sometimes take unwise actions. In the 1930-31 struggle for independence from Britain, Gandhi gave away more than he had to. During the Nazi invasion of Norway, teachers refused to join a fascist organization and indoctrinate children. They did not need a saint or prophet. That makes a resistance movement more powerful, because opponents can't halt the resistance just by arresting or killing a few people.
A: The students were very close to bringing down the Chinese government, but they had no strategy. When civil servants were throwing money out the window to the students, why not call on those civil servants to go on strike? Why not paralyze the transportation system?
A: It's very close in Iran, where thousands of students have been protesting. I've been asked to supply one of my writings in Farsi. It's also somewhat possible in Belarus.
A: They mean well, but there is a lack of deep thought in the administration. When you talk in terms of a ''war on terrorism,'' that teaches the terrorists that they have not been brutal enough.
A: Hollywood shares some of the blame for not highlighting the fact that nonviolent struggle can be an equally dramatic alternative to violence. Have we had a film about the Polish Solidarity movement or the Czechoslovak uprisings in 1968 and 1989?
A: Think. You have to use your head if you want to succeed. If the issue is only how to express yourself, that's irrelevant and selfish. People do not make the distinction between expressing themselves and doing something that can win.
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