Half a world away from Cairo’s Tahrir Square, aging American intellectual shuffles around his cluttered terrace house in a working-class Boston neighborhood. His name is Gene Sharp. White-haired and now in his mid-eighties, he grows orchids, he has yet to master the internet and he hardly seems like a dangerous man. But for the world’s dictators, his ideas can be the catalyst for the end of their regime.
Few people outside the world of academia have ever heard his name, but his writings on nonviolent revolution (most notably ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy’, a 93-page, 198-step guide to toppling dictators, available free for download in 40 languages) have inspired a new generation of protesters living under authoritarian regimes who yearn for democratic freedom.
His ideas have taken root in places as far apart as Burma, Thailand, Bosnia, Estonia, Iran, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and now in Syria, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East as old orders crumble amidst the protests of their disgruntled citizens.
This new film HOW TO START A REVOLUTION reveals how Gene’s ideas work in action. The film uses extended interviews with Gene himself, his assistant, his followers and leaders of revolutionary movements worldwide, as well as user-generated