Archive for the ‘Opinion Forum’ Category

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18 months ago we started work on this feature-length documentary. Through the candid and intimate testimony of the people responsible for non-violent revolutions our film seeks to tell the story of how people power can be used topple dictators.

To make this film our director (Ruaridh Arrow pictured left) slept overnight in Tahrir Square in Cairo at the height of the February revolution. He’s met the leaders of the Syrian pro-democracy movement and the people responsible for overthrowing dictators in Serbia and Ukraine. He has spent time with Gene and his colleagues as they spread their message of effective non-violent revolution.

The film reveals how the leaders of an uprising in one country train the participants in the next and how social media now threatens dictators and tyrants around the world in ways that were unimaginable just a decade ago.

Not only is this documentary an important film of record of the civil uprisings that have shaken the world in the last decade but we also hope it will help inspire future pro-democracy movements develop their strategies for non-violent revolution in the face of apparently overwhelming odds.

A documentary following the life and work of revolutionary academic Gene Sharp who wrote “From Dictatorship to Democracy” the book used to topple dictatorships all over the world.

HOW TO START A REVOLUTION is a new documentary film revealing how one man’s work has helped millions of people achieve freedom in the face of oppression and tyranny.

Gene Sharp is a shy, modest and little-known man. But his work has inspired a generation of people to challenge dictators through non-violent action in a tidal wave of revolutionary spirit and reform that has swept from Eastern Europe, though Asia and to the Middle East and North Africa.


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Google co-founder Sergey Brin participates in a panel discussion in February. -Reuters

Brin Drove Google to Pull Back in China
By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO for Technology of Wall Street Journal
March 24, 2010

Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin pushed the Internet giant to take the risky step of abandoning its China-based search engine as that country’s efforts to censor the Web and suppress dissidents smacked of the “totalitarianism” of his youth in the Soviet Union.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Brin, who came to the U.S. from Russia at the age of 6 in 1979, said the compromises to do business in the world’s largest Internet market had become too great. Finally, a cyberattack that the company traced to Chinese hackers, which stole some of Google’s proprietary computer code and attempted to spy on Chinese activists’ emails, was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”


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Artist Lance Masai Jackson stands near his painting exhibited at Santa Monica’s James Gray Gallery. (Derek Padula)

Artist Lance Masai Jackson
By Masha Savitz for The Epoch Times
May 12, 2009

On a gloriously typical spring evening in Santa Monica, artists, patrons and art lovers mingled in the James Gray Gallery at the renowned Bergmont Station, celebrating an exhibit opening on April 18.

In the show was newcomer Lance Masai Jackson with two pieces represented. The first is a monotone mixed media on paper called ‘The Waves Sift the Sand; What is Revealed is True Gold’.

The second is a “cloud-scape” called “Evening Grays”(or “Clearing the Storm”), an oil painting in cool blues and grays .


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James Estrin/The New York Times_Shiyu Zhou is a founder of the Falun Gong consortium that maintains a series of computers in data centers around the world

Cyberwar- Iranians and Others Outwit Net Censors
By JOHN MARKOFF for The New York Times
April 30, 2009

The Iranian government, more than almost any other, censors what citizens can read online, using elaborate technology to block millions of Web sites offering news, commentary, videos, music and, until recently, Facebook and YouTube. Search for “women” in Persian and you’re told, “Dear Subscriber, access to this site is not possible.”

Last July, on popular sites that offer free downloads of various software, an escape hatch appeared. The computer program allowed Iranian Internet users to evade government censorship.

College students discovered the key first, then spread it through e-mail messages and file-sharing. By late autumn more than 400,000 Iranians were surfing the uncensored Web.

The software was created not by Iranians, but by Chinese computer experts volunteering for the Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that has beem suppressed by the Chinese government since 1999. They maintain a series of computers in data centers around the world to route Web users’ requests around censors’ firewalls.


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