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Fantasy Island: Democracy Edition


Democracy with a view.
-Hy Nicho las Sclunid le Uauthors/nicholas-schmidle) I March/April 2010 Issue 01ttp: I/motherjones.mm/tnc/2o 10 /1n)

I FIRST MET Srdja Popovic last spring at a


bustling cafe in the Maldives, where he had just
helped overthrow the government. Sipping
espresso and smoking cigarettes, he spoke in
passionate bursts as he told me about how he had
guided the local opposition-now the ruling party
of this tiny nation in the Indian Ocean-in ~b.~.

YY..~.~.?....9.f....J;?.~.~.S.~f.~.!....r..~.Y..9..1..~
.(~~.8..:_[/_I('!_"!._I('!_:.~.?..~.Y..a..~-~-P..~.d.-~~.:.~TS!l.~.~-9..~.?:<.:.8.~.8.?.

g_r..~.i-~-~-=-~-~-~.....~~.?.!g_~.!?E9.B.~E!.i.~.?..~!.a..9..~.~-=-~-~-~.L. Yet even


with five revolutions already under his belt,
Popovic insisted that he sought only to educate rebels, not lead them.
"You cannot take the revolution in a suitcase and take it to one place," Popovic told me when I
caught up with him again in a restaurant in wintry Washington, DC, where he'd been meeting with
pro-democracy organizations. Popovic has been credited with giving activists the tools to .9..~.?..~

-~-~.R9..P..~.1..~.~-..~-~.9..!.!I.l..~.?...J.~.~B.:ll.!.i.~.~-d..~:..?.!.a..~f.~.~-d..:.~.d..~l.B.~.~-?.l.?..?.~.~-~l.~.~--...~..!.::1:....~.!.~.~-~-9..Y..~.~-~-~....Y..~.~-~~---~-~.'::..~.~-~-~-~.?.:.P..9.f.i...(pdf)
from Ukraine to Lebanon-earning him and his small band of nonviolent storm troopers a name
as Che-like globe-trotting agitators. "We have the notorious reputation of being capable of
toppling dictatorships all over the world," he said with nonchalance. "We are the world's best
known troublemakers."
But that notoriety has also made it more difficult for the tall, sinewy 37-year-old to slip into
places where his services might be of use. While he boasts that he's never been arrested outside
of his native Serbia, nor deported or even denied a visa, he acknowledges that there are "a few
countries that I would be prohibited to go." Iran, he says with a smirk, "would love me-for
dinner."

Luckily, Popovic is on the verge of acquiring a

\I

place where the world can come to him. If all


/

goes according to plan, this spring a tropical atoll


in the Maldives will become home to "Democracy

"

Island," a campus where activists can study


nonviolent resistance amid coconut trees, white
'

' '

sand, and lagoons the color of Cool Mint Listerine.


-~-

Srdja Popovic (pronounced sir-JA POP-o-vitch)


grew up in Belgrade, the son of journalists. In the
1980s, he got into rock and roll, which in the
former Yugoslavia was "subversive in itself." But
it wasn't until after the fall of communism

.(NW.:.!lrJ.!7.Y'!.~.:.Y..~.f.:S9..:.Y.k!.!:!9..!~.b.~E.~.9.!.~J?..I.?..9.!!7..Y.r9..P..~I9.W.~!m.!7..l!.0.!7.....~.~-~-!~..~~!~."!.!.~.~~-~-!....~!...S9..QJ.!!.\.Y.!:!.i.~.!P....r:D..~.P..:.?.YY.0...a n d
Slobodan Mi losevic's

.r.J..?..!3..J9....P..9.W..!3f

.~N.~.P..:.f.?..rJ.!7.:#..~.:.Y..~.S.:.S.9..:.Y.k!.bY.~.!:!.~.!.i.:?.b!.:?.t.~Ys.?..i.!:!....s!.~.P..~N.~.!:!T.8..P..!7.!.~.9.9..9.?.EP..!.I.8..?.~.X.i.S.....Y..!:!.~.8..?.1.~Y.!.~.?..8.!7.f.~.~--~-t.:.~.~r.D.J..t hat Popovic


got serious about politics. One day in October 1998, he and 10 student activists huddled in a
Belgrade cafe and formed an opposition group called

.9.t.P..9.r....C:.!3.!3..i.?.J.9..9.!3.:.'.1

{b.H.R..".f.{YY.Y.t.YY...!LO.!::.S..S.8...8..C~/E9..\!.Li.!?..G/?.9..9J.....9..~/t.!.k!.8.m.lE?..NmJ. They chose a clenched fist as their symbol. For


the next two years, Otpor rallied the silent majority of Serbs to call for Milosevic's ouster. The
reg ime accused Popovic and h is cohorts of being terrorists and agents of the United States. On
October 5, 2000, massive demonstrations .?..YII.E.tP.Lt.b.r.9.Y.~.b....?.!3J.P.i.f.J.

{b.~.~.R.~..=.!.(yy_Y('fY.:.P..8.!.i.S.Y..~E.~.NY..!7..:.8E.~L~.!~.s.~r~..?..r:D.b.~.!:!.8.!.~.?J9..t.9..?.@.~}~/5.?..~J.?.....~.9.9..19..?.~g:.P.9..fL (pdf), and M i Ios ev i c


stepped down.
After that, Popovic won a parliamentary seat in Serbia's .f!.r..?..t...f..~.~-~....?.'.~.~---f.~..i.t...~.!.~.~-t.!.9.~.

.L~.~-~.8..=/.t..~.8.~.:.~.~~-~-~-:.9..~Yl.9.~.~~-~-~-~-~~l.i?.E.9..~..~-i-~-~-~!.~.~L~.9.?..?.P.:.R~.!L. He advised Prime M i n i ste r .?.:9.r..~.~....9.j_~-~9..E~.


.L~.~-~.8..:.(.?..~.~~-~-=-~-~-~.:.~.~.:.~.~P/.~.i/~.~!.'.9..8.~./?..~.::1:}~.?...~.:.~.~-~J.u n t i I his ass ass i nation i n e a r I y 2 0 0 3. By then, Popovic

was growing restless. He wanted to take his brand of popular rebellion on the road. "I am not a
politician; I am a revolutionary," he says . "I see the world as a big battlefield between those who
believe in the power of the people and those who try to control the power of the people."
With another Otpor founder, Popovic founded the -~~-~-~t~...f.9..~---~-R.R.1..\.~.~-...~.9.~.Y..!.9.!.~.~-~-..~-~-~-i..9..~...~.~.9.
.?..!.~.?.1..~~.9..!.~.?. .. {~.~N..Y..~?.)...(~!!.8.:.//.I('!.~.I('!.:S.~.~Y.~.~-~.8.!7..d..~.~-=-9..~9./.!.~.9..~S.Y./.~.?.D.~!::DY.~.~-<?..~.~t.9..~.~-~-~:.~!.~.Li n Be Ig r ad e. There
were already plenty of organizations-the .~..~~i.9.~.~.!...P.~.~.9.ST~!!.~..J.~.?..~.\ .t.~.~-~..J.~.~.8..:./(~~-~:.~9..!.:.~E9.!...t the

.~Q-~~T.~.?.J.~i.9..Q.~.!....!3:~.P...l:-!.~.!.!.S9..~...r~.?..~.~-~-~-~-~--f~.~.8..=./f.l('!.'!:!._l('!_:.~.~-~-:g_~.9./.d..!.?..~.l?..'::..~.~-~-~-~-~-~-~-i.?.~~.I?..~.~.9..L, .Er..~.~.9.9..!I.l....!::!.q_~.?.~
f~.~-~.e..=/.t..~."!..l('!.:.!~.~-~d..~.~-~~-~-?..~.:.~.~-9./.~~-~p_I-~~-~.:.~.!~?8.~.9.~.~-?..L-observing voting and focusing on electoral
politics. CANVAS offered something new. Instead of talking about civil society and institution
building, it drew on the Serbian experience to give pro-democracy activists the nitty-gritty tools
for nudging intransigent leaders and, if necessary, toppling governments without firing a shot. It
is the only pro-democracy group, says Popovic, where practical knowledge "is transferred to
activists by those who have actually achieved freedom through nonviolent struggle."
CANvAS Is .'. :.~9.r..~....~!:-!.r..r..!.S.~.!.~.~.::..J.~.~~B.:.f!."!..I('!."!..:.~.~-~Y.9..?..<?..8..~.~--i9..:.<?.E.9./.1_~.9..~.~-Y..(f.i.!.~.~(Y.~..~~g-~~/.~.~-~~---~-~--~~-i-~-~-~-~-~~.?.~.~.9.~.~~-~ ....~.?..<?..~.:.8.~D...CPdf) has been translated into six languages, including Farsi and Arabic, and its

on I i ne "-~~DY..9..?..9..~.~-~l..~.~ .. f~~.8..:./f.I('!.~.Y.'(.:S.9..~.'::..~.?.?..8.~.~-!~.:.?..~9./!.~.9..~S.Y./~D.9..~.?:<.:.~.~~-L" features sections on non violent


"weaponry" such as sit-ins and strikes. While he and his colleagues work closely with prodemocracy activists, Popovic says that they don't take to the streets or try to stage-manage
events. "We never tell people what to do," he says. "We only share what was done successful ly."
CANVAS got off to an impressive start, ~.r..~.!D.!D.9.....t..~.~....R.~.9..:.9..~.~.9.S.~~-~Y....~.~.!:n.R.9..!.~n.~.~.?..

.L~.~-~.8..=./f.a..:.~.i-~.!.~.~.:.!.~.!~.~-~.?..:.<::.<?..~P.9.9..~.?.~.~.8./.9..~/.~9..~!.d./.f.9..~Y.~.1.'::.~.!~.?..8.9..~.?..Li n Georgi a , U k r a i n e, a n d Leba non w ho


went on to lead the Rose, Orange, and Cedar revolutions, respectively. CANVAS staff has also
worked w ith activists from Azerbaijan, Palestine, Egypt, Western Sahara, Zimbabwe, and Burma.
"It's made an important contribution," says :T..i..~_q_~_h.Y....G.9..~~.9..~...~.?...~.
{~.~-~.8..:.f/.~."!..I('!.:.~~-~-!?.~.~.X.9..9..~.!~D.9.~.~-=-~-~-~/.~.!.?..9..~~.P.~.Y..:.~.~-~-!J.,.~ a professor of European Studies at Oxford and the

coeditor of Civil Resistance and Power Politics, a study of nonviolent action. "It is absolutely to be
admired and replicated . I've seen it myself in Ukraine."
The Popovic model has also caught autocrats' attention. In 2007, Venezuelan president .!::i..~.!ii!9.

-~~-~Y.~-~. J/P.?..1.~~-i-~-~.f.?.Q.Q}/.Q.Y~.~-~~-~-~-~-~-d..~.~-~-~-?!.i.~~-~-i-~-~.L~.9.!I.l.P..?.I.t~.~---~-h.~...~.1..~.~-~-~-~-9..~.f.L?..t!.9.9..9.
{~-~-t.B..:.f/.'('!."!..'('!.:.Y..?..~~-~-~-~-:S.!?..~l.'('!.9.~.~-b.?~.:::.~..V..S..i.?..Q.'('!_~.I'::1. ~.9.}..adopted by Io ca I student demonstrators with that
used by Otpor. (CANVAS has met with anti-Chavez activists, but Popovic says the organization
has never worked inside the country.) Following the Orange and Rose revolutions, Belarusian TV
suggested that Otpor-inspired forces were conspiring to bring down President ~.!.~.!5.?..9...!:!.9..~

-~~-~-~.?.h.~ ~-~-S>....(~~.B..://.I('!_'!:!._I('!_:_~-~-~-~-~.:.!?..~.9./.~_E;_~~-<?..~.1_9.l.B.~.~i-~/.~.~?.~-~-~.?..~.~-:.R~D..( pdf) . After one of Popov i c 's co II e a g u e s


was photographed during a fleeting encounter with George W. Bush a f e w years ago, Tehran
accused the two of plotting to take it down.
Popovic is quick to say that CANVAS is "100 percent independent from any government" and
funded entirely by private donors. Paranoid regimes don't buy that, and neither do some
America n leftists, who have accused CANVAS of being part of a _qA~.!.!.Q.!5.~.9...'.'.I.!:n.P..~.r.I.~_I_I..?.~

-~~-~~.r..~.?.J.~ig~-~.!.:.'..J.~.~B.:ll.9.9.."!.~.~-?..:.l('!.~.~-9..1?..~.~-~-~-=-~-~-~/.~.a..~~.9..~T.Y.l.f.9..~.~-d..9.~.i.~.~-~-Lthat targets Wash i n g ton 's en em ie s .


"One of the many sad legacies of the Bush era is that people see conspiracies even where there
aren't conspi racies, particularly regarding pro-democracy str uggles against regimes the US
happens to oppose," says .?..~.~P.h.~.~ ...?..~.~-~.?....L~.~B.:l/."!..~."!..:.~.~.!~.~.:.~.9..~/.~.:..~.?..<::Yf.a..~.....?.!~.f.Y.?./.~.~-~-~..S.....~.~~..P~.~-~.... :.~!.~.!J,.~
a professor of international studies at the University of San Francisco who has collaborated with
CANVAS in training Egyptian and Western Saharan activists.
Likewise, Popovic says such claims are baseless. Not only would American support jeopardize
CANVAS's nonpartisan stance, but for him, it's personal: In 1999, NATO warplanes .~.9..~.!:?.~.9...~~-~-

-~-~.!.9..r..9..9.~....9.f.f..!.~.~-~.J~!!.8..:.f/.1('!."!..1('!.:.~.8..~!.~.9..~E.:.~.<?..~l.~9.~.f.<::.~.~!.~.~V.9..<?..~.~-~-~-~-V..<::9.9.....9.9..~.~-!g.~.d..9..~.~-~-~-~-~-Y.?..?..?.~.?..~~-~-~-~-~-~-!.:.
.~.!.~.:.8.9.!.?..?..~.~-~.!?.::.Q.~.9.=.~-~.:.::1:.Q}9.Q.?..~.P.?..~.?..?.9..~.~J..of Serbian state TV, where his mother was an editor. She
wasn't there that evening, but 16 of her coworkers were killed. "Do you think I would ever
collaborate w ith the government that tried to kill my mom?" he once asked.
Democracy Island grew out of Popovic's recent success in the Maldives, where, in 2008, a former
poI iti ca I prisoner named .~.9.b.~.!:n-~.~...~.~.?..h.~.~-~ -J~.~-~.8..=..U~."!..I('!.:.W.~.?..i.9..~.~-<::.Y..~.a..!9..!.Y..~.?..:.9..~.Y..:.~.Y./.~l.?..~.~r~.?..c?.r.9..l
defeated the country's longtime strongman in a multipa r ty election held after three years of
nonviolent agitation. CANVAS had worked closely with Nasheed's .~.!:'1.1.9_!.Y..!.9..~....9.-~.~.9.~.r..?.t.t.!.~...~.?..r..~.

{~~-R=.//~.~-:~!.~.!.8.~.d..!.~.:.~.~-9.{"!..i.~_i/.1'::1.~.1.9..i.Y..i.9..~....P.~.~-~-~~-~-~!.~..X~.~ti}_, and in gratitude, the 42-year-old president


has agreed to help it and a handful of environmental and human rights NGOs establish a campus
in the archipelago.
Besides attracting rabble-rousers, Popovic wants Democracy Island to be a legitimate academic
institution where Maldivian and foreign scholars, activists, and politicians can get a master's
degree in nonviolent political change. Nasheed to ld me that he saw Democracy Island as a place
where "like- minded people could come and exchange ideas"- but "everything has to be peaceful."
Before he left, Popovic drained his beer and leaned toward me . The biggest challenge, he said, is
not toppling one tyrant or another; it's spreading the word of change. Democracy Island is a good
start, but he's just as excited about the potential of online organizing . He noted that -~-~.r..!.~.~..-~.h.~

-~-~.9.~.~~~?....!D..J~9.D...L~.~B.:/.(~.Y.'(.~J(.?..~.~~.~.~.:~9..~l~.~-~~-~.?.Y.~..9..9.q.?.~.~..~.?..9~.9..Li ast summer, dozens of blogs posted


CANVAS l iterature in Farsi. "This is the beauty of the new media. There is no way to control it."

\tf"}

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Michael Barker 03/27/2010 04:16AM


C#comment-66443992)
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Conspiracy theories and the manipulation of democracy


Although I have not specifically written about Popovic, I been involved in numerous long-running debates with
people affiliated with groups like his-- which also happen to work alongside former Otpor leaders-- and I am
highly critical of their work owing to their close working ties with plutocratic elites.
My most recent article on this topic examined the problematic nature of the relationship that exists between
the excellent publication, Narcosphere, and the far from progressive International Center for Nonviolent
Conflict.
Michael Barker, "Failure of Progressive Thought," Swans Commentary, December 14, 2009 .

.~!~.8..:.ft.~.~.~ .:.?..~.~.~.?.:.~~.~.l!.i.~.~9..~X/9..:.:.:..J.~.!!f?.:.f.(~.~.~...~~.~.~.~. . ~~.~.f..I.~.~.~.?..D:/.~.~~.?/.~9.!:.~.~.~.?..~:. ~~.~.1.)_


For people who are interested in exploring this subject in more depth I have collated nearly all of the articles
that have been published online on the following web page

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Stephen Gowans 03/27/2010 04:24AM


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Schimdle gets leftist crticism of CNAVAS wrong


While Nicolas Schmidle links to my article "Overthrow Inc.: Peter Ackerman's quest to do what the CIA used to
do, and make it seem progressive" as an example of how "some American leftists ... have accused CANVAS of
being part of a CIA-linked 'Imperialist International' that targets Washington's enemies," the title shows that
he got it wrong. I did not accuse CANVAS of being CIA-linked, but linked to wealthy individuals who are part of
the US foreign policy establishment, and who fund organizations like CANVAS to do what the CIA used to do.
Indeed, I argued that CANVAS, the International Centre for Nonviolence and Albert Einstein Institution "have
simply taken over a CIA function, made it semi-overt, and created the illusion that it's progressive."
Popovic says CANVAS receives no government funding, only money from individuals. But whether CANVAS
receives money directly from Washington or from such wealthy individuals as Peter Ackerman (Michael
Milken's former right-hand man) and George Soros, both of whom exercise influence within ruling circles, is
beside the point. The point is that the funding comes from individuals who are hardly at arm's length from the
US foreign policy establishment. Of Peter Ackerman, Franklin Foer wrote in The New Republic that "When
some of State's desk officers don't want to create international incidents by advising activists on how to
overthrow governments, they gently suggest visiting Ackerman, who has fewer qualms about lending a
helping hand."
CANVAS may not receive money directly from the US government, but it does receive government money
through flow-through organizations.
Daragahi Borzou reported in The Los Angeles Times of September 2, 2008 (A Georgian soldier of the Velvet
Revolution) that CANVAS has received funding from the International Republican Institute. The IRI receives its
funding from the US government. As Borzou wrote, CANVAS "is funded in part by the International Republican
Institute, which many describe as the international arm of the GOP, and Washington-based Freedom House,
which receives most of its funding from the U.S. government." Peter Ackerman was not too long ago head of
Freedom House, which Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, in their Manufacturing Consent, described as
interlocked with the CIA.
The claim, then, that CANVAS is independent of US government funding is false, as is the intimation that its
funding is independent of the US foreign policy establishment.

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stephengowans 03/27/2010 04:33AM


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Schmidle gets leftist criticism of CANVAS wrong


While Nicolas Schmidle links to my article "Overthrow Inc.: Peter Ackerman's quest to do what the CIA used to
do, and make it seem progressive" as an example of how "some American leftists ... have accused CANVAS of
being part of a CIA-linked 'Imperialist International' that targets Washington's enemies," the title shows that
he got it wrong. I did not accuse CANVAS of being CIA-linked, but linked to wealthy individuals who are part of
the US foreign policy establishment, and who fund organizations like CANVAS to do what the CIA used to do.
Indeed, I argued that CANVAS, the International Centre for Nonviolence and Albert Einstein Institution "have
simply taken over a CIA function, made it semi-overt, and created the illusion that it's progressive."
Popovic says CANVAS receives no government funding, only money from individuals. But whether CANVAS
receives money directly from Washington or from such wealthy individuals as Peter Ackerman (Michael
Milken's former right-hand man) and George Soros, both of whom exercise enormous influence within ruling
circles, is beside the point. The point is that the funding comes from individuals who are hardly at arm's length
from the US foreign policy establishment. Of Peter Ackerman, Franklin Foer wrote in The New Republic that
"When some of State's desk officers don't want to create international incidents by advising activists on how to

overthrow governments, they gently suggest visiting Ackerman, who has fewer qualms about lending a
helping hand."
CANVAS may not receive money directly from the US government, but it does receive government money
through flow-through organizations.
Daragahi Borzou reported in The Los Angeles Times of September 2, 2008 (A Georgian soldier of the Velvet
Revolution) that CANVAS has received funding from the International Republican Institute. The IRI receives its
funding from the US government. As Borzou wrote, CANVAS "is funded in part by the International Republ ican
Institute, which many describe as the international arm of the GOP, and Wash ington-based Freedom House,
which receives most of its funding from the U.S. government." Peter Ackerman was not too long ago head of
Freedom House, which Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, in their Manufacturing Consent, described as
interlocked with the CIA.
The claim, then, that CANVAS is independent of US government funding is false, as is the intimation that its
funding is independent of the US foreign policy establishment .

.?..~..c?."!....!.~~~.J.~J.
~

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Gandhi was NOT Machiavelli 04/06/2 010 01:06


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Article is PR spin
This article is little short of PR spin, glorifying a new type of tactical warfare that has gained popularity over the
past couple decades within the policy planning circles of the ruling elite. If the author was trying to be critical
and fair, he would have provided even a general outline of what the critics of organizat ions like CANVAS are
arguing. He might have interviewed one of them. Instead, when it comes to learning about this 'critical' side of
the argument, we read a quote from a member of one of the organizations in question, that of Stephen
Zunes, who currently chairs the academic advisory board of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
(ICNC). What standards of journalism are we using here anyway?
To Stephen Zunes, those critics of the nonviolent regime change infrastructure are misguided by all manner of
political delusions and "conspiratorial" fantasies. Which of course cou ld be t rue. I suppose we are not all
blessed with an intuitive grasp of "true" political nuance, no doubt. Maybe he's right.
And, yet, what if one ever decided to scrutinize Zunes's claims more closely? Actually read his published
articles and statements? What would we learn? Anything more than his three-pronged attack of name-calling,
evasiveness from substance, and name-dropping (of numerous "progressive" or " radical" academics and
scholars to establish credibility)? I doubt it. Where is the substance of his defense, one wou ld most likely ask?
Why all the name-dropping? And what IS the difference between "real" or "fantastical" imperialism , according
to Zunes? Does he EVER outline wh at his notion of "real" is? Or are we just going to keep reading about how
"anti-imperialist" and "radical" he is?
Of course this article isn't about Zunes, specifically, it is mostly about the legitimacy of the supposedly
"nonviolent" program being set up; and about what we should think of it . My guess is that a fair article would
have provided a better look into all facets th ese contentious issues. This it did not do. And so people like
Michael Barker, Stephen Gownens and myself must spend our time challenging this lack of balance, with the
implicit understanding that fully-informed readers make better judgments about what it is they're read ing.
In that spirit, I offer a few suggestions (consider these offered to every critical reader). Look closely at the
issu e from all sides. Scrap each of th e misleading labels and empty concepts that weigh you r prejudicial brain
beforehand, they are a hindrance. Words like "progressive" and "leftist" and "revolutionary" and "radical" and
"nonviolent" couldn't be more of a problematic than in cases like these. Instead, be smart, get straight to the
concrete. WHO are these people? WHAT are they doing? HOW are they doing it? WH ERE do they come from ?
Who pays th em? Who benefits? And so on. And so forth.
It's a complex issue. And there's no easy way around original questions and solid research .

.?..~..c?."!....!.~~~ . f..~J.

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Harry 10/3 1/2 010 01:35PM C# comment- 92180346)

In t his article the author com pares Popovic to Che Guev ara:
"Popovi c has been credited with givin g activist s the tool s to oust un popu lar regimes from Ukraine to Lebanon earn ing him and his sma ll band of nonviolent storm troopers a name as Che-like globe-t rot t ing agitators."
I find it v ery disturbing that th e auth or mentions nonviolence in th e same breath as mentioning Ch e. I
wond er if th e author knows th at Che Guevara was in charge of executions for Cuba? Or th at Che himself shot
at least one prisoner in t he head at point-blank range?
I rea li ze th at legions of Am erica n college students idolize Che with posters featuring th at cool, iconic im age.
But rea lly, MJ should know better.
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Mr. Popovic's avowed success in cross-pollin atin g his Serbian brand of expertise in diverse politica l cl imes is a
heady export indeed. However, OTPOR's advocacy and tutelage could be constru ed as being officious an d
meddlesome. Even if a movem ent is able to morph into its own, OTPOR's assistance in evitably dilutes t he
homegrown n at u re and endemic qualit ies of wh at should remain, quintessentially, locally- inspired grassroots
mov ements. Quite possibly, collaboration with OTPOR could stunt a democratic movement's fut u re growth .
Nation ali sts and oth ers will seek to challenge its authenticit y by accusin g it of being derivative of OTPOR. No
matter how benign OTPOR's intentions.
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