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The roots of Egypt’s pro-democracy movement

In this great episode of People & Power, Al Jazeera looks at the role that the April 6 Movement played in getting Egyptians out on the streets and sustaining the struggle to oust Mubarak. It also highlights the work of our good friend Srdja Popovic – one of the leaders of Otpor, the youth movement that brought down Slobodan Milosevic in 2000 – who had helped train the young activists in nonviolent strategy and tactics. (To read his thoughts on the Egyptian uprising see the “Rise up like an Egyptian” series we’ve been publishing over the last several days.)

There was also a good front-page story in the New York Times yesterday that reported on the various Egyptian activist groups – from Kefaya and the April 6 Movement to We Are All Khalid Said –  that were behind the recent successful uprising in Egypt and their connection with activists in Tunisia. It too mentions the important role that Otpor activists and the writings of Gene Sharp played in educating Egyptians about the dynamics of nonviolent struggle.

Stories like these are important because they make it clear that what happened in Egypt wasn’t spontaneous or leaderless, but the result of the hard work of thousands of activists over the course of several years. This mainstream attention is also generating new, unprecedented interest in nonviolence which I find extremely hopeful and exciting.