Demands for democratic change may be spreading across Africa and the Middle East – but so is apathy

Those seeking to topple authoritarian regimes need to closely examine their tactics and work around them

Borzou Daragahi
@borzou

Some 41 years ago, Vaclav Havel wrote about the greengrocer who put up the sign, “Workers of the World Unite,” among the vegetables in his store display.
Did he really believe in the slogan? “Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world?” the then-dissident poet and playwright wondered.

Probably not.

“He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be,” wrote Havel, in his famous essay and book The Power of the Powerless.

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