Thursday 29 April 2010

The High Price of Five Years of Forgetting

This article appeared in the European Voice on 29 April 2010.


"The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting". Milan Kundera's words should haunt Europe on 13 May. The fifth anniversary of the massacre in Andijan, a town in eastern Uzbekistan, ought to remind decision-makers, particularly those in Berlin, how the EU first raised the hopes of the victims, and then dashed them.

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Today's Unknown Dissidents

I originally wrote this for my Reuters AlertNet blog on 28 April 2010.


In the Boston Globe today, columnist Jeff Jacoby asks an interesting question: "Why aren't democratic dissidents as well-known in the free world today as the dissidents who challenged the Soviet empire were in the 1970s and 1980s?" But the answers offered only go part of the way to explaining the phenomenon.

Inevitably, the issue arises of competition for space online: in a 72-zillion-Tweets-per-minute world, today's dissidents "struggle to be heard". It sounds a reasonable argument at first, but it quickly breaks down under analysis.