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This Changes Everything by Sarah van Gelder

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CHAPTER 15THE OCCUPATION OF HOPE:LETTER TO A DEAD MAN

REBECCA SOLNIT

Dear young man who died on the fourth day of this turbulent 2011, dear Mohammed Bouazizi,

I want to write you about an astonishing year—with three months yet to run. I want to tell you about the power of despair and the margins of hope and the bonds of civil society.

I wish you could see the way that your small life and large death became a catalyst for the fall of so many dictators in what is known as the Arab Spring.

We are now in some sort of an American Fall. Civil society here has suddenly hit the ground running, and we are all headed toward a future no one imagined when you, a young Tunisian vegetable seller capable of giving so much, who instead had so much taken from ...

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