Wednesday, December 21, 2011

PAUPER’S LOG - The Protestor

The Light of Andamans - VOL 35 | ISSUE 22 | 16 DEC 2011

The Protestor
 By Abu Arsh

People in Andaman and Nicobar Islands suffer from acquired ignorance to all forms of oppression. Any whimsical policy decision, lack of facilities, poor governance, rampant corruption and a million other issues inflicted on them by the Kleptocrats (new term!) has no effect on their self-respect or dignity. We are unmindful of the frustration this will have on our future generations and how it'll transcend into them being jobless, resource less and opportunity less demons. There is not a semblance of protest anywhere apart from a Periasamy episode, the bridge forum or the Sarva Shiksha duped contract teachers, which got suppressed or entangled into complexities for their propagators on false charges. It is ironical to find that "The Protester" is a global phenomenon this year and we have none in our backyard. We are not talking about protest with political agendas; incited and sponsored by politicians, it's their bread and butter for some cheap publicity but people's movement on the streets for change.
Time magazine has named "The Protester" as its 2011 person of the year last week - the title it gives out annually for the person or thing deemed to have influenced the news agenda most during the year. Time defines the Person of the Year as someone who, for better or for worse, influences the events of the year.
Time Editor Rick Stengel said in a statement "Is there a global tipping point for frustration? Everywhere, it seems, people said they'd had enough,"
"They dissented; they demanded; they did not despair, even when the answers came back in a cloud of tear gas or a hail of bullets. They literally embodied the idea that individual action can bring collective, colossal change," he said.
On almost every continent, 2011 has seen an almost unprecedented rise in both peaceful and sometimes violent unrest and dissent. Protesters in a lengthening list of countries including Israel, India, Chile, China, Britain, Spain and the United States all increasingly link their actions explicitly to the popular revolutions that have shaken up the Middle East.
 "No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square, it would incite protests that would topple dictators and start a global wave of dissent. In 2011, protesters didn't just voice their complaints; they changed the world."
Tawakkul Karman, only 32, mother of the Yemen revolution and joint winner of this year's Nobel peace prize is a journalist who has bravely fought against the corrupt regime of dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh - and has endured imprisonment and assassination attempts as a result. Her peaceful methods and fierce dignity make her a symbol of a neglected but inspiring uprising.
A blogger commented - 'The protester? The only ones to come out of it with any credit were those involved in the Arab Spring who really brought about necessary change. In Greece the people wanted something for nothing and weren't prepared to accept measures to tackle debt, while in the West the majority of Occupy protests quickly moved away from their original goal - to highlight corruption in big banks on Wall Street - to outright anti-capitalism protests made up by a few hundred people out of populations of millions which as time went on lost momentum and broke up. They got more coverage than they deserved and in a year from now, certainly by the end of the decade, will be forgotten about'.
Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement, has been named among the top 10 news stories of 2011 by Time magazine. -Rajendra Singh, water conservationist says- Anna Hazare's movement was more of a media driven protest and hence it does not come as a surprise that the Time magazine featured him among the 'People Who Mattered' story in its issue. I have huge respect for Anna as he led the protest in a peaceful manner by involving the youth. But the agenda of the protest is very superficial. However, taking Anna's humble background into consideration, it is a huge achievement for him that he could lead a protest of this stature.
Another blog post said- Interesting that aside from Tawakkul and Chile's Camila Vallejo, the year of protest didn't really produce many figureheads. This probably goes to show that they were mass spontaneous movements, potent despite being leaderless.
Can we ever dream of protesting against sustained molestation of our self-respect and dignity ever in these islands? Can we be the Change?

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