Friday, March 17, 2006

Political Movements

When I was in college, I was required to write a thesis or an Independent Study. My major throughout college was political science with a focus on political movements, so when it came time to pick my topic for my thesis it was a no brainer. I chose to write about political movements. Why such an extreme focus you ask?

Tonight I went to go see V for Vendetta and it shed some light on the topic. In the movie, there is a scene in which tens of thousands of London-ites rise up against the oppressive dystopia that has ruled over them for years. That scene which showed a movement taking action was powerful. For those of you who have witnessed large-scale protests in person you will know what I am talking about. Seeing a mass sea of humanity passionately (if only for a day) expressing their opinion is again, a powerful thing. I realize that football and baseball games also have tens of thousands of people, but the feeling is completely different.

Over the years, there have been several key points in political movements. Today, when people are asked what words they would associate with protests, my guess is that they would say; Seattle, Vietnam, Iraq, Cooks, etc. etc. These may be the most obvious and televised answers but they are not what immediately come to mind for me.

When I was in college, Yugoslavia disbanded creating the several states that we now know as Albania, Serbia, etc. etc. While this may have started as a couple of wars prompted by then dictator Slobodan Milosevic (recently deceased), it ended with a mass political movement the likes of which had not been seen in eastern Europe since the fall of the Soviet Union. The most hearkening part of this movement, the best part of this story, is when the army which was sent to thwart the citizens, stood down. They stepped aside and in some cases joined with, the protesters. Before Yugoslavia came China and Tiananmen Square. The starting of that movement is complicated and I suggest you read as much about it as you can, but again the most powerful moment was captured and broadcasted around the world instantly. You may remember it as well. The last moment I will mention occurred recently and you may remember this as well. Again, it took place in Eastern Europe, this time in the Ukraine. The "Orange Revolution", where people slept in a tent city for weeks waiting for democracy to take hold.

I mention these things not for any ulterior reasons but because I've been watching a lot of movies lately that seem to focus on dystopias (V for Vendetta, Ultraviolet, etc. etc.) and it makes me feel better to know that if things ever get that bad, people (of any nationality) will fight back. I also mention these movements because this is my blog, and I find it fascinating.

"Citizens shouldn't be afraid of their government, government should be afraid of its citizens" - V for Vendetta.


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