Masar - Le Trio Joubran

The Season of Revolt

Something heavy in the spring air has stirred the world’s citizenry to unrest. They have marched defiantly on their nations’ capitals, in rejection of corruption, disparity, mismanagement, and tyranny. Some hail from undemocratic states; others, from (nominally) democratic ones. Some have risked arrest; others, their very lives. But they all have shared in the fight for liberty, democracy, and the just application of the law — even in places that have known none of these.

This passionate upset — which has descended in such large numbers, on so many cities — should be an admonishing reminder. Protest has effected change; protest still can effect change. The powers that govern the developed world may not (yet) be absolute tyrants. But their deeds demand that they change. We demand that they change. Unrestrained by the plunder and repression of despotism, we possess all the means necessary to make change happen.

As we peer into the abyss — and as nothing substantive is being done to stave off that abyss — we must take it upon ourselves to make our case plain. In the words of one Martin Luther King, Jr., “One has a moral responsibility to disobey” when faced with injustice. Inaction is injustice. So — inspired by and in solidarity with the exemplary citizens-in-revolt detailed below — disobey we will.

What are we waiting for? We have little to lose and much to reclaim. The season of revolt has arrived.

On September 13th, under the luster of the Full Corn Moon, the wolves’ cries will incite the Full Moon Rebellion. 

Join our wolf-pack, one billion strong.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong. “Next to sex,” wrote the dissident historian Eric Hobsbawm, “the activity combining bodily experience and intense emotion to the highest degree is” — what? — “the participation in a mass demonstration at a time of great public exaltation.”

Protest, to Hobsbawm, “is by its nature collective, and unlike the sexual climax … it can be prolonged for hours.” But, then again, “like sex it implies some physical action — marching, chanting slogans, singing.” And, also like sex, it expresses itself “through the merger of the individual in the mass, which is the essence of the collective experience.”

Nearly a century later, protesters, shy of one million strong, have marched righteously through the streets of Hong Kong. They have chanted slogans. They have broken spontaneously into the singing of hymns. Their individual selves have merged into a flowing, liquid mass of dissent. Like a river, frothing with discontent, they have cascaded defiantly through the chasmic thoroughfares that lie below the metropolis’ looming skyscrapers. At the hands of riot police, they have faced tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and truncheons. And, true to Hobsbawm’s lusty analogy, they have done so persistently, unflagging, for hours at a time, for weeks on end.

San Juan

Much or little can happen in fifteen days. For the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, it is just enough time to topple a governor. On July 22, ex-Governor Ricardo Rosselló — known to protesters as “Ricky the pig” — resigned under pressure after hundreds of thousands (and a legislative assembly threatening impeachment) called for his ousting. Years’ worth of mounting frustration with official corruption boiled over into Puerto Rican streets after 900 pages of Rosselló’s derisive, misogynistic, and homophobic communications with colleagues were leaked to the press. But Rosselló’s downfall is a consequence of more than chauvinism alone. A dozen years of recession, a rampant debt crisis, and a bungled response to Hurricane Maria all but ensured widespread unrest. And six, including two top officials, were arrested by the FBI on fraud charges just prior the release of the messages. For disgusted protesters, Rosselló’s fall is just the first of a wider reckoning.

Khartoum

In April, after months of bloodily suppressed protests, the only sitting head of state to have been indicted (for abetting genocide) by the International Criminal Court fell. 

The protests began in response to the tripling of the price of bread in a country already marred by poverty and famine. Demonstrators were quickly met with arms and the severing of internet-based communications. But when a military junta ousted President Omar al-Bashir, what some expected would result in restitution soon gravely darkened. On June 3, over one-hundred peaceful protesters were killed and dozens were raped. Roughly forty bodies were dumped in the Nile. In Sudan, despite temporary co-operation among civilian and military leaders, the ousting of a hated tyrant risks curdling and, as in neighbouring Egypt, giving way to a new era of civil war.

Prague

Seminal Czech President Václav Havel said that, after the Iron Curtain fell, his compatriots “were united in the joy over having broken free of totalitarianism. Today we all are made somewhat nervous by the burden of freedom.”

Three decades on, Czech freedom has cried out once more. In April, both a police inquiry and the European Commission alleged that billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babiš abused his office for personal profit. During the month that followed, above the banks of the Vltava river, hundreds of thousands of incensed voices called for his resignation. Velvet Revolutionaries, alongside new generations of free Czechs, have seized the solemn chance to retrace thirty-year-old steps. In defiance of corruption, they have taken up Havel’s worthy burden once again.

Algiers

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had not spoken to his people since suffering a stroke in 2013. In the meantime, they had far from grown comfortably accustomed to his silence. Upon announcing his bid for a fifth term in office, the ailing, wheelchair-bound president was met with hundreds of thousands of less-than-silent calls for his removal. After weeks of public complaint, the army’s chief of staff deemed Bouteflika unfit to rule. Then in March, under pressure from the army, Bouteflika resigned, ignominiously ending his twenty years in power. But he leaves in his wake an uncertain void. With elections postponed indefinitely, who will govern Algeria? Will free and fair elections be eventually instated, will the military seize power, or will Bouteflika’s cronies maintain their corrupt and brutish hold on Algeria? Weary but unequivocal in their calls for democracy, the Algerian people march on.

Nur-Sultan

Police in riot gear arrested five-hundred protesters early in June in Kazakhstan’s two largest metropoles. The protesters denounced the recent presidential election as undemocratic and a sham.
The Interior Ministry, in fitting irony, called the apprehended demonstrators “radical elements seeking to destabilize society.” A snap election had been held after the previous president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, resigned in March, ending his thirty-year reign as the country’s first — and, until now, only — post-Soviet leader. The erstwhile Speaker of the Senate and a close associate of Nazarbayev, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, was appointed interim president. He also claimed a landslide victory in the election. But many Kazakh people, weary of democracy in name only, have adamantly and outspokenly disputed the legitimacy of this result. They have but one word for their supposed leaders: “Shame!”

Caracas

In Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela, the dictatorial tradition of euphemizing typically repressive practices endures: “Operations for the Liberation of the People” have resulted in the unlawful murder of thousands of civilians.

A United Nations report on human rights also found that political prisoners, often indicted on tampered or fabricated evidence, have been subjected to torture, sexual abuse, and threats of rape. This latest cause for outrage motivated yet more demonstrations and counterdemonstrations on July 5, a somber day of independence for a nation submerged in unceasing turmoil. While President Maduro headed a lavish parade, replete with tanks and military bravura, protesters rallied once again to the cause of opposition leader and president-claimant Juan Guaidó. Since January, Guaidó’s campaign to oust Maduro has attracted the support of such allies as the United States, which recognizes Guaidó — along with some fifty-odd other nations — as the legitimate acting president. But his promise of renewal has petered from inspirational heights into stagnation.

And, whether he succeeds, there is no guarantee that Guaidó, for all his grandstanding, represents anything other than the loudest — and most externally favoured — dissenting voice. Opportunistic coups that usher in puppet regimes have no short history in ransacked Latin America.

Istanbul

The tight grip that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held fast on Turkish politics for over a dozen years is loosening. And it is coming undone within the very office where is political career began.
Istanbul has elected its first opposition mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, in twenty-five years — since Erdogan himself was elected to the same post. The unforeseen defeat for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party may be an early hint at democracy’s revitalization in an otherwise autocratic-tending nation. Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, serves as strategic and symbolic headquarters for the President. And despite extravagant efforts to sway the election with all the financial and media resources at its disposal, his party succumbed to popular dissatisfaction, stemming from ramping unemployment and inflation. After the election’s results were announced, the mood in the streets of Istanbul was celebratory and familial, like that of the vast crowds at a soccer match. Istanbul’s populace may have given a sunny premonition of what wider mobilization against Erdogan might look like in times shortly to come.

Yes, I want to be one in a billion


Now 10051 people strong!



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