I just discovered a website called Listserve that specializes in top ten lists. Most of them are pretty random, like “Top 10 Failed McDonald’s Products” or “Top 10 Fascinating Facts About Cheese.” But there are some serious ones too. The one that naturally caught my eye was titled “Top 10 Individual Protests.”
Given the recent success of Aminatou Haidar’s hunger strike, I thought this to be a wholly appropriate time to share the list and see what people think. Who else should have been on it? Once you get beyond some of the obvious names it gets tough.
In general, I think Listserve did a great job. I learned about two people I had never heard of before: Zackie Achmat, an HIV campaigner who refused to take antiretroviral drugs until all four million of his fellow South Africans had the same opportunity, and Vedran Smailovic, who played his cello in public during the midst of the seige on Sarajevo in 1992. Nor did I know about Louis Armstrong’s refusal to represent the US in Russia because of what happened in Little Rock.
I look forward to reading what other names folks come up with…
As K-pop fans and Black organizers and artists are demonstrating, joyful, powerful movements draw more people in and reflect the kind of world we want to live in.
If soldiers train for armed combat, why wouldn’t activists train for toppling the political-economic structure that’s killing our chance for a just future? The stakes are just as high.
Uganda’s COVID-19 experience underscores the seemingly universal opportunism of authoritarians amidst crisis, as well as opportunities for resistance.