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The power of the powerless

The authors of Small Acts of Resistance—a great little book filled with stories of ordinary people taking bold, creative and often-times humorous action to defy injustice—recently published a piece in Yes! Magazine that boils their message down to “10 Everyday Acts of Resistance That Changed the World.” The list, much like the book, features some familiar stories that may be recognizable to longtime advocates of nonviolence—such as the Danish resistance movement during WWII—but mainly focuses on ones that have unfortuantely remained obscure, like the one about football fans in Uruguay, who during the military dictatorship mumbled the national anthem until it came to the line, “May tyrants tremble!”

Authors Steve Crawshaw and John Jackson introduce the piece as a reminder that victories “borne of small acts toward monumental change,” like the recent ones in Tunisia and Egypt, are not new. And perhaps, with the even more recent and sad turn toward violence in Libya, we should be ever more wary of innovative and inspiring ways to challenge violent regimes. The good news, as I learned from Jackson just the other day, is that the book is set to be reprinted in Arabic this summer. “Perhaps a bit late,” Jackson joked. But really, it’s never too late to spread these stories. They should be told as often as possible. So, if you haven’t read the book yet, be sure to at least check out the magazine piece.