The Chipko movement, where men and women from the villages of Uttarakhand hugged trees to prevent them from being cut down, and even India’s non-violent struggle for independence were two unique ways in which the country fought injustice. Across the world, such creative and eye-catching methods are often used today, both to grab attention of the neutral public, and to instil hope, positivity and inspiration in what can often be bleak times. Here are some such ways people fought back-
1. The Anti-VP Dance Party
Liberal movement in the USA faced a particularly hard drawback after the election of the right administration in power today, including Vice President Mike Pence, who is an open opponent of the LGBTQ people and movement in America. While his election sent dismay across the community, they mixed protest and fun – over 200 members of the community played music and danced with pride, flags and glitter at Pence’s house in Washington, D.C. The party was a testament that the community, marginalized for so long, would not give up the freedom and rights they had worked so hard to achieve.
2. Stop Skirting the Issue
As sexual assault continues to be one of the most devastating problem faced by India, many, especially those in political power, have often sought to shift responsibility by accusing women of ‘asking for it’ by dressing in provocative, Western clothes. In 2013, over 500 men from Bangalore responded to the absurd comments by donning skirts and coming out on the street, expressing anger over the comments while also challenging notions of hyper masculinity. A similar protest was undertaken by Turkish men in 2015 after a university student was raped and killed.
3. Bloody Brides
Law in Lebanon dating from the 1940s allowed rapists to be absolved of their crime and face no punishment if they married the survivors. In 2016, women took matters into their own hand, with numerous women dressing up as bloodied brides, forcing parliamentarians to act speedily to repeal the law. The protests worked as in August 2017, the law was finally abolished.
4. Shoe – Shamed
In what is considered the most one of the most iconic (in good way or bad) political protest, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw both of his shoes at President George W. Bush in quick succession during a conference held in Baghdad to protest against USA’s brutal war it had carried out against Iraq. Bush ducked and avoided both shoes, and al-Zaidi was subsequently jailed for three years, released early after nine months of incarceration because he had no criminal record. The Arab world hailed the journalist as a hero, and the rest of the world mocked the incident.
5. Dirty Business
Political corruption is dirty – and so are diapers. In 2016, Mexicans decided enough was enough, and shot nearly a thousand used diapers at the national offices of the corrupt ruling party PRI, to ‘give them back all the shit they’ve given the government and the country with their corruption and impunity.’ You may be on the fence about the materials used, but you cannot deny that the statement above is actually quite well represented by the protest.
There are countless other examples, from genital shaped hats to countless iconic posters, including crayon scribbled protests by toddlers too young to voice their concerns. While all of these may be amusing, and even fun to read about, it is important to remember that all of these were done to highlight some very important issues. If you appreciated their efforts, the best you can do is to help them by focusing on their issues, and lending your own voice if you can.
By Niharika Rawat