Musings on protests, revolution — Marian Fitz-Gibbon

Its 6pm a mother returns to an empty apartment with her hungry toddler on her hip. She slams the door. Like clockwork the neighbours hear the little child bellow forth. Ten minutes later someone else enters the apartment and the mother screams at the top of her voice, the child retorts with an even louder scream as verbal abuse is exchanged between the two adults. Should the police be called for the sake of helpless child, who speaks for the one who cannot speak?  One can only beg the question at what point does anyone listen to the desperate cries of the child and the anger of the mother. By the sound of it something has gone wrong.

I’m curious and wonder if this is a simplified version of how riots and protests begin? Hunger, anger, cause, and effect?

Riots, protests, and strikes serve to highlight fissures in society, express discontent and stimulate public debate. They aim to effect change in existing social and economic structures and policies. Their success depends much on the media.

From a global perspective there are currently protests and strikes in Greece, regarding the manner in which the train incident was handled. In Israel there is an uprising against the prime minister’s move to have the judicial system overhauled. Strikes to extend the age of retirement in France have been carried out. Some of these protests have been met with the strong arm of the law to ensue that greater violence does not result.

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South Africa is not new to strikes and protests. After all, we have been at it since the days of the apartheid regime. But when provocative slogans are used and are clearly racial it stirs up fears and reactions that we didn’t know we had. 

Let’s look how some of these expressions of discontent begin. Someone whispers against a political leader and a group of people believe it and they magnify it into vitriolic abuse, and this leads to strikes protest and possible revolution.

Albert Einstein said: “I’m not so smart, but I stay with the difficult questions longer.” With this in mind, don’t be intimated by what is written in the press but ask the question: what is behind what is written?

There’s been a reference to an “Arab Spring”. This is revolution talk and the only revolution that we as Christians will and should allow is that “Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert” — Isa 35.6  This is a wonderful Scripture and so counter to the other revolutionary slogan. It speaks of abundance in barrenness.

We have heard it said that what you believe becomes your reality. Now if we come into agreement on a godly truth with each other, then we can move mountains.

I propose we establish a set of principles, a creed, or manifesto to live by. Create songs, dance to them, teach your children the way, build structures to remind yourself, surround yourself with colours, eat food that speaks of your beliefs, write stories, make garments and trade well. As you do, walk in love with all men, lift your head up high, love the Lord with all your heart and take what you do from where you are to every nation.

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