Who Is A Dissident?


 

The current political climate in the U.S., as well as many other countries throughout the world, has had the gringa interested in what exactly is a political dissident. Considering how some of the gringa’s ideologies, beliefs and personal life missions are diametrically opposed to all things Trump, as well as the gringa’s big, fat mouth, is it plausible to think that the gringa is a dissident? What happens to dissidents? Will I end up in a Trumpian gulag? Well, the gringa is not a fortune-teller. So, lacking the skill to predict the future, the next best thing is to form a conclusion based on what has happened in the past. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane of dissident history:


Definition of a dissident: A person who opposes official policy, especially if within an authoritarian state.


Yep, sounds like the gringa is a dissident. And who are my most illustrious partners in crime?


Ancient Dissidents: Apparently, dissidents are nothing new under the sun for the civilized world. Ancient world history is rife with famous dissidents. For these well-known names, no explanation is necessary for the work they did to turn the world upside down and inside out.

  • Jesus 
  • Socrates
  • Buddha
  • Confucious
  • Leonardo da Vinci

Modern Era Dissidents: Regardless of where you live on this magnificent planet we all call home, you probably have a native-born dissident that will make you proud.

  • Argentina: Jacobo Timerman, although born in Soviet era Russia, was actually an Argentinian of Jewish descent. As an author, journalist and publisher he was a thorn in the side of the regime in Argentina of the 1970s responsible for what is known as the Dirty War. He was arrested, tossed in the clink and tortured by the government of Argentina who didn’t appreciate Timerman exposing their dirty, little secrets. 

  • Azerbaijan: Elnur Majidli is an Internet activist promoting the principals of democracy. He blogs and organizes from self-imposed exile in France. Considering that his native government has accused him of attempting a violent overthrow of the powers that be during the Arab Spring of 2011, seems he won’t be going home anytime soon. Although criminal charges against him were dropped in the summer of 2011, the gringa thinks he should play it safe and remain in France!
  • Bulgaria: The 70s were turbulent times in many places. In Bulgaria, communism held sway with a regime known for its oppression and brutality. So brutal, in fact, that writer Georgi Ivanov Markov was assassinated by one of the favorite methods of Communist Eastern Europe despots, poison. Markov was an active journalist known for outspoken diatribes against Bulgaria’s communist regime. Defecting to the UK would not protect him from Bulgaria’s retribution. An assassin fired a micro-sized pellet of ricin into his leg from an umbrella as they both strolled down London’s streets.
  • South Africa: The gringa feels no need to elaborate on this nation’s most famous dissident, Nelson Mandela. Although he eventually liberated his country, it came at the cost of decades of imprisonment and years of torture and deprivation.

The gringa watches as what can only become terrible history for her nation unfold around her. Certainly she joins the ranks of dissidents. There is no doubt that authoritarianism is an apt descriptor for the current administration. Should resistance prove unsuccessful at changing the mad course embarked upon by the US government, the slide into brutal oppression will most likely be rapid. 


For those who remain outspoken and open about their resistance, there may be prisons especially erected, just for us. Guards will probably be trained in unique methods of enforcement and information extraction, just for us. New rules will be created to manage those who remain on the outside, special social governance, just for us. Although the US has historically divided the population into groups of “others” defined by gender, sexual preferences, ethnicity and religion, those divisional lines will become blurred as a new citizen class is created, just for us. So, if the gringa suddenly disappears, check out the new dissident prisons I expect will be springing up. Maybe you can get on the visitor’s list!

Sources:  The New York Times

PBS

Image Credit: Art Of The State

Video Credits: NoteworthyNews’ Channel

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The Power of a Few


Often, when the subject of climate change is discussed, people begin to feel highly motivated to take action. However, it is easy to get discouraged when it is soon realized that the change that is necessary to save our planet meets with heavy resistance from large and powerful corporations who are more concerned with profit margins than securing a viable home for future generations. After all, most of these high-salaried executives, board members and executives will be long dead by the time humankind is suffering the worst devastation of climate change. But the gringa says, “Don’t give up. You’re voice does matter.”

Much like how a drop of water slowly becomes, over time, a stalactite or stalagmite, or a river can, over eons, cut a gorge as impressive as the Grand Canyon,  community action, even if it’s only a handful of people, can also build something lasting and impressive. By keeping continued pressure upon the neck of a company, by consistently bringing your cause to their attention, by employing multiple calls to action such as petitions that accumulate the voices of all concerned citizens in the local community, a small collection of individuals who are persistent can either:

  • A. Wear down the opposition in a war of attrition; or
  • B. Eventually create so much local awareness that a company realizes it is in the company’s best interest to respond to their demands if they want to continue to enjoy profiting from the local community’s patronage; or
  • C. The best outcome, the company comes around to the same perspective, seeing the value not in the almighty dollar alone, but actually sees real value in the issue.

A perfect example of this can be seen in the videos below featuring a small group of young people representing the cause “Value the Meal” which is pushing for accountability by community leaders in their local pediatric medical community. Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas specializes in the healthcare of our most vulnerable population, our children. In this place of health and healing is a McDonald’s restaurant which aggressively markets their brand of food which is famous for its low nutrition value.

Linked to chronic health conditions like diabetes and obesity, it is hard to understand why physicians, who are endowed with public trust with regard to health, would be so irresponsible as to seemingly advocate for this kind of food, especially for children who are in recovery and even more vulnerable to a diet that woefully lacks anything that can contribute to strengthening them and improving their healing abilities.

Value the Meal rally at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

“Community health over corporate wealth”. Children’s hospitals shouldn’t have junk food brands like McDonald’s with contracted space in their facilities of health and healing.

No McDonald’s junk food poisoning recovering children patients at Texas Children’s Hospital.

They may not seem very powerful with numbers so small. But that is not where there power lies. There power lies in the “rightness” of their position, the persistence of their action, and the growing community support responding  as they continue to witness this same small group of committed activists maintain a voice and presence on one particular issue.

In your own community, whatever your noble cause, gather together whomever you can trust to remain committed and loyal, even if your numbers happen to be small. Because even one drop of water is powerful and you are much greater than a single drop of water.