Saturday, July 18, 2009

Loud and Clear

Emerging out of my office and on the way to home, I was trudging along an alley to the Metro stations, when I heard this clamour from a roadside. Intrigued, I followed the direction from I hear this boot of slogans emanating. Then I saw a line of people stretched out at a corner of the roadside. A middle aged woman blaring out through a megaphone "Free Press "and the group joined in " In Iran" ,albeit in a weak chorus. The slogans was not deafening but audible. What helped most for the group was some hand made posters and banners screaming out their grievances in the troubled region of Iran. Without those signs, it would be a simple crowd of people, staring and standing with a sense of direction.

It was not a large protest, and the people present appeared not as enthusiastic and passionate as they should be. Standing along in one single file at the corner of the road, some even have their hands in pocket, and give the impression of reluctance for what they are doing. I doubt such a gathering could send out their message loud and clear to the onlookers and those people who drives by . This is by no means the perception of a spectator.

What I was witnessing reminded me of similar Tibetan people's protest against China during key anniversary or the visit of Chinese dignitaries. Tibetan protest in Washington D.C or in other parts of the country for most of the time have a considerable turnout of people.
But the protest can be more effective and more powerful if organizers and people involved could ensure to implement few things. The purpose of any demonstration is to draw attention and get media publicity for Tibetan people's flight. For that to happen, the size of the event matters hugely, therefore the event organizer should have the wisdom of making best use of the people present. Wherever there is a crowd and there is a natural sense of curiosity. Even a small group of people can enhance its effectivensss by handouting Tibetan national flags, and banners to each and every protesters.

There need to be a unified slogans and simple strategy to serve the goal of the protest. For example, protesters should raise the banner that resonates the protest and , or wave the Tibetan national flag or anything that symbolizes the issues. Instead of punching their fist in the air, palanquins, banner and flags were more symbolic and it sends out a clear and loud message, besides adding to the grandeur of the protest.

Creative and meaningful slogans could capture the lens of camera man and the eyes of media person. During 2008 Tibetan uprising, Tibetan college students in China showed their solidarity by observing a candle light vigil and a popular hand scripted slogan "IN SOLIDARITY WITH TIBETAN PEOPLE" in Tibetan language. This few simple words put together says a lot for the purpose of the sit in.
in Switzerland, a family dedicated their time to draw a catchy and attractive caricatures in a big white screen. Capturing the essence of China's brutality in Tibet in an artistic way. Then there was the trade mark slogans by Students for Free Tibet that mimic the Chinese official Olympic slogans " One World One Dream, Free Tibet". And not to forget the shoe throwing spectacular of an Iraqi journalist against George Bush. These are few example of a creative and innovative ways of protest. As the adage goes "it is better to see ones than to hear a thousand times". With the passage of time, the achoes of voice will die out but the images of protest and slogans will linger.
Next time, when a protest to be staged, the concerned individual participants should rack their brains for a novel way of raising the issues to be seen conspicuously. Or if nothing is handy, then hold onto a snow lion flag and hoist it high. It is a symbol of Tibetan nation and Tibetan people and we should pay due respect to its significance by not wrapping around oneself, which I have seen Tibetan do during protest.