Samain Moon of the Winter Solstice
Protesters as Person of the Year. Tyranny comes at a price, at first often with an invisible price. Who can see thwarted dreams, diminished freedom? An early reaction to tyranny may be to turn anger toward oneself, increasing domestic violence, suicide, anxiety, depression.
If tyranny has an effective enforcement arm, then the early reactions can change to despair and, worst of all, resignation. Eastern bloc countries under Soviet rule. Native Americans on reservations around the turn of the last century. Nanking under the Japanese.
Even despair, though, masks, does not eliminate, the human desire for liberty. Any tiny crack in the casing of despair or fear can bring outsized responses. Just ask Qaddafi, Mubarak, Assad, Wall Street.
Protest speaks the language of despair, gives visibility to the invisible. Protest changes our perceptual range so we can see into the infrared end of the political spectrum, the place where the oppressor’s hand lies heavy but hidden.
Some Occupy Wall Street folks say their time in the occupying camps are the highlight of their lives. Of course. Whenever we stand up, say enough, our lives themselves become visible, tangible, even to ourselves.