DAY 10: PROTEST, DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL CHANGE

By Annelie de Man from South Africa

August 6, 2015

Stiff and sore, the summer school participants and teachers spent the morning of day 10 recuperating after our hiking excursion. Most were also focused on preparing for the last lectures, whilst spending some time at the pool or stocking up on necessities at the nearby markets.

The focus of the afternoon’s lecture, presented by Prof Ram Kakarala, was on the issue of democracy and dissent after the pluralism challenge emerged during the late 20th century. Looking back, participants were shown pictures of various protests and social movements throughout history. These included images of uprisings, revolutions as well as protests on behalf of LGBTI rights and gender equality. The role of gender in these movements were hotly debated with an example given from Indonesia were women’s products were used to ‘feminise’ the opposition.

The discussion then turned to the link between the native American massacre, the Salem witch trials, colonisation, the holocaust and the more recent contemporary developmental philosophy. Looking at these periods in history, the participants were left with the question of whether our current ideas of civilisation and modernisation and the justifications we propose for actions in pursuit of these goals will still be viewed as acceptable decades from now.

The day ended with a showing of the controversial Hindi film, Haider. The movie is based on adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet set amidst the India-Pakistan Kashmir conflicts of 1995. The film focused on the forced disappearances and repressive tactics used by the Indian military at that time.

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Annelie de Man currently works as the coordinator of the Human Rights Desk of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State (UFS) located in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She is also working towards her PhD on the relationship between human rights and development.  Email:anneliedm@gmail.com