Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Weekly Sneak: An Illosophy of Protest

I am in Grahamstown, South Africa. It is such a unique place. So many characteristics that I find particular to South Africa seem concentrated here. A University town and South African to boot, it is very 'diverse'. The friction of the mixture is like a scent in the air.  A slightly buttoned up malaise mixed with friendliness, as opposed to the brusqueness one might experience in Johannesburg. 

And the students are protesting as part of the fees must fall (trademarked yet?) movement. I was kind of hoping that the entire town would be gripped with tension but nope: it is perfectly calm as things go on as usual. The most drama so far was listening to some protesters chanting a couple of nights ago. Anyways, it felt like a nice opportunity to do some stream of consciousness writing. Blame it on being in a University environment, where the world loosens it's grip a little bit on absolute certainty:
"...I am now watching students chase other students out of classrooms and libraries and dining halls. Staff are hastily closing shops and eateries, the journalists documenting all this are clearly doing so by surfing the crest of the protest wave so they can record the dismay and harried faces of the people being swept out of the way of this movement. Irritation is certainly competing with the envy I feel for these South African youth. The culture of protest is deeply a part of the political dynamic of this country I am visiting and has been used to great effect. There's always a dark side, though isn't there? 
...The saying is that the only constant is change. The question is what amount of agency we have over this change when we try to engage in it. Where do movements move to? I don't know and perhaps it does not matter. Perhaps our duty is simply to move at all. I am back to envying the South African students, and wondering whether I should hope for the same dynamism back in my own polity." 

I think I am still a bit sore about UKUTA... and didn't even know until I started writing. Not because I am a member of the opposition but because I believe that opposition as a principle is the yin to the yang of stability- and where the two grapple we get dynamism. Not answers, not perfection, but movement itself. 

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