HAVANA TIMES, Dec 23 — Time Magazine just selected the person of the year: “The Protester.”
BBC Mundo (in Spanish) translated it with a somewhat restrictive word: “Demonstrator.” A “protester” is more than that, but Spanish only has the synonym “Protestant,” which doesn’t work due to its religious connotations.
The magazine’s cover is a drawing of an Arab woman, since the 2011 mass protests began in the Maghreb countries, later taking the name “the Arab spring.”
In greater of lesser detail, everyone probably knows what happened next.
Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria … Greece, Italy, Spain, France…Chile…the US, Canada, Britain, Australia… Russia, South Ossetia… Wikileaks, Anonymous (the group), “15-O” (the October 15, 2011 global protests…
These movements are highly diverse. My brother went to protest against electoral fraud in Moscow. And through the Critical Observatory network here in Cuba, we have maintained contacts with comrades of the indignant movement in Spain and Greece, Chilean students and people from Occupy Wall Street. We have made statements in solidarity with the Arab actions and have spoken out against Western aggression in the area.
We also held a social forum this spring here in Cuba.
There is much more to write about concerning all of this, but I am particularly pleased now about two particular aspects of all of this.
One is the tremendous diversity of the protest movements, based on real local problems; as well as the direct and immediate links in a network that covers the planet – something that I don’t think existed in 1968, 1989 or in the aftermath of 1999 (when the “Seattle folks” began what is now called “alter-globalism”).
Diversity is strength but vulnerability at the same time.
The other aspect that impresses me is that for the first time revolutionaries can say with certainty: the sun never sets on our lands.
Scattered bits of the globe are now occupied by people who are taking them in the name of freedom, solidarity and democracy to begin rebuilding a credible future. These patches of earth now form a sort of diffuse republic.
The geographical dispersion of this republic — from north to south, from west to east, from culture to culture, from heart to heart and from mind to mind — is such that, territorially speaking, the sun always shines on some part of it.
“The sun never sets on our lands.” This phrase, inherited from colonial empires, is now legitimately assumed by protesters. The sun is shining and an earthquake is generating seismic waves that are shaking the foundations of those old empires.