Places & forms of power

Que ce soit pour les LV1 ou LV2, les notions sont au nombre de 4
et peuvent être traitées sous des angles différents. Un même
document pourra illustrer 2 voire 3 notions.

1./ Espaces et échanges - spaces & exchanges
2./ Mythes et héros – myths & heroes
3./ Lieux et formes du pouvoir - places & forms of power
4./ L’idée de progrès - the idea of progress

Places and forms of power

Since the beginning of mankind, people have been confronted with injustice and power abuse.
That is why protest was born.
The more people are aware of an injustice, the more likely they are to fight it.
What forms can protest take? What is its impact? What are the consequences for those who protest?

I.   Protesting can be realized in different ways :

A./ The most classic form of protest : demonstration.

The XXth and XXIst centuries (to mention a few) have witnessed countless demonstrations to defend myriad causes.
For example :
-Black people in America wanted to get the same rights as white people (in 1963 200,000 people marched in Washington DC for the 100th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, to remind the American government still hadn’t the right to vote).
This year in class we studied a funny cartoon and two documents on Apartheid in South Africa, then we listened to Nelson Mandela’s 1994 famous speech on peace, democracy and freedom.
Even in the XXI st century demonstration is a current means of expressing one’s opinion: for or against abortion or more recently for or against gay marriage.

B./ The media (can be used as): vehicles of protest. 

Many politicians have expressed, during their campaigns, their opinion as regards racism, apartheid, politics, hopes etc… 

Indeed, TV, radios, newspapers, magazines are powerful means of information because they exert an influence on citizens. 

-In class we studied SOUTH AFRICA’S problems; for instance one of Mandela’s speeches called “Let’s go to South Africa” in which he mentions his fights. I quote his words: “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. (…)  

-Then with our teacher we discussed about India.

Unfortunately the freedom of the press does not prevail everywhere.

II.  The impact on people is generally important 

A./ Protest enables to highlight the issues of society

Awareness campaigns help people to understand the ins an d outs of a problem.  
Apartheid has always been a controversial issue in South African politics. Since 1994, the debate regarding the separation between the whites and the Indians or the Blacks has been characterized by several changes: nowadays the white culture is not anymore regarded as the only reference. Post-Apartheid South Africa is now respected across the world, South African Constitution has proved to be a success. Yet, the country still faces economic inequalities. The South African government has 
had to face violent crimes.

Other examples one could mention: - Amnesty International which fights for human rights. They demand the abolition of 
torture. Or the different religious congregations (Catholics, Jews, Muslims to mention a few) which are against the gay marriage throughout the world etc…

B./ Thanks to struggle, society has been able to change :

- Ethnic minorities and women in lots of countries are seen less and less as second class citizens. 
- The Suffragettes movement in Great Britain helped women to get the right to vote. 

- Since 1994, South Africa or “the rainbow nation” has changed: indeed, political efforts have been made thanks to famous activists and politicians: to mention one of them Desmond Tutu who helped to heal the country by giving a second chance to those who perpetrated horror/violence.

However, fighting for what seems to be right is not without consequences. 

III./ Finally, commitment may lead to certain consequences

A./ In some countries it is almost impossible to express one’s opinion :

Unfortunately the freedom of speech is not universal

Ex. in Burma : Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Prize, spent 15 years under house arrest (she was not allowed to leave her house) because she opposed the Burmese dictatorship...

B./ Committed people fear for their live too :

Ex. Mahatma Gandhi who was murdered by an Indian after he peacefully led his country to independence.

Conclusion :

Commitment may sometimes be a lost cause but there will always be hope as long as people decides to stand up against injustice.

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