Wednesday, November 17, 2004

In honor of World Peace Day: Arundhati Roy Speech

Here is Arundhati Roy's Sydney Peace prize speech.


For those who are materially well-off, but morally uncomfortable, the first question you must ask yourself is do you really want to climb out of it? How far are you prepared to go? Has the crevasse become too comfortable?

If you really want to climb out, there's good news and bad news.

The good news is that the advance party began the climb some time ago. They're already half way up. Thousands of activists across the world have been hard at work preparing footholds and securing the ropes to make it easier for the rest of us. There isn't only one path up. There are hundreds of ways of doing it. There are hundreds of battles being fought around the world that need your skills, your minds, your resources. No battle is irrelevant. No victory is too small.

The bad news is that colorful demonstrations, weekend marches and annual trips to the World Social Forum are not enough. There have to be targeted acts of real civil disobedience with real consequences. Maybe we can't flip a switch and conjure up a revolution. But there are several things we could do. For example, you could make a list of those corporations who have profited from the invasion of Iraq and have offices here in Australia. You could name them, boycott them, occupy their offices and force them out of business. If it can happen in Bolivia, it can happen in India. It can happen in Australia. Why not?

That's only a small suggestion. But remember that if the struggle were to resort to violence, it will lose vision, beauty and imagination. Most dangerous of all, it will marginalize and eventually victimize women. And a political struggle that does not have women at the heart of it, above it, below it, and within it is no struggle at all.

The point is that the battle must be joined. As the wonderful American historian Howard Zinn put it: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train.


At 12:09 AM, Blogger Carolyn said...

Thanks for linking the page to Roy's speech. Roy is such a beautiful writer, and she lays it all out there. Michael Moore step aside, Roy makes the same case, but way more convincing. The section quoted on the blog brings up some excellent points. Are American's ready to crawl out of the comfort of their middle-class existences and rise up? Or are we too happy with our McMansions and BMWs to put an end to the injustices here, in Iraq, and elsewhere? Roy talks about civil disobedience, and I wonder if American's are willing to go there for change. Am I willing to go there for change? Roy challenges us all. If I was still teaching 100, my students would definitely be getting a copy of this!


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