“Shouting at the Sky”—Thoughts on the Nature of Protest

December 7, 2017; Hyperallergic

The complex patterns of political dissidence woven by protest movements in 2016 look set to intensify in 2017. In addition to the well-known ongoing internationalized protests of Oromo, “(Rhodes and Fees) Must Fall,” “Bring Back Our Girls,” and “Black Lives Matter,” already in January 2017 there have been student protests in Nigeria and a mass women’s march scheduled for the inauguration of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump on January 20th, which itself will be boycotted by at least 50 Democrat representatives. This seems like an opportune time to “reconsider the aesthetics of protest,” in America as elsewhere. In a thoughtful December 2016 piece on the issue, Jeremy Bendik-Keymer suggests that the “overgeneralizations,” “insults,” random untargeted messages, and sky-shouting typically associated with many protests need to be reconsidered and thought through more carefully. There’s some wisdom here, especially with regard to those protests that seek primarily to change policy.

And Then There Were 197: The Bittersweet Triumph of #BringBackOurGirls

Media coverage made #BringBackOurGirls look like online activism that just happened to draw the attention of Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai. It does not take stock of the live force and global entity whose very existence defies public indifference to violence against women, growing state hostility, and mixed reactions toward women’s political activism.

So What If Ghana Did Ban Social Media on Election Day?

Is banning social media the only way to avert chaos in a charged political environment? Ghana’s police chief thinks so. If a government bans social media access on Election Day because it has security concerns, when else could online free speech be abridged?

Laying It Bare: Reflections on Africa’s Nude Feminist Protest Movement

Women in Africa are using nude protests to combat personal and institutional wrongs. An ancient form of resistance by women across Africa, strong and deeply rooted beliefs about the spiritual power of a woman’s nudity made such protests a dreaded last-resort tool in the past, but the slow pace of change for women now fuels its more frequent use.