Friday, February 18, 2011

The Egyptian Revolution and G

Extracts from John Berger's G. I re-read the book because of this very passage that I remembered in the wake of recent events.

They do not know exactly how many they are; but all of them sense that they represent the majority. This majority can claim what each has felt but cannot say when alone: Look at this head, this body -- ill-taught, badly-fed, poorly-dressed, overworked. It deserves the best the world is able to offer.

...It is they who have built the city and they who maintain it. They have discovered their creativity. In their regular lives they only modify presented circumstances; here, filling the streets and sweeping all before them they oppose their very existence to circumstances. They are rejecting all that they habitually, and despite themselves, inhabit. Once together they demand together what none can ask alone: Why should I be compelled to sell my life bit by bit so as  not to die?

Every ruling minority needs to numb and, if possible, to kill the time-sense of those whom it exploits by proposing a continuous present. This is the authoritarian secret of all methods of imprisonment.

The first volley simplifies, its echo kills all distraction. Nothing remains but what is in hand.

And my favorite:

The barricades are between the defenders and the violence done to them throughout their lives. There is nothing to regret because it is the quintessence of their past which is now advancing against them. On their side of the barricades it is already the future. 


Tangled up in blue... said...

Two weeks ago, when friends were quoting from V for Vendetta, saying stuff like 'People shud not be afraid of their governments, governments shud be afraid of the people.' I was wondering why anyone shud claim that a state of constant fear on any side is a desirable one. This passage helps me understand better. For that, thank you. :)

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