I bought this pamphlet over a decade ago, in the gift shop at the Mémorial de Caen. I’d heard that it had influenced the Occupy protests, and even though I wasn’t sure I liked the Occupy protests (in 2012, I was a right-leaning centrist who would eventually vote Romney), I figured I ought to better understand them. I wasn’t sure I liked this pamphlet either when I first read it, but it’s been a while and my political views have marched leftward, so it was time for a rereading. I still feel resistant to it in ways; it feels naïve and contrarian at points, and I’m not gifted in the art of protest. Yet, if it is overly optimistic in some ways (imho, the Arab Spring did not turn out as well as the pamphlet seems to think it would), the need for protest and indignation has only grown. Those aren’t natural approaches to me, but I appreciate Hessel’s call to action—and his historical memory of the French Resistance, which ought to remind us that there are real dangers in the world worth standing against.
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