Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Enemy’s Enemy Is My Ally

If you listen to any politically-minded individual or group in America, you might hear claims that X is the “right” way to maintain, repair, or eliminate the current system and that “they” (some identified other group) are taking the “wrong” approach or making the “wrong” arguments. These would-be benevolent dictators are anxious to micromanage movements and declare “my way or the highway” when someone else offers anything different. I’ve found this to be especially true when recommending alternative ways of reaching out to different races, religious persuasions, social classes, etc. when a particular movement has trouble appealing to those demographic subgroups. The response I invariably get is “We’re right, so they should adjust to us.” So I was thrilled after attending a screening of The Singing Revolution* (site, imdb) earlier this year.

The film begins with the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the paper that gave Poland to Hitler and the Baltic States to Stalin, and traces the multifaceted resistance movement in Estonia during Soviet occupation. There were organizations working within the Communist Party to improve conditions at the same time an illegal independent government was being formed by more outspoken political opponents. There were environmental groups who protested Soviet projects and cultural groups that raised awareness about Estonian heritage and Soviet oppression. The media (press, radio, and television) played roles as did literary groups, artists, and singing festivals. The elderly illegally registered to vote while the teens sported seditious haircuts. The end result of all this chaos was freedom from the USSR.

Although the message of the documentary seemed to be that culture and pride in one’s heritage can lead to victory, I saw an example for political activists everywhere. A disorganized revolution can be successful.

*Homeschooling parents may be interested in the DVD Extra’s interviews about school indoctrination.