How do activists apply humorous tactics in their work to address human rights issues?

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How do activists apply humorous tactics in their work to address human rights issues?
If you want to get attention, don't be boring.

One of my first mentors said to me, "If you want to get attention, don't be boring."

Shock, outrage, and humour can all be used to help grab attention tactically and avoid being boring. Yet I find myself consistently drawn to humour. Why? Because it doesn't require large groups (in fact being small in size may make the action even more fun). It's fun for the particpants and rarely leads to burn-out. It engenders lightness into often serious, downcast cultures of activism/resistance. People are less likely to stick in despair when they're laughing. And laughing at the expense of your opponent's ignorance, stupidity, or brutality helps strengthen resistance.

An article from a local reporter on a campaign I worked on shows how a few of those worked in practice. (It's worthwhile to note that reporter, Bruce Schimmel, was so moved by our creative actions that he agreed to be arrested with us in our civil disobedience action -- truly we were being attractive!).

 

I love Philly's anti-casino activists. For me, this battle casino royale pits pranksters against power brokers. And I think the pranksters are winning.... I see momentum building. And I especially love the cheeky prank that Jethro Heiko and Daniel Hunter recently pulled on City Hall (video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYNZsFk3ad8). A little Halloween trick or treat, they called it. For months the Gaming Control Board has ignored requests for casino traffic predictions, architectural drawings or even for minutes of their own meetings. So the anti-gambling folks decided to deliver a final request to Gaming Board chair Tad Decker in a very special way. On the video, you see Hunter at the Mayor's Office, explaining to a dazed-looking drone that he wanted to send his "ultimatum" to Decker from the mayor's own fax machine. In the next scene, a grinning Hunter emerges from the mayor's communications office with a fax receipt in hand. Their ultimatum was delivered to gaming chair Tad Decker — and also to Gov. Rendell, just for good measure. City Hall insiders say they've never seen such a stunt. Days later, on Nov. 6, the Philadelphia pranksters showed up in Harrisburg, wearing yellow miners' hats, claiming to be "data miners." The gag made a headline in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. It also attracted significant support. On Nov. 15, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that state Rep. Jake Wheatley wrote the Gaming Control Board after meeting with the Philadelphia group. "How can the public determine the impact in their neighborhood and community," the paper quotes the state rep, "if they are not seeing the constant changes being made to the plans?" It's a question that Philly's reps and senators should also be asking. Perhaps they would, if they read it in Philly's dailies. On Dec. 11, the pranksters will strike again. They're planning a nonviolent search of the board's offices in Harrisburg in full snooping regalia: wearing green eyeshades and carrying magnifying glasses.

Throughout the campaign humor helped us stay light in the face of aggressive, powerfully-connected politicians. I've written further about these and other examples in a book about direct action campaigning: Strategy and Soul. It's a narrative of that campaign, including ways we used humor (and other tactical values) from the civil rights movement, Otpor, and others.  It's just released and available for order at: www.createspace.com/4039183  

Search and Seizure tactic uses irony to get attention

Great example, Daniel! Thanks for sharing this. Philippe Duhammel wrote for New Tactics about his experiences working on a similar campaign in Ottawa. I want to share the story with you and the other conversation participants/readers.

The campaign was called Operation SalAMI, driven by the desire to reverse the dynamics of impoverishment and destruction caused by the sway which a small elite holds over the resources and the peoples of the world. One tactic they used was a citizen "Search and Seizure" to obtain and make public documents regarding their position and actions in the negotiation process of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA). When the government refused to make public the draft documents, hundreds of its citizens showed up at the Ottawa headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade holding “Search and Rescue Warrants” for the release of these draft documents. When the government responded by arresting one hundred citizens for requesting their right to information, the media and general public demanded to know what the government was trying to hide. Behind the success of the campaign was a strategy that included a number of common tactics, including petitions, letter writing, etc., but with the added twists of an unequivocal ultimatum, civil disobedience training on the premises of the Canadian parliament and the drama of the Search and Seizure Operation, a type of nonviolent direct action. Operation SalAMI’s dilemma demonstration tactic, as part of a broader nonviolent campaigning strategy, pressured the government to act according to its professed values and at the requests of its citizens.

Although this may not be seen as an example of funny humor, I think it's a great example of the strategic use of irony: the nature of this civil disobedience was skillfully and ironically modeled after the accepted state mode of getting information that is being illegally withheld or hidden: the “search and seizure operation.” This created yet another immediate dilemma in which the police would be forced to arrest people for doing the same thing the police would do if roles were reversed—an irony not lost on the media.

You can access and download this Dilemma Demonstration case study on our website in English and Russian.

I look forward to reading more examples of the strategic use of humor, irony, satire in human rights work!

- Kristin Antin - New Tactics Online Community Builder

Responding to hate with laughter

Here's a great example of a counter-rally. When white supremacists met in Charlotte, North Carolina opponents responded with clowning. With comments like 'We're dressed like clowns but you're the ones that look funny' and placards including 'I thought this was a clown convention' the rally made a strong point, lightly. 

More info about the action here.

Cambodian Gangnam Style: Dancing To End Evictions

This is a great example, Holly! Thanks for sharing. I love the juxtaposition - you have very serious white supremacists being confronted by light-hearted clowns! This reminded me of an event I just learned about for which the juxtaposition made a similar impact for observers.

From December 8th to December 17th, more than 42,000 Cambodians across the country celebrated "International Human Rights Day". Events were held to highlight land, labor, and human rights with the unifying slogan "We All Need Justice & Freedom!". The final event took place in Phnom Penh the morning of December 17th, when organizers & volunteers danced to a land-rights themed rendition of "Gangnam-style" in front of the National Assembly wearing t shirts which had been endorsed by over 11, 000 Cambodians. Participants also presented over 40,000 signatures calling for an end to evictions in Cambodia coordinated by Amnesty International volunteers living in France, Germany, New Zealand & South Korea.

They changed the lyrics to: Stop evicting us....we have land rights".

I thought it was powerful to see so many Cambodians in the street, dancing and laughing while surrounding them are armed police wanting the whole thing to stop. And talk about "not being boring" as Daniel reminds us above! :)

Check out the video!

It's great when you can be fighting for human rights and laughing at the same time, isn't it?

- Kristin Antin, New Tactics Online Community Builder

Flashmobs

Great video - I bet there was awesome energy in that crowd. Choreography is an excellent way to build the sense of unity at an action! 

Tapping into popular culture can be so effective for engaging an audience and drawing attention to an issue. 'Gangnam Style' has been such a huge internet memes, sparking hundreds of spin-offs and 'remixes' to tell different stories. One of my favourites is 'Mitt Romney Style' from the US election.

In these days of social media creating something that people will Like/Share/Retweet makes a big difference to how a message spreads. People are much more likely to share something that makes them laugh and that they think their friends will also appreciate. 

One of my favourite spins on a song is the 'Don't Get Caught in a Bad Hotel' flashmob in San Francisco, based on Lady Gaga's Bad Romance. The activists chose a great medium to deliver a message to the LGBT community. The campaign also has a funny title - Sleep With the Right People - that neatly connects the LGBT community with unions representing hotel workers. 

The Australian Services Union used flashmobs in their campaign for equal pay, using the 80s hit 'She Works Hard for the Money'. The union found that dancing was great for morale in a long campaign. The action also worked well at different scales - from 4 people dancing in a politician's office to large rallies. There's an overview of the campaign here

how to make trouble

Hi there, I don't have a lot of time to contribute to the discussion but I thought I would add some links to the mix.

A great book on Australian direct action hoaxes and trouble making from 1788-2009 is How To Make Trouble and Influence People http://howtomaketroubleandinfluencepeople.org/ which will have it's second edition published in 2013. 

One of my favourite hoaxes was the Dole Army coup. In 2002 a group claiming to be an underground network of welfare (dole) recipients hoodwinked two current affairs programs in to thinking they were an organised network of bludgers who lived in the drains under Melbourne. One who claimed "If it were not real it would almost be comical". The videos are priceless. This highlighted the media's bias and ways of portraying the unemployed to great effect and got fabulous national media. All the clips are here on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxVk5L_J-BQ and great news report http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/stories/s474408.htm

Some other classics:

Operation Dessert Storm - a call for internatoinal pie-rect action 

Yes Men stunts

Recent anti coal fake bank press release causing a stir in Australia http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/coal-hoax-fails-to-...

Humour has a cut through that straight facts don't always have, play is an incredible tool for change, hoaxes when well pulled off can gain huge press for issues.

 

Pranks & hoaxes

Thanks Alex, these are great examples. 

The 'Dole Army' example is a good reminder that sometimes campaigns want to target the media and embarass them, or show up prejudice and misreporting. 

Even when not directly targeting the media, there are opportunities in the lack of time and quality control in modern journalism. For example, journalists reported the Whitehaven hoax as bona fide because they relied on the contact number provided on the fake press release and didn't check with any other ANZ sources. 

Adrian Dodd talks about the opportunities for campaigners in the changing media cycle in his article The media game has changed. He talks about how there is more opportunity for campaigners to create their own media stories as time-poor journalists do less of the work of chasing stories. To make the most of this opportunity campaigns need to be ready with good visuals, case studies, and spokespeople. 

For more information on the Whitehaven action see I stand with Jonathan Moylan by Nicola Paris, and The Whitehaven Hoax: Ratbag act or legitimate protest? which looks at ethical considerations around hoaxes, including the Yes Men's Bhopal hoax. 

 

 

Bassem Yousef, Jon Stewart of the Middle East

Bassem Yousef, an Egyptian physician during the day, hosts a politicak satrical show El Bernameg on popular TV in Cairo, CBC. He started out vlogging from his own apartment via his Youtube Channel, which gained widespread ppolularity among young people in Egypt and the Middle East. His prominence made him sought after by different stations like ONTV,which hosted his show for a while before it was aquired by its current host CBC. Youssef was also interviewed about his show on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on June 21, 2012.

Episodes of his show and segments of them, are often linked to and circulated on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets, which is giving platform to a lot debates on the state of Egyptian society after the popular uprising that outsted former president Hosni Mubarak.

Mohammad Azraq- MENA Research and Online Outreach Officer at New Tactics for Human Rights

Examples of Culture Jamming from around the World

 

In a recent interview with Jadaliyya, Mamdouh Hmadeh, one of the most prominent Syrian screenwriters, talks about humor in dark times and discusses the challenges of comedy and satire as mediums, and the role they can play socially and politically. The interview is in Arabic, but it is a great resource to have and read.

On 10 Tactics Remixed - Exposing the Ridiculous, you can explore some of the key campaigns, debates, and politics that have emerged in relation to the use of humor as a tactic in recent years. There are examples of groups using puppets to take on politicians (Syria and South Africa), parodies like Noy Alooshe's remix of Gaddafi's speech as a dance tune, and spoofs, mash-ups and puns to tease the censors (BelarusTunisia and China). Each campaign page contains additional resources for further readings, including videos, links to articles and images to learn more.

Here are some more recent examples of culture jamming from the Arab region:

Web 2.0 has given rise to many Internet memes that sprang up in the heat of the moment and then died out. Some of them persisted. But this is telling of how the element of time and current affairs play a part in how humor is used.

Political cartoons and cartoonists have a history of running afoul with authority. Who doesn't remember the brutal assault on Ali Farzat by the pro-Assad militia? In this TED talk, political cartoonist Patrick Chappatte makes the case for the power of cartoons. In his talk, he addresses the role technologies like the Internet play in spreading messages, stirring up controversy that may or may not lead to violence, and putting people in harm's way.

Different circumstances call for different measures and approaches. I don't think humor can work as a "copy and paste" tactic. It's very important for people to know what they're up against and what resources they possess to take on authority. As other participants have explained, comedy is an artform. It may be easy in theory, but in practice it's very difficult. Karl Sharro, who's taking part in this conversation, talked about this in another discussion thread. Sharro, for example, has used satirical writings, spoofs, and adbusting to take on different issues (eg: sectarianism in Lebanon, Lebanese politics), different political figures (eg: Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, Hosni Mubarak) and renowned journalists (eg: Thomas Friedman, Mona Eltahawy). He's even remixed popular games, as a way of undermining the authority and power political figures have and threaten the people with, and reflecting on an absurd reality. Look at Dictator Tetris and Lebanese Politics: The Board Game. There's a reason these tactics work. 

What's also interesting in all the examples of using humor to expose the ridiculous is the role technology plays in that, particularly the Internet. Of course, there's work being done on the mainstream media, perhaps less and less so because of the scrutiny it faces - and sometimes the mainstream media is the problem. But there's also a lot more daring work being done on alternative media. Activists and groups are pushing the envelope on online platforms and with various tools that can be as simple as finger puppets. But this is not without risks and challenges, which is something to discuss in another thread.

Some people may think that humor falls short because it's not really effecting change in the sense that humor as a tactic didn't result in the passing or amendment of a law, for example. But sometimes we assign too much weight or responsibility on humor as a tactic. Humor is a powerful tool, but it has its limits. At the end of the day, the act of taking on power forms and figures is a political act, which shouldn't be taken lightly.

 

Humor creates space for action

Some people may think that humor falls short because it's not really effecting change in the sense that humor as a tactic didn't result in the passing or amendment of a law, for example. But sometimes we assign too much weight or responsibility on humor as a tactic. Humor is a powerful tool, but it has its limits. At the end of the day, the act of taking on power forms and figures is a political act, which shouldn't be taken lightly.

So true, Joelle. Interesting point. Humor may not be the thing that changes the harmful policy or persuades a corporation to do something differently. But it does create the space to give others the freedom and inspiration to act. Humor breaks down the paralyzing impact of fear and makes scary monsters more human. And as you point out, that should not be taken lightly.

I look forward to reading others' thoughts and responses on the power (and limits) of humor in human rights work.

Using humor to cut through the clutter of stigma

 

Health & Disability Advocates (HDA) worked with 30 states in the US to create a unified approach to employment and disability issues.  Facing a 70% unemployment rate, people with disabilities face discrimination and stigma.  HDA worked with a marketing agency, Wire [stone] LLC, to create an award winning media and marketing campaign that uses humor to change attitudes about hiring people with disabilities, raising awareness of the need for diversity in the workplace, and countering stereotypes about people with disabilities.  Think Beyond the Label uses print, digital, TV and social media to counter attitudes and myths about people with disabilities and demonstrate to businesses how to think beyond the “labels” we give people or groups that are different.  

Humor can disarm critics by cutting through the clutter or noise around issues that make people feel uncomfortable.  Think Beyond the Label uses humor to focus on the skills that people bring to the workplace, rather than any differences they may have in “ability”.  The campaign emphasizes that all workplaces accommodate difference—from the “copy-incapable” office worker to the “pattern-deficient” dresser to the man with “volume control syndrome” (i.e., the loud-talking employee).  The campaign acknowledges that workforce diversity is an asset to small, medium, and large companies.  I like to say that if companies want to hire someone who “thinks” outside of the box, why not hire someone who “lives” outside of the box.   To see more about TBTL go to www.thinkbeyondthelabel.com or http://www.youtube.com/thinkbeyondthelabel

It is now 2013 and our campaign is still running strong, however, TBTL does have critics in the disability community.   While we worked with disability opinion leaders in crafting the campaign’s message, there are still elements within the disability community that feel using the term “label” is not appropriate given the stigma associated with the term.   Using humor to tackle difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable subjects, requires courage and a strong belief in your approach.  HDA researched our message with our target audience (business) and we have the courage of our convictions to see it through.  The campaign helped fuel efforts to change the US Government's hiring incentives for federal contractors and has branched out to create a "jobs portal" for companies that want to target their jobs to workers with disabilities.  So eventhough we didn't start out focusing on people with disabilities, the campaign has evolved to include them and this has facilitated much more support in the disability community.    

The upshot: if you're going to use humor, make sure you do your homework and have the courage to see it through.

Using Humour Against Sectarianism

 

 

I thought I would share this parody that I did yesterday because it relates to our discussion here. I come from Lebanon where we're having a heated debate about our election law, which has been dominated by the issue of sectarian representation. Seats in the Lebanese parliament are allocated on a confessional basis, with each MP representing a particular denomination. Some feel that in mixed areas the majority can dictate the choice of MPs that are perceived not to be representative of their 'communities'. There is a draft election law now that proposes that each community elects its own MPs, so Catholics would vote for Catholic MPs only, etc. 

Those of us who feel that citizenship matters more than sectarian affiliation are opposed to this law. We're particularly opposed to the idea of sectarian representation because it represents a form of segregation. In fact, there's a lot of grassroots pressure to reform the political system and eliminate this form of sectarian representation. This draft law is a direct challenge to our efforts. 

A TV station controlled by one of the political parties that support the draft election law ran an inflammatory advertisement in favour of the law, that explicitly promoted the idea of 'proper sectarian representation'. What made it worse is the ad featured only Christians, each stated his or her denomination and said why they support that law. There was wide outrage among secularists in response. The tone of the ad was exclusionary and divisive. 

In response, I made a short parody of the law that took this idea of representation to its extreme. I used the same characters from the ad but changed what they were saying to highlight the sectarian aspects of the ad and its divisive nature. I also inserted images of cartoon characters and other famous people listing their denominations to highlight the absurdity of this form of rhetoric. I then manipulated the message to say ‘Sectarianism is a tradition, preserve it’.

The parody was received very well by many who felt it delivered the right response to the divisive ad. You can watch the original ad here and the parody that I did here. They are both in Arabic, but even if you don’t speak it you might get a sense of what it’s about from the description and the format. Given the short time it took me to the parody, I feel it was particularly effective in using humour to expose what mane Lebanese feel is outrageous sectarian manipulation. 

Russian satire

In researching this topic, I came across an Al Jazeera video entitled "The resurgence of Russian satire." The video recounts Russia's "rich history of political satire" manifested in several forms, but most notably the TV program Kukly, or "Dolls." The show used puppets to portray famous celebrities and government officials, but was censored by the Putin administration after releasing an episode that famously portrayed Vladimir Putin as a senseless infant. Although Putin's government then took control of mainstream public television, many Russian oppositioners responded by expressing their opinions and satire through other mediums.

Following the 2012 election that many believed was "rigged" by Putin's administration, Youtube and social medias erupted with various manifestations of political satire. The Youtube video "Putin's Race for Russian President" displays a cartoon-Putin "playing dirty" and cheating to win a track race. While the visuals are comical, the video nevertheless communicates the creator's opinion that Putin won the election injustly. Another video, "12 years of Putin in 2 minutes," models itself after a popular Youtube video in which a man takes a picture of himself every day for several years or so. "12 years of Putin in 2 minutes" shows snapshots of a cartoon-Putin sitting at his desk, hands clasped, apparently doing nothing, for almost the entirety of the video. Again -- the video is humorous, but direct and frustrating when viewers interpret its message.

Previous President and Prime Minister Medvedev has also been featured in satirical videos such as "Happy New Year! President Medvedev 2012 address" and "Captain Obvious." Now I can't read or understand Russian at all, but it is pretty clear the videos aim to poke fun at Medvedev and "expose the ridiculous."

Before watching this video and doing some research, I really didn't know much about Russian politics or its history of satire, so please excuse me if I've interpreted something incorrectly! Otherwise, I encourage watching the Al Jazeera video or looking into Russian satire in general -- it's entertaining, informative, and there are tons more videos and comics out there!

 

 

Katie Anastasi

New Tactics Intern

Macalester College

Associating Politicians with potholes to get them to work...

Thanks Katie for sharing this us, I am glad to see New Tactics interns engage with us in the discussion.

I want to share a brilliant tactic from russia as an example of effective use of humor...

Yekaterinburg, 4rth largest city in Russia, suffers from a severe roads qulaity problem. Local newssite URA.RU reported the many unfixed pits and potholes around the city. No politician seemed to take any genuine interest in the matter as all what they cared about was their public image. URA.RU developed a creative and humorous campaign of associating politcians' imamges with those potholes. They drew the faces of the governor, the mayor and the vice mayor around these potholes. Instead of fixing the holes, politicians initially sent public workers to just paint over the images around the holes, but URA.RU was there with hidden cameras, anticipating such action. The campaign went viral on the internet and became a social media sensation in Russia, which then pressured those politications to actually fix them.This is a great example of a humorous and very effective tactic that yielded immediate tangible results.

Here is a Youtube video explaining the tactic in details.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48WoNWYUy7g&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Mohammad M. Azraq

New Tactics MENA Research and Online Outreach Officer

 

Potholes & Targeting

I absolutely love this tactic. I've been telling people about it in the trainings I run in Australia on campaign strategy. People often struggle with the idea of targeting a particular decision-maker, as opposed to the 'government'. This story has been a good way to communicate why it is valuable to identify individuals and how targeting them publicly can result in action. I'm excited I can now show the video too. Thanks!

Irony as Protest

Last year, Libcom publised an article called: ‘‘A laughter that will bury you all’’: Irony as protest and language as struggle in the Italian 1977 movement. It is a paper by Patrick Cuninghame that reassesses the Italian "1977 movement" and its use of irony to ridicule the institutional old and vanguardist new lefts, particularly by the ‘‘Metropolitan Indians’’, the transversalists and other ‘‘creatives’’.

 

 

so much fun to be had

a very brief contribution... as Holly mentioned above there has been a great deal of interest generated after a recent hoax on climate investment in Australia - it has really served to open up a political space for discussion, and linking coal and climate change directly to the financiers and profiteers. I think that is a perfect recent example of using humour or innovative tactics to open up space for dialogue.

Australia has a rich history of hoaxes and political fun-time shenanigans - it seems to sit well with our so called 'larrakin' nature.

A group I worked with in Fremantle, Western Australia, used a lot of humour to get a message across about the *hilarious* subject of nuclear power and militarisation.  One of my favourites was a huge parking ticket we delivered to a warship moored in the harbour - thinking about some of the fun we had prompted me to write about it here.

The campaign I am currently supporting in Broome, Western Australia where the community is resisting a massive gas plant being built, has also had some great highlight moments - it is a small community, and one of the most remote towns in the world - an eclectic mix of tough bush people with a very cheeky approach sometimes.  Love this Halloween video and they use alot of funny social media images, that spread quite widely.  One of the groups I was involved in made this as a tribute to an action where a couple of grannies outwitted 200 riot cops sent to escort machinery through town...it is a meme that has been used a lot but fun nonetheless.

Some more fun stuff happened with our local Occupy Melbourne group with the 'tent monsters' video spreading across the world.

In short - I think humour is vital for us as activists, both to keep us sane, and to get our message across... to badly adapt another quote - i I can't have some fun with this armageddon thing, is not my revolution. Although it doesn't work in all situations, I think humour can be a way of taking our power back, absolutely highlighting the absurdity of the actions of our opponents, humanise our struggles and give us space to breathe in this crazy hectic world we find ourselves in, as people who care.

 

Let Them Have Capes!

For our Save Our Safety Net-DC (SOS) campaign to raise taxes on high-income earners we used the superhero metaphor to, as Daniel put it, not be boring. :] And to highlight actions tenants, single parents, even kids were taking to plug the holes in the safety net that the mayor was planning to make even bigger. There were serious issues at stake, but by doing social media promotion featuring campaign activists in colorful superhero masks (pictures of which I'm having trouble tracking down) we were also clear about not taking ourselves too seriously, and the invitation was clear: You can be a superhero too! 

For one of our actions we extended this invitation to City Council allies and fence-sitters. We held a "caping," as it came to be known in the media, and let it be known in advance (in backchannel and public messaging) that only councilmembers willing to speak in favor of tax increases would be getting capes. The Council chair at the time, Kwame Brown, was the biggest fence-sitter target, and the leadup to the action was a mini-campaign, #TakeTheCapeKwame that generated calls, tweets, Facebook posts to his office. (His chief of staff complained about "Facebook wall graffiti;" they were embarrassed by the whole thing, so it's no surprise he ended up coming out in favor of tax increases 3 months later.) 

One of the councilmembers, Marion Barry, even wore his cape during the closed-door, live-broadcast Council negotiating session the rest of the day! I don't know how many DC residents were at home chuckling at that on public access, like those of us on the planning team, but the attention definitely didn't hurt. At least two of those councilmembers were still displaying their capes as of six months ago (and have remained solid tax-increase supporters, so far). 

You can scroll to the bottom of this page for a writeup on the whole campaign. 

Using satirical memes to show reality under the occupation

Internet memes have lately become a popular form of using humor to expose and challenge institutional power. Some of these memes spread like wildfire on social media avenues like Facebook and Twitter.

An expatriate resident of the West Bank city of Ramallah, uses a tumblr blog Stuck in Palestine to shed light on Palestinian daily struggle under occupation through regular posts of satirical internet memes showing the absurdity of the restrictions imposed on Palestinian in the Territories.

Have you tried using memes to shed light on a specific human rights issue? Share with us!

Lebanese MP Imad Hout and Marital Rape

In December 2011, Beirut MP Imad Hout, a member of the subcommittee that is studying a draft law to protect women from family violence in Lebanon, granted an interview to The Daily Star about the contested bill, offering up this gem justifying the removal of the term “marital rape” from the bill: 

“There’s nothing called rape between a husband and a wife. It’s called forcing someone violently to have intercourse,” he told The Daily Star. In response to his outrageous comments, activists launched a Tumblr blog called Nothing Called Imad Hout. Some of the memes they came up with were: There's nothing called sex between a husband and a wife. It's called the insertion of the penis into the vagina. Preferably by force.— Imad Hout There's nothing called Satan. It's called Lebanese politicians.— Imad Hout Even though the subcommittee ended up devoiding the bill of its essense, the blog died out after a while. It hasn't been updated in over a year. It's obvious it was a temporary tactic. Campaigners supporting the bill resorted to other plans in their fight.  

The text format was off in

The text format was off in the previous reply. I'm hoping it's fixed here.

In December 2011, Beirut MP Imad Hout, a member of the subcommittee that is studying a draft law to protect women from family violence in Lebanon, granted an interview to The Daily Star about the contested bill, offering up this gem justifying the removal of the term “marital rape” from the bill: 

“There’s nothing called rape between a husband and a wife. It’s called forcing someone violently to have intercourse,” he told The Daily Star.

In response to his outrageous comments, activists launched a Tumblr blog called Nothing Called Imad Hout.

Some of the memes they came up with were:

"There's nothing called sex between a husband and a wife. It's called the insertion of the penis into the vagina. Preferably by force." - Imad Hout

"There's nothing called Satan. It's called Lebanese politicians." - Imad Hout

Even though the subcommittee ended up devoiding the bill of its essense, the blog died out after a while. It hasn't been updated in over a year. It's obvious it was a temporary tactic. Campaigners supporting the bill resorted to other plans in their fight.

Topic locked