28 October 2015

Dear Rebel, little things do matter

Pic from a great blog: www.srilanka.for81days.com
This was meant to be the fifty second and final submission of a series titled 'Notes for a Rebel' for the FREE Section of 'The Nation'.  Publication of 'The Nation' was suspended after this article was submitted and after the relevant section was printed.  Scroll down for the other articles in this series on rebels and rebellion. 

Think of a roundabout.  Think of roundabouts without traffic lights and/or traffic policemen.  Imagine a stream of vehicles moving in one direction.  If it’s rush hour you must wonder how those vehicles on the left of that stream of traffic could even move.  But they do, don’t they?

They don’t cut through.  What happens, usually, is that an innovative and brave ‘small player’ makes use of the tiniest opportunity to cut through.  It’s usually a motorcyclist or a three-wheel driver that does it.  Inch by inch.  One that ‘small player’ moves a certain distance immediately an open lane is created on his/her left. 

It happens in other situations too.  Sometimes it takes just one brave person (call him/her ‘stupid’ if you like) to ask the ‘wrong question’ or do the ‘wrong thing’ and immediately others can follow. 

You see it all the time in buses for example.  There are men who harass women.  People pretend not to see or think ‘it’s not my business’.  However, is one person says ‘Hey! Stop that!’ immediately there’s a chorus of backers. 

It happens at seminars when the powerful try to sell a load of rubbish saying it’s ‘science’ for instance.  It happens when the powerful talk nonsense.  You get one person of integrity who is also articulate and knowledgeable who is ready to challenge the speaker and that’s it, others join the party. 

It happens in newspapers.  There are always ‘untouchables’.  Big name corporate entities, for example.  They do wrong but people pretend not to see because reporting such wrongdoing might result in losing advertising revenue.  However, if one person says ‘Hey, you are out of order buddy’ then other sections of the media can take up the cry.  They always have the following excuse: ‘Well, we didn’t break the story, someone else did; but now it’s all over and we would look silly if we say nothing about it – please understand’. 

Sometimes the ‘small player’ might not be part of your group.  He/she might even be someone you disagree with vehemently.  However even such a person or group can create lanes that you can later use to get your forces through what might have once appeared to be a formidable barricade. 

And the ‘small thing’ need not be a person.  It could even be an act.  A gesture.  Something as simple as a smile.  Sometimes it is all about winning a few critical square inches of territory – literally or metaphorically.

Other articles in this series
Combine the energies!
The sun will never set
When the enemy expands consider inflation
When you are the last one standing
Targets visible and targets unidentified
When you have to vote
So when are you planning to graduate?
The belly of the beast is addictive
When you meet pomposity, flip the script
When did you last speak with an old man?
Dear Rebel, please keep it short
Get ready for those setbacks
The rebel must calculate or perish
Are you ready to deceive?
Dear Rebel, 'P' is also for 'Proportion' 
Dear Rebel, have you got the e-factor out of the way?
Have you carefully considered the f-word?
It is so easy to name the enemy, right?
The p-word cuts both ways
Cards get reflected in eyes, did you know?
It's all about timing 
Heroes and heroism are great, but...
Recruiting for a rebellion
The R, L and H of 'Rebellion'
Pack in 'Humor' when you gather rebellion-essentials
When the enemy is your best friend
The MSM Principle of Engagement
Dear Rebel, get some creature-tips!
Dear Rebel, get through your universities first
Read the enemies' Bibles
Poetry, love and revolution
Are you ready to shut down your petrol shed
The details, the details!
Know your comrades
Good to meditate on impermanence.
Time is long, really long
Learn from the termites 
Be warned: the first victory is also the first defeat
Prediction is asking for trouble
Visualize, strategize and innovate
How important is authority?
Don't forget to say 'Hello!'
It's not over until you clean up!
Have you met 'PB' of Alutwela?
Are you sure about those selfies?
Power and principles
'Few does not mean 'weak'