Ten days ago on Avenida Paulista, Sao Paulo’s Wall Street equivalent, I was given a handmade leaflet by a very old man, who’s trusting and broad smile had gained my curiosity. After reaching out my hand to receive his propaganda, I looked down at what was written -and baffled by what was there, I was quickly swept up by the numerous men in suits and women in skirts all rushing to their desks, board meetings and conference calls. I deposited the scrap of paper in the next available trash bin. Today I understand what the words now mean- their significance and most importantly their potential power.
Each leaflet he was handing out was hand written. It was written on scraps of newspaper, recycled envelopes, the back covers of magazines and even on cut up cardboard boxes. He was in the same spot yesterday, doing the same exact thing and I would guess he will be there today and no doubt tomorrow. His leaflets have just three lines of hand-written text, which read:
The text describes a time, a date and a place. The rest is left up to you.
What started in Wall Street, now over 25 days ago, has not only spread its message nationwide, but has directly instigated a global call to solidarity and to peaceful protest. Ask any protester in Zuccotti Park what it is they are protesting against (or for!) and out of the thousands there today, you will likely not receive the same answer more than a handful of times.
This must be because they are deluded, bored and arrogant and have nothing better to do with their time but cause trouble for the fine establishment, right?! Wrong.
This is because a movement is building that does not only recognize greater democracy as the most important issue of our times, nor does it push all it’s weight on a fairer global economy or on food security free from chemicals and genetic manipulation. Instead the movement spreading across the globe is incorporating all the issues above, as well as countless more.
Surely that creates ambiguity, confusion and weakens the foundation of a movement?
For sure not. The answer to such a question is present with the people on the streets, the activists on line and the many more yet to take a stand- such commitment is written on their smiles, inhabited in their eyes and living in their hearts .
It is the example of Roy McGeady- the 75 year old man who has been sleeping under a tarp in Zuccotti for the last 11 nights.
That leaflet I was handed on Avenida Paulista at the beginning of this month, describes the day Brazil hears the call. It is a day where all over the globe what we have been witnessing in Wall Street grows to our local communities and you should be there. Our children and Grandchildren are not simply statistics that we can be indifferent towards.
Whatever issue inhabits your heart, it is time to speak it. Whatever exterior force restricts your freedom, it is time to meet it. For a movement is only as strong as the commitment that lies in each of it’s participants and when they join with each other, when global movements mold into one, it can become unbreakable and moreover, can succeed.
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for”. I believe in a better future, because a better future believes in us.