I thought that this book was quite a fitting book to mention in view of what is happening currently in Hong Kong – with the people protesting changes to Hong Kong laws allowing extradition of citizens to mainland China to face charges against the State.
This little book is full of examples…..around 80 or so very short stories, many of which I knew nothing about, where individuals or groups of citizens have stood up against corrupt government officials and changed the way that their countries legislate. With a forward written by Vaclav Havel – a Czech poet who was banned from publication in Czechoslovakia under the communist state – who helped start the Velvet Revolution which saw the communist regime overthrown in a short and bloodless revolt and Havel elected as President.
It’s a book that shows that ordinary people can make a difference. How the power of the human spirit can defeat and depose dictators by acts of resistance, defiance or even acts of witty disobedience, sometimes in the most dangerous of circumstances.
It’s not only about over throwing governments though, its also about making large corporations rethink their strategy…..to do the right thing….and if they don’t do the right thing, to embarrass the hell out of them.
Some of the hero’s who stood up and were counted in the face of overwhelming odds were murdered for their beliefs….but others then stood in their place. And then there are the whistle blowers – those who defied their own governments to get the truth out – to their own citizens who are being kept in the dark about government corruption – and out to the worlds press. Many got prison time, or worse for their efforts. BUT most of the stories in this book have happier endings. And throughout the book are numerous little quotes that inspire. They tell the story about events that start with a whisper and end with a mighty roar as people power comes of age.
I’ll end with a few of these quotes…..
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” – Martin Luther King Jnr.
“General, your tank is a powerful vehicle. It crashes down forests and crushes a hundred men. But it has one defect: it needs a driver.” – Bertolt Brecht
“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” – Elvis Presley
“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert Kennedy, speaking in South Africa in 1966
Goodread’s gives it a very healthy 4.08 out of 5. It’s a very easy book to read. The length of the stories makes it a handy book to dip in and out of when you have a few minutes to spare.