June 20, 2013
The Huffington Post featured a wonderful article yesterday by Subhankar Banerjee. In it, Banerjee recounts his frustration with the government’s attempts to silence dissent. He argues that when left with nothing else, when voices are silenced, we can tell the truth with humor.
Banerjee cites his “Climate-Silence Paradox,” whereby the government fears civil unrest provoked by anthropogenic climate change, but rather than working to remedy climate change, it pools its efforts into hiding it. Dissent from activists is monitored and contained in order to continue raking in profits from environmental exploitation.
He says, “Increasingly, it is the government that has become a public contractor–for private corporations–to provide security, with public money–by tracking environmental activists” instead of the other way around. “It isn’t news to many of us, but it sure sends a chilling message: peaceful activism that disrupts business-as-usual will not be tolerated.”
Inspired by rebellious thinkers and artists like John Heartfield, Banerjee hopes that humor will be used increasingly to challenge such instances of abusive power. Humor is not only a tool to cope with with hard times, but also a strong tool for change.
Banerjee is the editor of Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point, which brings together first-person narratives from more than thirty prominent activists, writers, and researchers who address issues of climate change, resource war, and human rights with stunning urgency and groundbreaking research. Arctic Voices will be released in paperback on August 20, with a new introduction by Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and author of Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity.