« Créer, c’est résister. Résister, c’est créer. »
To create is to resist. To resist is to create.
Stéphane Hessel (1917 – 2013)
” Stéphane Hessel was one of the authors of the 1948 UN Human Rights Declaration. Six decades later, his booklet was another global appeal to individual human beings, but this time on a more personal and subjective level, through one of our most distinguished and noble sentiments: indignation. Throughout his life and writings, Stéphane Hessel has, however, appealed to indignation not only as a feeling, but as a driver for action. This is why many connected him to recent protest movements all over the world. These movements were grounded not only in the assertion of individual human beings’ indignation but also of their will to become actors in their own lives. Like most of Alter-Globalization youth in the early 2000s, the movements that surged in 2011 draw on highly individualized, personal commitments. They have no leaders, no heroes and no manifestos. Boosted by the 2011 Arab Uprisings, the indignados in Madrid, Athens, New York and Cairo point to the structural limitations of representative democracy and develop prefigurative activism and local alternatives, implementing a more direct and participatory democracy in their assemblies, neighborhoods and local economies. They haven’t remained at the stage of indignation but moved on to experiment with alternative paths that could lead to a better world. And this is probably why they resonate so closely with Stéphane Hessel’s life testimony and with his appeal to indignation and action”.
Geoffrey Pleyers, a sociologist at the University of Louvain and at the EHESS-PAris, is the author of “Alter-globalization. Becoming Actors in the Global Age” (Polity Press, 2011).