“Protest is a right, repression is a crime.”
Written on a wall at the Escuela Normal Rural RaÃ¹l Isidro Burgos, Guerrero State, Mexico, where 43 students were kidnapped following clashes with police on 26 September 2014.
Three people who recently expanded our knowledge of how repression works and gave ammunition for protest paid with the loss of their freedom.
Chelsea, then Bradley, Manning was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison for passing documents on America’s wars to Wikileaks. Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, has been under legal confinement for four years, first restricted on bail to a farm in Norfolk and subsequently under political asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London, without a single charge lodged against him. Edward Snowden, who exposed the National Security Agency’s policy of universal electronic surveillance in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, found refuge in a Russia and is unable to travel.
As Willy Loman’s wife, Linda, says in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, “So attention must be paid.” My colleagues and I are asking you to pay attention to Manning, Assange and Snowden with a public homage. The Italian sculptor Davide Dormino has created a life-size statue of the three in tribute to their courage. Each stands on a chair. Beside them is a fourth, empty chair for those of us brave enough to stand with them. We are asking you to take your stand on that fourth chair by making a donation to cover the cost of turning the mold into bronze. We have opened a fundraising drive on Kickstarter to raise £100,000.