"Tonight I bring you a light: a bright yellow poem—
because no wind is strong enough to blow out
the flame of memorized lines"
from "Yellow Poem"
by Geoff M. Pope
And no bad wind is strong enough to blow out the flame of lived lines and lived lives of Light.
1846-49, New England, U.S.
After spending a night in jail protesting against the Mexican War and slavery, an American Transcendentalist gave a lecture and then wrote his vision up into a brief essay, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience."
In 1849, and ever since, it has become a world changer, a brilliant light which has lit millions of individual humans
into seeking human rights and justice--
Used by Gandhi to obtain freedom for India from Britain. It was a very long campaign lasting from the early 1920's to 1948.
Considered by Bonhoeffer to oppose Hitler.
1950's, the World
Banned by every U.S. library around the world during McCarthyism.
Martin Luther King wrote that the essay was the central factor that moved him to start the Civil Rights Movement.
Used to oppose the Vietnam War.
1955?-1992, South Africa, USA
Method of opposition to oppose Apartheid of South African Government by Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and others.
Adopted by Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers to seek just working conditions and pay.
Practiced by both pro-abortion and anti-abortion groups.
1950's-2016, the World
Used by people opposed to nuclear weapons.
Farmers protested against a military base being extended into their farming area. They used civil disobedience including hunger strikes. President Francois Mitterand cancelled the extension after he was elected in 1981.
Mubarak Awad founded the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence. He and led nonviolent actions including the planting of olive trees on Palestinian land that the Israeli goverment was confiscating.
The Israeli government arrested and deported Awad even though he had been born in Jerusalem.
1984-1990, Central America
Civil disobedient actions against U.S. war polices and actions of President Reagan in Central America, especially Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Used by various groups of environmental demonstrators including tree huggers. One woman, Julia Lorraine Hill, lived in a tall 1,500 year old Red Wood tree for 2 years to save it from being cut down by Pacific Lumber Company.
Acts of civil Disobedience carried out by those opposed to the First-Strike War and Invasion of Iraq by the United States
The "Ladies in White" civil protests against the wrongful arrests of journalists, librarians, and human rights defenders by Cuban Government.
For their perseverance, they won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament in 2005. When President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit Cuba, the government arrested 50 members of the Ladies in White because of another protest.
And so many other civil disobedient actions and campaigns.
Also, here are some other human leaders who were influenced by "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience": Leo Tolstoy, Martin Buber, President John F. Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis, and William Butler Yeats.
Three brief quotes from the short essay that changed the world:
"Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison..."
"If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible."
"It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right."
from Henry David Thoreau's brief essay, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" and from his 1848 lecture, "The Rights and Duties of the Individual to Government."
No bad wind is strong enough to blow out such a brilliant Light of great lines and lives.