I came across this article today on FB about a Women’s Wall in Kerala India. It struck me because it was such a short article and yet it was loaded with educational potential. I suggest you read it before continuing reading this article, don’t worry it’s only 182 words long. For starters we have here a wall being presented in the media as a good thing, when most of the time we’re told walls are bad. That by itself makes this a worthy topic of investigation. If I wanted to use this article to educate my hypothetical teenage children about how complicated a simple event like a protest can be I would probably wait until everyone was seated at the dinner table and read out to them this article in its entirety, as it was very short; and then listen to the initial reactions from my audience.
I imagine the initial discussion would be about the logistics and mathematics of organising a fifteen minute long protest involving 3 to 5 million women stretched out over a distance of 620km. Perhaps some doubts about how realistic such a feat is, or acknowledgement that this issue must appear to be important for the people involved. Then I might ask my audience why someone would organise such a protest with so many people like this. What message does it convey? Such a protest is not an appeal to reason, it is an appeal to might: look how many people are against you, see how powerful we are, watch out we are the majority. This is the whole point of democracy: if you can’t win an argument through reason and evidence, you simply “settle” the dispute with a show of numerical superiority. Thus a protest like this is essentially democratic in nature, as opposed to a hunger strike, pamphlet drop, banner march, or self-immolation; each protest method uses a different rhetorical approach. This protest uses intimidation from numbers as its strategy.