Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, the pioneer of the American Civil Rights movement died yesterday at 92.

Though the story is a relatively well known one for Americans, her very simple act of defiance in that December of 1955 that sparked a whole movement with MLK at its head, and in particular brought the bus company to its knees and made the supreme court declare the segregation laws unconstitutional, is relatively little known outside of the U.S. After all she just refused to stand from her seat in a bus because her feet hurt, right?. That's one of the misconceptions that surrounds this figure, and it's probably a reflection of the propaganda of the day. She was barely 42 at the time and she was really tired of the segregation, not of simply of her work.

Rosa Parks was an active member of the underground pacifist movement that existed back then, she was more than aware of passive resistance. In 1943 she had become a member of the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and she served as its secretary until 1956. She not only knew about what passive resistance meant, she had been trained in it for several years before that bus incident brought her to jail. And even then, as she would admit, she never thought that her little act of resistance would trigger such a movement. One of the beauties of passive resistance.

Venezuelans should study Mrs. Parks, as she is a very clear example of what passive resistance is about. She died peacefully, humbly, and with a very clean conscience, what better reward for such a great hero?.

The only thing that bothered me was that we waited so long to make this protest
-Rosa Parks
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