How A Movement in Sudan is Borrowing Old Jokes from the Serbs
As I just posted at PBS MediaShift, it's no novelty for political satire to play an important role in social movements. Here's Srdja Popovic, a leader of Otpor, the Serbian resistance movement, on how it worked for them:
Everything we did [had] a dosage of humor. Because I'm joking. You're becoming angry. You're always showing only one face. And I'm always again with another joke, with another action, with another positive message to the wider audience. And that's how we collected the third party in the whole story -- which is very important -- the publicity, the people on the ground.
Which is why it shouldn't be surprising that a movement in Sudan in 2011 is replicating tactics used by Serbians in 2000. Take a look at this pre-election video make by Otpor:
It's one of the stand out videos from the Otpor campaign. In it, a woman wearing a housedress and apron, holding a T-shirt, standing next to a washing machine: "I've been trying to clean this stain for ten years. Believe me I've tried everything. But now there is anew machine. It has a great program which, with confidence and security, permanently cleans this and similar stains. See? It works."
The stain, as is obvious from watching the video, is Milosevic. But that goes unsaid - and is probably why it's amusing. So can the same idea work for Sudan's al Bashir? Here's a video created by the pro-democracy movement in Sudan, Girifna:
What do you think? Can the same exact video work 10 years later, for a different population and a different dictator? It's certainly garnered more views that the first iteration - Girfina's video has over 30,000 YouTube views, while Otpor's has less than 2000.