From the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, the past few years have shown that rebellion is fresh in the air. With the added assistance of social media able to make content and pleas go viral, protests and demonstrations are quickly becoming commonplace not only as a means to incite change, but to gain support and boost morale on a global level. News reports covering these issues come and go, but here are three, remarkable current events in progress we should all be paying attention to.
Outrage against corrupt governance in the largest Southern American country has lead thousands of citizens to protests out on the streets of major cities in Brazil. Citizens chalk up their dissent to government corruption in various sectors, which include but are not limited to: transportation, education, and the claimed misuse of tax money. The protests, for the most part, have been peaceful and began last week over an increase in public transportation prices. However, this past Monday things have started to escalate as police used tear gas and other forceful means against reportedly violent groups. The anger of the protesters go beyond bus fares — they are also speaking out against Brazil hosting the Confederations Cup soccer tournament and the billions of dollars being spent on the FIFA World Cup for 2014. Who knew that the country's most beloved pastime would join an accumulation of national frustration?
Similar controversy in regards to hosting a worldwide event occurred during China's preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Citizens were displaced as billions of dollars were used to make the event a reality among those dealing with hardships.
Starting in late May and carrying onto to June, the burst of protests in Turkey find their origins in a sit-in against the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park that intensified with excessive police force meant to do away with the protesters.
The story immediately took to social media, where attention and support helped propel what began as a peaceful movement, into the spotlight. Much like the protests in Brazil, the movement to demonstrate against one incident splintered into broader political and ideological battles, heightened by acts of police aggression. The two main forces to come out of fight are the wavering nature of secularism in Turkey and concern over Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's "authoritarian" regime. Young people, liberal Muslims, members of the LGBT community, and more have joined forces to speak against what they perceive as the conservative government attempting to interfere with the population’s social freedoms.
Despite the backlash, Prime Minister Erdogan said he plans to continue with the demolition and redevelopment of the park.
Turkey's deputy prime minister has also warned of possible military intervention in response to ongoing demonstrations.
3. United States of America
Although the initial buzz surrounding Occupy Wall Street had died down, another rebellion has risen in its wake — a one-man stand at that.
Known as the NSA whistle-blower, he is former CIA employee Edward Snowden, 29. Sacrificing the comforts of a decent salary and romantic relationship, Snowden felt that it was his place to make the American people aware of the lengths by which the government has access to their data. As a result, heated debate concerning personal privacy vs. national security has re-entered the public consciousness. Snowden has been both praised as a hero and shunned as a traitor. In response to the criticisms laid before him, Snowden, hiding in Hong Kong, hosted a live Q&A session, where he claimed neither death nor jail can prevent the U.S. government from stopping the truth (sounds a touch apocalyptic, doesn’t it?)
Furthermore, he said being called a traitor by former Vice President Dick Cheney was an "honor."
Oddly enough, while most Americans seem to want Snowden to be prosecuted for the leaks, two-thirds are not comfortable with the U.S. government collecting personal data.