Making repression backfire, but is it ethical?

RIP Genesis
RIP Genesis
RIP Genesis

Over at Foreign Policy, Srdja Popovic (of the Center for Applied Nonviolent Actions and Strategies, or CANVAS) and Mladen Joksic discuss how to turn repression into a strength, something Gene Sharp has called “political ju-jitsu.” Here is the money quote:

Finally, a movement should be ready to capitalize on oppression. Following a repressive act, it’s vital that activists keep the public aware of what has happened and take sustained measures to ensure that they don’t forget. Circulating pictures, leaflets, and using social media are good ways to keep the memory of oppression present. One clever way to achieve this is to turn members of the movement who have faced particular scrutiny by a regime into martyrs. As we’ve seen across the Middle East and more recently in Ukraine — where Dmytro Bulatov’s tortured image has become the symbol of state repression — giving oppression a face is absolutely critical if activists hope to mobilize people to the streets.

Can we therefore conclude that protests are looking for martyrs? Can we say that every Genesis we get, every Bassil Da Costa is an advancement of the cause? If true, how is that even ethical?

We’re on a slippery moral slope here, folks. Still, the article contains some interesting links for all of you out there doing the dirty work.

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