Romania. Agafitel, Sophie.
Edinburgh was a bustling metropolis, a true piece of architectural, urban art. It was a fantastic compilation of the old and new, reaching to the heavens. It was a far cry from my little town home in Romania. There was so much to look at! I wasn’t sure I had ever been in a more beautiful place in my entire life. It wasn’t hard to slip away from the study abroad group I came with. Once lessons let out, we were loosed upon the city like a herd of raging vita. I only took the study abroad course for the cause, anyways. When I heard about this opportunity back in December, I knew I had to be a part of it. I knew that this was one protest I just couldn’t miss. We were defying the censor, saying NO to unlawful surveillance. We were letting the governments of our world know that we wouldn’t stand for being spied upon and oppressed. We would not be shaken and we would not be silenced. Scare tactics wouldn’t work today or any day. This was our day and we were going to take it and shove their tyranny up their collective rear.
It was the most thrilling thing in the world knowing that at that very moment, in major cities worldwide, our comrades were also moving into place for one of our biggest protests yet. I could see others, more of our sisters and brothers, filling into the four-way street. We were easily identifiable the black turtlenecks we all wore. My watch sounded a cheerful little alarm and I gave a grin. Our contact from Uzbekistan would be hacking the streetlights in 3,2,1…It began.
All of the sudden, all of the traffic lights within a six block radius lit red. Traffic came to a sudden, jarring halt. The city was filled with black turtlenecks. I could even see groups of them on the rooftops above. In a single wave, as if we had as one blended into a single mind, we slipped white medical masks on to cover our faces. Each had something different on it. Some had quotes or symbols, others had pictures or funny faces drawn on. My philosophy professor grinned down at me, giving me a saucy wink before he slid his own mask on. Dr.Shelley’s mask sported a cartoonish mouth with a tongue sticking out. My had the simple words ‘Http Error 404’ written in black sharpie against the stark whiteness. Up above, words were broadcasted over a PA system, echoing all around the block. The words rang out true and loud.
“Censorship is defined as being ‘the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body. We stand today in defiance, to oppose this silencing. We stand united today in every major city to show the world that this is wrong.” The words dissolved, absorbed into air, oxygen, minds and hearts.
Then the music began. Cars were honking as a great mass stood in the center of the intersection. People were coming around buildings and leaving their cars to look, camera phones flipping out like stars gleaming in the night sky. Above, people craned out of windows to see hat the commotion was all about. In the middle of the intersection, a girl began to skip around the man at her side, moving with the music. For a moment, he looked to be puzzled by her but it took no time at all and a smile spread across his face as he began to dance in sync with her. As one, we all began to move together.
‘We’re in denial, the world is afraid, And you say there’s no more slaves’.
Flash mob as a form of protest. Genius. My favorite part came and I stepped into a waltz move with Dr.Shelley. Our comrades were all around us. In stores, in the streets, on the roofs of buildings and even a few on the tops of cars. We were one, synchronized, living, breathing, beating protest. One voice, one world. We were four hundred strong in Edinburgh alone. We were would not be censored any longer. No more silence. The dance ended and like a ghostly image in a reflection, we all threw our masks to the ground, scattering as we’d never been there. Dr. Shelley and I ducked down Prince’s St., continuing as if nothing had ever happened. We both nonchalantly pulled off our turtlenecks, revealing second shirts beneath, tossing them in a rubbish bin as we passed. He gave me a pleased smile, removing his phone from his pocket. I was already tweeting the experience on my smart phone. What a way to enjoy the benefits of a Study Abroad program.
“Don’t think this gets you out of that paper due tomorrow, Miss Agafitel. 800 words on Thomas Aquinas.”
Al raibii! Oh well, there goes my evening.
For those of you who have never seen a flashmob at work…Check it out, It’s pretty glorious.