Students by day, rebels by night?

For my Literacies of Dissent project, I draw inspiration from a recent global report (2020-2021) I co-authored exploring the criminalisation of student dissent in shrinking democracies. I conducted this project with the Norwegian organisation SAIH (Students ‘and Academics’ International Assistance Fund) – a truly proactive student-led organisation that seeks to recognise student activists as human rights defenders. The project brings together insights from student activists from contrasting contexts of Egypt, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Philippines, Thailand, and Sudan. This report is a bid to urgently put a spotlight on the alarming oppression of student activist movements all over the world. 

The report says, “Student activists have been at the helm of social movements around the world throughout history. Inspired by stubborn optimism and undying dreams for a just society, students have long confronted dominant social and political norms. They have been actively campaigning for solutions to broader issues beyond the campus and the classroom – from the apartheid and Vietnam war, austerity measures and unemployment, neo-liberal policies and capitalism, environmental justice and climate change, to responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. As students continually prove that they are neither ‘apathetic’ nor ‘disengaged’, their acts and voices of dissent have been met with stringent surveillance, vicious policing, criminalisation, and killings – violent responses that have become more frequent, coercive and intense in light of the current pandemic. Several public and policy discourses have the tendency to frame students as ‘dangerous subjects’ that must be feared, justifying the need for their governance and control. This report challenges these binaries that seem to frame these activists as ‘students by day, rebels by night’ (as in report title) by highlighting the many roles, motivations, aims and approaches of student-led movements globally.”

Read more about this work here: https://www.esu-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Students-by-day-rebels-by-night_SAIHrapport-2021.pdf

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