Right to Protest

Protest texts are portrayed in two different ways, they can ignite aggressive action or they can bring a calm, peaceful vibe. Two of my texts provoke violent actions from their viewers in the form of protests, these are V for Vendetta directed by James Mcteigue and Sleep Now in the Fire by Rise Against. The other two texts are Caged Bird by Maya Angelou and Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Prize speech. These texts incorporate the practise of protesting in a peaceful manor by using words instead of fists.

Malala Yousafzai’s nobel prize winning speech portrays the importance of everybody working together in unity to fight for the basic human rights many people are denied every day. Her speech is made up of past experiences involving her childhood as a young woman rising against the oppressive, violent, dictatorial Pakistan.

Malala exclaims, “We survived. And since that day, our voices have grown louder and louder. Malala’s use of the word ‘we’ includes everyone from her friends and family to the audience of her speech. Similarly to Angelou the motif of using our voice is extremely prevalent in this text. Malala uses her speech to encourage the audience to make use of our voices to speak up in favour of equality for everybody.

Malala also incorporates bird symbolism, similar to Maya Angelou. She thanks her father for “not clipping my wings and letting me fly”. Malala’s father motivated her to spread her wings and fly free, like a bird. This symbolism revolves around the fact that birds do what they have to do without anything being able to get in their way as they will just keep flying, right past any problems.

This relates to Malala’s struggles in getting to where she is today, as a symbol of peace and equality. Clipping a bird’s wings is the act of making a bird unable to fly, or symbolically, taking away its freedom and limiting its potential. This shows that her father was not trying to hold her back or force her into giving into the system put in place in Pakistan.

Instead he was lifting Malala up, teaching her how to fly so she could be the symbol of an uprising against this oppressive regime. By using her voice and being able to fly like a bird Malala was able to become a well known face of freedom and equality all over the world. She quickly went from being a young girl in the dangerous place of Pakistan to a great piece of the puzzle used to solve one of the biggest problems that we face in today’s society.

Maya Angelou’s poem, Caged Bird links back to the mindless oppression that the African-Americans were subjected to in the past. Maya uses this text to expose the contrast between the ways of life of a white person compared to a coloured person. Similarly to Malala, Maya uses the symbol of a bird to show her thoughts to the readers, she writes, “A free bird leaps… and floats downstream… and dares to claim the sky”. And “A bird that stalks… can seldom see through his bars or rage, his wings are clipped”.

The free bird owns the skies while the caged bird is trapped by the “bars of rage”. A relevant theme of this text is the racial discrimination between the whites and the coloured. Maya uses the “Free bird” as a symbol of the dominating whites and the “Caged bird” as the coloured races. The free bird seemingly effortlessly “Floats downstream” while the caged bird has its wings clipped.

This alludes to the fact that coloured people are treated differently and worse than white people, they have their wings clipped and rights taken away by the white races. When the free bird “Dares to claim the sky” this portrays the colonialist ideology of white people in the past. Maya also makes use of the same motif as Malala, that is using your voice to express yourself. She writes “

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