Posted by: mulrickillion | January 2, 2012

Stephane Hessel and the Handbook of the Revolution


Stephane Hessel’s Time for Outrage has sold around 4 million copies in 30 languages since its October 2010 release Remy Gabadar / AFP / Getty Images.

By Bruce Cromley, Dec 14, 2011 —

At 94 years of age, Stephane Hessel has already seen and done more than most people can even imagine. He witnessed the rise of fascism in Europe, fought the Nazis in the French Resistance; was interned in German death camps, designated for hanging, escaped and participated in the liberation of Paris; and worked as a diplomat, author and human-rights activist. His German father Franz Hessel was the basis for one of the title characters of the novel Jules and Jim, later a movie by François Truffaut. The character based on his mother is at the heart of the novel. Now Hessel himself is playing the role of instigator and analyst of the rolling wave of protest movements cropping up around the globe, and digging into what he calls the "indignation" pulsating through populations throughout the world.

"Whether we’re talking about emerging countries like Brazil or India, or developed ones like the U.S. or Britain, we’re seeing people stand up and demand that the widening gap of social injustice — the spreading division between the richest and less wealthy — be reversed and closed. That gap, that zone of injustice, is where the indignation is coming from," says Hessel, whose small book Indignez-Vous (or under its English tile, Time for Outrage) has sold around 4 million copies in 30 languages since it was released in October 2010 (its initial print run was a mere 6,000). "It’s been interesting to see how citizens from so many diverse countries and political systems have all, in their own manner, assembled around the belief that they can no longer actively or passively support political and economic systems that are failing to defend and advance the values and desires of their people. The common, essential factor in all those movements has been public opinion feeling that government, political parties and the general system have abandoned them and the wider interests of society to focus entirely on far narrower financial interests. People are saying, ‘One way or another, that must change.’"

Though eager to talk about the spread of the general protest movement — which began in earnest in Europe under the name Indignados in Spain and took the form of Occupy Wall Street in the U.S. — Hessel warns against assigning his book too great a role in inspiring (much less detonating) that spreading activity. . . .

Stephane Hessel and the Handbook of the Revolution – TIME


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