Friday, April 1, 2011

Vigilantes and uprisings

In trying to write Sheer-Zan: One, a story of a mysterious vigilante in a setting inspired by the Arab Spring, I had a strong idea of how my character fits into the plot. While I had some vague imagination for the troubles of the world of her story, I realized the only realistic way to write about events is to refer to existing accounts and picture things from there, as new situations borrowing from my sources.

Characters began to emerge as I read about the situation: the older family man asked repeatedly to join in the uprising to come as an officer, to provide much-needed command control, the young woman...something to do with food; it seems as though she is sneaking food to people who are in trouble, possibly taking it from some forbidden source, perhaps even someone who's voluntarily donating food...I needed my soldiers to have different reasons for being part of the pro-government effort, so there should be several points of view, whether I zoom in and develop them each in this one story is another matter.

So, I gathered many links. There is still more research to come, but the first story is coming together nicely. I was much busier with the music end and the business end of Integr8d Soul than I may have anticipated when I set out to study these things this week, but I've been re-visiting the situation daily. What I wish now is to dig deeply back into the history leading up to unrest. I want to go a few months back before the thousands of protesters, which, as we now see, can lead to peaceful regime change or armed rebellion. The flunkies, the profiteers, the people frightened of post-government corruption, the escaped prisoners---all of that is to come, along with the tales of bravery, knavery, and awe in the face of true battle.

What I want is to depict a society teetering on the brink of revolution. I've given a lot of thoughts to the causes, as well as the difficulties of organization. Rebellion is a frightening step. In Egypt, organization can be studied, in light of the work of Dr. Gene Sharp; questions can be asked of my Egyptian buddies.

The idea was to depict why the situation's becoming intolerable, and less so in-depth study of how the people are fighting back, though the story will draw in an outsider, who is rather naive of the political system, despite some self-edification in the language, customs and demographics. There is a strong idealistic streak at work. You will not believe how many bonds of trust must exist to organize people for freedom until you've seriously rolled the thought over a while.

I also see how an outsider could be forgivably confused. I see how a person who seeks to fight for the oppressed has a lot of enemies. The fight for supplies, the fight to protect people in lieu of a proper police force, and the many difficulties of privations assure us that a billionaire would seem more useful than any one person who throws a mean punch. The attraction of violence as a solution will be turned inside out in a score of situations.

I suppose one might see it as propaganda to support rebellious elements, at least when they are aimed towards a society dedicated to more fairness and less prejudice. There will always be cynics and opportunists in the mix, too, it seems. Perhaps not. But my story will have to have them.

I want it to have truth about it, as I discover through these situations abroad, through other cultures, how it is one does attempt to fight for freedom, and why people might fear the chaos springing up around them.

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