TED Conversations

Casey Kitchel


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When fighting for rights, which is tougher: a battle against an oppressive government, or a battle against an oppressive society?

Manal al-Sharif opens her TED talk by asking the audience a question.

“You know that people all over the world fight for their freedom, fight for their rights. Some battle oppressive governments. Others battle oppressive societies.” And then she asks, “which battle do you think is harder?”

Fellow TEDers, which do you think is a tougher battle? And why?


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  • Jun 22 2013: I think the TED community agrees that a society is much more difficult. The government is a stationary entity with one or multiple locations that we can easily pin point should we ever have the desire to battle an oppressive government. We aren't constantly watched or spied on, and thus we can easily slink into the shadows of a militia if we collaborated into one strong enough to overthrow a 1st world nation.

    An oppressive society is a 360 degree radius that seems to almost be employed by tools of the government to police the nation without government intervention. If you train a people to act a certain way, and hold them accountable for their actions long enough and slowly influence a change toward a certain direction - you can almost hypnotize society into becoming agents of government control.

    Which case, it would be really difficult to determine an enemy and therefore risk of being eliminated is high.
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      Jun 23 2013: I'm part of the TED society and I disagree with your statement. Perhaps some do agree but I think not all or most.

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