This morning I looked at an article on Wikipedia regarding Black Ribbon Day. A European commemoration honoring victims of totalitarian regimes, including Nazism, fascism, communism and Stalinism. August 23 is the anniversary of the 1939 secret provisions of the German-Soviet treaty which divided up eastern Europe. The purpose of the Day of Remembrance is to preserve the memory of the victims of mass deportations and exterminations, while promoting democratic values with the aim to reinforce peace and stability in Europe. “
I went to the article because there was an interesting photo. In 1989 everyday people in the Baltic states formed a human chain through all three countries. It was an act of peaceful protest, though the official news called the two million people who held hands “extremist elements.”
Peaceful protests have the ability to change hearts. Three years prior, “Hands Across America” raised awareness of hunger in the USA. Now the same basic technique was being used to call out government oppression. It did its part in fracturing the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991.
If ever you feel helpless in our world, consider that there are always techniques, usually very simple ones, which can shift the attention of the nation. Neither hand-holding event gave solutions– they were not revolutions. Instead they recentered attention to possibility, and showed solidarity.