Tuesday, July 09, 2013

NO Movie

I finally got around to watching the movie "NO" about the 1988 plebscite in Chile. Well worth watching. There have been complaints about its historical accuracy, which are pretty well summed up in this Atlantic article.

They are valid points, but the themes of the movie are thought provoking and consistent with the historical record. Most importantly, it is interesting to think about how to help people overcome fear. It doesn't necessarily work to focus on the negative because it can reinforce that fear. Instead, you try to figure out ways to inspire people to believe that the future can be truly better with democracy. At the same time, there is a fine line between optimism and an empty jingle.

But it also reinforced the reality of repression. The people involved with the "Yes" campaign used intimidation regularly, and talked about it in very casual terms. Authoritarian governments become so accustomed to using fear and demonizing the opposition that they see it all as normal and necessary.


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