This series of works was inspired by my studies at Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal, India, which was founded by famous poet Rabinthranath Tagore to be a world center for the study of humanity. There, I learnt about how Mahatma Gandhi liberated India from the colonial British using non-violent civil disobedience, and I was also inspired by Irom Sharmila Chanu, a woman who has been fighting against racist laws and discrimination by a hunger strike which began in the year 2000 – 12 years ago – and which lasts until today. For this she has earned the epithet of the “Iron Lady of Manipur”.
“To fight with arms will not stop violence! But my body can be a weapon! To starve is the only weapon I have! I will never give up starving myself until the government repeals the unjust laws!” she proclaimed.
Art too can be a weapon to fight for freedom as it too can speak the truth and create love and peace. When art and the body are used together to fight, then the unjust rulers tremble with fear and the weapons in their hands are useless. In their arrogance they believe their guns will kill the innocent, but they can never kill an ideal.
When a woman stands to speak out nobody hears her voice, therefore we stop talking. But we know full well what is happening on this planet and if they still ignore us when we speak, then we will act with the most effective weapon we have. Not guns – of those they have no fear – but we know what they fear.
If you want to protect the people you love from inhuman rulers do not use guns: be strong of heart and brave.
Your body is your weapon
Sai Wannaphon Chimbanchong
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