The most frequently referenced film for recent social activists is V for Vendetta, about a British man who takes on a future dictatorship, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. The Arabic Academy for Change recommended these films to activists in addition to V for Vendetta, The Matrix, Battle in Seattle, Hitler: The Rise of Evil and Gandhi[i]. On the Internet, movie fan communities are a new source of activism, like the more than 100,000 Harry Potter Alliance fans who raise money for causes such as sending medical supplies to Haiti and books to Rwanda.[ii] “Avatar activism” refers to Palestinian demonstrators dressed like the extraterrestrial Na’vi featured in the film Avatar (2009).[iii] Thai protesters in 2014 used the three-finger rebel salute featured in The Hunger Games films and Egyptians used four fingers raised with a folded thumb. The Spanish leader of the new Podomos Party gave the videos of the Game of Thrones TV series to the king, who smiled. Pablo Iglesias (age 36) edited a book applying the series to Spanish politics titled Win of Die: Political Lessons from the Game of Thrones (2014). His party popularlized the slogan theat “Winter is coming for the PP” ruling party. He drew inspiration from the character of Khaleesi who frees slaves when she assumes power in a new city as he aims for Podomos to change the economic system. Imaginative popular culture can be morphed into concern for others.
[i] Herrera, p. 84.
Andy Smith and Jennifer Aaker. The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change. Jossey-Bass, 2010.