Social Protest Street Art

Street protest signs painted on the walls of buildings in front of Panama’s National Assembly.  They are proliferating all over downtown during the dark hours of the night.  Some of them are excellent in quality, others are not, but the protest message are often very powerful.

Take a look at two of these graphic protest expressions.

The writing on the wall reads, “Panama has many needs, spending millions en a statue is a sin, The Justice.” Somebody doesn’t want a statue to be built in the city. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
The painting on the wall reads, “…we want peace, not war.” It reminded me of a John Lennon’s song during the peak of the Vietnam War. Notice the children playing with a red balloon on top of a hill planted with war weapons. It’s a powerful message. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

The reason why I liked this picture because at 67, I’ve seen too much aggression and violence in my lifetime.  I was born in 1946, shortly after World War II.  Memories of the Vietnam War are vivid in my mind as well as the horrors and despair it brought to different parts of the world.  After Vietnam, I thought we had seen enough violence and peace would settle in.  I was wrong.

There’s an excellent film about combat photojournalists in South Africa who gave their lives to show the world what was happening in this country shortly before Apartheid was finally abolished.

The name of the movie is, The Bang Bang Club, (2010), 107 minutes.  Actors who played an important role in this picture are:  Ryan Phillipe, Martin Akerman, Taylor Kitsch and Neels Van Jaarsveld.  In this unflinching drama, four combat photojournalists document the escalating turmoil engulfing South Africa during the final years of Apartheid.

After the violence stopped in South Africa, some of these young graphic reporters traveled to Rwanda, Croatia, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan to cover the new killings fields.  One of them said he was so sick and tired of photographing dead people killed like insects crushed by the soldiers’ boots that he decided to take his own life and committed suicide.  He breathed in carbon dioxide from his running automobile

When will we learn that war is a lose-lose situation?  When will it end?  I’m afraid the answer my friend, is not floating in the wind.

Enjoy peace in the stillness of the night while the bullets sleep.

5 thoughts on “Social Protest Street Art”

  1. I’m especially fond of the second image. I’m afraid current U.S. policies are creating instability rather than stability and peace. Some in the government appear to be noticing, at last. Always, we hope for the best.

  2. Hello Linda:

    For several months I’ve been researching about the outcome of the Iraq War. The blog post should be out anytime soon. Then I would like to comment on the outcome of the Afghanistan War when the time is ripe. Both wars are very similar in nature and outcome. Global and domestic U.S. surveillance is another interesting subject to research on and comment. Maybe that will be also in the queue.

    I like the line, “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”



  3. Hi Ben:

    I was born on December 16, 1946. That makes me 67 years old, if my calculator is right. As you can see, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since I first saw the lights of Mother Earth.



  4. South Africa’s democracy is now 12 years old, still young and somewhat fragile. Apartheid is history, and Nelson Mandela, has overseen one of the most remarkable periods of political transition anywhere in the world.

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