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  • A few weeks ago,

  • somebody tweeted during the midterm elections in the United States

  • that Election Day should be made a holiday.

  • And I retweeted, saying,

  • \"Well, you're welcome to come to my country and vote.

  • You'll get the whole week off to allow the military to count it.\"

  • I come from Togo, by the way.

  • It is a beautiful country located in West Africa.

  • There are some cool, interesting facts about my country.

  • Togo has been ruled by the same family for 51 years,

  • making us the oldest autocracy in Africa.

  • That's a record.

  • We have a second-coolest record:

  • we have been ranked three times as the unhappiest country on earth.

  • You are all invited.

  • (Laughter)

  • So just to let you know,

  • it's not very cool to live under an autocracy.

  • But the interesting thing is that I have met, throughout the course of my activism,

  • so many people from different countries,

  • and when I tell them about Togo, their reaction is always,

  • \"How can you guys allow the same people to terrorize you for 51 years?

  • You know, like, you Togolese, you must be very patient.\"

  • That's their diplomatic way of saying \"stupid.\"

  • (Laughter)

  • And when you live in a free country,

  • there's this tendency of assuming that those who are oppressed

  • tolerate their oppression or are comfortable with it,

  • and democracy is projected as a progressive form of governance

  • in such a way that those people who don't live under democratic countries

  • are seen as people who are not intellectually or maybe morally

  • as advanced as others.

  • But it's not the case.

  • The reason why people have that perception

  • has to do with the way stories are covered about dictatorships.

  • In the course of my activism,

  • I have had to interview with so many news outlets out there,

  • and usually it would always start with, \"What got you started?

  • What inspired you?\"

  • And I reply, \"I wasn't inspired. I was triggered.\"

  • And it goes on. \"Well, what triggered you?\"

  • And I go on about how my father was arrested when I was 13, and tortured,

  • all the history ... I don't want to get into details now,

  • because you'll start sleeping.

  • But the thing is, at the end of the day, what interests them the most is:

  • How was he tortured?

  • For how many days? How many people died?

  • They are interested in the abuse, in the killing,

  • because they believe that will gain attention and sympathy.

  • But in reality, it serves the purpose of the dictator.

  • It helps them advertise their cruelty.

  • In 2011, I cofounded a movement I call \"Faure Must Go,\"

  • because Faure is the first name of our president.

  • Togo is a French-speaking country, by the way,

  • but I chose English because I had my issues with France as well.

  • But then --

  • (Laughter)

  • But then, when I started Faure Must Go,

  • I made a video, and I came on camera,

  • and I said, \"Well, Faure Gnassingbé, I give you 60 days to resign as president,

  • because if you don't,

  • we the youth in Togo will organize and we will bring you down,

  • because you have killed over 500 of our countrymen

  • to seize power when your father died.

  • We have not chosen you.

  • You are an imposter, and we will remove you.\"

  • But I was the only known face of the movement.

  • Why? Because I was the only stupid one.

  • (Laughter)

  • And the backlashes followed.

  • My family started receiving threats.

  • My siblings called me one morning.

  • They said, \"You know what?

  • When they come here to kill you, we don't want to die with you,

  • so move out.\"

  • So yes, I moved out.

  • And I'm so angry at them, so I haven't talked to them in five years.

  • Anyway, moving forward ...

  • For the past nine years, I have been working with countries

  • to raise awareness of Togo,

  • to help the people of Togo overcome their fear

  • so they, too, can come and say they want change.

  • I have received a lot of persecution

  • that I cannot disclose,

  • a lot of threats, a lot of abuse,

  • psychologically.

  • But I don't like talking about them,

  • because I know that my job as an activist is to mobilize,

  • is to organize,

  • is to help every single Togolese citizen understand that, as citizens,

  • we hold the power,

  • we are the boss and we decide.

  • And the punishment that the dictators are using to intimidate them

  • must not prevent us from getting what we want.

  • That is why I said it is very important to cover the stories of activists

  • in the way that it helps mobilize people,

  • not in the way that it helps deter their action

  • and force even more their subjugation to the oppressive system.

  • During these years that I've been an activist,

  • there are days that I felt like quitting because I couldn't take it.

  • Well then, what kept me going?

  • The one thing that kept me going:

  • I remember the story of my grandfather,

  • and how he used to walk 465 miles from his village to the city,

  • just to protest for independence.

  • Then I remember the sacrifice of my father,

  • who was tortured so many times

  • for daring to protest against the regime.

  • Back in the '70s, they would write pamphlets

  • to raise awareness on the dictatorship,

  • and because they couldn't afford to make copies,

  • they would reproduce the same pamphlet 500 times each

  • and distribute them.

  • It got to a point where the military knew their handwriting,

  • so as soon as they stumbled upon one, they'd go and get them.

  • But I look at that and I'm like, you know, today you have a blog.

  • I don't have to copy the same thing 500 times.

  • I blog and thousands of people read it.

  • By the way, in Togo, they like calling me the WhatsApp girl,

  • because I am always on WhatsApp attacking the government.

  • (Laughter)

  • So it's much easier.

  • When I'm angry at the government, I just make an angry note,

  • and I send it out and thousands of people share it.

  • I'm rarely this composed. I'm always angry, by the way.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • So I was talking about the necessity to showcase our stories,

  • because when I think about the sacrifices that were made for us,

  • it helped me keep going.

  • One of the very first actions of our Faure Must Go movement

  • was to come up with a petition, asking citizens to sign

  • so that we can demand new elections, as the constitution allows.

  • People were scared to put their names

  • because, they said, they don't want to get in trouble.

  • Even in the diaspora, people were scared.

  • They were like, \"We have family at home.\"

  • But there was this woman who was in her 60s.

  • When she heard about it, she took the petition,

  • and she went home,

  • and by herself she collected over 1,000 [signatures].

  • That inspired me so much, and I was like,

  • if a 60-year-old that has nothing more to gain in this regime

  • can do this for us, the young ones,

  • then why should I quit?

  • It is the stories of resistance, the stories of defiance,

  • the stories of resilience,

  • that inspire people to get involved,

  • not the stories of abuse and killings and hurt,

  • because as humans, it's only natural for us to be scared.

  • I would like to share with you a few characteristics of dictatorships

  • so that you can assess your own country

  • and see if you are also at risk of joining us.

  • (Laughter and cheers)

  • (Applause)

  • Number one thing to look at: concentration of power.

  • Is the power in your country concentrated in the hands of a few, an elite?

  • It can be a political elite, ideological elite.

  • And you have a strongman,

  • because we always have one guy who is presented as the messiah

  • who will save us from the world.

  • The second point is propaganda.

  • Dictators feed on propaganda.

  • They like giving the impression that they are the saviors,

  • and without them, the country will fall apart.

  • And they are always fighting some foreign forces, you know?

  • The Christians, the Jewish, the Muslims,

  • the voodoo priests are coming for you.

  • The Communists, when they get here, we'll all be broke.

  • These kinds of things.

  • And our president, in particular, he fights pirates.

  • (Laughter)

  • I am very serious.

  • Last year, he bought a boat that's 13 million dollars to fight pirates,

  • and 60 percent of our people are starving.

  • So they are always protecting us from some foreign forces.

  • And this leads to point three: militarization.

  • Dictators survive by instigating fear,

  • and they use the military to suppress dissident voices,

  • even though they try to give the impression

  • that the military is to protect the nation.

  • And they suppress institutions and destroy them

  • so that they don't have to be held accountable.

  • So do you have a heavily militarized country?

  • And this leads to point four, what I call human cruelty.

  • You know when we talk about animals,

  • we say animal cruelty when animals are abused,

  • because there's no charter acknowledged by the UN

  • saying animal rights charter.

  • Point one: all animals are created equal. So you don't have that.

  • So whenever animals are abused, we say animal cruelty.

  • But when it comes to humans, we say human rights abuses,

  • because we assume that all humans have rights.

  • But some of us are actually still fighting for our right to have rights.

  • So in that condition, I don't talk about human rights abuse or violation.

  • When you live in a country and you have an issue with the president

  • and the worst thing that can happen is he bans you from the presidency,

  • you are lucky.

  • When you come to my country and have an issue with the president,

  • you just run, disappear; you vanish from the universe,

  • because they can still find you in Turkey.

  • So people like myself, we don't get to live in Togo anymore.

  • And people like myself,

  • we don't get to live in the same place for more than a month,

  • because we don't want to be traced.

  • The way they abuse people,

  • the type of cruelty that happens in all impunity under dictatorships

  • are beyond human imagination.

  • The stories of some of the activists that were killed,

  • their bodies dumped in the sea,

  • that were tortured

  • to the point where they lost their hearing or their sight --

  • those stories still haunt me.

  • And sometimes, as an activist,

  • I am less concerned about dying than how it will happen.

  • Sometimes I just sit down and I imagine all scenarios.

  • What are they going to do? Are they going to cut my ears first?

  • Or are they going to cut my tongue because I'm always insulting them?

  • It sounds cruel, but it is the reality.

  • We live in a very cruel world.

  • Dictators are cruel monsters,

  • and I am not saying it to be nice.

  • So yes, that is the final characteristic.

  • The list goes on,

  • but that's the final thing that I want to share about autocracies,

  • so that you look at your country and see if there are risks there.

  • It is important that you acknowledge the gains of freedom that you have today,

  • because some people had to give their lives for you to have it.

  • So don't take this for granted.

  • But then at the same time, you also need to know

  • that no country is actually destined to be oppressed,

  • while at the same time,

  • no country or no people are immune to oppression and dictatorship.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

A few weeks ago,

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TED】ファリダ・ナブーレマ。あなたの国は独裁国家になる危険性があるのか?Here's how to know (Is your country at risk of becoming a dictatorship?Here's how to know|Farida Nabourema (ファリダ・ナブーレマ) (【TED】Farida Nabourema: Is your country at risk of becoming a dictatorship? Here's how to know (Is

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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