Earlier this week there was a disturbing example of activism gone way too far. In an effort to get the attention of government officials the owner of a daycare center in Manila held 32 students hostage yesterday on a bus outside of city hall. He said that he was trying to advocate for a better education system for his students. He claims that he just wants to make sure that the kids he took hostage have an opportunity to go to school.
He is well known in Manila as almost a folkloric type character taking on social issues and actively working to solve other people’s problems but this latest activism has gone way too far. No matter how passionate you are about an issue, this type of extreme activism does not help move your agenda forward. People will remember this story not for the issues that he was trying to raise but rather for the sense of terror they felt watching him threaten the lives of 32 students.
Though this is an extreme case it provides a good reminder to advocates. It's important to be passionate about your issues but the best way to move your agenda forward is to raise awareness in such a way that it starts a dialogue about possible solutions to the problem.
See the New York Times Story