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Protest Is the Lubricant of Democracy



The State We're In - The right to complain

The State We€™re In, September 12, 2009. We look at how people treat each other during a pandemic and ask a Swine flu sufferer how the disease has affected her relationships. We ask if there€™s a right to complain and if protest is the lubricant of democracy, meet a man who exercises his right to kvetch and hear from Israeli singer-songwriter Aviv Geffen, who was standing next to Yizhak Rabin when he was assassinated.

  This week€™s theme is "The right to complain"


Julian Baggini is a British philosopher who has written a book, called €œComplaints: from Minor Moans to Principled Protests€. He discusses with Jonathan what constitutes a complaint, right and wrong complaints, and how complaints and protests can lead to positive social change.

Jailed for complaining

An Indonesian housewife, Prita Mulyasari, went to a hospital emergency room late last year suffering from a high fever. She was misdiagnosed and she complained. As a result, she has since been arrested and jailed and now she€™s on trial, facing a 70,000 euro fine and up to six years in jail.

Protest is the lubricant of democracy

Adam Eidinger was one of around 1000 protesters who staged a protest near the White House in 2002 to protest against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The protest was crushed by the police and over 400 were arrested. They were subjected to harsh treatment before finally being released. Eidinger and many of the other protestors have sued the city of Washington, D.C. and won. Eidinger tells Jonathan why protest is so necessary in a democracy.

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Hal's kvetch
In this essay, Canadian writer Hal Niedzviecki explains how, after years of resistance, he has come to accept the fact that he is a master €œkvetcher€.

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Geffen's gift

Israel€™s biggest and most controversial pop star Aviv Geffen discusses why he thinks music can be more powerful than politics and of the moment that changed his life €“ he was standing next to the prime minister Yitzhak Rabin when he was assassinated in 1995.

Listen to the story here

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