The small acts of mischief that could change the world

Challenging the pessimistic view that "nothing can ever change" was partly the purpose of last night’s event looking at small acts of resistance around the world that have gone on to have greater impact.

If you couldn’t make it to the club for this event, you can watch it here:

Ahead of the publication next month of his book, Small Acts of Resistance, Steve Crawshaw, international advocacy director at Amnesty International, described the ways people have challenged the powerful while showing "an unbelievable sense of mischief and wit".

Even in the most horrendous circumstances people will, perhaps especially, show unbelievable wit – in effect saying ‘you may come and arrest me but I will make a mockery of you at the same time.

Saeed Kamali Dehghan, an Iranian journalist who writes frequently for the Guardian described how Iranian men have posted photos of themselves wearing the hijab in a campaign to free the student Majid Tavakoli, who was photographed wearing women’s clothes after it was claimed he had dressed as a woman to avoid arrest. 

Tin Htar Swe, head of the BBC Burmese Service explained how rank and file soldiers are disobeying orders and refusing to return to headquarters in protest at having their pay stopped: "The generals are very concerned about it and don’t know what to do about it because if they allow the soldiers to take their money all they will do is take it and run away, they will desert with it."

Alice Ukoko, founder and CEO of Women Of Africa, highlighted the women of Liberia whose peaceful protest in 2003 forced President Charles Taylor into peace talks and the women of Niger delta who protested against the oil company Shell.

"Unfortunately the armed police came, but the women said they would not run and because of that single act things changed, people became aware, the world became aware."