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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Floral Demonstrations Grow Thorns


There’s a new spirit abroad in floral protests, not just “in your face” but “on your case.”


image

Striking junior doctors marched in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh Jan. 16 with “sympathy” flowers for the chief minister who has yet to meet their demands.

Photo: Raju. V

Are flowers the new pink slip?

Since 2004, we’ve been reporting on how flowers feature in protest across the world, from the pink gladioli brandished by Cuba’s Damas de Blanco, to bouquets laid outside Shanghai’s Google headquarters—when the government threatened to suspend the company’s operations in China.

In these demonstrations, flowers proudly identify the bearers (the pink gladiolus has become the emblem of the Cuban civil rights marchers) or they express solidarity with the recipient (for example, the Internet giant).

But increasingly, we see floral protests taking another form: rather than standing FOR an organization or being presented TO someone, they’re delivered AGAINST.

The most recent example comes from Andhra Pradesh, India. Last week, junior doctors (known in the U.S. as medical students, interns and residents) took flowers to the Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy along with placards reading “Get well soon CM.”

The show of mock-sympathy was an early demonstration in the junior physicians’ strike, now in its 9th day. “The junior doctors have been boycotting elective duties since January 14, demanding regular payment and a hike of stipends, reduction of rural service, health insurance and improvement of emergency infrastructure.” (Interesting to note that Indian doctors don’t have health insurance!)


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Posted by Julie on 01/22 at 12:55 PM
Culture & SocietyPoliticsPermalink