Oppression

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The Quran endeavors to make the weak and the oppressed feel the necessity of daring to defy their oppressors, to resist them and deprive them of their power. ~ Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah
A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity. ~ Nelson Mandela

Oppression refers to the unjust exercise of power.

Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z

Additional headings:
Anonymous

See also · External links

Quotes[edit]

It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty, — to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves. ~ Samuel Adams
I shall not usurp the right of any, or oppress his person. God has furnished me with a better resolution and has given me his grace to keep it. ~ William Penn

A[edit]

  • It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom resist.
  • We must not conclude merely upon a man's haranguing upon liberty, and using the charming sound, that he is fit to be trusted with the liberties of his country. It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty, — to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves. It is not, I say, unfrequent to see such instances, though at the same time I esteem it a justice due to my country to say that it is not without shining examples of the contrary kind; — examples of men of a distinguished attachment to this same liberty I have been describing; whom no hopes could draw, no terrors could drive, from steadily pursuing, in their sphere, the true interests of their country; whose fidelity has been tried in the nicest and tenderest manner, and has been ever firm and unshaken.
    The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people.
    • Samuel Adams, in Essay published in The Advertiser (1748) and later reprinted in The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams (1865), Volume 1, by William Vincent Wells

B[edit]

  • The Theatre of the Oppressed is theatre in this most archaic application of the word. In this usage, all human beings are Actors (they act!) and Spectators (they observe!).
    • Augusto Boal, in Games for Actors and on-Actors (1992), p. xxx
  • When does a session of The Theatre of the Oppressed end? Never – since the objective is not to close a cycle, to generate a catharsis, or to end a development. On the contrary, its objective is to encourage autonomous activity, to set a process in motion, to stimulate transformative creativity, to change spectators into protagonists. And it is precisely for these reasons that the Theatre of the Oppressed should be the initiator of changes the culmination of which is not the aesthetic phenomenon but real life.
    • Augusto Boal, in Games for Actors and on-Actors (1992), p. 245
  • In truth the Theatre of the Oppressed has no end, because everything which happens in it must extend into life….The Theatre of the Oppressed is located precisely on the frontier between fiction and reality – and this border must be crossed. If the show starts in fiction, its objective is to become integrated into reality, into life. Now in 1992, when so many certainties have become so many doubts, when so many dreams have withered on exposure to sunlight, and so many hopes have become as many deceptions – now that we are living through times and situations of great perplexity, full of doubts and uncertainties, now more than ever I believe it is time for a theatre which, at its best, will ask the right questions at the right times. Let us be democratic and ask our audiences to tell us their desires, and let us show them alternatives. Let us hope that one day – please, not too far in the future – we’ll be able to convince or force our governments, our leaders, to do the same; to ask their audiences – us – what they should do, so as to make this world a place to live and be happy in – yes, it is possible – rather than just a vast market in which we sell our goods and our souls. Let’s hope. Let’s work for it!
    • Augusto Boal, in Games for Actors and on-Actors (1992), p. 246
  • The God whom we know in the Bible is a liberating God, a God who destroys myths and alienations, a God who intervenes in history in order to break down the structures of injustice and who raises up prophets in order to point out the way of justice and mercy. He is the God who liberates slaves (Exodus), who causes empires to fall and raises up the oppressed (Magnificat, Luke 1:52).
    • Manifesto of the Bolivian Methodist Church (1970), in The Cry of My People, p. 104

C[edit]

  • The more we are oppressed by the cross, the fuller will be our spiritual joy.
    • John Calvin pg. 66 Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life

F[edit]

  • The Quran urges people who feel vulnerable before oppressors to rid themselves of the influence of the bluffing and false appearances of these oppressors and to compare themselves realistically to the latter in order to realize that they have no hidden or different power that normal people do not have. ... The Quran endeavors to make the weak and the oppressed feel the necessity of daring to defy their oppressors, to resist them and deprive them of their power.

H[edit]

  • It is doubtful if the oppressed ever fight for freedom. They fight for pride and power — power to oppress others. The oppressed want above all to imitate their oppressors; they want to retaliate.
    • Eric Hoffer, as quoted in War and Conflict Quotations: A Worldwide Dictionary of Pronouncements from Military Leaders, Politicians, Philosophers, Writers and Others (1997) by Michael C. Thomsett and Jean F. Thomsett
    • Paraphrased variant: "I doubt if the oppressed ever fight for freedom..."

I[edit]

  • Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

J[edit]

  • The poor were wise, who, by the rich oppressed,
Withdrew, and sought a secret place of rest.

L[edit]

  • The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed.

M[edit]

  • If you aren't careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.
    • Malcolm X, in a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem (13 December 1964), later published in Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements (1965), edited by George Breitman, p. 93
  • Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression.
    • Malcolm X, in Malcolm X Speaks : Selected Speeches and Statements (1965) edited by George Breitman
  • Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. You don't need anything else.
    • Malcolm X, in Malcolm X Speaks : Selected Speeches and Statements (1965) edited by George Breitman
  • You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

N[edit]

  • It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.
    When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that that is not the case. The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.

P[edit]

  • You are now fixed at the mercy of no governor that comes to make his fortune great; you shall be governed by laws of your own making and live a free, and if you will, a sober and industrious life. I shall not usurp the right of any, or oppress his person. God has furnished me with a better resolution and has given me his grace to keep it.
    • William Penn, in Letter to those already residing in Pennsylvania (1681)
  • Much reading is an oppression of the mind, and extinguishes the natural candle, which is the reason of so many senseless scholars in the world.

S[edit]

T[edit]

  • If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
    • Desmond Tutu as quoted in Unexpected News : Reading the Bible with Third World Eyes (1984) by Robert McAfee Brown, p. 19

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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