How Do We Find and Create Moments of Liberation within Contexts of Oppression?

How do we find and create moments of liberation within contexts of oppression?


There are moments when people are oppressed. People can be oppressed by the government, their families, employers and colleagues. Oppression is characterized by varied aspects depending on the scenario. In history, there are several occasions when people were oppressed. However, the liberation is a way for people to free themselves from oppression. It has to be well-planned, or else it might be a source of bigger problems. Thus, it may provoke more oppression as a way of retaliation from the oppressor.


The problem of humanization has always been a central problem for mankind. Through the concerns for humanization, dehumanization has also been recognized. As a consequence of the manner and extent to which a person perceives dehumanization, a person may raise questions pertaining to the viable possibility of humanization. Even though both humanization and dehumanization are termed as real alternatives, the first is in the vocation of the people.  This vocation always negated, though it goes through affirmation a result of the same negation. However, it is prevented by various factors which include violence caused by the oppressors, oppression, exploitation and injustice. On the other hand, the vocation is affirmed through the yearning for justice and freedom by those who are oppressed (Freire, 2005).

The oppressed are made to be less of human beings. Consequently, they have to struggle against their oppressors so as to establish meaning and regain their humanity. The oppressors exploit and oppress the use of their power.  As a result, they cannot use their strength or power to liberate themselves. Accordingly, the oppressed have to gather the power that hails from their weakness which is adequate enough to free themselves and the oppressors.


The oppressed may try to soften the power of the oppressor. This take always is impeded by the use of false generosity by the oppressor. Through the use of continued generosity, the oppressors perpetuate injustice too. Generosity can also be based on some form of unjust social order, which is permanent. Such forms of generosity are propagated by poverty, despair and death. For this reason, oppressors who employ false generosity make the oppressors become desperate when threatened. On the other hand, true generosity can be employed for the purpose of liberation. True generosity comprises of fighting against the causes which propagate false charity. Through true generosity, the oppressed raise their concerns hence fight for the working within their capabilities and not being overstretched. Accordingly, they fight for gaining a sense of purpose so that the work of their hands is bequeathed meaning. Consequently, instead of working hard due to oppression, they work hard to transform the world (Freire, 2005).

Activities of linearization form oppression have to be executed by the oppressed. They have to ensure escalated levels of solidarity amongst themselves. They have to fight together with the sole reason of restoring their humanity. They have to also restore true generosity. Conversely, during the first stages of the struggle for liberation by the oppressors, instead of working hard to attain liberation, the oppressed become oppressors or sub-oppressors.  This is not necessarily due to the reason that the oppressors do not have information pertaining to oppression; it is because of the impairment of the perception of being oppressed. The perception of the new person after liberation is also contracting and individualistic (Freire, 2005).

There are varied cases in history where people of certain groups of people were oppressed. However, through carrying out a number of activities, they were able to free themselves from the yokes of their oppressors. An example is the women. Women, for a long time, could not participate in the political sphere thus they could not vote. Women cold not attend schools and their lives were controlled by the men. They were considered less of humans. In the 1960s, social movements for women were established (Lerner, 2005). This was marked by the Women Liberation Movement. The women held to it that the oppression was a result of political and social causes. Along with this, student movements in which women were the central actors and Civil Rights Movement were also established. At first, irrespective of all the contribution and commitment by the women, women were denied leadership positions, were treated as second class citizens and viewed as sex objects. However, in the 1970s, women realized their success and were able to access their rights (Suguna, 2009). Basing on this, people are able to liberate themselves from oppression through forming movements. This brings out the aspect of solidarity. Through the movements, the oppressed are able to air out their concerns. With the reason that a movement has many people, the oppressed are likely to get some attention than when talking as individuals. The fight may take long but the oppressed have to stay on track, change their strategies until they are liberated.

When women were struggling for their liberation, they fought for specifics. For instance, they fought for their rights to vote, the fought for equality between them and their male counterparts. When they achieved what they wished for, they were able to lift oppression (McDonald, 2012). Consequently, the oppressed have to be strategic. They have to analyze the causes of their oppression.  Basing on the results of the analysis, they have to fight the roots of oppression through fighting for what can change the scenario (Kucukaydin, 2008). On the other hand, the oppressed can also take advantage of the available venues and use them to address their issues. For instance, the prisoners of the Civil War in the south of the United States used letters to avail to the world what they were going through in the camps (McDonald, 2012). Thus, the oppressed can try and reach the world through a number of ways. When the information pertaining to oppression reaches the world, other people may be able to come to their salvage. The media can be used. Thus, the oppressed can convince the media personalities to feature their stories pertaining to oppression. Through this, information will be accessible to the world with respect to oppression. This will lead to appropriate actions. The oppressed can also write their stories in form of poems and novels.  Through these venues, they can explicate all the conditions amounting to oppression (Suguna, 2009).

The women realized that they could fight strongly against their oppressors if they were in groups, which led to the formation of movements (Suguna, 2009). In the present society, there are varied groups established with the goal of thwarting people from oppression. These groups also ensure that the humanity of people is not compromised. Such groups include the human rights movement, the workers’ unions and insight groups. The oppressed can turn to such groups as a source of liberation. They can report matters pertaining to oppression that concern them. As a result, these groups can take up their matters and hold demonstrations and protests. With the reason that these groups are always established and have the needed resources, the groups have the capabilities of covering concerns raised by the oppressed to a very large extend (Kucukaydin, 2008). The voices of these groups are listened to by the government and the international community. As a result, the oppressed can access liberation. These groups also ensure that the oppressors are dealt with hence they aid in ending oppression.

The oppressed can also get the attention of the most influential people in the society. They can explain the problems they are exposed to and the elements of the oppression. If the influential person is able to cover all their concerns, then such a person can be listened to. Accordingly, the concerns raised will be addressed and the oppressed will be liberalized. In the present world, people are oppressed by employers. This is because of the loopholes in the laws that leave the employees susceptible to oppression. An influential person can influence the law and policy making procedures so that the rules are altered in a way that protects people from oppression. Consequently, due to the changes in the law, the oppressors are forced to stop their oppressive ways of liberating the oppressed (Kucukaydin, 2008).

There are times when peaceful measures of addressing issues fail to liberalize the oppressed people. This is similar to the case in South Africa where they tried peaceful talks but the Whites continued oppressing them. This led to the ANC using armed weapons to free the South Africans from the oppression of the Whites (Sonneborn, 2010). As a consequence, the oppressed can also wage against their oppressors to create an avenue for liberation. However, this has to be well-calculated so that they are not won over by the oppressors. On the other hand, there are situations when the oppressed liberalize themselves through running away (Freire, 2005). Thus, they plan well and make an escape. This way, they free themselves from the hands of the oppressors. In addition to this, the oppressed may also strike. The may refuse to work and adhere to the instructions of the oppressors. Some of the strikes are marked by protests while some go slow. However, the oppressed refuse to carry out activities allocated to them. This is done to capture the attention of the oppressor. This has to be done in solidarity to indicate the heftiness of the matter (Sonneborn, 2010). With the reason that the oppressor wishes the work to be done, the oppressor may create an avenue through which the cries and complaints of the oppressed are listened to. Necessary actions are then executed with the goal of improving the conditions of the oppressed.

For liberation to be effectively achieved, the oppressed have to be determined. They have to set strategies as stipulated earlier and go forth to execute the demands of the strategies. For instance, earlier on, the kitchen was considered as a suitable place for the women. Women were considered as not able to participate in the building of the economy. As a result, works of economic values were carried out by men. However, women changed through addressing the issues of employment and equality (Lerner, 2005).  Subsequently, the women went forth and commenced working in the industries just as their male counterparts. However, they realized that the working conditions were still used to oppress them. They waged the struggle to ensure the alteration of the working condition to suit their needs and characteristics. They have been able to achieve most of their demands and have to a large extent been liberalized. Thus, while trying to liberalize to accomplish self liberalization, the oppressed have to be very determined so as to fight all the obstacles that come their way. They are supposed to empower one another and to stick to the goals of liberalization (McDonald, 2012). Liberalization is a journey that might be travelled for a long time. This is because of the new challenges that the oppressed will realize. The oppressed are not supposed to shy away from the challenges rather they are supposed to generate solutions.

The oppressed have to view themselves as elements of the transformational process. Through this, they are able to reflect of their actions so that the outcome might be positive. Nevertheless, the oppressors may not ascribe to their efforts. In fact the oppressors may view the oppressed as activists advocating for their own needs, wants and interests. They are supposed to be courageous enough to ascribe to authentic revolution, for instance, people may do away with an oppressive regime through organizing coup (Freire, 2005). Nonetheless, true revolution demands that the oppressed hold dialogue with the oppressors so as to forge the way forward. Thus, the oppressed are not supposed to exhibit fear while fighting oppression. They have to show their expression and effectively participate in the power.

Oppressors impede the communication process. They cut most of channels utilized for communication with the oppressed. However, through revolutionary measures for liberalization, the oppressed have to ensure the establishment and maintenance of the communication. This is to ensure dialogue as a way of leading with the oppressive issues (Freire, 2005). Conversely, there are times when it is difficult to establish effective communication between the oppressor and the oppressed. There are moments when holding dialogue is difficult due to the unwillingness of the oppressor. In such situation, a third part, who is the mediator, can be employed. The mediator is supposed to address the issues of the oppressed to the oppressor until an agreement is reached.


Oppression lowers the humanity level of the oppressed. Thus, it makes the oppressed to feel less of a human being. As a result; the oppressed has to fight against oppression so as to regain humanity. There are various avenues which the oppressed can take advantage of and fight oppression. No matter the course of action taken, the oppressed have to calculate their plans well so as to yield fruits. They are also supposed to try peaceful ways first before resulting to the use of war. In addition to this, the oppressed have to also ensure high levels of solidarity. They have to speak the same voice so as to be listened to by the oppressors.


Freire, P. (2005). Pedagogy of the Oppressed (30th Anniversary ed.). (M. Ramos, Trans.) New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Kucukaydin, I. (2008). Counter-Learning under Oppression. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest.

Lerner, G. (2005). The Majority Finds its Past : Placing Women In History. Chapel Hill (N.C): The university of North Carolina Press.

McDonald, K. (2012). Feminism, the Left, and Postwar Literary Culture. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Sonneborn, L. (2010). The End of Apartheid in South Africa. New York: Chelsea House.

Suguna, B. (2009). Women’s Movement. New Delhi: Discovery Pub. House.



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