The second clause of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights mentions that all humans are equal in terms of rights and that formal organizations such as the government itself cannot discriminate against different peoples. Can the individual disobey laws and rules to protect his own rights when a higher body like the government is the one stomping on them?
Many states and their constitutions allow citizens to protest peacefully against any violation of rights or misconduct of any kind. Notably, one of the most effective peaceful protests of humankind was what Mahatma Gandhi did in the year 1930. He marched for 400 kilometers, fought for the independence of his country with more people joining his walk to freedom every day. The empire had arrested more than sixty thousand including Gandhi himself. Did this stop India from becoming independent?
Protest methods vary with culture. This means that the action of fighting for rights cannot be peaceful on all occasions. Gandhi was a member of the Indian culture that was mostly guided by a religious code of Hinduism. This had a big effect on the protesters as they were naturally inclined to peace. However, in some cases, one must physically fight for their rights. Whether these actions are justified or not; ethical or not, one must always be aware of their rights and grasp them firmly.
This is what most of the wars of independence throughout history teach us. Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu famously describes war as an art. In the right context, this is absolutely true and the better performer always wins in a contest. My point is that independence wars are justified because it is almost like natural selection. Movements of democracy have been popular for about 300 years (since the French Revolution) and democracy has actually survived and has overcome monarchy as people became aware of their rights. Protests turned into wars of independence and slowly democracy was the choice for freedom.
Another point to be made is that the justification of actions of resistance can only be mentioned while the actions are in motion. This implies that if a movement was successful, it was meant to be and as mentioned before, justified by natural selection of methods. Whether this method was ethical can be later discussed in the science of ethics however, we must always be conscious about one crucial thing: actions have consequences.
Humankind’s basic instinct is to persevere at all times against any obstacle. As peoples all around the world freed their minds by reading books, they started to feel a gap between the level of their notional and physical freedom. Sometimes this blank space is filled with blood and that is unpreventable in most circumstances.
“Sovereignty is not given, it is taken.”
― Mustafa Kemal Atatürk