Hessel, father of modern peaceful insurrection, dies at 95

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Hessel, father of modern peaceful insurrection, dies at 95

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The writer Stéphane Hessel, whose works inspired a global wave of social protests, has died in Paris. He was 95.

Three years ago, he wrote a pamphlet entitled Time for Outrage that many believe was the spur for the so-called Occupy movement in Wall Street and around the world and the Indignados in Spain.

The following year he brought out another which he called Get Involved! “After the outrage,” he said, “it is the time to get involved.”

The 32-page Time for Outrage sold 4.5-million copies in dozens of countries around the world.

Hessel called for ‘peaceful insurrection’ to counter a widening gap between the very rich and the very poor, and the treatment of immigrants in France.

It was perhaps apt for a writer that Hessel’s life story itself read like an adventure novel.
He had been a diplomat, a French resistance fighter and a serial escaper from Nazi concentration camps.

Hessel was a left-winger and a committed European.

“There has been nothing better in my generation than to have made the EU. But we haven’t finished the job,” he said.

The French president Francois Hollande wrote: “His capacity for indignation had no bounds other than those of his own life. He leaves us a lesson: to refuse to accept any injustice.”