“There’s never been an armed occupation in history that wasn’t overthrown in force.”
John Diggle, “Uprising,” Arrow
In a recent episode of Arrow, during a conversation with the rest of the green-hooded (at that point believed-to-be-dead) hero’s gang, resident badass Diggle utters the phrase above. It’s a pretty cool phrase, uttered by a character who is a military veteran and knows a little something about armed combat.
The only problem is it’s untrue. And I knew it immediately. How would I know this and the writers of Arrow wouldn’t? I’m not sure, because I don’t think it would have been hard to google it. Hell, it was the subject of an Academy Award-winning film. Give up?
I can sum it up in three words: Mahatma frigging Gandhi.
Yeah, a little bald dude in a toga who spent his free time making yarn on a loom, walking all over India and kicking the British Empire’s privileged, heavily armed ass the whole way back to Europe, minus the ass kicking. Gandhi wasn’t the only one involved, of course, but he fronted the movement and became a worldwide sensation when the only thing resembling a global media outlet was BBC radio.
That’s a pretty big oversight on the Arrow crew’s part. I’m betting there are other examples out there of civil disobedience working, although maybe not on the scale of what Gandhi and his fellow Indians pulled off.
Someone needed to step away from the script and fact check. And they didn’t. Because here’s the thing: A character like Diggle would know full well that the line he uttered was complete bullshit and never have uttered it in the first place.
Don’t play Diggle like a punk. And don’t play Arrow viewers like punks, either.