Last Sunday I joined the nearest local chapter of Anonymous for the Voiceless,1 after many nudges from my better half who has been a member for quite a while now. As I have already written in the past, it is about time I put my thoughts into action.2 What does it mean to be in a Cube of Truth, though? More importantly, what does it mean to finally act as an activist?

A Cube of Truth is a simple and yet powerful way to engage in street activism. Activists wearing anonymous masks hold screens (television sets, laptops, etc.) big enough to display footage coming from slaughterhouses, farms, and all sorts of practices that exploit and abuse non-human animals. It is called cube because, given enough activists, we form a cube-resembling shape,3 usually alternating screens with cardboard panels containing only one word: truth. Otherwise, we do what we can as long as the images speak for themselves. When passers-by stop and watch for more than just few seconds the bloodbath we display, activists outside the Cube, not wearing masks, start the so called outreach, which means they engage in a conversation about the relationship between the images on the screens and the temporary spectator’s own responsibilities.

From there anything can happen, and that is why I was not sure that this was the right thing to do for me. I have always been horribly shy and I tend to keep to myself when in public. Or so I believed. As soon as it was my turn to approach a by-stander something clicked. It was as if the only thing that mattered was reasoning calmly about my purpose for being there, respecting the person’s opinions while slowly eroding their confidence with the cruel reality of animal suffering. The key was always making my listener understand that as long as they do not act differently they are accountable for what is happening on the screens. I even surprised myself when I was able to control the tone of my reactions and the words I was using. I guess I have to thank my years at Ca' Foscari university for this, because I am pretty sure I would not have been able to do it otherwise.4

On the other hand, I was luckier than other activists. I shadowed some of them in order to learn from their experience, and after seeing them dealing with arrogant kids and obnoxious trolls not only I admired their patience, but I also asked myself: what if I were to be caught in that sort of discussions? Were they serious discussions or just distractions from real work? I saw an important lesson for me to take away there, which is learning when to halt the conversation and move on. If there is someone eager to listen and curious enough to question their own beliefs and customs, then the discussion is going somewhere and maybe there is a chance that they will rethink their actions sooner rather than later or, worse, never.

Moreover, contrary to what I usually think of myself this has led me to believe that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I can speak up for what I value, I can defend my opinion, and I can offer an alternative, reasonable point of view to people in real life, right there on the street. This is where my words have a meaning that feels tangible. This is where I belong.

  1. See: Anonymous for the Voiceless↩︎

  2. See: World Vegan Day↩︎

  3. More of a square, if you ask me, but let us not get into geometry right now. ↩︎

  4. Angry replies seem like yesterday when I think about it. And of course, the angrier I got, the less I was making sense. ↩︎