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‘The Hunger Games’ Salute Becomes A Real Symbol Of Rebellion In Thailand

In the midst of our trailer woes comes a story that brings real life into perspective.

The three-fingered salute used by fans of The Hunger Games has become a real symbol of rebellion in Thailand, as citizens deal with a military coup. According to Time, that has resulted in people being arrested and detained for up to a week for using the salute to show opposition.

Images and video from Thailand paint an eerily similar picture to the rebellious scenes we both imagined in the books and saw in the movies.

The usage of the symbol has been slightly altered, but in a way that actually makes it seem more rebellious. Using their right hands instead of their left for the salute, protesters use their left hand to cover their mouths to represent their oppression.

Here is the passage from Catching Fire where the symbol quickly went from one of love and goodbye to a symbol of rebellion. This happens after Katniss’ speech in District 11 on the Victory Tour.

What happens next is not an accident. It is too well executed to be spontaneous, because it happens in complete unison. Every person in the crowd presses the three middle fingers of their left hand against their lips and extends them to me. It’s our sign from District 12, the last good-bye I gave Rue in the arena.

If I hadn’t spoken to President Snow, this gesture might move me to tears. But with his recent orders to calm the districts fresh in my ears, it fills me with dread.

What will he think of this very public salute to the girl who defied the Capitol? The full impact of what I’ve done hits me. It was not intentional—I only meant to express my thanks—but I have elicited something dangerous. An act of dissent from the people of District 11. This is exactly the kind of thing I am supposed to be defusing!

–Catching Fire

There are reports of plainclothes police officers going undercover to find and arrest people using the salute and now there is debate going on within the top military brass on whether or not to ban the gesture. It’s enough to send chills down your spine.

What do you think about this pop-culture reference suddenly making its way into reality?

About Crystal

A 40-year-old mom to three living in Honolulu, Hawaii, Crystal Watanabe is a full-time freelance fiction editor.

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