Will this German campaign to name a street after Edward Snowden work?

Snowdenstreet | political resistance is not a terrorist act

Jörg Janzer and a little wheatpaste unwittingly launched a campaign to honor the NSA whistleblower.

A street art campaign in which Berlin artist Jörg Janzer was videotaped defacing the city’s street signs, has been turned into a global effort to honor the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

Janzer had printed the words “Snowden Strasse” (Snowden Street, in German) on paper signs and pasted them carefully over existing Berlin street signs, such as Schwedter Straße in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood in the video below. 

The video became so popular, sparked so many people’s imaginations, that a group called the Fundamental Rights Party (FRP) has launched a website at Snowdenstreet.de to make it a public campaign. 

The FRP plans to introduce a legislative initiative in Germany to change the name of the section of Berlin’s Behrenstrasse that runs in front of the American and British embassies to “Edward Snowden Street.” 

The party is also encouraging people around the world to do the same thing in their countries, renaming “important streets or squares” after Snowden. 

For Americans, the effort will probably trigger thoughts of renaming streets in this country after Martin Luther King Jr. or Cesar Chavez. In Europe, where free speech laws are by and large weaker than America’s, but where privacy laws are usually much stronger, Snowden’s revelations about the American and British intelligence services’ actions have been shocking. 

The effort is particularly timely as German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gone public in her condemnation of her own alleged surveillance by the NSA (despite the unlikelihood of its having tapped the telephone she uses for her official governmental business). 

H/T Motherboard | Image via Snowdenstreet.de

Curt Hopkins

Curt Hopkins

Curt Hopkins has over two decades of experience as a journalist, editorial strategist, and social media manager. His work has been published by Ars Technica, Reuters, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle. He is the also founding director of the Committee to Protect Bloggers, the first organization devoted to global free speech rights for bloggers