There are gestures, like the fist raised to the sky, symbol of the fight, whose meaning we all know. On the other hand, there are others, which we do or see without really knowing their meaning. Sometimes it’s serious. Sometimes it matters. It happens to be beautiful. But in any case… You have to know it. To help, or just to know the consequences in public! It can save a life or ruin yours… No, the quenelle is not funny.
1. Raising the four fingers of the hand, and closing them: a sign that you are experiencing domestic violence
A harmless gesture, which saved the life of a young American last November. Set up during the Covid-19 pandemic by the Canadian’s Women Foundation and widely distributed on Tiktok, this sign allows victims of domestic violence to discreetly report it to their loved ones. Since then, other signs and coded languages have been put in place: draw a black dot in his hand (a red dot in India), claim a « masque 19 » at the pharmacy, ask “Is Angela there?” » in a bar in case of harassment or use the application App they. The latter allows you to secretly call the police and relatives, while sending your location, just by clicking on an alert button. Let’s open our eyes, let’s pay attention to these little gestures. It is important. Really.
2. The “OK” symbol, also a rallying sign for the extreme right
We’ve all already done it with our fingers or sent it as an emoji in a conversation, yet… The OK is no longer OK at all! He has become the symbol of extremists and white supremacists in the US. It all started in 2015, when several Trump supporters displayed the sign in public, and the gesture spread on social networks in the form of a meme. According to the explanations, where we see a simple “OK”, the extremists see the initials of “White Power”. The three fingers in the air representing a W, and the circle formed by the thumb and the index, associated with the extension of the wrist, forming a “P”. In any case, the sign has been subject to various fantasies for years (never very positive, by the way), since others see it as an “O-KKK”, the three “K”s referring to the Ku Klux Klan. In short, if you’re OK, give it a thumbs up. It’s safer.
3. … and thumbs down, four fingers up: the pro-Erdogan sign
The “R4bia”, international symbol of support for the Muslim Brotherhood since the “Rabia massacre” in Egypt, in August 2013. That day, the dispersal of supporters of the ousted Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, had turned tragic: 638 people killed, 4,000 others injured. Say like that, we say to ourselves that a sign of support after such a massacre is beautiful, BUT… The Society of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamic transnational organization founded in 1928, is in fact recognized as a terrorist group by several countries. (Egypt, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Austria,…). This sign can then be considered as a symbol of support for a terrorist action. Immediately, it’s more chilling. So when Erdogan, the Turkish president and his activists, raise four fingers in the air, of course… It has a “funny” effect.
4. Three fingers in the air: the symbol of Svoboda, Ukrainian party
In Ukrainian as in Russian, “Svoboda” means “Freedom”, and yet… This party is actually the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist party, to the right of the right, not to say… To the extreme right of far right. He is particularly known for his many anti-Semitic outbursts. According to political scientist Ivan Katchanovski, at its origins (1991), the party had neo-Nazi characteristics.
At the time, it wanted to be built around “land” and “blood”, buttressed around “Ukrainian ethnos”, understood as “white fundamentalism, racial superiority over enemies (namely: Russia , Poland, and… the Jewish people)”. VIBE. An analysis shared by many journalists and organizations, who consider this party to be neo-fascist, neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic (although these labels are disputed).
Today, the party claims some 20,000 members, but is only very poorly represented in Parliament. On the other hand, on the ground, its militants have often distinguished themselves on the front line of combat against pro-Russian separatists. In 2014, the party proposed reducing Ukrainian citizenship to “men of stock and blood”, and in 2012 MP Igor Miroshnichenko rejected Mila Kunis’ Ukrainian origins, defining her as “Jidovka”. Translate: person of Jewish faith or having Jewish ancestry. Other than that, they’re not anti-Semitic, TMTC.
In the war that is currently shaking the country, they are opposed to Russia… In the name, of course, of nationalism. Putin has also used this type of party to “legitimize” his attacks, declaring that he wants to “denazify” the country… BUT. GOOD. SURE. (For find out more.)
5. Three fingers in the air is also: the Hunger Games salute, symbol of the fight for democracy
Whether we love or hate Hunger Games, we all remember this salute, 3 fingers in the air, symbol of the resistance of the people against the organizers of the games. Well, in real life too, this gesture has become a real emblem of struggle.
We are in Thailand, in 2014. Major protest movements agitate the country, after a military coup. While the second part of the saga has just been released in the country, a young opponent reproduces the gesture during a rally in front of a shopping center. The crowd imitates him. The images make the rounds of the newspapers, and all the demonstrators adopt it as a symbol of the aspiration for more democracy.
More recently, in 2021, it was the Burmese who marched through the streets, three fingers raised to the sky, to denounce the military coup and the overthrow of leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Even if they are almost identical: nothing to do with the sign of “the scout promise”, which means to be loyal, to serve one’s neighbor and to observe the scout law.
6. The triangle with the hands: symbol of feminism
The geometric shape of a downward-pointing triangle evokes the shape of the vagina. Feminists have therefore taken it up, putting the point upwards. It was the Italian Giovanna Pala who established it in 1972: during a convention on crimes against women at the Mutualité, she waved her hands above her head and formed a triangle. (Source.)
7. The triangle with the fingers: support for the Paris Olympic candidacy (when it was not yet recorded)
So yes, the info dates back to 2016-2017, before Paris was officially chosen for the 2024 Olympics, BUT… It is still important to talk about it for a good reason: the images of politicians and sportsmen making this sign are still regularly relayed on social networks by conspirators, headlining “THE PROOF THAT IT’S WESH ILLUMINATIS, THEY MAKE THE TRIANGLE WITH THEIR FINGER. SICK CRAZY THING. “. NOPE. It doesn’t mean that. This sign, which strongly resembles the Eiffel Tower, simply means “Paris” in sign language. That’s all !
8. Two outstretched fingers, horizontal: used during the Hundred Years War to taunt the adversary
Go back in time, heading for the 14th and 15th centuries, and translate this gesture into a “we’re kidding you sir!” “. According to legend, during the Hundred Years War, this sign was a kind of “fuck” to taunt the adversary. Showing two fingers, arm perpendicular to the body allowed to say to the opponent “tralaleeeeer I still have two fingers, they weren’t cut off, I can shoot an archery and smash you! “. (One of the number one tortures of the French at this time was, indeed, to deprive English archers of their two fingers, to prevent them from shooting again). (Source.)
Today, in England, the middle finger is always done with the same two fingers… But vertically, this time!
9. The bise in three stages (right/left/right) with hand on the shoulder: rallying sign of the Freemasons
This is the very first sign taught to Freemasons, while they are still apprentices. Among the other signs: the handshake which is done with pressure from the middle finger, index finger and thumb (depending on the rank, they are operated differently) and the word semester. Renewed every 6 months, it associates the name of a Freemason with a value of Masonry and allows access to the lodges. (Source.)
10. The quenelle (we knew it, but it’s always good to remember it)
The quenelle is an ultra-controversial gesture (you surprise me), created by Dieudonné in the 2000s. At the time, for Roger Cukierman, former president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), this gesture is a “reverse nazi salute”. For others, it is an “arm of honor, aimed particularly at the powerful, the rich and… The Jews. » (Dieudonné considering that a Jewish lobby has the hand on the capacity and that it is declined in all the spheres). So. Either way, it’s an anti-Semitic gesture.
11. Arms crossed on the chest: WAKANDA
Made more than famous by the Marvel “Black Panthers”, the “Wakanda” sign is known to all. According to director Ryan Coogler, this greeting is inspired by the sculptures of West Africa, the position of deceased pharaohs (symbol of eternity) and the word “hug” in American Sign Language. The combination of the three giving the mythical “Wakanda Forever Salute”. This film marks Marvel’s first black superhero and lead character. Beyond the cinema, this sign has therefore taken on an important cultural significance, especially with the black community, T’Challa representing a powerful symbol of affirmation and unity. The salute was then taken up all over the world, and especially in the sports world, to convey a message of reunification of societies, especially at a time of the Black Lifes Matter movement. (Source.)