Since Occupy Wall street protests have begun getting cracked down on, I have been watching my lists mocking how these have been compared to the protests in the Middle East. It’s pissing me off. Are people being indiscriminately killed, no. Have they suffered the same kind of oppression, no. Are the crowds massive? Hell no. However there are a lot of parallels at it’s eyeopening. I don’t think comparing their protests to the others is in any way derogatory. If anything I think it is extending a hand to the other side of the world that we don’t pay enough attention to here. Once everyone figures out that people are people and we are not controlling the world like we think we are, real change can happen. I find it frustrating that the people who champion one will sit there and mock the other.
While I don’t see Egypt, Libya, Syria or Yemen in the crackdowns. I can tell you that I felt like I was watching the Pearl Roundabout of February 17th again. It felt so much like it that I really don’t think I would have been shocked to see Salmaniya happen again.
The middle of the night crackdown, the 10 minute warning. How quickly they moved in, the people on twitter cheering on the cops and acting like it was a huge joke. The media blackout, arresting reporters. The tweets coming out of the park. The pile of tents dismantled, the home in the park destroyed in minutes.
We also have to remember how whitewashed our news is here. We tend to not be watching aljazeera. If you aren’t, did you really see what happened in these protests? The most telling to me the other day was a picture that was labelled graphic. The picture was the top one here: http://www.alternet.org/story/153134/caught_on_camera:_10_shockingly_violent_police_assaults_on_occupy_protesters/
I have been watching twitter and up until Mo Nabbous died, I had been watching the videos. I have seen bodies torn apart, exposed brains, horror no one should ever see. But that isn’t what we are seeing over here. This bloody picture is still graphic to us. Have we really seen the horror of what is going on over there? Plus they were so set on calling Egypt peaceful even that violence seemed to be rated PG. Death is still about statistics and not about human beings. We know 12 people were killed today, not that this poor child was shot in the head while sitting in a car, or this other child was beaten by cops and left to die.
And if the general population isn’t seeing the difference, the media has themselves to blame. It is their job to make sure that these voices get heard. Shake people’s bubbles and make them see the human being behind the death toll. It isn’t about condemning protesters in a park who feel connected to the struggles in their country.
And let’s get real here. Maybe some day they will get it. But it is the same struggle, and deep down it is the same people they want stopped. Money rules this world. War is the money making machine that keeps people oppressed and hungry. It is aid and military spending that keeps the people in power and keeps us small. As long as everyone keeps paying big money for bombs to kill us like insects, as long as aid isn’t really about helping people, but about sending big contracts to overpay westerners who send that money back home and don’t inject it into the economies it is supposed to help nothing is going to change. Would Mubarak have stayed in power that long if he didn’t have money and connection and the US couldn’t make money off the aid that was sent and the tanks they could sell?
Same people, different levels of violence tolerated. And we are the bugs. All of us. All across the world. If we start connecting on a human level, don’t discourage it.