On September 17, 2012, the Occupy Wall Street Movement will have its one year anniversary on which it will attempt to surround the New York Stock Exchange in a giant act of protest. It will be one year ago then that a group of activists began to ‘occupy’ Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan in protest of global capitalist policies, social issues, government corruption and wars, along with a host of other issues. This anniversary may be particularly significant given the current political situation that has arisen over the last couple of days worldwide.
It was Friday that a massive outbreak of protest and violence spilled out over the Middle East and the world, in protest of an anti-Muslim internet film made in the United States. The violence and unrest is most prevalent in Middle Eastern and African nations, yet it has reached as far as Australia.(reu) Many foreign embassies have come under attack, and the United States and other countries have sent military aid to them in reply. There was even an attack on the military base in Afghanistan where Prince Harry is stationed, which made headlines all around the globe. This violence and outrage has been largely attributed to the release of the American film. Yet, these outbreaks may have as much to do with an internet movie, as the Boston Tea Party had to do with the flavor of British tea.
The kind of poverty and violence that people throughout Africa and the Middle East live with is incomprehensible to most Westerners. Many different financial policies, military campaigns, and international sanctions have left these areas extremely difficult places to live. Constant bombings, roving gangs, and a sense of pervasive national insecurity are realities that simply personify a person’s life in Sudan, Libya, and Iraq. The extremely strong religious sentiments within the Middle East and Africa have many sources, and a simple frustration with inequality may be a large one. The Occupy Wall Street Movement is a group that has made it its mission to confront many different kinds of inequality on both a national and international basis. (wiki)
Through popularizing phrases such as ‘We are the 99%’, OWS has brought attention to the extremely large disparity between the rich and poor. Here in America there has been a great deal of exposure to how deep the rift between rich and poor has become, and how the middle class has shrunk steadily over time. Yet, this disparity reaches a whole new significance when one looks at poverty and inequality worldwide. What would the people of Switzerland or Belgium do if they had to live like the people of Sudan or Afghanistan for even one day?
Those of us that truly believe that ‘religion’ is the only reason for these protests, might want to take a better look at what the Occupy Movement has been trying to tell us.