Democracy or Authoritarian state? Does it matter?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
Democracy or Authoritarian state? It doesn't really matter when it comes to protests. Insight into recent protests, including the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall St.

Submitted: November 21, 2011

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Submitted: November 21, 2011



If you've been following the news within the past year or so, you've probably realized that there is civil unrest occuring in the Middle East. For example, young students took the streets in Tunisia and were advocating for more freedom. They felt that their generation was being opressed. The revolution spread. Egypt was next, then came Libya, Syria, and Yemen. These people were all sick and tired of the authoritarian regimes in their country. Most of them wanted change. They took to the streets, and for the most part, protested peacefully. The government opressed them, however, and condemned these calls for freedom. It was understandable to us, these young students and intellectuals were being ruled by an authoritarian regime that was ruthless, killing its own citizens for lobbying for more freedom.

Then, protests started happening in the United States. They weren't the same kind of protests. The people supporting "Occupy Wall Street" weren't asking for more freedom, or were they? These protesters call themselves the "one percent." They feel that government supports big business and big banks. However, the real reason they are protesting is because of a dying American Dream. The protesters have realized that the chances for them to be successful are slipping away. The business opportunities just aren't there anymore. Anyway, that isn't the connection.

The connection is that the "Occupy" protesters, as I'll refer to them from now on, have been opressed. There is a striking resemblence between the opressed Libyan citizen and an "Occupy" protestor. At the beginning of last week, a New York City judge ruled in favor of the "Occupy" protesters, and their right to occupy(pun intended) Zuccoti Park. Roughly three days later the judge "changed" his mind and ruled in favor of New York City. Yet, the protestors continued, albeit a mere fourteen showed up the next day. Does this strike you as odd? An Iraq war veteran was shot in the head in Oakland after peacefully protesting. The government shut down the right to inhabit Zuccotti Park. Peaceful protesters have been beaten and arrested, in a country that allows its citizens to execute his/her First Amendment rights.

The point is, no matter where you are, what type of religious background you have, or the type of regime you live in, protesting and assembling is looked down upon by authority. It brings fear into the minds of the powerful leaders. It doesn't matter whether your leader is a full-on dictator or the leader of the free world. Mass assembly is generally not accepted because of the fear factor.

© Copyright 2018 John Woods. All rights reserved.

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