Thursday, December 29, 2011

Occupy!con; Icons of the movement 2011

Dori Rainey via the Guardian January 13, 2012

Christmas 2010 seems like a decade ago, yet it was just one year. In this article we will highlight those who have contributed to the Occupy movement in interesting ways over the past year.
The first highlight is tragic, only the aftereffects can be characterized as interesting. An article by CBSNews entitled How a slap sparked Tunisia's revolution published February 20, 2011, recounts the plight of a Tunisian fruit vendor who had had enough. On December 17, 2010, 26-yr.-old Mohammed Bouazizi set himself ablaze in the square where he sold fruit. The act of despair, over police confiscating a scale Bouzizi would need ten days wages to replace, evoked sympathy in his village and sparked events that led to the Arab Spring. Mohammed Bouazizi died from his injuries on January 4th of this year. Ten days later the city of Tunis was brought to a halt by mass protests.

We will leave the civil unrest overseas and turn to our own home for the remainder of our Icons. However, if you are interested in the development of the Arabic uprisings, the Guardian UK has produced a timeline with a dizzying resemblance to a roller-coaster; perhaps not an inappropriate comparison.

Based in Vancouver British Columbia, Adbusters published a blog post on February 2, 2011 entitled A Million Man March on Wall Street. The culture-jamming association of artists, writers,  educators and students is credited with sparking demonstrations in North America. In another post on July 13, 2011 entitled #OCCUPYWALLSTREET, A shift in revolutionary tactics we first see the now iconic bull-dancer. It appeared on the web as the icon for that days blog post.

Photo: Joshua Trujillo
From here on the images multiply exponentially. We chose Dori Rainey, the 84 year old who was pepper sprayed during the Tuesday, November 15, 2011 OccupySeattle protest. Occupy Seattle was marching in support of Occupy WallSt. In an interview with Seattle Times she is quoted,
"I don't want to be the 'hero' of this thing. I want to be able to be a person that speaks to the issues," Rainey said to the Times. "It's easy for people to see the picture and say, 'Cops stink.' There's a reason why we
are where we are right now, and that needs to be discussed."
Even if Mrs. Rainey does not wish to be a hero, she exemplifies courage at a time in her life when she could be lunching with friends and bouncing grandchildren on her knee, which we suspect she does anyway.

Photo credit: Tim Pool, TheOther99

We also chose the independent journalist, specifically Tim Pool and Henry Ferry of TheOther99; they are simply the best of the best. To date we have seen them broadcast 19 hours straight and Tim has been shoved around by police at least twice.

Two different styles; Tim looks like what he is, a skater. Henry looks like well a reporter, actually. One overriding ethic, good journalism. Tim is sympathetic to the angst that motivates the Occupy movement, however he is clear about his role, he reports what he sees. To quote Tim, "If you are making a decision that will effect someone else's life, prepare for public scrutiny."

Finally, we chose the Veterans. Those who having done a tour, two, some three overseas and then come home to renew their oaths again by protecting their fellow citizens. Sgt Thomas became the face of the Occupy movement on the east coast, when he put himself between protesters and thirty New York police officers.

Scott Olsen became the face of the Occupy movement on the west coast after being hit in the head with a projectile during an OccupyOakland march gone very wrong. It is good to see him up and around. It is difficult to hear him speak; brain damage has affected his speech for now; however, a full recovery seems to be possible.

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