Sept. 17, 2012
By Susan Brooks
The police crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street movement, since its beginning one- year ago today on Sept. 17, 2011, undermines core American values of freedom in the eyes of the world.
Particularly now, when extremist religious rhetoric is being used (and abused) to spark anti-American demonstrations around the world, this is an especially important time for the practice of respect for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, freedoms that are indispensable to the freedom of religion and the practice of democracy, to be on display in the United States.
Instead, what the world is seeing is photos of arrests of Occupy protesters as they attempt to take their message of Wall Street’s responsibility for the nation’s economic meltdown to the streets once again and call for policies that support economic equality and fairness.
Suppressing the message of Occupy Wall Street is wrong on many levels, both political and religious. It is anti-democratic, and also, in my view as a Christian pastor and teacher, in contradiction to the message at the center of the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth of caring for the poor, and rejecting violence.
These messages, both religious and political, are needed now perhaps even more than a year ago.
#S17 is the Twitter hashtag for the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. A year ago, the Internet group Anonymous encouraged its readers to join #OccupyWallStreet calling protesters to “flood lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street.” An Occupy Wall Street page on Facebook began on September 19, 2011 with a YouTube video of the early protests, and by September 22, it had reached critical mass.
By mid-October, Facebook listed 125 Occupy-related pages and roughly one in every 500 hashtags used on Twitter, all around the world, was the movement’s own #OWS.
Seemingly overnight, Americans saw mushrooming tents in the midst of their towns and cities throughout the fall of 2011.
What Americans seldom saw, however, was the full scale of the police response to the Occupy movement. This is due, in large part, to police targeting journalists attempting to cover the movement. According to “Reporters Without Borders,” in their 2011-2012 press ranking, Bahrain and Egypt both fell precipitously in the rankings for their crackdowns on journalistic freedom, but shockingly so did the United States. As the report said, “the United States (47th) also owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests.”
Full Article Here – http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/occupy-wall-street-protesters-protect-them-recognize-human-rights-begin-at-home/2012/09/17/8f517f64-00f2-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_blog.html