by Roz Omid
21 September 2012
First time I saw your face I was on my way out of a subway station in Tehran last fall. It was a large photo of you with your hands forced behind you in handcuffs. Right next to you a police officer with his hands on you and on the handcuff. You weren’t violent and you sure weren’t expressionless either. I noticed there were more photographs, a room or two made by partition walls. A photo gallery with Occupy Wall Street pictures. I figured authorities wanted people to know that even in the United States this kind of police arrest happens.
In those pictures some of you were in more pain than others. Some shouting as you were being dragged on the pavement by the police. You were resisting “injustice” and the police were paid to arrest you in order for “justice” to be served.
I didn’t get a sense that by occupy you meant to take over what was not yours. The way I saw it you desired to fill a void of human values. Facing fear as you voiced your opinion in relation to oppression. It was and is a way of exploring what is behind the curtain of scarcity.
When I came back to the States in January 2012 I saw you online and elsewhere being interviewed in the park and on the streets. You talked about your jobs or lack of it, about your new art projects. You told your stories of growth and change.
You are my heroines and my heroes. You stood up for me. You faced your fears and you showed others how to face their fears. You began to notice in whom the oppression was most active and alive even within your own community. You looked into your own mind and soul to identify the oppressor within.
Most of you had student loan debt to prove it yet like me struggling to make ends meet month to month watching the years go by as the rich get richer and they don’t even know how they ended up with so many multi million dollar houses around the country. Yet for us the old American dream of home ownership is dead or about to die. We need a new dream and new vision of happiness and prosperity that does not involve having to have an oppressor and the oppressed. The current system is so prevalent that the oppressor doesn’t even know it is the oppressor. He lives behind the mask of trickle down economics or some other mask and when the masks wear out he pulls out a different mask with a different name.
Happy birthday OWS. Thank you for standing up for yourself and in turn standing up for me and people like me. Thank you for going out there and crossing the line, facing the pain and give voice, if not to the 99% then at least to the 47%.
Some of you might be writing or talking about the core reason that the 1% was created in the first place but I don’t hear it. I don’t hear the fundamental cause of this imbalance of power and wealth. I don’t hear discussion on what could be the core reason for the environmental and social crises we face on the planet today. It certainly isn’t Democratic vs. Republican parties nor the Green party vs. Independents, neither Islamist vs. Communism. It is not about Muslims vs. Christians nor the Western Empire vs. Middle Eastern. Maybe it is about a system that helps perpetuate command and obedience as a normal way of life.
One commentator on TV says that there are no leaders in the occupy movement and the other commentator says there are always leaders and they should be identified and be accountable. I am cautious of the latter because this group of thinkers, knowingly or not, wants to associate faces and people to leadership position that they have in mind in order to perpetuate the system that created slavery in America, cast system in India and the modern day 1% in America. My question to this group is this: Did leadership mentality came to human consciousness first or slavery?
Thank God for the Bushman tribe in Africa for still being around and for the DNA research that has been done which proves that we all, white Europeans, Chinese, Native Americans, ALL of us come from that tribe. As far as I know there is not leadership among the Bushman tribe. There are roles that men and women and children have in order to feed, shelter, cloth and entertain the community. No leadership but comprehending the essential role that each individual needs to take on and work on mastering that roll without trying to dominate others.
I haven’t noticed leaders in the occupy movement and I don’t believe there is a need for leaders for any healthy system that can replace our broken “democratic system”. We need “participatory democracy.” And if we want to live more harmoniously with less wars and oppression we definitely don’t need leaders and the system that creates war.
I can see when prophets have said things like; The Lord is my shepherd. But another human being who has not experienced the glory of the Lord can not be a shepherd nor a leader. Even al Master Soul is not a political leader. On the other hand some of their disciples or the people who came after became leaders of religious empires.
The occupy movement and the healthy communities that has come out of it are not about confronting the bullies and making them pay. It is not even about trying to make the bully understand that there is a better way to live for him or her too. It’s about the development and evolution of our own individual and community intelligence and creative ways of expression to create healthier patterns.
The old patterns that repeat themselves and create this 1% aristocracy need to give away to a more evolved patterns. Patterns that help the 1% to fully enjoys life as who they are not. The pattern that created the modern day 1% in America was in Egypt 4000 years ago and that 1% were called Pharaohs with their families and friends, there was also the Greek Empire, Persian Empire, Roman Empire, Japaneses Empire, British Empire, Genghis Khan and you name it. They all had their elite on top who were given or took most of the power.
The French 1% back over 200 years ago were toppled down by mobs of hungry and angry people. Now in America the 1% is back in full power with a different name (“free market capitalism” or whatever they are called) and they have the same top-down system of command and obedience. To protect themselves from an angry mob they have a sheltered, fed and vacationed police force – who may not be content as a soul. But there aren’t so much of angry mob but intelligent, creative, and artistic individuals and communities of people developing and evolving their relation to the society and nature.