This morning, I came across a list of the 45 Most Powerful Photos of 2011 posted on Facebook by a friend of mine, and a few of them I felt I needed to share.
I was moved to tears several times looking at these images, but three that hit me really hard were these photos of the treatment of Occupy protesters in different cities. I was moved to tears and sickened by the treatment of peaceful protesters by law enforcement that these photos portray.
This photo makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. But that's one reason it feels so important to me. There are a lot of people in this country right now who are fighting for their rights, fighting for the country they deserve. If you can look at this last photo, and explain to me how it was in any way justified for police to spray this 84 year old woman in the face with mace, maybe I'll listen. But I'm pretty sure that NO ONE can justify that treatment.
Whether or not you agree with the protesters and what they stand for, how can you not see how wrong this is? Yes, they are making things inconvenient for some people. Maybe they are blocking the sidewalk and you think they're in the way. In what world does that justify spraying people with pepper spray who are already sitting and completely under control? To me, this looks like absolute abuse of authority. Citizens of this country have the RIGHT to stand up for themselves, and to try and cause change. No one has the right to treat people this way for voicing their opinions. How are these cops any better than regimes in other countries beating people for what they believe in?
I have not been involved in protests. I do believe there is something really wrong with a country where corporations are given rights and tax breaks and allowed to do whatever they want when people are going hungry. I think that business needs to get out of the government, and stay out. And, in short, what ever happened to COMPASSION?! What happened to those who have more giving a bit more to support those who are really struggling? What happened to caring about your fellow human beings instead of hoarding for yourself? What happened to treating people (yes, even protesters) with dignity and respect? What has happened in this country that these things are okay?
The fact that people are being treated this way and are not backing down should say something to those people out there who think this is just going to go away. It's been 82 days, it's not going away, and I'm hoping for real change, powered by the people. If you're interested in learning more about the Occupy movement, here is a very simple commercial to get started.
If you search "Occupy Wall Street" on YouTube, you can find lots of videos with great information from people like Keith Olbermann, Michael Moore, and Jon Stewart.
You can also check out Occupy Wall Street, the unofficial website with information and resources about the movement. The Occupy Wall Street page at Adbusters also has information from different Occupy sites as well as links to information and ways you can get involved.
Source for photos: Buzzfeed