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Friday, November 25, 2011

Cairo and New York City: A Tale of Two Related Cities

With tensions on the rise in Cairo about the upcoming elections, with people out in Tahrir Square menaced by police and authorities, it is all to easy to smugly say thank goodness we don't have it that bad here in New York City, in the United States.

I admit to thinking something like that when the Arab Spring emerged some ten months ago.  But I don't believe that now -  not with cops in NYC arresting and roughing up protesters and members of the press, and cops out in California pepper-spraying and beating innocent students on campuses.

Hundreds of Egyptians died for freedom in the Arab Spring earlier this year, and more than 40 have been killed in the past week.  So far, that has not happened in the United States.   But although local authorities have made some moves to restrain the police here - as in Bloomberg's belated order that the NYPD must let the press do its job - there is still no Federal or across-the-board recognition from any part of the government in the United States that police here having been going much too too far in brutal attempts to control Occupiers.

The White House has publicly denounced what riot police are now doing in Egypt.  Will a mainstream, old-media reporter ask President Obama why he doesn't do the same about out-of-control police in New York and California?

In the global village that Marshall McLuhan foresaw in the 1960s and which has come into reality this past year, Cairo and New York City and every place in which people have come out in the streets for freedom and economic justice are more alike than apart.   It would be good if in the coming days and months this shared global community was not beset by violence from the authorities who represent the interests of an older world order which is cracking.

Occupy Wall Street Chronicles, Part 1

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