A letter from my student: My friends called me early this morning saying that they heard reports on the radio and television that the Occupy Wall Street movement has been closed down and the police carried out a nightly raid on Zuccotti Park (also known as the Freedom Plaza), “cleaning out” the occupants from the territory.
This made me scared: Could it really be that we’ve been “cut off” from being able to disseminate materials? It turned out that it was true: the protestors were disbanded by the “broom” that was supposed to remove just bums and drug-addicts from the square. But apparently, they went into a rage.
To be frank, the drug-addicts and bums interfered with the movement, despite the cleanliness of the actual “occupants.” They smoked up the park so bad, you could get high just from walking by. We watched the veil of thick, milky white fog above the park. Our women, who were giving out flyers, breathed in so much pot smoke that they left there feeling sick. They were literally nauseous.
Bums and drug-addicts are also people, and everyone likes to eat for free, while the park had enough food for everyone. Everyone could receive three very nice meals a day, even the people just walking around, having nothing to do with the protests. And generally speaking, life in the camp was not bad at all—people feed you, clean up after you, and entertain you, the press interviews you, people bring you free clothing and money, and much more. You can’t see or get anything like it for free anywhere. And most important, you’re together with people! That’s why everyone is there—for the feeling of belonging and unity, the feeling that someone cares about you….
But all of this “communism” ended and the affluent, local residents rejoiced that the “mess” is finally over. Last night the police attacked the camp, and it was not smart to put up any resistance, to say the least. Of course, everyone was offended because they threw out all the belongings of the camp’s inhabitants, including a library of 500 rare, old and new books, tents, our time-tested table which we kept in the library, and much more.
Cleaning is cleaning, and it was thorough, in a police kind of way. They don’t beat around the bush—there wasn’t much time till the morning. If they waited for everyone to finish packing up and leaving, they wouldn’t have seen the end of it, and it’s more difficult to get a dirty job done in broad daylight….
Bloomberg, the city mayor, justified the cleaning by the fact that the occupants created unsanitary conditions in the park, which annoyed the park’s owners and also deprived regular citizens from the opportunity to enjoy the area and the chess games as before because lovers of this ancient intellectual game used to peacefully sit in the park and it was their place for socialization and recreation.
In the afternoon I managed to make my way to Wall Street and look at everything with my own eyes, when people left their workplaces and were on the way home. At 5pm things looked completely different already, compared to the quiet and order that the police had set up in the morning. The park was filled by thousands of people, occupants who returned to the square feeling hurt, offended, and angry.
This mass, consisting of different people that united into a single “body” over the last two months, rang out with outrage and scandal. “This is what a police state looks like! We will overcome!” and so on. These were no longer separate declarations of small groups and half-crazed fanatics, but one loud voice of a wounded creature whose home has been destroyed and who has no one to complain to.
A mass of people also crowded around the park to support the occupants, or just to watch what was happening. TV station and police helicopters hovered above the buildings, illuminating the crowd. The projectors from different sides of the street made the whole event look like a theatrical show unfolding on stage. And the police weren’t very aggressive, as if they’ve done their job and now they can rub their hands together. And at the end of the day, aren’t they the 99%? After an hour on Wall Street and hanging around the crowd, it became clear that “no one was going anywhere.”
The bums and drug-addicts probably won’t come back to the park. But the occupants are already there, along with those sympathizing with them. And we’re not out of the picture either: Today we managed to give out a few hundred flyers. The weather is unusually warm and the park is beautiful, resembling a golden and ruby colored forest… As if the Creator has put up “level 2 decorations” for us, like in a computer game. And I think we’re taking a sharper turn—“the 99% and us. Together!
What will happen on Wall Street and all the cities in America tomorrow is unpredictable for now. But one thing is clear: we HAVE TO UNITE if we want to go through this second level without losses, with the right calculation, and to give everyone who has “occupied” us (and it’s really so) a way to the Light and fulfillment.
The New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/16/nyregion/police-begin-clearing-zuccotti-park-of-protesters.html?pagewanted=1&ref=global-home