‘Peace through protest’ may sound the flavor of the month, or at least the theme of 2011, considering that peaceful uprisings overturned dictators during the so-called Arab Sprint.
But it reality, this is just the old recipe, delivered to our table on new tableware.
I watched a History Channel documentary on Nixon last night, and just seeing the short powerful segments when they cut away to the anti-Vietnam movement across the country made me realize this. You could cut-and-paste the present protest on Wall Street. Except for the bandanas and peace tattoos of the seventies, the similarities are striking.
People are fed up with their politicians (81 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed; confidence in Congress has dropped). They believe that the best way to send them a message is to show up on the street with hand-painted signs and chants.
OK, so we do have web sites, Twitter hash tags (#occupywallstreet) and Facebook, but it is easy to give too much credit to the mechanical tools of movements.
- It does help when Salman Rusdie helps out with a tweet.
- It does help when there is speculation that the Nobel peace prize this year may recognize Arab activists.