The week that Gadhafi got killed, the occupiers got arrested and the chamber got off scot-free. Is there no justice? Well, sometimes.
Published: October 27, 2011
With Gadhafi gone, the nexus of Middle East bloodshed now is unquestionably the country of Syria – there, an estimated 3,000 people have died since their uprising against the autocratic government of Bashar al-Assad began in March. Kabuka, whom this reporter met through local Syrian-American activist Dena Atassi (the main subject of our July article), says she will be “working on Syria” in the coming months, which includes her participation in Twitter campaigns which aim to propel Syria-related hash tags – like #hamamassacre – into the vaunted “trend” status.
With the lag of the publishingprocess in mind, we’re going to go out on a short limb here and say that by the time you read this, the hard-core activists of Occupy Orlando – whom we imagine are still camping out at Senator Beth Johnson Park – have not agreed upon a list of demands, a chief goal or any overarching political philosophy. This stems mostly from the (ostensibly) leaderless nature of their organization, which, in its uber-considerate and inclusive nature, needs the consent of 90 percent of its members to accept or deny any proposal.
If you’re guessing that the most important milestones of the Orlando occupation have had nothing to do with this process, you’d be right. It was a completely undemocratic decision that steered the occupation into its brilliant sidewalk strategy of its first night, and on Oct. 23, it was only a handful of activists who decided Occupy Orlando should break the law. It was around 2 a.m. that morning when Orlando police, responding to a noise complaint, arrived at Senator Beth Johnson Park. By then, according to one account, there had been some heated discussion over whether the group was being too obedient – less than two days prior, it had consented to take its village of tarps down – and thus, 19 activists seized the opportunity to become political martyrs for the glorious misdemeanor of trespassing in a public park after hours. “The way it happened ... was completely spontaneous,” Occupy Orlando spokeswoman Brook Hines says. She reminded Happytown™ that acts of civil disobedience are never endorsed, let alone discussed, by the general assembly, for legal reasons. Still, she issued a release expressing “solidarity” for the arrestees. “No one [at Occupy Orlando] stands in the way of anyone doing a civil disobedience,” Hines says.
We should say that the amorphous general assembly has made a couple of notable decisions. The next major downtown march is to be held on Nov. 5, a day on which many activists commemorate 16th century English revolutionary Guy Fawkes (who was later popularized by comic book-turned-Hollywood movie V for Vendetta). In other news, Occupy Orlando also agreed to no longer speak with a man named Tom Trento, director of a right-wing group called the United West. Upon encountering the term “Arab spring” and finding that one of the group’s leading attorneys, Shayan Elahi, is a Muslim, Trento and his followers “covertly” infiltrated the occupation and subsequently raised a “JIHAD ALERT.” You’re adorable, Tom.
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