I have only been following this story cursorily since. But it appears that now protesters have many grievances against their government, just as Occupiers in the US had (have). They seem to be concerned about impending war with Syria, government repression, and who knows what else. So the Occupy title certainly befits them (and kudos, we're with you in solidarity!).
Since I don't live there and can't join the protest or otherwise affect its outcome, my intent is not so much to comment on the grievances or tactics of the demonstrators. Rather, I simply wish to reflect a bit about my own experiences in the Occupy movement, as compared to the powerful images and videos coming out of #OccupyGezi.
OWS saw several needless arrests during the first week at Zuccotti
Park - for nude dancing, chalk-writing on the sidewalk, wearing masks,
and/or using a megaphone. The arrests were often captured in videos or
photos, many of which quickly went viral; with each arrest, the crowds
But NYPD showed their true colors when, exactly one week into the occupation of Zuccotti Park, a lieutenant pepper sprayed several penned up women in the face.
This was only the first of countless examples of police brutality and repression against OWS, but perhaps more importantly, it marked the instant that mainstream national media began to pay attention. Occupations sprang up across the country and around the world. And in NYC we saw that we had only scratched the surface of the police state. Over the fall season we saw peaceful demonstrators at UC Davis pepper sprayed at point blank range as they sat calmly in a row; gas canisters and rubber bullets and Occupy medics attacked by police in Oakland; camps across the country violently broken up and people's personal possessions confiscated and/or destroyed. Many of these incidents were well publicized, both online and in the mainstream media.
Yet while these kinds of images have led to full-on revolution in Turkey, the Occupy movement in the US has almost completely fizzled out. It comes back to life in the wake of disasters like Sandy or even now, at Zuccotti Park again, in solidarity with the protests in Turkey. But really - where there once was a bright burning fire, there is now only smoldering embers.
The fire was too well contained. The government and police kept the rest of the people too afraid; too blind, ignorant, apathetic; sitting at home watching so-called reality TV. And the Occupy movement never quite reached the critical mass that was needed to affect real change in this country or in the world.
Here's hoping we haven't missed our chance!
Thankfully, brave men and women in Istanbul have taken up the mantle. Apparently, they will not tolerate the same kind of government abuse that Americans only complacently turned their eyes away from.
Will the Occupy movement ever return to the US with the kind of support that it really needs to thrive? Will it be a long journey of small steps of reform? Or will revolution be the only solution to our societal woes? Perhaps only time will tell.
Or perhaps we're now looking to Istanbul to lead the way.