Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oakland Riot vs. Egypt Revolution?

A riot happened in Oakland California yesterday (1/28/12): “Riot police fought running skirmishes with anti-Wall Street protesters on Saturday, firing tear gas and bean bag projectiles and arresting more than 200 people in clashes that injured three officers and at least one demonstrator? … Officers were pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares," “Police fire tear gas at Oakland, 200 arrested

The Occupy Wall Street (Oakland) tactics of disturbance and Oakland PD strategy of control recalls many other government vs. public confrontations all over the world, at least at this early stage – except in scale and degree of violence. Hong Kong 1967, Beijing 1989, Egypt 2011, Syria 2012. Grievance , protests, control, escalation.

The only difference is perhaps how the “Western world” sees it: legitimate dissents in undemocratic (oppressive) states (China, Egypt, Syria) and lawless disturbance in Western (liberal) democracies.

With this understanding, it is OK to use violence (destructive conducts) to fight off government suppression (attempt to enforce the law and bring order to the street). Failing that, it is necessary to topple the government, with encouragement and armed support of foreign countries. Finally, when “dictatorial” governments fall, with thousands killed and prosperous cities ruined, foreigners – outsiders applaud. We called this Arab, China Spring. The cycle repeats itself.

Now that Arab Spring comes to the US, in the form of Occupy Wall Street. Should we call this Oakland Spring?

Or, should we consider Oakland protesters as:

(1) Unruly mob?

(2) Terrorists?(FBI define terrorism: " The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

Conversely, should we consider Oakland PD’s actions to bring back law and order as abusive police brutality or measured crowd control?

Finally, is the Oakland dissenters/rioters exercising civil disobedience or attempting a violent revolution?

If violence escalates, should other nations, e.g., newly liberated Arab states or established human rights institutions such as UN, be in the position to lecture US on how to deal with Oakland Spring.

Failing that should the UN adopts a resolution condemning police violence or Arab league send in monitor to pacify the uprising?

In the end what is the difference between angry mobs here (Wall Street, Oakland) and violent demonstrators there (Beijing, Egypt, Libya, Syria)? More important, what is the role of government and functions of the police in maintain order, protecting life and securing property, in Egypt vs. US? "Occupy Oakland video: Riot police fire tear gas, flashbang grenades"

“Before we correct other, we need to reflect on ourselves.” (A Chinese proverb)

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