BelAhdan.. from Tahrir to Wall Street

Arab Spring and the American Spring


From Tahrir with love …


More than 10  month after the Arab Spring broke up the long  harsh political winter in the Arab world, millions of Arabs marched into streets and public places demanding change, toppling dictators and rotten regimes in the process.  Finally people in America are waking up to the harsh reality. The biggest threat to their lives and their future are not Arabs or Muslims ,  Arabs for the first time looked at  in this country positively and as an inspiration to a new movement in America in challenging the system.  Occupy Wall Street movement started when a  the Canadian magazine AdBusters ran an editorial by Kono Matsu inviting people to organize a massive protesting modeling it with what is going on in the Middle East, “if we want to spark un uprising in the west-like a one million marsh in Wall Street, let us get organized”  he explained. It is the same call that was made by a young Egyptian activist Asmaa Mahfouze, inviting Egyptians to show up at Tahrir Sqaure on Jan25th the day of the revolution. The protest in Wall Street stared  as in Tahrir started with a few hundred hard core activists protesting in the financial district in Manhattan New York, now is becoming wide and much bigger worldwide, in Italy, England, Greece and Spain, it is finally getting the attention it deserves from mainstream media and politicians. It took Obama three weeks before he gently characterize it as “it reflects people frustration”, as if it is just a complain about traffics” it took two weeks for our national public radio to coverage it with regularity. Fox news and other mainstream media looked at them as bunch of hippies. As Gandhi wisely spoke of the reaction of the oppressor when they are challenged by the oppressed “first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win… “ Now thousands of disgruntled citizens are taken on wall street extremist in American major cities, realizing correctly that our financial system is the biggest reason behind our economic plight , with their predatory policy and their speculative brand of capitalism. Who would have imagined that 10 years after 19 Arabs (18 Saudis and an Egyptian)  hijacked four airplanes and two of them lunged into the Twin Towers the financial symbol of the world, the same place would be under another attacked, this time by thousands of  Americans,  inspired by millions of Arabs who put their life on line and peacefully toppled theirs dictators , the symbol of corruption and brutality. People will debate the similarities and difference between Arab Spring and American Spring, but I will let this for historians, but no other political groups in this country or around the world has affected the Occupy Wall Street movement, like the Egyptian revolution and what happened in Tahrir Square on Jan 25th, and  the unprecedented massive demonstration during the 18 days of protest against the ex-dictator Hosni Mubarak. Even the fraudulent Tea Party movement in this country, the angry old white men who has been claiming financial prudence, registered no show in Occupying Wall Street movement.  The tactics  used such as occupying public places by sheer number, changing the name of public places; Wall Street financial plaza to Liberty plaza, and here in Minnesota, Hennepin County plaza to People’s plaza , bring families and kids to the public, campaigning over night, bypassing traditional media and utilizing social media, talk directly to the people, don’t affiliate yourself with any political groups or parties, keep religion out of it, make your objectives  transparent, have committees on the spots, be flexible in reacting to environment around you, bring signs to express your grievances, use art and music to keep the spirit up, have different grand stands and  speeches, and most of all keep it Sylmayah, Sylmayah… peaceful, peaceful, as in both Arab Spring and American spring the violence comes only from state  official securities, in both cases proved that police securities  are created to protect only those with power. Arab Spring revolted against corruption of government and police brutality, American Spring revolting against corruption of financial institutions and Wall Street brutality,  In Arabs Spring  people are revolting against the military generals who have been controlling their lives for years , In American Spring, people are  revolting against the economic generals that control their lives for years, GE, GM, GD, GG, … I went to cover Occupy MN rallies on Friday the 7th, I felt I was in Tahrir Square, the wonderful  friendly faces from all walks of life, the young men and women dancing and singing, the speeches, the diversity,  the human spirit,  the mask of anonymous, the signs, a total control of the public places, kids and dogs running and playing, free food, tents, camping, the palpable camaraderie  between the crowd, as I was walking in People’s Plaza, I saw a young  Hispanic lady carrying a big cross which reminds me of the big Cross and crescent that was prevalent in Tahrir which symbolizes religion unity,  at the people’s Plaza there wasn’t any crescent there, but I never felt like home as I felt at the People’s Plaza in downtown Minneapolis, a proud Arab in post 9/11 anti Arab era, as I was standing in the middle of the People’s Plaza, I heard two helicopters in the sky hovering over the Plaza, which took me back to last card that expose dictator Hosni Mubarak had played in his latest doomed days, when he sent 2 air force jets to break the sound barriers over the protesters in Tahrir Square, and the reaction of three millions of them there that day was chanting in one voice “Hosni Etgannen, Hosni Etgannen,” Hosni went mad, their voices covered the defining sound of the air forc jets. I I went to the Peolple’s Plaza to ask the protestors one question; what  is the role  if any that  the Arab Spring play in the American Spring? The overwhelming answer was ‘inspirational”  the only one who said no affect at all, was a young lady with an Arabic Tattoo around her neck .

Ahmed Tharwat/ Host/ Arab American TV show BelAhdan

Minnesota Public TV/ Public Speaker

Minnetonka, MN




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