American Spring Hypocrisy

It’s no secret that the global recession was the major catalyst for the Arab Spring earlier this year and in many ways, the Occupy movement in America mirrors the Arab protests. This very well-edited video does an excellent job at showing just how similar they are, to the point where it’s hard to tell if some of the footage is from Arab or American protests.

Of course, the video has  to be taken with a sizable grain of salt because freedom of expression in America still exists: protests are perfectly legal, so is saying pretty much anything we want, and we still have a democratically elected government — none of which was true in the Arab world before this year.

But the freedom of assembly has been so heavily regulated by the modern government — in the name of public safety and order, and perhaps justifiably so — that the American governments’ response to protests seems only marginally better than their Arab counterparts’. During the Bush administration we saw the use of free speech zones and during the Occupy Wall Street protests we’ve seen abuse of power by New York City police. All of this is possible due to Supreme Court-sanctioned restrictions on the time, place and manner of protests; the only thing that’s not restricted is the content.

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