Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bishop busted; crowd crunched

UPDATE: on the confrontation between Occupy Wall Street and Trinity Church that yesterday's post touched upon. At the left is the Rt. Rev. George Packard in a paddy wagon after he peacefully climbed the fence into the forbidden property.

Perhaps more representative of the day than this carefully orchestrated symbolic act was what happened outside, as recorded by Brook Packard, the bishop's wife. She was at the front of a crowd of protesters next to the fence when someone tried to snip some of the chain links. She writes at Occupied Bishop.
I stood there in my orange LL Bean jacket, a post-middle aged mom from the suburbs, trying to film my husband. First a line of police started to push the fence on all of us and they were determined. We sat watching the 10-foot chain link fence fall and descend closer and closer to our noses. All coming down on our sitting bodies. At this point, I think I stood up. I was forced close to the fence and turned to face Officer Teague. His knee came up and hit me in the chest. I was grateful for the chained fence – the barrier softened the jolt. I looked him in the eye saying "Please don't knee me." He looked back at me and did again. Did he smile? Then he did it again. I fell backward into the crowd below me feeling the crush behind, in front, and from the fence which the NYPD was still single-mindedly trying to push onto those outside the fence. Then I felt someone pick me up and throw me onto a pile of people. I looked up and it was a police officer; using my own body as a weapon against other peaceful protesters. Who knew the NYPD could be so clever?

There were no commands or advice to us, no higher order of thinking. The collective snake brain was in charge. There was no indication that the crowd should be dispersed as fellow human beings. No discernible objective of justice, peace making, or serving the public. This was "Bloomberg's Army" protecting the private property rights of an Episcopal church with over 10 billion in real estate holdings. ...
Big rich institution meets small vulnerable human beings; crunch.

I'm a long way from these events and have no special knowledge of them, but am moved and riveted by their poignancy and drama.


stanchaz said...

You don’t need to be religious to understand -and embrace- the idea that "Whatsoever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." But many of the 1%, in blind greed and endless schemes, have forgotten this. They have closed their eyes to what the word "society" should really mean, what it can mean. But due to Occupy Wall Street, we are finally talking less about CUTS and more about BLEEDING. Instead of demanding m-o-r-e budget cuts -to be borne by the middle class and poor- we are FINALLY focusing on the shameful bleeding that the poor and middle class has endured, for all too long. Instead of talking about even m-o-r-e cuts in the taxes of millionaires....we are now talking about fairness and justice - about an economy and a political system that is increasingly run for the rich, and by the rich. Instead of talking about LESS government, we are talking about a government that WORKS FOR ALL OF US, not just a favored few. Thank you OWS, for reminding us that people -ordinary working people- really DO matter, and for helping open our eyes to what’s really going on in this country. The attempt by OWS to occupy Duarte Square (the empty lot owned by Trinity Church) is much more than a plea for sanctuary. For like Zuccotti Park, it’s an attempt to carve out a protected space, a living conscience for the city, amid the repression. A refuge a city where control-freaks would sweep us under the rug, and out of the a city where they would pen us in, and permit us to a city that tells us to “move on, move on”..... you don’t belong, you don’t count, you don’t have a right to be here...don’t assemble, don’t block the street, don’t trespass, don’t EXIST! They would deny us, deny our lives, and deny our very futures. IF WE LET THEM. But OWS responds, both in word and in DEED, and says: we’ve had ENOUGH - we BELONG, we STAND our ground, and we DO matter! This IS our land, and we want it BACK! The word OCCUPY...says it all! That’s why OWS has captured our imagination. That’s why a living breathing OCCUPIED public space is important for OWS. Like Lady Liberty’s never extinguished torch that burns in our harbor, OWS needs to have a concrete, continuing, persistent presence.. to remind us of what we’ve lost, of what we are, and what we can be affirm, illuminate, and inspire. Trinity Church, with its oft-proclaimed ideals (and its huge land holdings), should look deep into its collective soul, do the right thing, and help OWS secure a space of refuge and hope. For if Christ were physically among us today, as He was 2000 years ago, He would be among the FIRST to climb those fences, and occupy Trinity’s Duarte Square. Of this I am certain... 

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