Sunday, January 01, 2012

Occupy the new year

As we walked dark streets from the train station toward our friends' New Years gathering, there was this:
occupy wall street west.jpg
Seeing it, I was reminded of this:

TERRY GROSS: I wonder what your reaction is to seeing the Occupy movement in the United States take hold, inspired in part by the Arab uprisings.

[NEW YORK TIMES CORRESPONDENT] ANTHONY SHADID [on a brief U.S. holiday from his base in Lebanon]: I tell you, this - again, this is something I haven't reported so I'm probably not going to sound - I'm probably not going to offer anything all that insightful, but you know, it does strike me - I think when you look across the Arab world, absolutely, but even elsewhere, this idea of old kind of paradigms coming to an end and that people are searching for something that can represent them better, that's more meaningful to their lives, that somehow maybe transcends these older institutions that have held sway over so many places for so long - interestingly, I mean just as a kind of footnote here, or even, you know, a side note here, is that you often hear this from Islamists. When I was talking to Rashid al-Ghannushi, a very prominent Tunisian Islamist leader, he made the very same point to me, that what he was seeing going on with Occupy Wall Street, with the Arab Spring, was that, you know, people were looking for ideologies that were different.

Of course he was volunteering his ideology as a replacement, but I think that sense of things coming to an end is very powerfully felt in a lot of places right now. And I think that adds to this, you know, the anticipation and anxiety, you know, of what's so often pronounced and what you hear so often in so many places.

Something, many things, aren't working. We want something new. Directions are not yet discernible. After a long patch when institutions seemed immutable -- a season when we tried to manipulate institutions or tinker with their margins -- we want something new. But what that new something will look like, we'll only find out in the living of its birth.

2012 could be an exciting year. Despite the vast inertia of all that is, the year is not likely to bring only what we now imagine.

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

Sigh. We can still try and we can still hope and we can still vote and the last is in jeopardy. sigh.

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