Does Occupy Wall Street Mock the Arab Spring?

Occupy Wall Street. I saw David Fitch on the subject and that Brian Mclaren recommended reading Tom Beaudoin’s A Note from the Protest and I read an interesting article about a Baptist minister holding his “Occupy Till I Come” sign and using a few Bible verses to back it up {Yeah King James!}

Fair enough.

Yesterday I was having coffee with some people in Cairo and we were talking about revolutions in our countries. New Zealand, of course, just doest have them, at least not on this level, except when the sheep revolt against the particular type of grass but that’s quite different.

An Egyptian guy told us about what’s been happening here this year. Pretty crazy stuff. Fizzled down a lot since February, apparently, but still people going out on Fridays to protest, still people getting shot or kidnapped. Still changes going on. Still struggle.


An Indonesian guy said that his country went through the same thing some years ago and has come out the other side.

A German guy talked about the revolution in Berlin and the loss of identity it created.

An American guy reminded us that his country has their own version going on right now with Occupy Wall Street but its pretty obvious to us all that the America is not Egypt and comparing Occupy to the bloodshed and severe political/religious changes that have happened this year in Egypt and other countries, borders on mockery.

Ehab Zahriyeh contrasts the two scenarios in a worthy article:

America’s protesters found inspiration from Arab uprisings, but their needs and desires are distinct from those striving for change half a world away. Occupy Wall Street will grow and succeed on its own merits. Ehab Zahriyeh, Occupy Wall Steet is no Tahrir Square

She has a good point and she backs it up with statements that show the two revolutions are happening in very different contexts:

– Roughly 40% of all Egyptians live on less than $2 a day and have lived this way for a long time.

– During the first 18 days of the Egyptian revolution, police and other state security organizations killed at least 840 people and injured thousands, according to Amnesty International

You can add more casualties to that list from last month, especially the Copts that were mowed down with military vehicles. In the USA, protesters are feeling the weather getting colder and are enduring some persecution for their stance, but they are not having their body parts collected in plastic bags. Occupy Wall Street is important, YES,  and it points to enormous frustration under the surface, but it’s not Egypt.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Mark Michael says:

    Not sure if you’ve seen this video, but seems relevant to your question. It draws parallels between the OWS and the Arab Spring. There are some legitimate comparisons drawn here, but I was uncomfortable with how much they tried to identify the persecution of OWS with the AS. It is not comparable and through their sensationalizing and trying to lift their suffering to the level of the AS, they lessen and cheapen the amazing sacrifice made by those throughout the Middle East. Anyway, here is a link…

  • ron cole says:

    It’s dangerous to compare one with the other. Yes, we can’t compare it with Egypt…and we shouldn’t. But there is a profound and very real common thread running through all these ” uprisings.” It’s not democracy…it’s whats underneath political/national power that needs to be confronted. This capitalism/ consumerism/ globalism is not working and will not sustain the future. Somehow the global village must come to trems with creating a life and future that sustains all humanity. If we don’t come to terms with that there is no future for anyone…from the richest to the poorest. The rich may live a bit longer…but global consumeristic captalism is a dead end street in the global village.

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