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Student Protest

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The Fear of Dissent

Police officers around the world employed as defense against dissent are responding to protesters with violence. From the massacres taking place in Syria and Tahrir, to pepper spraying students at UC Davis, to injuring veterans in Oakland…the brutal attempts to silence dissent are shocking. For Americans still living inside the “American Dream Democracy” bubble, it is almost incomprehensible to think of a country shooting and killing their own, simply for protesting against the ruling regime. Pop that bubble. It’s happening in America and has always happened.

The above video is from a student protest at CUNY on November 21, 2011. Students were protesting against proposed tuition increases. They were not allowed to attend the meeting about the proposal and were instead arrested for protesting. In addition, witnesses to the police state were told to leave.

Remember America was founded because of a protest against taxation with representation (a point of discussion I think we’ve returned to). Watch the videos and study the images of people being beaten, arrested, shot, and killed over what they are saying.

Is what they are saying so scary to the regime that it must be met with violence? Are breaking park rules a justification for police brutality? Is demanding a voice in the world you live in the wrong thing to say? Think about why dissent is so scary. Stop thinking about the “laws” being “broken” and the tents. Start questioning why protest isn’t being allowed.

A young man runs through tear gas in Tahrir on November 22, 2011.

The right of free speech involves me shouting at the top of my lungs what I believe and listening to you shout at the top of yours what you believe; even if those two things are completely opposite. We have to respect each other’s rights to retain our own. We have to demand our rights when they are taken from us. We have to speak out when rights are taken away from others.