The Necessity of Restraint
History’s places are messy. At the core of the assemblage that is the OWS demonstration in NYC are idealistic and young souls sleeping and fighting in the profaness of the streets. Dirt and weariness clung to them like chain mail hanging from a warrior’s shoulders. They seem barely aware of practical matters and I had to ask repeatedly as to where I can put some bags of socks and toothbrushes I was donating to the cause. “Somewhere near that red umbrella” was the most useful tip. Encircling this core were more vocal spirits with signs communicating the sentiments of the masses. One sign caught my attention:”Stop photographing us and join us!” That stopped me in my tracks. I was already feeling uneasy holding a camera and walking along the third ring, made up of the curious, to whom the protests were merely entertainment. The News live! Don’t miss your chance to see reality!
I put away my camera and sat among the protesters feeling like a charlatan. Although I donated some supplies and was joining in marginally, I knew that in an hour or so I would get up and be on my merry way. Leaving behind the ideal of democracy that was sleeping in Zucotti Park. I took only 2 photographs that day. The first was the landscape above the protesters depicting the continual renewal of the World Trade Center site.
As I walked along the outer ring of the demonstrations made up of Police and Journalist I happened along two Japanese gentleman in black jackets. One had the words, Occupy Wall Street, written in purple on the back of his jacket. The second, Taku-san was calmly sitting next to a sign that quietly shouted the dissonance that is the U.S. news media. Taku-san explained to me that in Japan there are also demonstrations against the government which has lied and held back information regarding the dangers posed to the Japanese citizenry by the Fukushima disaster in March 2011. Not of a word of this is mentioned in the US news media. There too, as in many parts of the world, as evidenced by the widespread OWS demonstrations, people are standing up to their governments and leaders. They are asking for the most basic of things from their governments. To show us the respect due from our leaders, to be honest and forthright, to serve the people and not yourself. The second snapshot of the day:
Then I put my camera away and quietly participated. My presence as defiance. If only for a little while before going home to my family.