With the Arab Spring revolutions raging in the Middle East and the Occupy movement spreading like wildfire in the Western world, University students react to them with mixed views or with obliviousness.
“I knew there was a widening gap between the rich and the poor, but I never knew it actually became a movement,” said Angel Edwards, 22, a human development and family studies major from Cleveland, regarding the Occupy movement.
Chrissie Hernandez, 18, a human and family development major from Cleveland, said she hadn’t really heard of the movements either.
“There’s always that saying: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” Hernandez said.
“I definitely think it’s necessary to bring awareness to the situations because a lot of people really don’t know what’s going on,” Edwards said.
Some students who knew about the movements voiced their opinions.
The Occupy movement protestors are just getting their voices heard instead of going through a legal process to enact change like petitions or lobbying, said Ayo Ellis, 18, a business major from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“I think it could be more organized because people have heard about it, but do not really know what it’s about,” he said.
Ellis said he supports the movement, given how difficult peoples’ lives have been recently.
Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York. Source: International Business Times
Regarding the Arab Spring revolutions, Ellis said while the protestors and rebels in some Middle Eastern countries have succeeded in removing oppressive rulers, he doesn’t know how effective they will be in in reestablishing a better form of government.
“You look at history and you hope it doesn’t repeat itself,” said Elliot Anderson III, 21, a social work major from Newark, Ohio, regarding the revolutions.
Arab Spring protesters in Yemen. Source: PR Web
Power corrupts; if a ruler has too much power, the people will revolt and take over, but power makes people greedy and the process can repeat itself, Anderson said.
It’s important that the people work together despite differing views and eliminating one person might not change that, he said.
While the two movements address different problems, some online sources attempted to find an existing correlation between the two.
A States Times article argues, however, that there is no correlation.
Nasser Weddady, a civil rights outreach director at the American Islamic Congress said in the article that the Arab revolutions evolved over a decades and happened only after every other option was exhausted while the Occupy movement really only sees the skeletons of the revolutions as opposed to the whole.
Some students agreed with this notion.
While Anderson can see by looking at the timeline of events how the two movements can be related, he said they differ in extremes, locales and motivations.
Other students did see some connection.
Both groups of citizens are standing up for their rights and what they believe in, Ellis said.
After learning a little about the movements, Hernandez said the only relation she could see is that both groups are seeking to improve their ways of living.
An Occupy Wall Street spokesperson, Ed Needham said in the article that while there is a difference between the two groups, what the two do share is a “meta-theme, the theme thаt, you know, everyone has certain unalienable rights аnԁ thаt, together, we can effect change to ensure those аnԁ provide safe-keeping for those.”