12.08.2008

Quiet Desperation

Athens is ablaze. For the last three days “rioters” (as the media likes to call them) have taken to the streets in massive protests as a response to the murder of a 15 year old by two police officers.

I am intrigued by any protest, riot, direct action, etc. The media generally shows only one side of the story and usually attempts to utterly trivialize any kind of civilian uprising. Only government run (and civilian funded) armies or police forces are portrayed as justified in their violent actions. If a civilian acts out violently in any way towards a government sanctioned force they are automatically deemed an “insurgent” or “anarchist”.

All of that said I would like to go on the record in stating that I do not endorse violence as a viable solution to any problem. It appears as though violent governments and the agents who are paid to peddle their violent world views have devolved in such a way as to strip themselves of their ability to listen to anything that is not delivered in a violent manner. They live and operate violently and respond only to the language they most often speak: that of violence.

In watching some of the raw footage from the protests in Greece I notice that the cameras are nearly always trained on the “violence” being done to “private property”. The destruction of inanimate objects such as windows, dumpsters, atm’s and the like are what the media trains their cameras on. In societies that value property over people this makes sense. To destroy a corporations property is to destroy its soul.

For many of these protesters the felt helplessness against entities much larger and more powerful then them is nearly palpable. In most countries decisions that dramatically affect the lives of citizens are usually placed far beyond the reach of said citizens to such a degree that when the opportunity arises to let the collective voice be heard it often explodes from within in a fit of violence and rage.

I know all about the jackasses who see protests as nothing but an excuse to “f some shit up!” I am not talking about them. I believe there are many disillusioned citizens around the world that recognize this: there is a worldwide system in place that sees the citizens of any given country as nothing more than labor to be exploited.

When this system comes to your country, your city, your town and your home you feel it. It influences everything from the way you view your own life to the lives of those around you. This system comes to cripple your town, your family, your relationships and your community.

After the system is firmly in place the sense of loss is felt deeply, and often subconsciously, by those who have grown up in it.

In all of this I am reminded of the popular Thoreau quote that goes, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” This quote is pulled from an essay Thoreau wrote called “Economy”, in which he observes that most men are slaves to their work and enslaved by those who they work for.

It is with this perspective in mind that I often view violence against a government system as an act of desperation. An act of quiet desperation made loud.

2 Comments:

Blogger wilsonian said...

I completely empathize with your point.

But I was so sad when I listened to the news today and heard the protesters chanting that they were looking for revenge. If they sought justice, they might find life. In seeking revenge, we all lose.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Corey said...

oh wow. yeah, revenge is not cool in any way.

6:41 PM  

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