It was a rough day down in Zuccotti Park today, the roughest I have witnessed so far. For now, all I want to do is soak in a hot bath and hope my stiff neck settles.
It is indeed a thin line on the front line with riot police surging forward, protestors mounting a counter surge from behind, only a metal barricade separating me from the big arms of the police. One of the police officers objected to my filming with my iPhone. He ripped it out of my hand, my iPhone, my lifeline! Somehow I managed to get it back and I was struck by the kindness of the surrounding crowd who were concerned as to my welfare, grateful not to have been struck down in the crush.
The situation soon settled but my guess is that tensions are running high. Two months after the initial occupation of Zuccotti Park a certain faction seems keen to up the ante whilst the more moderate voices are stressing quiet force without violence. The force of will, argument, debate, consolidation. So many times it is stressed out loud that the police lining the park and the surrounding streets are indeed part of the 99% and in the long calms between the storms I see good relations between representatives of the two. But then something happens, details known only to a few, and suddenly the melee is on again. And in the middle of this mêlée is no place to be – not with the batons, riot shields and the deep, dark blue sleeves of the heavy arm of the law pushing back the crowd of which I am a part. Feeling very much like the little old lady from Pasadena . . . if I lose my prescription sunglasses I will be blind. I have already lost my regular glasses and the sunglasses are all I have to see my way till the new ones are ready. Please, I don’t want to lose my teeth. I have stitches in my gums from dental work the other day. I have shit teeth as it is and I spend way too much time on dental visits as it is. I don’t want to twist an ankle nor break a leg. I live on the 5th floor of a walk-up.
But you know what, there are plenty of people out there without health cover, without jobs, without roofs over their heads and . . .their numbers are growing.
Yes indeed it is a fine line between the protestors and the police but all that separates any of us from the street is a brick wall. Speaking metaphorically and I hope you know what I mean. We, any of us living in the security behind our brick walls, whatever, might wake one day to walls that have crumbled. Through no fault of our own and if we care enough about ourselves, we have to care for others.
My stiff neck is about to soften under the influence of a stiff drink. I am grateful to have made it home with only a stiff nick and some mud here and there on there on my clothes. One young man’s bloodied face probably needed stitches. Realising later that I had dropped my umbrella I returned to the now empty space where the vigorous melee took place and found it lying on the ground near to one lonely boot and a puddle of blood running in the gentle rain . . .
Also, I am struggling with the editing of this without my regular glasses. Please feel free to pick holes and maybe even have some fun with some active editing. You know how much I love to hear from you! I have clicked the ABC editing box and have been reproached with a slew of green underlines, that pesky passive tense, which just for tonight I am letting go.
But as Shakespeare himself asked “to be, or not to be? ” That is indeed the question.
This movement? It is not going to fade away. Not yet and not now.
Late addition and what retired Philadelphia police officer Ray Lewis, who was arrested earlier, has to say about Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s management of the situation.