This year saw something exciting happen in the East. The world watched China as pro democracy protests took place in Hong Kong. They were asking for Beijing to give them more say in who they voted for, rather than the parties pre selected candidate process. The world watched to see what would happen. Tienanmen Square was fresh in peoples minds as the anniversary had come and gone. They watched and waited for the students to be quashed by Beijing. Even though a few scuffles took place, the government was not heavy handed in its reaction overall. It let the students and the people protest. It allowed them so much so, that in the end the movement lost steam and the people and the media lost interest. So when eventually the leaders were arrested and the last of the protesters were moved along, there was little coverage, because by then we had lost interest and the media stopped highlighting it.
The same happened with the 99% Occupy movement of 2011-2012. There was great passion for this movement when it first begun and people believed that maybe we would see change globally toward the rich and maybe some effort to close the inequality gap. Most governments flip flopped on the issue and didn’t know how to deal with the group. To send in the police or military would cause more people to sympathize and possibly fuel the protests. But by doing nothing, they found that movements eventually lose steam and popularity. By the end of the occupy movement people had forgotten what it was all about, and business returned to normal.
At the end of these movements rather than seeing the police emptying the camps, we are shown what’s left of cleared camps, an image of a dead dream which in turn dampens our spirits and makes us believe we are powerless to change anything, even if we find it unjust. So in turn, become disillusioned and feel helpless in a world full of complicated problems.
We must formulate new ways to protest which puts real pressure on institutions to listen to dissent. If we continue to allow our voices to be heard, but not acted upon we may find we have sleep walked into an Orwellian nightmare.