Busy as Arab Spring protesters have been gaining their own freedom, they seem to have found time to worry about the freedoms of American’s as well. Shows of solidarity with the OWS movement have occurred in many Arab Spring States and some members of these protests have even taken an active role in the OWS movement. It would seem, the cause of the OWS movement is not lost on protesters fighting against [arguably] far more brutal governments for far more fundamental rights (e.g. to not be tortured). Instead of mocking American’s attempts to protest a much less tyrannical government, Arab Spring-ers have offered advice. It seems protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria all believe their recently acquired expertise applies as well to OWS demonstrations as it did to [successful] attempts to overthrow unjust governments in the other hemisphere of the world.
Tunisians showed support last November by flooding Obama’s Facebook page with shows of solidarity for OWS, and urging the president to act in accordance with the protester’s cause. One participating Tunisian reportedly wrote, “To overthrow any corrupt system in the world, please contact the Tunisian people” (The Atlantic Wire). Such sentiments have a startling implication for our world—a man setting himself on fire in a small nation half-way around the globe, can affect change all around the world. OWS, through such shows of solidarity, seems inextricably linked to the Arab Spring movement.
This fact makes the US government’s handling of the protests ever more important, because now those protests aren’t merely a domestic problem, they’ve become linked to our international relations, our stance on the Arab Spring, and even the US government’s stance on democracy.
Grafiti in Libya similarly showed support for OWS, the Atlantic Wire posted pictures of walls reading, “Today Libya, Tomorrow Walastreet.” Such actions seem to provide strength and support to both movements. And the interaction between these two protests doesn’t stop at shows of solidarity, in fact some Arab Spring protest leaders have provided direct aid and advice to US protesters.
All of this support indicates, interestingly, that thse in the Arab Spring value and respect the goals of the OWS movement, and even see its success as tied to their own. And perhaps this isn’t too far off the mark, after all, if the US can’t do democracy fairly, where does that leave the emerging democracies of the Arab Spring?