It wasn’t like I didn’t know what it was. I want to make that clear, I knew what it was from the moment I saw it but I haven’t been back home in quite some time and the “Occupy” movement hasn’t gotten a foothold in Korea yet.
But it was still a shock to see a movement that started in the US spread so far as Germany.
Welcome to “Occupy Frankfurt”.
I guess I should clarify that statement because there was no welcoming party per se. There was no protest line or discussions about the ramifications of consumer politics and economic inequalities between ‘occupiers’. In fact there was barely anyone there at all. The previous night’s rains coupled with the gloomy chilly weather and the local Christmas Market kept most of the ‘occupiers’ off the grounds or in their tents [which were numerous]. A few stragglers kept the dream alive by standing around the grounds having conversations or by setting up a “wilcommen” booth for any who might join the ranks of the proud, but a ‘welcoming party’? Please.
I will admit that of the ‘occupiers’ I saw, too many fit the stereotype that the media has been feeding us. They were supposed to the 99% but they looked as if they’d passed that up long ago and were slowly dropping out of that group in the bottom 33%. Nearby restaurants and eateries kept them well fed but the majority of them looked like they’d been living in a park. Now I know the majority have been living out of a park but that doesn’t change the fact that they looked like they lived in a park.
It wasn’t hard to try and distance myself from the ‘occupiers’, after all I’m $30,000 in debt because of my school loans and I had to leave my home country just to get a job but I don’t protest it. But I was lucky to be able to go to a school (and, yes, lucky to be able to get loans for $30,000) and have another language to fall back on after finishing my studies and finding no jobs to greet me. And, yes, if I had the time I’d probably be in some park somewhere wondering where the morality in the world had gone to.
Try as I might to separate myself from people sleeping in tents and eating cans of beans, everywhere I looked I was reminded that some grievances are the same the world over. Signs weren’t just different versions of ones I’d seen in the news or rephrasing they said the exact same thing in a different language.
I may not live in a park or have dreadlocks and I may not be an anarchist but it’s hard not to have some of the ideas and philosophies that the ‘occupiers’ espout resonate with me. Regardless of the news articles I’ve read and the small pieces I’ve seen on TV, anyone who wants to get high or drunk can find better places to do it than a damp park with nothing for shelter except a thin sheet of plastic.
And there’s the rub, I may not be out there protesting or ‘occupying’ but I’m just as affected by this as they are (even if they’re from another country). I’m not against capitalism, I’m not for communism or socialist agendas and I am most definitely not asking for a handout but I am the 99%. If you don’t believe me, I know have proof.