Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mob rule is never the way to go during message driven protests and demonstrations

I understand people protesting conditions under which they are forced live with. If you back an animal in a corner, and threaten it with bodily harm, the animal will either succumb to its fate, or fight to survive. Citizens in Cairo have decided to come out of the corner fighting. They are willing to die for basic human rights such a right to work, to own a business, to get an education, to pursue happiness in whatever limited ways available to them.

It's natural that people tire of being deprived. When slaves got tired of their bondage in a free country, many of them rebelled against their masters. These insurrectionists were not organized revolutionaries. Nat Turner, a slave noted in history for pulling together a band of slaves to fight for their freedom. They terrorized slave masters for a say or two before they were killed or captured. Turner knew that the condition he was forced live in was wrong. He waited for a sign from God before he made his move. When people rise up out of an undesirable condition there is always a signal of some kind.

Riots in major cities in this country were the results of living conditions and a lack of opportunities. African Americans were being deprived of basic rights and freedoms guaranteed them in the Constitution. There are people who argue that Blacks have always the right to achieve and advance just like Whites. Sounds good but blatantly untrue. Proof is the historical Jim Crow laws. If Blacks were on equal footing as Whites there would be no need for affirmative action. If everyone were equal in opportunity, desegregation would have been a mute factor.

Whereas I concur with people staging purposeful marches and protests, positive intent oftentimes takes an ugly turn when the mob-rule mentality steps into the picture. As a result, riots and protests in the Middle East, comparable to protests and riots in this country, can be counterproductive. Rioters destroy their own neighborhoods and neighborhood businesses. When looting and setting fires star,t an earnest protest quickly lunges out of control. It is irrational to destroy historical artifacts and museums as in Iraq after the American invasion. When these pieces of history are destroyed out of anger, none of them can be replaced. The two Egyptian mummies that were reported destroyed cannot be replaced. Egypt has a connection to early history and civilization.

For these reason and more, I believe that demonstrators and protesters hurt themselves when they lose focus on the real reasons for their  insurrection. Looting and property destruction should never become a part of the equation. Destruction committed by  slaves fighting for their freedom was justified. It was a different time in America's history.

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