The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

There has been so much news media coverage of the anti-Zimmerman Trayvon Martin rallies that it occurred to me that there has been one group of idiots protesters who have been singular in their silence.  That group, of course, is OWS.   You may remember them from a few years back.

Surely, I thought they cannot possibly have despoiled all of New York City’s parks.  There are just too many of them (parks that is).  So what’s been happening with this group of kooks budding intelligentsia?

Well, the MSM may consider them yesterday’s news but after doing a search I came upon their web page.  And it appears that they are alive and well and still finding causes worthy of their attention.

Now with all the Martin stuff going on, perhaps you, like me, managed to miss the fact that OWS held a rally – according to their web site on Friday, July 19th in 35 cities (it turned out actually to be eight) around the world.

The purpose of these rallies was to protest the deaths of two women, one who was murdered in Turkey and the other in Sweden.  The murders occurred earlier this month and are unrelated other than that both of these women were prostitutes “sex workers.”

The following comes from the OWS website:

“Following the murders of Dora Özer and Petite Jasmine on the 9th and 11 of July 2013, sex workers, their friends, families, and allies are coming together to demand an end to stigma, criminalisation (sic), violence and murders.  In the week since the two tragedies occurred, the feelings of anger, grief, sadness and injustice – for the loss of Dora and Jasmine, but also for the senseless and systemic murders and violence against sex workers worldwide – have brought together people in more than 35 cities from four continents who agreed to organise (sic) demos, vigils, and protests in front of Turkish and Swedish embassies or other symbolic places.  JOIN US on Friday the 19th at 3 pm local time and stand in solidarity with sex workers and their loved ones around the world!  Justice for Dora!  Justice for Jasmine!  Justice for all sex workers who are victims of violence!”

The protests in Dora’s memory (apparently Dora was a man) were scheduled to take place in Paris, Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Berlin, Brighton, Canberra and Vancouver.  It isn’t surprising that American news media failed to cover the protests as most Americans have no idea where in Africa any of these places are

As to Petite Jasmine, she apparently was a woman, in fact a mother – but if the searches I did were correct, her name was Jasmine Petite rather than the way OWS had it listed.  It seems the Swedes frown on prostitution “sex work” and took her children from her, awarding custody to her ex-husband who had a reputation for heaping physical abuse on his former wife.  I wouldn’t care to be a judge deciding child custody under those circumstances.

While I was unable to find any specifics as to the exact execution of either murder, suffice it to say that I would expect that most murders could be categorized as “brutal.”  To trivialize any person’s wrongful death because of her “profession” is to demean the memory not only of that individual but to demean ourselves and our own humanity in the process.  In that respect, as I knew neither Dora nor Jasmine, I have no emotional response as I would at the loss of someone who was a part of my life but join with John Donne in his sentiments as he expressed them in “For Whom The Bell Tolls.”

Hopefully, both Dora’s and Jasmine’s murderers will be found, tried, convicted and pay an appropriate penalty.

I was struck by one passage which appeared later in the OWS release about the solidarity demonstrations.  And although I have read and re-read it at least a dozen times, I still am having some difficulty translating it into comprehensible English:

“As the sex trade becomes an ever more important part of how neoliberal economies handle the poorest and most marginalized, violence against sex workers – particularly against transgender and immigrant women – has become a tragic epidemic.”

Frankly, while I don’t know the statistics, I think it would be hard to categorize the number of prostitutes “sex workers” being murdered world-wide as an epidemic.  These were the first two incidents with which I was familiar – and I only happened to learn of them while I was looking for something else.

As I make an attempt at translating the OWS paragraph, I gather that what they are saying is that most governments (probably based on the majority of their citizens’ implied beliefs) simply don’t care much for people engaged in the business of prostitution “sex work” and therefore offer little protection from violence for people in the industry.

That may well be true.  But the reason for that may not be solely the willful disregard of these people’s importance and their lives but a function of fiscal reality.

You see, when you have government needing unexpectedly to divert its resources to doing things like cleaning up the parks in New York because groups such as OWS have totally trashed them; when you have to dispatch the NYPD to those same parks to try to retain some semblance of civilized behavior, those are funds that might otherwise have been used to protect not only NY’s prostitutes “sex workers,” but the general population of the city.

So if OWS wants truly to honor the memories of Dora and Jasmine and protect others in their line of work, perhaps they might consider changing their tactics from disruption and debris to engaging with people in a serious and mature manner in a more conversational way.  They certainly have the right, as do we all, to make their opinions known, given their protection under the 1st Amendment.

In closing, I would like to share with my readers another announcement which OWS offers on its website.  Apparently, Tuesday, November 5, 2013 will be a “day of solidarity” on which OWS is organizing a “worldwide demonstration against corrupt government”.  I can’t say that I completely disagree with their premise.  So if any of you is interested you still have some time to sign up for this event.

As for me, I’m particularly curious to see how, if this worldwide demonstration comes off, it is going to play in Islamabad,Tripoli and Beijing..

Comments on: "DON’T USE THE ‘P’ WORD" (11)

  1. Well said, Juwanna. I imagine these folks could be quite a force for good in opposing government corruption if Occupy (generally) developed a serious, cohesive message, delivered from a more responsible and mature element within the movement.

    • As I have been involved with a few “movements” myself in the past I believe part of the problem with OWS or any other such movement is that the initial wrong which they try to correct becomes less important than fulfilling the egos of the leadership, which seem to bloat in proportion to the more media coverage they receive.

      I’ve no doubt that OWS has some people involved who have given thoughtful consideration to what they are trying to accomplish. But I seriously doubt that they are many.

      When I was a student at the University of Chicago, I was on my way to an early morning class and was stopped by a group of picketers in front of the building where my class was scheduled.

      “Hey, you can’t go in there – we’re picketing,” said one of the student demonstrators (a young woman).

      “What are you picketing?” (They had not yet distributed the signs for the picket).

      She turned to one of her co-demonstrators and said, “Ted, what are we picketing today?”

      I pushed my way through and went to my class.

  2. Indeed, I tend to have a certain amount of sympathy for their standpoint on this, in truth on a fair number of, issue. I also see no reason why being a pro eh sex worker should cause one to be murdered, although I would posit that government tend to be less assiduous about finding those who harm what are de jure lawbreakers. Whether those jobs should be illegal is a completely different debate.

    I think I will pass on their demonstration against corrupt government, mostly because I fail to see how more corrupt government is going to help, and that seems to be their answer for all things.

    They come across to me as a typical college age group. Their hearts are in (maybe) the right place but all they offer is random criticism with no concept of how to fix anything, even to the point of stopping rap eh sex crimes in their own ranks. When they clean their own house, I’ll begin to respect them, but not till then.

  3. I agree with your assessment as you commented.

    Unfortunately, as I think back to myself at the time I was their age, I thought I knew everything and only later became aware of how incredibly naive that opinion was. That might be OWS’ greatest handicap.

    I believe that most people respond better to rational conversation than they do to “in your face” intimidation. That holds true for OWS – and it holds true for the Trayvon Martin ralliers as well.

    Perhaps when they learn that lesson they will be able to make a positive contribution. Goodness knows we need all we can find.

    • Very true, especially in my mind with the OWS people, from what I’ve seen, their complaints are valid, stated sort of in the left-libertarian vein, if they’d discuss rationally they could be very valuable, unfortunately that doesn’t seem to happen. Too much yelling slogans, not enough listening and thinking, too bad though, they could accomplish a lot.

      The Trayvon people specifically, are either very low information (going on what shows up here) or willingly led to attempt to foment a race riot, that doesn’t hold a lot of room for common ground, mostly confrontation there.

      If only everybody would listen more than they talk, and that includes my side, maybe we could accomplish something.

  4. I had never heard of OWS before reading this blog. Obviously my education has been incomplete up to now. lol. As for corrupt governments we get who we vote for don’t we? We get to vote for the best of bad options rather than a choice between the best and the worst. And ultimately whose fault is that? Ours collectively again, because we are unwilling to stand for government service ourselves if we feel our contribution could deliver a higher tone than what we are offered. There is one saving thought though, those who represent us are usually there for power or money, but they realize we can vote them out at a next election so that at least modifies their behaviour in most cases.

    • OWS stands for Occupy Wall Street. Perhaps that will help you – as they first formed after the government bail out of the banks.

      They do raise some good points – but in a way that is offensive to many. It sometimes causes me to wonder do they really want to effect positive change – or do they merely enjoy their 10 seconds of fame on the nightly “news”.

      • OK now I’m with you. I do know of them. I don’t have any time for mob protesters no matter how right their cause may be. We have remedies within our political/social systems and I have no problem with protest as one of these integral parts. But disruptions to the common people’s life, vandalism and stand over tactics are the evidence of criminal minds to me, not people with a cause.

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more

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