Saturday, November 19, 2011

A letter to Occupy Wall Street

Although protesting is the essence of democracy, it is rarely enough to achieve results. I salute the courage of all people who took their cause to the streets of major cities all around the world, protesting greed and corruption. This was a major step towards justice and the end of corruption. Who could ever imagine that Stock Markets would turn into casino machines, corporations would be treated as human beings with unlimited power and access to influence governments and regulations, and that the big fish would simply destroys the small fish with no reprimands?

With that said, I would like to add that "ignorance" is the mother of all evil. Ignorance is the reason why people are taken advantage of on a daily basis, whether by governments or corporations. When people are only worried about their daily routines and never educate themselves about social, economic, or political issues, there is little to no reason for governments and corporations to care about the masses or anything else, especially when the masses, themselves, are oblivious.

In addition, waiting to speak up only when trouble is felt, when the economy is down on its knees, when there is high unemployment, or when you and your neighbor were foreclosed upon, usually turns on the "too late" sign, at which point usually little can be done to make a drastic shift in the current situation.

This does not simply suggest that since we are all in trouble now and things have already spiraled out of control that we should just pack up our stuff and go home. On the contrary, it is time to admit that we have let ourselves down by not paying attention to what was going on around us; it is time to admit that we never cared to educate ourselves about issues and allowed governments and corporations to take advantage of us by not being an active participant in our own lives. We allowed the rest of the world to play our cards for us. 

Going forward, people all around the world have the duty not only to speak up by demonstrating on every street and alley, but to start educating themselves about every issue that affects their lives--politics, economics, etc. If we are to demand change, we should first understand how things work so we can better understand the problems which we are facing, find solutions, track our progress, and keep in check those who have the power to change the system. We are all accountable, those of us with power to change the laws and those of us with the power to influence those around us. 

--Michael Helou--

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