Time has a funny way of making us forget about recent events. The 24 hour news cycle constantly barrages us with new events, all the while, we forget what had recently transpired, and how it all may tie together.
But when we read about history - the story we are told, although it took place over a span of years or decades, becomes clear. We see the relevance and relationship of various events, and how these events often coalesce into a defining moment, a watershed event in history. We read how people's lives change, even though, those very same people we read about, were easily swept up by various events and didn't see what was coming. Most did not see the big picture.
We live in such times right now. But most of us are too busy with everyday chores to notice what is happening. Or we look at one news item, and then the next one, and we never tie the two together.
And so in this post, I want to convey something that I think is transpiring globally. I won't write about it in detail, but instead, I will tell the story in pictures. These images were taken over the past 12 months. They are images of protests and riots, all related to the Global Financial Crisis. The one common thread in all of these images is an awakening that life, as we know it, is changing. Living standards for many will never be the same again. Employment may never be as high, or Pensions not as adequate, if available at all. For others already in poverty, living standards may rise as they can no longer drop anymore - they hit rock bottom, and so their grievance is not losing grip of a lifestyle, but shaking off a life of poverty that has recently been magnified by rising food costs.
Corruption too, is a common thread. Say what you want about government workers, pensioners, and the unemployed. But you know what? How critical can we be of the little people when the greatest theft in history - accomplished by the bankers of the world with the collusion of Central Banks and Treasuries, has just recently occurred? Banker bonuses are at record highs again. Yet the cost of the crisis is increasingly put upon the weakest of society. I used to be critical of government workers. As a private sector employee, I envied their vacation days, their pensions. I still am envious to a degree. But after seeing what has happened with the bank bailouts. I am numb to it. I guess it's every man for himself until the whole system melts down.
Before this crisis, I would have considered it a well deserved victory if public sector employees in the US made a similar salary to private sector workers - and had similar vacation days and retirement. But I just can't enjoy such a victory today knowing that Wall Street got what it wanted. How can we challenge the government worker's demands if we couldn't succeed against Wall Street's demands? What does that tell us about the society we live in?
That said, here are the images - beginning in Europe, going to the Middle East, and then to the US. The recent images of what is transpiring right now in Wisconsin inspired me to write this post. The US, after all, looks not to be immune from European style protests.
Wisconsin, I believe is just the beginning. Similar events will be playing out in US Statehouses across the country. Click on "Read More" to see the images.
Athens, Greece, December, 2010:
Ireland November, 2010
Portugal, May 2010
Spain, September 2010
United Kingdom, December 2010
Belgium, September 2010
Germany, November 2010
France, October 2010
Tunisia, January 2011
Egypt, January-February 2011
Yemen, February 2011
Jordan, January 2011
Libya, February 2011
Iran, February 2011
Canada's G20 Protests, June 2010
Wisconsin, USA February 2011
And for those that have not seen this video yet, here's an interview of Professor Jeffrey Sachs, describing the current fiscal state of affairs in the US, who wins, who loses, and what that means for our economy and society: