Last night I stayed up late to keep an eye on what was happening in Ferguson. The images and video were absolutely shocking. Although this wasn't the first night something like this happened, the detaining of journalists and later the demands that cameras be turned off were so terrifying. I couldn't pull my eyes away and yet I was so scared of what I was going to see. Having studied International Affairs, and specifically Middle Eastern politics, this isn't the first time I've been glued to a protest. But I never thought I'd see it in the U.S.
I'm also shocked more people in the U.S. aren't talking about it. For a country who loves to squawk about Constitutional rights, the silence is deafening. It was jarring to go back and forth between Twitter and Facebook, the former full of tweets and updates about the protests and the latter the usual drivel. I was ashamed when people were unaware of these kinds of events taking place overseas, let along in the middle of the country. But from what I understand, cable news was all but ignoring it or focusing on the journalists who were detained.
I don't really know what I expected. I didn't expect more from the police. The U.S. is fine with protest so long as you file the right forms and stay on your side of the barrier. What we saw last night was real protest, and it's not surprising that those with power responded so barbarically. In a way, I'm surprised it wasn't worse and I in part credit the journalists and citizens who kept their cameras tightly focused on the cops. I also didn't expect more from politicians, who on a federal level were mostly silent. But to wake up the next day and see that it's still being treated by most as a niche issue is shocking.
I put together a piece for Literally, Darling about last night, for those who were not following the story as it unfolded.
Bridey is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.
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