Fighters with Libya's National Transitional Council rest outside a shuttered shop along a street in the town of Sirte on October 16, 2011 / Philippe Desmazes/AFP/GettyThe Occupy Wall Street protests that began in New York are going global, but just how global was not evident until this bit of pro-OWS graffiti showed up in Libya. These two heavily armed freedom fighters seem to have associated their own movement, a revolution that ousted four-decade dictator Muammar Qaddafi, with the one that is attempting to fight corporate greed and big bank malfeasance. The men pictured are currently occupying Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte.
There are two interesting things about this photo. The first is that the global movement for popular mobilization against perceived injustice and minority rule (Qaddafi's family was big, but those Libyans outside of it probably make up slightly more than 99 percent), the most recent wave of which began in North Africa before helping to inspire anti-austerity protests in Europe and now the Occupy Wall Street movement in the U.S., appears to have circled the globe and returned to the place where it began. Libyans, of course, are affected by what happens on Wall Street -- the entire world rises or falls with the global financial markets that Wall Street's institutions help to drive. But the fact that North Africans could be inspired by Americans who could be inspired by North Africans suggests that, as popular movements rise in power and prominence, the national boundaries and governments that once defined world order are declining in importance.
The second thing that this photo demonstrates is that, as many Middle East analysts have long suspected, Libya's revolutionaries have a touch of the hipster to them. The emergence of the Libyan Hipster-Rebel has been well documented in photos, most recently in a much-circulated shot of a fatigue-wearing rebel fighter strumming the guitar and singing in the middle of a heated battle in downtown Sirte.
Whatever the lessons of Occupy Wall Street's apparent spread to revolutionary Libya, it will be interesting to see whether the movement continues to grow there. Who knows -- maybe we will soon see citizen video of Libyans chanting quotes from Conor Friedersdorf articles.
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