Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Giving Head Coverings a Bad Name [Chile]

Click to read:
"BBC News - Unmasking Chile's hooded protest movement"
photo from BBC article
 "They turn up to almost every demonstration in the Chilean capital Santiago and hurl stones, petrol bombs and even acid at the police.
"They spray the walls of the city with graffiti and attack journalists who try to film or photograph them.
"They are the "encapuchados" or "hooded ones", and they have become a regular feature of the protests that have convulsed Chilean society over the past two years."

They infiltrate normal student protests and other demonstrations, taking the significance of the protests away from whatever point may have been made and refocusing all policy making back toward crime control. Many are anarchists, and many are disgruntled (bored and rich) young people. They don't only appear in Santiago, but in cities all over the world. I personally am thinking of the filth and destruction left by hooded and face-covered brats in Toronto a couple of years ago during a summit of world leaders.

"The aims of these violent protesters are difficult to assess. Some seem to be fighting for revolution, while others are fighting just for fun." 

In free societies, one cannot simply tell people what they can and cannot wear. So ignorant thugs like these hide their identities and hijack otherwise peaceful demonstrations for their own selfish desire to destroy other people's stuff, whether physical or intellectual property. If you've ever been stared down by an adolescent child standing on your driveway telling you that you can't tell them what to do, you know the helplessness that their form of empty terrorism inspires.

I just want to walk up to them and rip those stupid rags off of their heads and faces. They have given up their right to cover their heads. It is not from modesty or humbleness, or even a desire to protect themselves from poisonous gases. They cover out of fear of getting caught and punished. They are childish cowards.

A woman who covers her head simply believes in a higher being who created the world and left her rules to live by, such as respecting the men and women who are her neighbours in life. If she does something stupid like these hoodlums, using her head covering to hide criminal behaviour, well, we'll cross that bridge if we get to it.

EDITED to add:

For more information on the "encapuchados" or "hooded ones", see:

"The Art of Change," by Titus Levy in "Occupied Stories", February 2012.
"Encapuchados in the National University," Columbia, from "Mike's Bogota Blog", April 2013.
"Protests offer lessons for UC student organizers," from a project by the University of California: "Chilean Winter", by Suzy Strutner and Jenna Belhumeur, 2013.
"Performing the Political: Encapuchados in Venezuela," a paper in "Project Muse", by Fernando Calzadill, January 1998.
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