By Hena Ashraf
What I’ve learned in the last few weeks at Occupy Wall Street:
I now know how to locate friends in a crowd of thousands of people.
I now know how communication can be amplified without any equipment, via the human microphone.
I now know that we truly do not need mainstream media in order for us to get attention.
I now know how hard it is to find crucial information about the next mobilization, in a movement that is mostly leaderless.
I now know that a significant strength of a leaderless movement is that there are no immediate easy targets.
I now know to be wary of disrupters and those who cause distractions in the space.
I now know how hard it is to fight oppressions such as racism and sexism in a space that’s supposedly anti-oppressive.
I now know how solidarity with critique is at times desperately needed.
I now know how two-faced our mayor truly is.
I now know that once our movement started to connect the struggles, the authorities attempted to shut us down.
I now know what its like to leave my home in the middle of the night to join a mass mobilization.
I now know what it feels like to be in a crowd of thousands during the early hours of the day, waiting for action.
I now know the euphoric feeling of what people power feels like.
I now know that these experiences have already changed me and will stay with me.
I now know what its like to experience a little bit of the immense challenges the protesters in the Arab uprisings have been enduring for months.
I now know how mass arrests and violence at the hands of the state can directly increase numbers in a movement.
I now know how to write and share about my experiences and how crucial it is that I and my friends do so.
I now know that sharing these experiences can help protesters in other cities improve their attempts at making their own protest spaces anti-oppressive.
I now know how to speak up. Its still hard and intimidating, but I know how to do it.
I know how crucial it is that this movement continues to grow, has sustainability, and improves in order for the participation and inclusion of everyone.