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Without a hint of irony, the State Department rebuked Turkey for cracking down on citizens assembling in public to protest the razing of Gezi Park in Instanbul.

"We believe that Turkey's long-term stability, security and prosperity is best guaranteed by upholding the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association, which is what it seems these individuals were doing.

"These freedoms are crucial to any healthy democracy," [Department Spokesperson] Psaki added.

Indeed, a country's long-term prosperity is best guaranteed by upholding the fundamental freedom of assembly, a freedom "crucial to any healthy democracy."

Unfortunately, as we've seen all too often during the past several years, particularly with regard to Occupy Wall Street, this freedom in America has been viewed as anything but absolute, and it could be rightfully argued that this right has been viewed as anything but crucial as well.

After all, this is a country with increasingly militarized police forces in which local cops are being armed with weapons suitable for the battlefield.

This is a country in which large gatherings of peaceful protesters, from Occupy Wall Street to Stop and Frisk marches, are increasingly being met with police responses that often look like this:

occupy1

If we are to rebuke other nations for cracking down on protesters gathering to air their grievances in public, it is first necessary to remind ourselves just how "crucial" that right to do so actually is. How fundamental a right the freedom to assemble has been in shaping the character of our nation.

It is first necessary to re-examine the way in which we have been muting, with force, the voices of many in our own country who gather to protest before rebuking others.

Otherwise, to engage in such international rebukes is to engage in self-parody.


 

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