"Food and Water"

So, there have been people (well, at least one person) living in the trees of Berkeley for the past two weeks or so, protesting…um…something or other. I don’t know much about the issue and I’m trying to stay away from it. But I do pass these particular trees every day on my way to class. They’re surrounded by fences and police officers, and usually by supporting protestors as well.

Just today I was relaxing on Upper Sproul Plaza when I hear chants of “Food and Water! Food and Water!” I had noticed a large crowd of protestors in Dwinelle Plaza but was ignoring them, but at this I finally sat up and looked over. Some of the crowd had moved over to the infamous tree and police officers were keeping them back…presumably keeping them from giving the tree-bound protestors food and water.

Now. I don’t know anything about the issues they’re protesting. While I probably sympathize in theory, I doubt I’d agree with the proposed solutions. But in any case…

Denying food and water seems like a pretty heavy-handed tactic (apart from probably not working, let’s leave that aside). Obviously the protest is going to be cut short or at least weakened if the protestor has to leave the tree to get something to drink. It’s not like they have such a huge impact now, but this is Berkeley. Infused in the campus now is a hereditary right to protest. (I don’t think these protestors are students, but we’ll let that slide too.) And besides, this merely serves to draw more attention to the protestors, which I’m sure they’re happy with as well.

My point is, although it’s weird to have people in the trees and people around them shouting at you, it’s not too different from Upper Sproul anyway. So why can’t the police just let the people get food and water from their supporters and let the whole thing die out when they realize no one’s really listening anyway?

Just let them stay up in the dang trees forever, if that’s what they really want.