Even as Occupy Wall Street protesters are decrying the grip of big business on America, they are causing angst for some small business that are well within the 99 percent: The New York food carts and tourist stands that surround Zuccotti Park. And while the occupation has been compared to the Arab Spring and Tahrir Square, the mostly Egyptian kebab cookers and breakfast sellers who are losing their livelihoods aren’t too sure.If you're going to have a bagel, make sure it's special.
Zizi Elnagouri, a voluble native of Alexandria, Egypt, has spent five years selling pastries on the corner of Cedar and Broadway. She whirled her hands as she spoke, flapping her apron to make a point. “From the beginning of this, we lost all our business,” she lamented. Elnagouri took matters into her own hands, venturing out into the square to tell the occupiers “we are out of business.” Some were glad and others sympathetic. But Zizi was shocked. “I couldn’t believe they were American. Do you see how they look? What they are wearing? I don’t believe. This must be the Third World!” Zizi is accustomed to well-fed New Yorkers in suits, not people begging for free doughnuts. “Sometimes they buy coffee … it depends on who gives them money. I feel sad for them. It’s hard for Americans to start the day without coffee.” But although she said the destitution in the square reminded her of the Third World, the occupation didn’t strike her as another Tahrir. “We were fighting for a big, big thing: for life, to eat, against a giant snake that would kill us.” Unsurprisingly, she employs a smart breakfast metaphor: “Here, they’re not fighting to eat, say, regular bread, but … special bagels or something.”
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Let Them Eat Bagels
I guess it's an "Occupy"-ational hazard: