How does the world view protests on U.S. campuses?

The world is watching with shock, pride, joy, and alarm what is happening on America’s campuses. The protests, and the arrests of protesters, have made headlines around the world, from Bogotá to Berlin, from Tehran to Paris.

Students in some countries, including France, have staged their own protests, although not as large or as intense as in the United States.

Some have praised the protests. The crackdown is also seen by people, especially those in countries ruled by dictatorships, as evidence of American hypocrisy on human rights and free speech. Still others see them as the latest sordid chapter in America’s ongoing culture wars.

In some ways, protests and the response to them are a Rorschach test for the world, and their analysis often provides more insight into local politics than in the United States.

Introducing carefully selected scenery from around the world.

Many in France, including Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, see the pro-Palestinian protests as another example of the dangers of “woke” culture, “le wokisme”, imported from the United States and influenced by the French Republican Party. We are concerned that our core values ​​are being threatened.

On Friday, police stormed Paris’ elite Polytechnic University and removed students who had occupied the building overnight. The protesters were demanding that the university denounce what they called the “ongoing genocide in Gaza” and review its partnership with Israeli universities.

It was the second time in nine days that police had carried out such an act, which many said had never been seen before at the university, which was founded in 1872 to educate the country’s future leaders. says.

Attal accused an “active and dangerous minority” of student protesters who are trying to impose “an ideology from across the Atlantic.”

In both the United States and France, many people, especially on the right, view these protests through the same lens as past movements such as #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, but the French establishment views these movements as reductive and divisive. It is analyzed lightly that it is a threat. Towards social cohesion.

“One of the characteristics of Wokismi is the division of the world into rulers and ruled, oppressors and oppressors. What is happening today on American campuses is that Israel is the oppressor and Palestine is the oppressor. It’s a categorizing perspective,” political analyst Chloe Morin recently said. a book Blame Wokisme. “As a result, they cannot accept that anti-Semitism exists and that Jews can also be victims.”

Jill Kepel, a prominent scholar and expert on Islam, offered a similar analysis. “Wokismee amplifies narcissism about small differences, which means that society cannot function,” he wrote in the news magazine L’Express. “It is a deadly danger to a democratic society.”

Supporters of the protests reject the idea that they are imported from American campuses. They point out that Polytechnic students were protesting long before Columbia University’s campus erupted.

“This is not imitation happening here,” said Pierre Fuller, a professor of Chinese history at the Polytechnic University. In late March, he organized a petition of professors calling on the university to condemn both Israel’s policies in the Gaza Strip and the Hamas hostage holding.

“It’s better to be a woke copycat than someone who supports genocide,” said Jacques Espinose, 22, a public relations student at the University of Science and Po, who was one of the students taken by police on Friday. ” he said.

A right-wing talk show broadcast across Egypt recently gave an unexpected amount of airtime to the arrest of an economics professor at Emory University. The show’s host seemed particularly struck by an image of her having her head slammed into concrete by a police officer during the dispersal of a protest on campus, which she held onto for two minutes.

“This is the real White House,” said host Ahmed Musa, clearly pleased. “Don’t believe anything Americans have said before. Believe only what you see.”

Moussa, who has previously said he was proud to serve the ruling military and security services patriotically, is one of several top Egyptian television personalities to criticize Washington on U.S. campuses. He harshly criticizes the harsh tactics used by the police. Cairo has been on the receiving end of human rights warnings for years.

Videos of police beating and dragging students are being broadcast on a loop on many news channels. Mustofa Bakri, a member of parliament who has his own television show, said the United States had lost credibility as a defender of freedom.

“You’ve fallen into the swamp,” Bakley said.

Nashat Dehi, a leading television presenter on Channel Ten who is widely believed to have ties to the country’s intelligence services, said Cairo was no longer obliged to respond to the US State Department’s annual human rights report on Egypt. .

“The US government is waging its own intifada against university protesters,” he said.

German news outlets have covered protests in the United States far more extensively than they have on campuses in their home country in recent months. In particular, they zero in on episodes of anti-Semitism.

A recent headline in Die Welt was “They preach hatred against Jews with a smile.” Articles about the protests posted on the website are tagged with “anti-Semitic protests.”

This focus vindicates Germany’s decision to ban many anti-war protests and discourage public criticism of Israel in the name of fighting anti-Semitism. This approach has drawn international condemnation, especially for its chilling effect on the art world.

“Should we consider the Middle East discourse in New York and London exemplary?” wrote one commentator in the leftist newspaper Taz.

One place where American campus protests receive little coverage is China, where state media has barely mentioned the protests over the past week.

The most likely reason is that Chinese authorities do not want student protests on their campuses, said Jean-Pierre Cabestin, professor emeritus of political science at Hong Kong Baptist University. “They’re worried that students will be mobilized using that as an excuse,” he says.

The main exception is Guancha, a nationalist website with a long history of criticizing the United States. On Thursday, it prominently published an article suggesting that the protests were a sign of a broader decline in social cohesion and a divide in the United States.

Other Chinese media outlets and covert influence operations with target audiences outside China are also seizing the opportunity to amplify protests and stoke tensions.

Chinese officials have said little to their own people, but Foreign Ministry chief spokeswoman Hua Chunying criticized the United States for obscuring visibility in mainland China.

she Posted A video montage of American police fighting with demonstrators and the question, “Do you remember how American authorities reacted when protests like this occurred elsewhere?”

The country’s two largest newspapers, El Tiempo and El Espectador, published editorials this week supporting the student movement.

At El Tiempo, editors see violent student arrests as an opportunity to remind readers of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which “will not become part of the landscape,” says opinion editor Federico. Arango said. He said he had lost count of the number of editorials the paper published about the war.

“I hope the protests don’t end with controversy,” Arango said. “Hopefully, people will understand that these students are not for or against Biden or Trump. I think people should see it.”

This week, the country’s leftist president, Gustavo Petro, announced that he would sever diplomatic relations with Israel. He described the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza as “genocidal.”

Slogans such as “This is not a war, this is genocide” and “Don’t stop talking about Palestine” were painted on the walls of the National University of Bogotá, known for its student protests.

“The important thing is to express your dissatisfaction and show that you are not turning a blind eye to what is happening in the world,” said Yadir Ramos, 22, a psychology student.

Iranian state media has covered protests on American university campuses in detail as evidence of America’s double standards on free speech.

On Thursday, the front pages of several conservative Iranian newspapers featured photos of riot police storming Columbia University, with slogans such as “This is how American students are treated” and “Repression and expulsion are the price of being liberal.” ” was the headline.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian expressed concern about the safety of American student activists and protesters. last week, with X, he posted He called the video of a police officer attacking and handcuffing a student “oppression” and said it “clearly demonstrates actions that are inconsistent with the U.S. government’s duplicitous policy toward freedom of expression.”

Many ordinary Iranians also took to social media to express their regret that the police had been called in by a US university they considered a bastion of freedom of expression and debate.

Raika, 45, a Tehran resident who asked that her last name not be used for fear of retaliation, said the violence began when she was a university student in Iran, when plainclothes security guards raided the Tehran University campus and beat her. He said he remembered a time when he had assaulted her. She arrests the students who were holding a sit-in.

But at least U.S. students have access to a fair and independent judicial process, she said.

Report contributor: Erica Solomon in Berlin; Jorge Valencia in Bogotá, Colombia; Farnas Fasihi in New York; keith bradshire In Beijing.and Joy Don in Hong Kong; Emad Mekei In Cairo.and Ségolène Le Stradic In Paris.

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