Today on their website, Occupy Columbia insists that Walid Hakim — who was arrested last night along with 19 others — is not a leader of their group. They were rather vehement about it:
An article was circulated by FitsNews.com proclaiming that Occupy Columbia has a leader, as they stated an unofficial leader.
This is NOT the case!
This article was taken completely out of context.
Occupy Columbia is and always will be a LEADERLESS movement.
Contact them and DEMAND a rewrite!!!
I could understand how Will would have gained that impression. I did, too, as you can see in the above video.
For me, Walid has been the spokesman — he’s always at the fore and available, he’s confident and articulate, he seems to know what’s going on. He’s the guy you see ostentatiously pacing at the back of the crowd talking on a cellphone as the governor’s press conference breaks upon, seeming to coordinate things. He always does things a little bigger than the others — holding his sign higher, wearing the more visible attire (a keffiyeh, a Marine Dress Blues blouse). He’s got the Days of Rage hair, the whole nine yards. News people gravitate to people like that — in a chaotic situation with no one officially in charge, you look for the guy who seems the least dazed, and start asking questions.
More traditional (if you’ll allow me this ironic use of the world) street protest leaders such as Brett Bursey have been in the background, by comparison with Walid.
But the main reason I always talk to Walid is that I know him. He and I serve together on the board of the Community Relations Council. Below you see him (just left of center) seated at one of our meetings earlier this week, in yet another incarnation, with blazer and khakis. (Yeah, I know it’s blurry, but I wasn’t planning on using it for publication. I was just fiddling with my iPhone during the meeting.)
I realize that to these folks, it’s a really, really important principle not to have leaders. But here’s my prediction: They’ll either get some leaders, or never really accomplish anything much beyond making headlines and getting arrested.