Wednesday, April 09, 2008

San Fran, Over to You

The torture relay managed to survive the Paris hurdle on Monday and has made it to San Francisco, the city that has - since the Vietnam war - embodied contemporary participative democracy.

Over in Beijing, officials are still spouting their propaganda, talking of how people "love China" and blaming the outpouring of disgust, anguish and anger seen in Paris and London on a "handful of Tibetan separatists." And their citizenry who can not access basic information on the Tiannenmen Square massacre from within the nation on is suddenly not only well-informed but apparently able to hit the web to defend the Beijing regime! And they talk of British imperialism and the Opium Wars to defend their government's shameful record on human rights in Tibet and elsewhere. Just for that, this shameful spectacle has to be brought to an end.

However, beyond China's abysmal human rights record and its brutal occupation of Tibet, we who are citizens of democratic nations have a vested interest in bringing this horror-filled theatre of the absurd to an end. Here are just a few of the many reasons why the tor(ch)ture relay must be stopped RIGHT now:

1) There is NO tradition of the Olympic torch being carried about as a symbol of peace, harmony or anything else. The Greeks never had the torch carried down for the Olympics. It a publicity stunt that was created by the Nazis for the Berlin Olympics and revived by the Australians for Sydney 2000. And now the Chinese have mounted a massive spectacle to demonstrate their hegemony over oppressed people.

2) There is no reason why the Chinese government should be allowed to use the taxpayer's money in democratic states to justify its brutality - which is EXACTLY what happens when MY tax pounds are used to mount that horrible spectacle on Sunday in London.

3) The torch relay has broken all norms of representative democracies by allowing a bunch of thugs of the Chinese government to function with impunity in countries that value democracy and freedom of expression. I saw them go after protestors in Trafalgar square - something few of the media followed - using brute force. Would we allow Mugabe's thugs to stifle protestors against his regime? Or the Ayatollah's goons to attack protestors in London, Paris etc?

4) The spectacle of elected governments playing along with China's brutality undermines democracy and sovereignity where the torch is relayed. Why was the Met taking order from the aforementioned goons? Why did the same thugs determine to ignore the Parisian mayor?

This is not an IOC torch. This is Beijing's political PR stunt. This is not sports, its politics pure and simple. And its time to end it.

We in London set the bar. Paris took it a step further - thankfully with the help of its elected representatives. San Fran, its now up to you! Put out the torch! Tell the world leaders that bending over backwards to privilge the greed of big business and Chinese interests over democratic principles is not acceptable.

March tomorrow. In peace, but with vehemence. Stop the torch if you can! Or at least shout loud enough to shatter the glass walls of the towers of hubris where Chinese leaders dwell. Stop this sickening spectacle with which we are being to collaborate.

In Peace. For Tibet and All of US! Bod gyal Lo!


  1. Tibet has materially developed under China. Allegations of Human right violations in Tibet is exaggeration. I have encountered Tibetans who have openly expressed their contempt for India and praise for China. India has gained nothing by supporting Tibetans and Tibetan cause-neither materially nor spiritually. We should leave the Chinese and Tibetans alone to sort out their problems.

  2. Sundeep, I will not debate with you because your "I have spoken to Tibetans" logic is spurious at best. But as a member of a free society you have a right to that opinion which appears here.

    If all those Tibetans are SOOOO happy with China, why are they risking lives and limbs to escape?

    India stands for democracy and freedom and I am glad we have chartered a course that balances between strategic interests and ethical rectitude. Nowhere is this more obvious than in case of the Tibetans.