Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Stand Up and Be Counted: Its NOT just Tibet!

In the tumult of the past two days, reams of newsprint and acres of webspace have been devoted to the protests against the PR spectacle of the Olympic torch going through obstacle courses of protesters.

The most disturbing aspect of the whole saga is of course Chinese blindness and hubris that allows them to pass off London and Paris protests as works of a "minority," while claiming that the majority of the people support its brutal regime. Even more frightening are the news-clips of Chinese people - both in China and abroad - who don't question their regime's propaganda or care to find out why the world is not entirely approving of their government's behaviour. If there is an equivalent of the brain-washing a totalitarian regime such as the Nazis achieved, it must be China.

A few points need to be made, basic ones that have been drowned out by mainstream media looking for sell-able clips and photographs.

1. Most of the protesters are NOT a minority nor some sort of loony fringe, but rather members of democracies who pay their taxes, exercise their franchise, and now express their dissent in ways that are guaranteed by democratic states.

2. The police in London were generally quite controlled and disciplined, as warrants the law enforcement of a democratic state. The Paris police did seem to get a bit more rough but that is part of French gendarmerie tradition. But neither of the two police forces came anywhere close to the limited (by the Met) brutality the blue-clad "pretend athlete" Chinese thugs have engaged in (especially in London).

Finally, given that mainstream journalists get PAID to write reams, why has there been such sloppy analysis of the issues surrounding the torch relay and the pro-Tibet protests? On the other hand, everything I wanted to say regarding necessity and importance of the current protests has been said by one of my favourite bloggers in what counts as the logical expression of a critical, democratic mind (read the article here).

The protests are not just about Tibet, they are about the world we - and our children - will live in after the weakening of the American empire. They are about basic principles of democracy and expression - both of which we need to guard jealously against our own states (hence, London and Paris) but also against the growing brutal hegemony of the Chinese behemoth that crushes all dissent.

This is not just Tibet. It is all of us!

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