Human Rights and Political Wrongs

So, Tibet; I haven’t yet made a statement on what I think about the events unfolding around the Olympic Games in China this year and the protests as a result of the human rights violations in Tibet. It’s tricky to say why really without offending somebody but here goes anyway.
In the last couple of months we have heard nothing but political figures preparing to boycott the Olympic ceremonies in China this year. Yet again another wonderful example of politics having a profound and detrimental effect on ordinary folk who don’t really have anything to do with the problems. The big question that I have been posing to everybody so far on this discussion is why the Olympic committee gave the event to China in the first place if such a political stance was being taken? Surely all these protests are the result of a decision by this committee who could have had a much bigger impact by refusing to grant the event than merely facilitating some politicians to not turn up and give bad press to an event that means everything to the amateur athletes who take part within?
Then there was the recent episode of Questions and Answers on RTE television, following on from the comments made by John Gormley of the Green Party in relation to Tibet and the controversy that it caused. I was shocked at the response from certain members of the audience during that show who’s only problem was that Tibet was referred to as a country by John Gormley and they saw it as a province of China. You’d swear that nothing bad was happening at all in the world if this was the magnitude of the issues coming to the fore.
So, where do I stand on this issue? Is it wrong, what is happening in Tibet at the moment? Yes, certainly! Any human rights violation is an awful and unconscionable occurrence. However, is it right for the political uproar to take place in the manner that it has? Well, personally I think it’s all a little hypocritical. The English have a very bad history albeit given the veneer of history to make it somehow acceptable, in terms of invading, land-grabbing, torture and killing of innocent civilians; All in the name of Queen and country. The US maintains its seat of power by bullying the rest of the world into submission. Despite being the only nation to “successfully” use an atomic bomb against another country as an act of war, resulting in untold damage and suffering, they still think that they should be the only ones holding the bomb as if they were some form of model for bomb control. The Germans, Italians, French, and others have all had their moments throughout history too, with different leaders. And the Irish, well our leaders just jump as far as Uncle Sam asks them to when they need landing space for planes on the way to a wrongful war on capturing fossil fuels that started as a war on an emotion (terror) in a completely different country.
The decision to host the Olympics in China was perhaps the wrong decision, if snubbing a country on the international stage was deemed to be a suitable protest against the happenings in Tibet. However, the decision to snub the games themselves is not having an impact on the host country but rather on the athletes and their morale and also upon the spectators who merely want to enjoy an event that goes no further than the boundaries of the stadium in which it is hosted. The atrocities and human rights violations that are taking place all around the world and of which we hear very little are all highly important challenges for us as global inhabitants, to overcome and make right. Sadly in this money-mad, capitalist vacuum called Western civilisation, only the areas with attainable natural resources or beneficial trade links will be tackled. A definitely new and materialistic form of altruism.
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  1. Hi Jonathan,

    Just to add another point to your post…

    While there may be room for improvement in China’s treatment of Tibet – it is all we can expect from a large, ambitious power. You rightly point out that America and Britain, as world powers, have behaved equally badly in similar situations, at other times.

    With that in mind, let’s not be too hard on China for freeing Tibet. Apparently it needs to be pointed out to many that there is a difference between pre-1949 Tibet and Shangri-la. The latter is a fictional utopia. The former was a superstitious, feudal, hell-hole rife with abuse and fear, where 98% of the population lived lives of great hardship.

    Confusing the two represents a lowest common denominator of dizzy la-la thinking – congruent with our society’s suicidal will to ignorance. Anyone who can raise their heads above big sport and reality TV for a moment can achieve this level of political consciousness. It takes a little longer to begin to see the wiring under the board.

    David.

  2. Thanks for the comment David and a very valid point you have there with people’s perception of the victim country. Of course nobody is condoning any form of violence against any populous but as you say a bit of education wouldn’t go astray. Sadly as I surmised in the post, the people of Western culture tend to only take notice if a trade link, advantage or competing world power is the one committing the wrongful act. It’s a great shame that such focus is not placed on other problems in our world. There’s a great feature on China is this month’s National Geographic and the evolution of the country and its rising trend towards future proofing and sustainable energy is something the rest of us oil guzzlers could learn a thing or two from.

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