This week I wish to do something a bit different in my column; instead of having one, long and rather verbose article, I’d like to talk about two of the weeks global events that have touched a raw nerve.
Let’s start with the just concluded Olympic Games that were held in Beijing. By anyone’s standards the Chinese hit that ball out of the park.
It was well choreographed from beginning to end, the facilities were top notch and, just to show how serious those chaps were, even the legendary smog was almost non-existent.
Only kudos should be given to any city possessing such tremendous capacity to host such games, even though there always exists the potential of a fly in the ointment.
From the beginning, in the opening ceremony- where there was an outcry about the pretty ‘singer’ relegating her ‘uglier’ counterpart to the back stage-, I felt a palpable desire on the part of some segments of the western community to see the Games fail in the eyes on the world.
If it wasn’t about Tibet and its desire for greater autonomy, then it would be about ‘human rights abuses’ or some such political tirade. It was disheartening.
I mean, here was a nation and a city; that in only a few decades, had made, nay, forced the world to sit up and notice them…and at the moment of their greatest triumph, they were getting sand kicked into their faces.
I mean, come on, these fellows- the journalists, ‘activists’ (who I bet the closest they’d ever been to Tibet was sitting on their laptops looking at Lhasa on Google Earth) and politicians, weren’t being fair.
China is a nation that suffered a restricted past in isolation and, now that it has done something positive for itself and its people, these party-poopers were nitpicking.
“They have too much pollution, too many people in jails, not enough democracy, blah, blah, blah”.
“So bloody what”? Everything, I believe, is a process; it’s taken those so-called democratic nations’ centuries to develop their political systems and any student of European or American history knows that some of the worst human rights violations in the history of the world took place in the ‘free world’. And are still.
Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, the treatment of illegal immigrants in Europe….I could go on and on. So, before you go to China to condemn them (or any other country for that matter…don’t even provoke me on the conduct of western ‘policemen’ a.k.a media, human rights campaigners in my beloved Rwanda) here is a bit of advice; provide practical help or just shut up. Condemnation won’t put food on our tables but a bit of understanding will go a long way.
Russia’s President Dimitri Medyedev formally announced his nation’s recognition of the two Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent nations a few days back. You should have heard the western bloc squeal in aghast!
“That is a violation of Georgian sovereignty”, Angela Merkel thundered. Boo-hoo; if these guys expect me to become outraged they have another thing coming.
The guys in the EU and NATO are giving themselves heart-ache complaining about ‘Russian aggression’ but I’m a firm believer in karma.
You fellows bombed the Serbians out of Kosovo, protected the enclave and then recognized its declarations of independence.
The Russians complained but you ignored them. I actually wrote, in a column a few months back, that NATO and the EU were opening a Pandora’s Box.
You can’t help one bunch of people gain independence and then not want another group to have the same rights of self determination. Well, the chickens have come home to roost. Fair is fair.