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Okay, so at the moment I'm watching BBC news live coverage of the Olympic Torch relay in San Francisco, where they've secretly changed the route of the torch, secretly, with absolutely no notice.  It is surrounded by soldiers and police, with media photographers being driven just in front of that in what appears to be a Duck Tours bus.  This is one of the most insane things I've ever seen.

Over the weekend a friend of mine informed me in his most dignified tone of left wing irritation that he finds it hypocritical that people in the US and the UK are upset about Tibet when their own countries are occupying Iraq.  Which is a point, yes.  But the thing that makes the Chinese government so much worse, above Tibet and Burma and Sudan, is the fact that it's a totalitarian, dictatorial regime.  It's NOT the same as all of the other imperialistic countries who get the Olympics (not, deep down, that I give a rat's ass about the Olympics), it's worse.  People in China can't even use the internet.  And this farcical media spectacle/fake torch run really drives it home, the cheerful way in which the Chinese government is happy to lie to paint itself as a legitimate government, to protect its own wizened grip on power.  It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.  What does it mean for the world that one billion people are living under a regime that purposefully misleads them and tries to teach them not to think too deeply about where the power lies?

Also, a voice labelled 'Olympic Historian' has just informed us that the Nazis invented the Olympic flame. Huh.  I did not know that.


Apr. 11th, 2008 09:52 am (UTC)
I agree with Sapna that we're not aware enough of how the money we spend supports the Chinese regime (or other corrupt regimes) even while we're protesting, but I'm also definitely with you - it bugs the hell out of me when people try to draw a moral equivalency between the US/UK and a totalitarian dictatorship because of Iraq (or demand that Blair get hauled before the ICJ as if he were Milosovic, or claim that we're worse off than people in China). I'm definitely with you on this, Erin. I don't believe we should forget or ignore the wrongs our governments may do to us or to the world, but I can type these words - or any others - on a public forum without being blocked or censored, and with no fear of the knock on my door in the middle of the night. One billion people in China can't say the same.

Also, I'm sick of the idea that because I'm an American and/or live in Britain, and because my countries are imperialist and/or invaded Iraq and/or export their culture around the world and/or consume too many resources, I'm NOT ALLOWED to object to anything else that goes on in the world. Fuck that. If we held that only people whose own lives were blameless, who made sure that they knew about and understood and took appropriate action about every injustice in the world and that their every action and choice perfectly reflected their political beliefs, had standing to speak up, nothing would ever get done.