About those Olympic protests


by Sunny
8th April, 2008 at 11:04 am    

Well done those Parisians, for having managed to extinguish that Olympic flame a few times. But I can’t help feel this is like the last gasp before the world learns to shut its mouth in front of China.

But before I get onto that, I have a question. Who still supports that anti-terrorist legislation then?

From Paul Lewis yesterday on CIF:

Several protesters were dragged away. I saw one woman asked to place her anti-Chinese posters in plastic bags. She told me she had been told by two officers that her materials, which complained about China’s treatment of animals, were “inflammatory”.

Demonstrators who did not obey police requests to stand in designated areas were repeatedly threatened with anti-terrorist legislation.

That should be a nice slap in the face for all those who still think that our government is only likely to use its mountain of anti-terrorist legislation against potential terrorists. So much for allowing the protests to be a “triumph of democracy” eh?

Anyway, we knew this was going to happen. And shame on Duncan Goodhew too.

But is there something amiss here? Aaron says:

You see this is the problem with challenging the Beijing Olympics: it’s so thoroughly hypocritical. Western life is utterly intertwined with the behemothic and authoritarian Chinese state . Our homes are filled with products made by those who suffer under the Chinese communist party and its poisonous and corrupt polity.

It’s not just our politicians – and their sycophantic engagements with Chinese officials – that help justify this brutal regime, it’s all of us. We’re all part of the system that crushed the nascent Tibetan uprising. We support the Chinese system of political and religious oppression by buying its products. We help justify it.

I’m not sure I entirely agree. After all I watch American television (an export) but that doesn’t mean I have agreed to buy into GW Bush’s policies. Aren’t we allowed to separate out the two?

But regardless of whether we’re hypocritical or not, it feels almost like a last gasp. We’re almost doing it because it will be the last time we can.

China is an economic giant already. In a decade it will be more powerful than ever, and then the leeway that European governments have on Tibet or human rights abuses will be even less. There isn’t going to be any liberal intervention in China, though George Galloway will probably head over to tell them what fantastic revolutionaries they are.

Hillary Clinton can urge Bush to boycott the Olympics, but if she were elected President, there is no way in hell she’d be able to do the same.


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  1. Roger — on 8th April, 2008 at 12:14 pm  

    It would be a good idea if Liberty or some other organisation could make available leaflets specifying exactly what rights and powers demonstrators and police have in such circumstances for people to use and quote. Also, if there were observers who could watch and film exactly what happens to ensure that the police, as well as demonstrators, comply with the law.

  2. MaidMarian — on 8th April, 2008 at 1:28 pm  

    ‘After all I watch American television (an export) but that doesn’t mean I have agreed to buy into GW Bush’s policies. Aren’t we allowed to separate out the two?’

    Very well said. For the love of all that is holy it is a sodding sporting event that lasts for 14 days. It is not the entire symbol of humanity. Can everyone please get a grip and some perspective.

    Jesus!

  3. ziz — on 8th April, 2008 at 1:41 pm  

    Roger : You suffer from the delusion that Liberty exists to promote liberty. Headed by an Ex(?) Home Office lawyer it’s function is to diffuse enquiry and criticism of Government policy.

    e.g CIA rendition policy : This was “investigated” by the murdered Michael Todd in the form of a bland and useless 3 page letter to the wonderful telegenic Sami Ch.

    Result ? Silence.

    I cannot quote Chapter and verse her but there is a section of the Terrorism Act that Plod uses for any fucking thing they want.

    If they feel the need to arrest you, handcuff you, drag you off, lock you up, take your DNA, fingerprints, retinal photograph they will.

  4. bananabrain — on 8th April, 2008 at 2:05 pm  

    i suppose this is the problem with almost anything, we’re all part of the problem and almost anything we do to try and change it will almost certainly make it worse. however, that doesn’t mean we ought to do nothing! i struggle with this. i mean, i disagree with a lot of the behaviour of institutional investors, but i can’t not have a pension, can i?

    sometimes i just boggle. i think the reason that things like this just jump out are that they seem to constitute a sort of standalone opportunity to vent our displeasure at the tibet issue in a way which might not fall foul of the basic issue about doing anything about this: the. chinese. do. not. give. a. feck. what. you. think. they will do whatever the hell they think they can get away with. the root of the problem is, unfortunately, national sovereignty. this is why i always say the nation-state must be consigned to the wastebin of history. of course that’ll probably not help either.

    *sigh*

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  5. Anas — on 8th April, 2008 at 3:39 pm  

    Actually, Uri Avnery, an extremely important elder spokesman for the Israeli peace movement and one of the most insightful commentators on the middle east wrote this brilliant article about the utter hypocrisy of many of those condemning China’s harsh repression of Tibet (particularly given our own complicity in the Israeli occupation of Palestine):

    “Hey! Take your hands off me! Not you! You!!!” – the voice of a young woman in the darkened cinema, an old joke.

    “Hey! Take your hands off Tibet!” the international chorus is crying out, “But not from Chechnya! Not from the Basque homeland! And certainly not from Palestine!” And that is not a joke.

    LIKE EVERYBODY else, I support the right of the Tibetan people to independence, or at least autonomy. Like everybody else, I condemn the actions of the Chinese government there. But unlike everybody else, I am not ready to join in the demonstrations.

    Why? Because I have an uneasy feeling that somebody is washing my brain, that what is going on is an exercise in hypocrisy.

    In the competition for the sympathy of the world media, the Palestinians are unlucky. According to all the objective standards, they have a right to full independence, exactly like the Tibetans. They inhabit a defined territory, they are a specific nation, a clear border exists between them and Israel. One must really have a crooked mind to deny these facts.

    But the Palestinians are suffering from several cruel strokes of fate: The people that oppress them claim for themselves the crown of ultimate victimhood. The whole world sympathizes with the Israelis because the Jews were the victims of the most horrific crime of the Western world. That creates a strange situation: the oppressor is more popular than the victim. Anyone who supports the Palestinians is automatically suspected of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

    Also, the great majority of the Palestinians are Muslims (nobody pays attention to the Palestinian Christians). Since Islam arouses fear and abhorrence in the West, the Palestinian struggle has automatically become a part of that shapeless, sinister threat, “international terrorism”. And since the murders of Yasser Arafat and Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the Palestinians have no particularly impressive leader – neither in Fatah nor in Hamas.

    The world media are shedding tears for the Tibetan people, whose land is taken from them by Chinese settlers. Who cares about the Palestinians, whose land is taken from them by our settlers?

    Found via the excellent JSF. See, you can be sceptical about the coverage of the protests without sounding like an apologist for Chinese repression, Mr Galloway.

  6. Roger — on 8th April, 2008 at 3:53 pm  

    I’d be dubious about the opinions on anything of someone who unequivocally asserts that Yasser Arafat was murdered; however, until the most recent outbreak in Tibet you need only compare the amount of space newspapers spent discussing Tibet and Palestine and the almost-unquestioning assumption that Tibet is an internal part of China to see that there has not been disproportional attention- either in space or in sympathy- paid to Tibet. Furthermore, the fact that people protest about one crime more than another is not necessarily hypocrisy. Hypocrites are those who are indifferent to every crime or who excuse one crime by referring to others.

  7. Anas — on 9th April, 2008 at 3:14 pm  

    Well the evidence is pretty substantial that Arafat was murdered. Anyway I don’t think it’s so much about the level of coverage (obviously the level of coverage of Tibet is severely limited by the fact of Chinese state repression and its control of the media)– it’s about what the coverage of both conflicts — and especially the editorial pieces and commentary about the two occupations — tells us about the differences in how the Tibetans.

    Coverage of I/P inevitably either concentrates on casting the Israelis as victims of Palestinian terrorism (which is strange given the death tolls on either side) or when Israel’s attacks on civilians are too bloody too ignore, gives the context as one of Israel retaliating for some Palestinian attack (never the other way round). Attention is almost never drawn to the bare fact that Israel is occupying Palestine, and the legtimacy of Israel’s presence in the West Bank, or Gaza is never questioned. Now this is very important given that unlike China, whose repression in Tibet we may be indirectly funding through trade, we in the West (US+UK) directly support Israel diplomatically, millitarily and ideologically (and of course US funds Israel to the tune of a few billion a year).

    And yes I will call it hypocrisy when for example many of the same commentators/media outlets who were aghast at the fact that Brown was seen to be almost legitimising Chinese repression by meeting (tho not touching) the torch were unable to bring themselves to note that Brown is a patron of the Jewish National Fund, an organisation whose central purpose is to prevent any non-Jews buying land in Israel. This is just one example, in the worst cases we have Israel’s supporters actively criticising China, including Hilary Clinton and golden boy Obama (I find it extremely comical when the Israel cheerleading scumbags over at HP sauce go all out to protest China’s repressions in Tibet.). I mean how many commentators picked up on Sarkozy’s much publicised dithering about going to the opening cermony in protest at China, in the light of his friendly attitude towards Israel (e.g., his recent silence on Gaza’s starvation siege).

    In fact there’s are so many comparisons to be made: almost all of China’s excuses for clamping down on Tibet, including the excuse that Tibet is strategically crucial for China and anything that movement which aims to split Tibet from China is a threat to China’s security in the longrun, to the security of the ethnic Han Chinese in Tibet find ready parallels in Israel’s own justifications for its murderous treatment of the Palestinians– which never seem to come under such a harsh light. Yet these glaring facts are barely ever discussed in the media.

    The chief hypocrisy lies in the fact which I will reiterate, we’re far more responsible in the West for the injustices being perpetrated against the Palestinians than we are for China’s repression in Tibet. I’m sure no one would find it problematic to label as hypocrites news commentators in China who constantly criticised the US and UK for its complicity in Palestine’s occupation, but scarcely mentioned Tibet, except to criticise for example the attacks on the han chinese. Although of course people in China have the excuse that it’s dangerous to talk about Tibet.

  8. ZinZin — on 9th April, 2008 at 3:47 pm  

    “Hypocrites are those who are indifferent to every crime or who excuse one crime by referring to others.”

    Roger your refering to psychopaths and whatabouttery, not hypocrisy.

    Anas your right on the hypocrisy issue re I/P and Tibet. It easier to condemn the sins of others than acknowledge our own. Nevertheless it falls upon the state of Israel and the palestinians to put an end to this conflict.

  9. sonia — on 9th April, 2008 at 5:48 pm  

    along with the focus on “free tibet” there should have been a focus on china’s human rights record on its dissidents, hu jia’s arrest should have been more broadly publicised.

    yes we are all part of the system – that is even more reason to point out the flaws. we uphold the banking system and that is deeply flawed, the fact that most of us see very little choice but to have standard bank accounts is absolutely part of the problem. the lack of choices as individuals and effectively having to be part of the existing system, is why we need to come together and recognise the problems. otherwise how are we ever going to bring about change?

  10. sonia — on 9th April, 2008 at 5:54 pm  

    i like how the chinese students are very happy to exercise their right to freedom of speech here and not support the same right for people like hu jia over there. i had some interesting debates with some flag-waving types, i daresay that was one good thing to come out of this. the kids i spoke to can’t have been used to anyone challenging them.

  11. ROGER — on 9th April, 2008 at 9:39 pm  

    I agree about China’s record with ethnic Chinese dissidents, Sonia- and nondissidents for that matter. Whatever you say about them, the Chinese government has been equally and nondiscriminatingly murderous with all of its subjects. There’s no racialism there. I also think that the number of dead- proportionally and absolutely- puts the Chinese government in a different league to Israel. I’d say from the Chinese people I came across on Sunday that many of them are sowing their ideological wild oats before going back to nice secure profitable jobs as party members/industrial managers. I don’t think they are typical of all young Chinese people abroad but- for obvious reasons- they were the noticeable ones then.

    Anas: I agree that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is a disgrace to Israel and those that acquiesce in it, but there are complications. One is that no-one would regard the very existence of China as threatened- realistically or rhetorically- by Tibetan and other ethnic minorities. Compare the demands of the Dalai Lama with those of HAMAS The very level of control of the media is revealing about the two societies and the way they function.

  12. justforfun — on 9th April, 2008 at 9:48 pm  

    i had some interesting debates with some flag-waving types, i daresay that was one good thing to come out of this. the kids i spoke to can’t have been used to anyone challenging them.

    Nothing like a good arguement to lower the blood pressure. Sonia – I hope you gave them hell :-) and a quick lesson in a robust Anglo-Saxon debate.

    I digress – My options for which cereal I can ethically eat are slowly being wittled down. Please can someone reassure me ‘Beafy’ Botham was not a flame runner. I so like my shredded wheat, I would hate to have to boycott it.

    Don’t blame the Chinese people, they are prisoners too, just boycott Western companies that ride the Olympics.

    Can we have a PP list of flame runners and what we have to boycott.

    Justforfun

  13. Don — on 9th April, 2008 at 10:04 pm  

    Anas,

    On this blog, how much time has been given over to I/P and how much to Tibet/China?

    In the media, same question.

    But the Olympic torch relay (originating at the Berlin Olympics as a conceit of Aryan whatever) heading for China is Tibet’s best chance to get a break, get some awareness. I’m not optimistic on the Games improving China’s human rights record, but it might help.

    Why the urge to find I/P connections, are there other comparisons to be made? Must every debate be viewed through that prism?

  14. Sunny — on 10th April, 2008 at 12:05 am  

    Compare the demands of the Dalai Lama with those of HAMAS The very level of control of the media is revealing about the two societies and the way they function.

    Anas you seem to be missing this bit. I support a Palestinian state but you don’t think they’d get more sympathy if it wasn’t for the suicide bombers and the rampant anti-semitism, and Al-Qaeda?

  15. Anas — on 10th April, 2008 at 4:09 pm  

    One is that no-one would regard the very existence of China as threatened- realistically or rhetorically- by Tibetan and other ethnic minorities. Compare the demands of the Dalai Lama with those of HAMAS The very level of control of the media is revealing about the two societies and the way they function.

    China has, IMHO, a strong argument that Tibet acts as a buffer-zone to its south, and that it would be left strategically vulnerable if it were to become independent — so that as a superpower China would have a lot to lose, especially with a Nuclear power on its Southern Border. Equally if Tibet were to gain independence or even autonomy then that would encourage other regions to agitate for seccession — which would be extremely damaging to China’s integrity as a nation. None of which justifies China’s human rights abuses, just as none of the usual Israeli arguments justify Israel’s human rights abuses.

    As for comparing the Dalai Lama’s demands with those of Hamas, a few points have to be kept in mind. For a start Israel has pursued a rejectionist policy for the past four decades, which has entailed rejecting out of hand the broad consensus of the international community and the dictates of international law with regard to their occupation — the utter hopelessness of the Palestinians situation was the chief reason why Hamas came to power in the first place, and the moderate voices of Palestinian resistance have seemed to be drowned out. Even the Arab League (including Iran) has repeatedly called for full normalisations of and recognition of Israel in exchange for a return back to pre-67 borders — Israel refused to take this up, fearing what might be lost (i.e., land) in a peace deal.

    Second, Hamas has made very reasonable, and in fact plausible, overtures toward an extended ceasefire — again not followed up by Israel because it doesn’t suit its colonialist aspirations. Thirdly, did anti-Han Chinese, anti-Muslim pogroms carried out by the Tibetans recently nullify the Tibetan cause? No because a)they were recognised as the actions of a desperate, repressed and brutalized people; and b) it doesn’t make the Chinese government’s abuses any less acceptable, nor does it justify their actions. So why is it different for the Palestinians?

    Don, I wanted to bring up I/P because it is relevant, here we have two situations that are comparable in important ways, and therefore the reactions towards them in the Western media and commentary are revealing. Take as an example, Barack Obama’s calls for Bush to boycott the opening ceremony (I don’t think even the Dalai Lama would go that far), and his craven apologetics for the starvation siege of Gaza (which affected the whole population and not just Hamas or other sundry terrorists) — like I say it’s an important barometer of attitudes.

    Anas you seem to be missing this bit. I support a Palestinian state but you don’t think they’d get more sympathy if it wasn’t for the suicide bombers and the rampant anti-semitism, and Al-Qaeda?

    Yes I agree with you. But on the other hand, isn’t this outweighed by the fact that we are in the West more responsible for the situation in Palestine than in Tibet; and doesn’t common sense morality therefore dictate that Palestine should take priority over Tibet?

  16. bananabrain — on 10th April, 2008 at 5:10 pm  

    oh for feck’s sake, anas. i’m not getting drawn into another argument where you blame everything in the world on the occupation – i mean, how the arse do you have the cheek to say:

    Attention is almost never drawn to the bare fact that Israel is occupying Palestine, and the legtimacy of Israel’s presence in the West Bank, or Gaza is never questioned.

    when you do it about once every 20 seconds and it is done constantly by what seems like every lefty in the world? how on earth can you possibly still think that this point of view is *under-represented*?

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  17. Anas — on 10th April, 2008 at 5:16 pm  

    I was referring to the coverage of IP in the mainstream media, BB.

  18. Justforfun — on 10th April, 2008 at 5:40 pm  

    Anas – you need to order a different paper from your newsagent. The one you’re getting seems to be controlled by the Jewish conspiracy.

    Seriously – you have to understand hypocisy is not a crime – its a virtue from God , otherwise we would never be able to function as human beings or argue our cases. Glad to see you sympathize with India’s position on Kashmir :-) – but not sure where you got the idea from that Tibet would be a good way to invade China – have you been to the Himalayas – they are very big and very cold and very high. As is the Tibetian plateau. Most people in history bent on invasion went around the longer route over the slightly lower Hindu Kush.

    But yes – in your general thrust – I agree we do have a greater responsibility/ability here in the West to help resolve the IP issue compared to Tibet, – but you might have noticed the Dalai Lama does speak English with an Indian accent while the Hamas spokesman does not ! ;-) .

    The IP issue has been turned from a national struggle into a religious war and if history teaches anything relgious wars, don’t end in negotiated settlements. Depressing but there you go.

    justforfun

  19. bananabrain — on 10th April, 2008 at 5:48 pm  

    the mainstream media? presumably you’re not reading the guardian or the independent, nor are you watching the bbc – in fact, it is always mentioned “for balance” in the times, the telegraph and just about everywhere else. for feck’s sake, not even the jewish press could be accused of being unaware that there is, in fact, rather a lot of people who disapprove of what the israeli government and army get up to. many of them are even – gasp, shock horror! – jewish.

    clearly, scotland is in the grip of a right-wing zionist cabal.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  20. Anas — on 10th April, 2008 at 5:58 pm  

    heh, I don’t even live in Scotland anymore, so there!

    Yes, the Guardian and the Independent do have more balanced coverage — sometimes, Jews Sans Frontieres have had a few interesting posts about the Guardian’s coverage recently which are worth reading — in comparison to most of the MSM.

    But I disagree about the BBC’s coverage not being skewed heavily in favour of Israel. And no, I don’t think enough is made of the fact of the occupation, especially not as an explanation for some of the (often wrongheaded) actions of Palestinians in retaliation for the brutal occupation. I mean, if there was, wouldn’t the hypocrisy of those who criticise China’s actions in Tibet but who give Israel a free reign in matters of security draw more attention?

  21. bananabrain — on 10th April, 2008 at 6:04 pm  

    you see, this is what really annoys me, you just conflate the two. to my knowledge, the israelis are not interested in sterilising palestinian women, nor do they ban pictures of the hamas hierarchy, nor are they at all interested in closing mosques, banning arabic or anything else like that, G!D Forbid. i’m not saying it’s all roses in gaza and the west bank, obviously, but you harm your own argument by such a skewed perspective. plus, if israelis and jews like myself want to support the tibetans then we should be able to do so without people criticising my other opinions and actions.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  22. justforfun — on 10th April, 2008 at 7:45 pm  

    BB – you know the methods of occupation might be different, but it is an occupation and you don’t need me to state the obvious but Isrealis have to live with the consequences of their actions. They are afterall consenting adults who presumably know what they are doing. If one took a snap shot now , they have my sympathy but as a democracy they have allowed themselves over the last 40 years a religious war to be unleashed.

    In 2003 Bush declared combat operations over in Iraq – but the 5 year “peace” has been a catastophy for America, but Americans have the option of going home and electing a new government.

    In 1967 when the rams horn was blown after the capture of the wall, Jerusalem might have been unified and combat operation over, but the 40 year occupation has been a catastrophy for Israel. I know Israelis don’t have the option of going anywhere but they have the option of electing their government, and as their government continues to do as the Israelis ask, then they obvioulsy think that the risks of ‘occupation’ are worth it. Demonizing the people that one occupies might be good for moral and PR, but in the long run it perhaps just turns them into demons.

    …. but

    if israelis and jews like myself want to support the tibetans then we should be able to do so without people criticising my other opinions and actions.

    yes I agree.

    Anyway – back to Tibet – who actually carried this damn torch ?

    - Is Konnie Huq still on Bluepeter?
    - I saw Steve Cram – what cereal does he advertize?
    - I have a beard so any sportsmen advertizing 10 bladed razors is of no consequence to me.
    - anyone else to watch out for?

    justforfun

  23. Anas — on 11th April, 2008 at 4:49 pm  

    to my knowledge, the israelis are not interested in sterilising palestinian women, nor do they ban pictures of the hamas hierarchy, nor are they at all interested in closing mosques, banning arabic or anything else like that, G!D Forbid. i’m not saying it’s all roses in gaza and the west bank, obviously, but you harm your own argument by such a skewed perspective. plus, if israelis and jews like myself want to support the tibetans then we should be able to do so without people criticising my other opinions and actions.

    I said nothing about Jews, or Israelis in general. Indeed my first post in this thread, and on which I based my argument, was a link to an article by a prominent Israeli peace activist, who voices his support for Tibetans, and which I picked up via an anti-zionist Jewish blog.

    Your point seems to be that because Israel’s countless brutal human rights violations aren’t *exactly* the same as China’s (in terms of forced sterilizations, banning Arabic, etc), there’s no reason to compare the two. But I would disagree, I think you can compare levels of brutality. In fact if you want to talk about the dehumanising treatment of a people, you only need recall the Gazan starvation siege, and the cold blooded murder of Palestinian figures (very likely including Yasser Arafat), the bulldozing of people’s houses, in fact the whole attempt to destroy Palestinian civil society through impoverishment and fear — including ethnic cleansing via settlement building. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you to (re)read the Amnesty, HRW, BT’Selem reports on Israel’s human rights record, which as a supporter of Israel you probably have a good reading knowledge of.

  24. bananabrain — on 11th April, 2008 at 5:49 pm  

    of course you can compare them if you want to and i’m sure you will. my point is that i think we should be able to discuss china and tibet without you turning it into a compare-and-contrast exercise with israel and palestine. you can compare israel and palestine to microsoft and apple, or sainsburys and the cornershop if you like, it is your prerogative. the trouble is that by taking the attitude you do, you come across as somewhat of a monomaniac. i mean, is there anything you dislike that you *can’t* somehow link to the racist imperialist zionist lizards from outer space? after a while, it becomes a little bathetic.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  25. Anas — on 12th April, 2008 at 5:04 pm  

    It’s simple BB. We have two situations which are similar in important ways, yet they are treated differently in the media and by politicians and other public figures — with an total disregard for the similarities. I mean it’s as if someone who was supposed to be impartial say a presenter on the BBC, who was constantly bigging up Microsoft over Apple, and denigrating Apple. Now wouldn’t you say that demonstrated underlying anti-Apple attitudes — for whatever reason?

    BTW I have never ever believed in zionist conspiracy theories, nor have I posted anything on PP that suggests otherwise and I resent your claiming that.

  26. Sunny — on 12th April, 2008 at 5:25 pm  

    Anas you compare to the two but I’ve said before that the level of support that Palestinians may be related to their own tactics. The Dalai Lama and his people don’t go around with cultish racist videos (the kind Hamas distribute) nor do they have a charter saying they want to wipe out the Chinese.

    A small difference, no?

    You also say: But on the other hand, isn’t this outweighed by the fact that we are in the West more responsible for the situation in Palestine than in Tibet;

    Tibet has gotten attention now, but actually it doesn’t get even near the amount of attention that Palestinians do.

  27. ZinZin — on 12th April, 2008 at 6:51 pm  

    Mr Hundal
    Violence is sexy that is why it gets attention.

    Palestinians attack Israelis but they get attention and no sympathy.

    Tibetan monks attack Han Chinese businesses/colonists and they get attention and sympathy.

    This is the point Anas has been trying to make. Its not the coverage its the media reaction.

  28. douglas clark — on 12th April, 2008 at 7:06 pm  

    bananabrain,

    Heh.

    clearly, scotland is in the grip of a right-wing zionist cabal.

    No, it’s actually run by the SNP at the moment, which is even less likely, and funnier.

  29. Anas — on 13th April, 2008 at 2:43 pm  

    Sometimes I feel like I’m going around in a loop on PP, making the same arguments over and over again. I mean, Sunny I pretty much answered all those points in previous posts.

    But to reiterate, a) there might be more coverage of IP but it’s the type of coverage I’m taking about (where Israel is constantly framed as a victim or as retaliating for Palestinian actions), b) the type of coverage I’m alluding to wasn’t that different in pre-Hamas days, c) Tibetans have been attacking ethnic Han Chinese during riots which hasn’t affected worldwide sympathy, d)the tactics used by Hamas (or any other groups) are in general a reaction to the brutality of Israel’s 40 year occupation (like the anti-Chinese attacks in Tibet) so it’s weird that that should be the rationale for the lack of sympathy, e) Hamas’ actions don’t explain why Israel’s actions attacking women and children, and the population as a whole collectively garner so little attention in the West, especially, and I will emphasise this, given the important role that we play.

  30. Anas — on 14th April, 2008 at 11:49 am  

    Another Israeli peace activist, the Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy, also makes important points about the treatment of Tibet compared to the treatment of the Palestinians

    The Palestinians are not as nice as the Tibetans in the eyes of the world. But the Palestinian people deserve exactly the same rights as the occupied Tibetan people, even if their leaders are less enchanting, they have no scarlet robes and their fight is more violent. There is absolutely no connection between rights and the means of protest, and from that perspective, there is no difference between a Tibetan and a Palestinian – they both deserve the exact same freedom.

    Moreover, in the first years of the Israeli occupation, most Palestinians accepted it submissively, with practically no violence. What did they get as a result? Nothing. The world and Israel cloaked themselves in apathy and callousness. Only when planes started being hijacked in the 1970s did the world begin to notice that a Palestinian problem even existed. In contrast, the Tibetan struggle also was tainted with violence in the past, and it is reasonable to assume that violence will increase if the Tibetans do not attain their goal.

    There is also no point in asking which occupation is crueler, the Chinese or the Israeli. The competition is harsh and bitter. The Chinese killed and imprisoned more Tibetans, in Lhasa there is less freedom of expression than in Nablus, but in general, the extent of Israeli repression in the territories is much greater today than Chinese repression in Tibet.

    Nowhere in the world today is there a region more besieged and confined than Gaza. And what is the result? The world calls to boycott the occupier in the case of China, while absurdly, with regard to the Palestinians, the world is boycotting the occupied entity, or at least its elected leadership, and not the occupier. This, it seems, has no parallel in history.

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