-A window ajar is a prelude in building to the joy of being limitless! That uneasiness of being familiar somehow, sometime, somewhere.......

Sunday, April 06, 2008

On Beijing Olympics

Lately a lot of noise has been made about the Beijing Olympics and how the event gives an opportunity to voice your protest against China. Not very surprising for a shallow mind that is out of perspective of human history.

I thought this through last year after coming across one such early protest last summer in Dublin. Now after hearing all the hues and cries from all over the heres, theres and everywheres of the suddenly conscientious world , it is almost funny see insane attempts to extinguish the Olympic torch.

Near St Stephen's Green Shopping complex, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, 2007

Such protests are only self serving and if the case is against china self defeating. Firstly what are the protests against exactly? There is not a consensus in any city. While Spielberg and Mia Farrow are whining about one thing, Clooney is busy clamouring with another. For some it is Burma while for others it is Tibet. And for few other’s it is environment or the human rights in general. So far the Chinese have dealt with all such dissents like they deal with any of stupid barking dogs. Which is to cook them and eat with boiled rice and carry on with business.

Attributing issues like Darfur to China alone is an international joke and amnesia for the events of the world in the last couple of decades. It would be a gross overlooking of the involvement of about half a dozen of nations that brought about the crisis. And also bear in mind the UN arms treaty is not signed by USA and is only abstained by China along with twenty three other countries. And of course Kyoto is yet to be ratified by the US. Imagine if the Olympics was to be held in Washington , surely there would have not been a single noise anywhere about environment or arms deal etc.
Why ? Because US is a democracy while China isn’t? If at all anything that world ought to have learnt in the post cold war era is that how overrated democracy is both in its functioning and as a concept. In the times of numbers and economies, it has failed to elect responsible governments in established democracies whose functioning have not been largely any different from sensible regimes in the world, China inclusive. A truth Napoleon and Nietzsche spelt out long back. At the end of the day many people have to be governed by some people. Whatever works for you and keeps your country happy should be fine and as we are seeing China is by no means displaying any signs of civil unrest.

That brings us to issues like Tibet and Burma. If Tibetans are fighting for their freedom, I wonder how running away from their home country and winning awards for peace and divinity make them earn freedom. It is clear that they are anything but fighting; more like squeaking to bring attention and aid. The old rules apply: take a leaf out of Gandhi, if you believe you are fighting for a just cause, you fight for what you believe or you die. And when you fight, you do relentlessly, concertedly and expose the injustice than to hurt or punish. Running away and making noises on the streets once in a blue moon is invalidating your own fight. Any struggle has to earn its worth.

Highlighting issues like human rights and other such issues is to make a pretext of your own case, while implying such issues does not exist elsewhere. A study of history of CIA would be more surprising.

Further, all the issues have no relevance to Olympics, and, in fact it only taints the case. Olympics is not a Chinese property; to make an issue of it is to acknowledge that there is no means to fight any of the above issues against China. If that is true, then there is no point fighting. And if it had to be fought, then the fundamental question is why is China hosting the Olympics? A question that has to be answered from outside China. But all you hear is an international political silence. Even countries like India have smartened up. So making schoolboy noises and interrupting the torch run would at the most amount to good willed but mindless theatrics and only strengthen China's resolve. If China has to be homogenised with the ethos and abstract notions of the west then the world has to be willing to pay for it and more importantly it should be worth it. Even if it is, which I supsect in this apolitical economic globe, then it has to be done in a systematised way and over a period of time- like how the influence of the church was dismantled over the period of twentieth century.

Ignoring that and clamouring for incentives from China is disrespecting Olympics as well as trivializing the worth of the issues. China may not be the perfect country to host the Olympics but , as we need in these times, it is stable and prosperous and though slow, progressive, which is what all countries aspire for. They might not have had either the renaissance or the democracy, but man, while the rest of the world is brandishing its material goodies, only they seem to have the infrastructure to make the cuckoo clocks these days.


Rajesh said...

China is an interesting case. Historically they have been bullish about their territory. The aftermath of Colonialism (Hongkong, Taiwan) and memories of Japanese dominance have deeply influenced their foreign policies as well as approach towards dissent.

I can recognize the pride in my chinese colleague from mainland and smirk on the Taiwanese as he cheerlessly spoke about democracy. The former infact gives me the impression of being at the receiving end when it comes down to international relations. I suspect that is the source of motivation for China who is out to prove to the world that they can do things (their way of course).

The whole world is entangled with the Chinese mass manufacturing factories in such a way that they need the authoritarian rulers to keep that industrial park in order.
Awarding Olympics was not done by sleep deprived masters of this world.

India changed its defence strategies after the chinese invasion. Over time our policies have corrected themselves. More than the strategic support of U.S, Pakistan was able to to harm India with Chinese weapons. Now that we are engaging China directly and both acknowledges the need of economic growth for themselves it is more than likely that the border disputes will sort themselves out at some point.

Let's face it. Tibet will not be Kosovo. It has always been an occassional exotic pastime for certain folks including Richard Gere. As long as China doesn;t have the guilt of being an occupier while feeling cheated of outposts (Taiwan, even Arunachal Pradesh - like it or not), they will look to bristle.

Ubermensch said...

Very true Rajesh.

China regards itself a victim of concerted international attempts to snatch away its identity. If people displace the history of China out of their perspectives for notions and ideas which have little relevance to the China itself, one would be surely surprised by the reaction of chinese people themselves ( not the government) who wondered why the government response to the recent events were only mild? To me it is not at all surprising to see your Chinese colleague respond the way he did. For the Chinese, nationalism is a main feed of their identity. Taiwanese thankfully aren't as foolish as Tibetans- half their population do not want to break away from the mainland China, for it doesn't achieve anything more than get you a flag of your own, which has no significance, as you pointed out in the market world today. Remember the Khalistan movement? Tibet is never going to be chip on China's shoulder. Calls for democracy is just wishful thinking - to conglomeratize the chinese into puppet or ineffectual governments with a fair bit sham media thrown in. Take India for instance, for all its democracy - politics is reduced to eternally changing coalitions with a dupe media thats draws its advert revenue while it cant even get a frigging exit poll right. As for as I am concerned looking at history of the humanity in general, democracy has a long way to go to prove itself and its worth. China is a living proof lest it would have been walked all over by the previleged few just like in other parts of the world.

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