Friday, December 25, 2009

On the road

Extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo, illegal wars and if you really threaten the system you might either be discredited, whipped away to some unknown place or even assassinated. It is difficult not to want to vomit when Washington and its sycophants point the finger; their hypocrisy at least offends good taste and invariably tries to screen crimes that make a mockery of everything that any freedom loving person holds dear. Still, we do get to spout off our tuppence worth in this part of the world and if enough of us spout our tuppence worth off we can put the breaks on our "masters" shennanigans to some extent. Indeed, sometimes we might even sense that real change can be affected and as we all know history does not stand still.

In China today the founder of the Charter 08 campaign for constitutional reform, Liu Xiaobo, was sentenced to eleven years in jail. His crime appears to have been agitating for universally accepted basic freedoms. Of course, the Chinese authorities are aware that if they were to allow those freedoms history indeed would not stand still and, sooner or later, they would be on their way out. Yes, freedom to criticise the political system, freedom of speech generally and freedom to have access to a credible legal system that protects individual rights are all a prerequisite for change. A prerequisite but not a guarantee as we know in the West. Nevertheless, at the risk of contradiction, prerequisite or not, might I remind the Chinese authorities, that history, indeed, does not stand still. With the conviction of Liu Xiaobo and the international coverage that his trial has been given, we are at least seeing an all too obvious struggle to have the mechanisms put into place that will ultimately change a corrupt and unjust system.

Finally, this is also an opportunity to remind ourselves that we have those fundamental freedoms, which are necessary to implement real change and in doing so we should be aware that Liu Xiaobo's struggle is only the beginning of a road that our forefathers set off on a long time ago. Nevertheless, the manufacturers of consent will make sure that progress along that road is not always smooth. However, just as the pigheaded, hardliners in the Communist Party of China will not prevent Liu Xiaobo and his fellow travellers embarking on their journey, so too will the hypocrites, the spin and grin men, the pseudo-democrats, fail in their efforts to prevent us progressing in ours.

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