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Re: What's the point?

Posted by Beijing Man on August 22, 2008 at 15:26:27

In Reply to: Re: What's the point? posted by Activist on August 21, 2008 at 18:45:20:

When I complained that you were singling out China, I of course was referring only to your posts here, which is all I have to go on. In your posts you were indeed singling out China as there was no mention by you of human rights abuses in any other country.

I'm sorry if the term "armchair activism" insulted you, but you brought it on your self. All I was referring to was your call to turn off our tvs and not watch the Olympics. That is armchair activism, whether you like it or not. There was nothing in your post to suggest that you were/are doing anything other than that (besides talking to friends, which could also be from an armchair).

Furthermore, don't you think it is a bit insensitive for you to even suggest to cult survivors, who are sick and tired of people telling them what to do, that they should turn their tvs off? If you see this site as being "about moving away from our past cult-related life" then why on earth would you emulate cult leaders here by telling us not to watch the Olympics? And why do you think that not watching the Olympics says you have principles? Do you think that people who continue to watch the Olympics don't have principles or that they condone human rights abuses by the Chinese government?

If you want to get in to a tit-for-tat comparison of which country has committed the most human rights violations, then China may indeed come out on top in terms of total number of individuals harmed, though I'm not aware of any such comparison. Besides, whether one person is harmed or a thousand, it matters little to the individuals who are harmed, so the numbers game is unappealing when it comes to human rights.

However, if you want to compare types of human rights abuses, such as genocide (how many millions of indigenous Americans were silently [by disease] or violently slaughtered, abused and denied human rights by the settler culture), or abortion (it wasn't too long ago when large numbers of American women were dying from botched back-alley abortions because they were denied the right to have them legally) or slavery past & present (millions of illegal immigrants who do much of America's "dirty work" have no rights and are abused and exploited on a daily basis) or any number of other types of abuses, then the U.S. is barely better than China.

It has taken the U.S. a long time to recognize and implement human rights law and it still has a long way to go (the U.S. and Somalia are the only two countries in the world who have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child). Likewise, it will take China time to make similar progress. Personally, I think not watching the Olympics on tv is an empty gesture (whereas unfurling a protest banner in Tianamen Square is not an empty gesture because turning your tv off will have absolutely zero effect on the Chinese government or people since they will never learn of it.

This is the only point I've been trying to make: obvious and overly political posts such as yours require balance and counter argument (two or more sides to every story), but because political conversations have been banned here in the past, I found myself self-censoring after I read your posts because of that ban. That is an unfair situation that I called you out on, not to denigrate your activism, but to make sure that there is an even playing field here.