Protest To Protestors
Julius Casesar said "Men readily believe what they want to believe." Do people really protest because they believe something, or because they want to believe something? Do they so desperately want to feel like they can effect change, that they are easily swept up in the charisma of whom ever they hear speaking?
War is a terrible thing. The problem is however, it is a very real thing. The larger problem is that sometimes it is a very necessary thing. Closing our eyes to this reality will not make either problem go away. In any conflict there is always one side who does not care about diplomacy. And people who burry their heads in the sand make excellent targets.
The war I am sure we all have heard a lot about lately is the war in Iraq. Also known as the Second Gulf War. That's right, the second. Perhaps you have forgotten. In 1990 Iraq started hostilities with Kuwait, and the world (mostly the US) reacted with Operation Desert Shield in 1991. And since none of you seem to remember, I'll remind you how popular a move it was. There were tons of jokes being made at Saddam's expense. Anyone remember all the shirts and other wares being sold that were anti-Iraq, and/or patriotic American? Well you should.
What bothers me is that the Second Gulf war was met with such criticism. It's the same regime! The same regime everyone wanted to see get the hell hammered out of back in the 1990s. I'm glad you're against it now. I'm sure the people of Iraq despise the fact that they now have the right to vote, and try their own for crimes against humanity. Yes, there were celebrations when Saddam was found guilty, just like there were celebrations in the streets with the coalition forces (because it wasn't just Americans) arrived. I guess they just wanted to show how unhappy they were.
It is also called Bush's attempt to finish "daddy's war." Which one are you trying to bad mouth? The one who finished it, or the one who should have finished it 15 years ago and didn't? And while we're bad mouthing presidents, what about Clinton who was accused of starting some hostilities with Iraq in 1998 to take heat off of himself from the various scandals he was embroiled in. Who recalls that? No one, because he's a liberal. Or was it because of Iraq's lack of co-operation with UN weapons inspectors? Which do you think was the reason?
It has also been called a war for oil. Both The US and Canada (individually) produce more oil than Iraq. Also the US uses most of the oil it produces, and receives most of the rest from Canada. And when the war started, the price of gas went up. If anything, the war made the oil situation worse, not better.
While speaking about Canada, we as Canadians like to boast about how we didn't go to war because it was groundless. First, they said they would if the UN gave them the go ahead. So in truth, they were with out initiative and wanted to give the image that they needed someone to tell them it was ok. Then Canada maintained a moral high ground for not going afterwards. Canada then decided to try their hardest to get the right to go to Iraq with private industry to rebuild. So in truth, Canada looked out for its own interests, and is a war profiteer. Particularly since the son-in-law of the Prime Minister at the time (Jean Chretien), is a major holder of oil in the Middle East.
Here's knowledge taken from "The Prince" which states it is better to chose sides in a war, and why.
- If your allies win, you benefit whether or not you have more power than they have.
- If you are more powerful, then your allies are under your command; if your allies are stronger, they will always feel a certain obligation to you for your help.
- If your side loses, you still have an ally in the loser.
Bravo Canada. True Machiavellian art.
While we're sitting on our high horses as Canadians, we had no problem going to war with Afghanistan when our territory wasn't invaded. Where was the moral superiority then?
Protesting can be as big of a problem, as the ones the protestors claim to be against. That is, if the protestors are;
- ill informed
- self serving
- not entirely honest
- manipulated by forces larger than themselves
I refer you to this quote from Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, more commonly known as Vladimir Lenin.
"If we can effectively kill the national pride and patriotism of just one generation, we will have won that country. Therefore, there must be continued propaganda abroad to undermine the loyalty of citizens in general, and teenagers in particular. By making drugs of various kinds readily available, by creating the necessary attitude of chaos, idleness and worthlessness, and by preparing him psychologically and politically, we can succeed."
He also said "Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever."
This words are as true today as they were back then. How many people have been "inspired" to raise their voice by something they heard in a song, saw on TV or in a movie, or read someone famous say? Too often we see people ready to raise their voice in outrage but have nothing to say. It was once said "It used to be that people were on TV because they were special. Now people are special because they are on TV." Having released a record or a movie does not make you intelligent. It does not qualify you to effectively analyse world events, or issues we face. We have a right to an opinion and the right to voice our opinions, but in some ways it ends there. Ineffective leadership and bad decision making skills are just as deadly as a plague.
Anti-patriotism seems to be very popular right now. Particularly in light of recent conflicts. Citizens are displeased with their leaders decisions to get involved in conflicts. They complain about the destructive nature of humanity, the lack of meaning in conflict, or the ulterior motives. A popular one right now is for oil. Suddenly they feel a sense of moral superiority. This sense hasn't stopped any of them from taking pride in such celebrations as;
- Guy Falkes Day, which commemorates the execution of a man who tried to assassinate a king that was guilty of religious persecution
- Independence Day, which commemorates the end of an eight year war over taxes
- Bastille Day, which celebrates the storming of Bastille in France during the French Revolution, which ultimately failed and created other problems
Those just to name a few. It has not stopped any of these people from taking the day off. Or from taking pride in the romantasised versions of their history. Such as the fights for freedom. Americans (pacifists included) celebrate the end of wars for freedom, like the American Revolutionary War and Civil War. Many people still didn't have rights after both wars. For many, there was little difference after the war than from before it.
There is also the war of 1812. How many Americans know what happened during it? How many Americans know they lost it? Or that the Americans complained about the British not returning the slaves (who the British no longer considered to be property) to the US? Most Canadians speak of this war with a smile. Why? It was a war. I thought you were against war? Then there is the myth that the White House is white because Canadians burned it. While the fire occurred, it was white before the fact. The design of the building was based on the Leinster House is Dublin Ireland, which is white. So you also have a happy, romantasised view of something in which human beings got slaughtered, and often in those wars the living envied the dead. Fighting tactics back then were brutal.
Canadians often take pride the idea that we did not take part in slavery. Slavery didn't end in the colonies that would become The Dominion of Canada until 1810. So yes, Canada had slavery and Canadians had slaves, but it was abolished before the confederation.
Slavery is now abolished in these two countries, but only with in their boarders. Companies from both countries and their citizens take advantage of slaves, indentured labourers and cheap labour elsewhere. Like in China, or India. They capitolise on the poverty of other nations. The Caribbean is treated as a popular vacation spot, particularly in Cuba where there are gross human rights violations. Where are the protests? Where are the music videos, and actors appearing in front of microphones to speak out against it? Where are these soldiers of justice? Has your crusade against the evils of the world stopped?
These people were so quick to speak of these problems over seas (like in Korea, the Sudan, China, Cuba, etc) when the conflicts started. Well where are you protests now? Tell me... did you even know what was going on in those nations before the conflicts started? Did you even care? Nothing has changed.
I met with a man from Israel during my travels to London England, who told me about how he was packing up and leaving his home. He was moving his entire business to London. He told me about how there was a time when he felt safe there, that his home was safe for children. Not now. How many of those protestors have spoken out against Israel? They are fighting to survive. How many of those same people have spoken out against the people who level villages in Israel? How many of those people spoke out against people who walk into hotels in Israel and detonate the bombs they are wearing and killing families? You cared so much about innocent civilians before. Or is it innocent civilians, so long as its not Israelis? The same can be said elsewhere, about so many people and so many countries. Often there are bastards in both camps.
A man I know from Britain, who used to work for the British armed forces one posed a question. Who is in the wrong if a British soldier sees a man who is about to shoot him, and shoots first? He was speaking of an incident in Northern Ireland (which Britain still occupies thus is the last British colony) in which some people were complaining about British aggression. The man had the right to defend himself, and it should not be a crime to be faster. The point is, that is easy to develop an opinion, but it is easier for it to be opinionated when you don't know all the facts.
People need to stop treating celebrities as prophets. They are not more educated than the average citizen. They are just as capable of bias and favouritism. A degree in music theory is not an education to tell you how to deal with a person who believes that it is right to murder to get what you want. To deal with someone who believes that if they die killing their enemy they go to special place in heaven.
To these celebrities I say, nothing keeps your career going like finding a way to stay relevant. And nothing achieves that like protesting a war. Worked for you, didn't it?
Bashing political leaders also seems to be quite popular. I have never been opposed to that, but I feel that if it is to be done it should be done effectively and with out bias. The finger should be ready to point at anyone who has done wrong regardless of their political leanings and opinions. Not just someone with bad PR.
How many times have representatives and parties in Canada been re-elected after scandal? I was surprised when the Conservatives won the last election. Especially after the long history of putting the Liberals back into power. Does anyone remember when the "honourable" representative from Hamilton-East resigned in disgrace, only to be voted back in three months later? Why? Because she has the popular vote as being "home town."
If you're going to turn a cynical eye to your leaders, you should do so to their opponents and those dissenters as well. It is easy to ride into power and popular opinion on the basis "I am not that guy." This method seems to work quite well. Adversely, when you criticise someone (or counter such criticism) you must do the same for their opponents. Mud slinging is low, but unfortunately human nature allows it to be effective.
An example is that in the US, some politicians (on both sides of the two major parties) have been called "draft dodgers." In their defence, in that country, someone who is attending or graduated from a post secondary education is exempt from the draft. Their right to an education, and pursuit of it in truth saved them the draft. Nothing underhanded there.
I've heard allegations of elections being rigged. Rigging an election in a country of 300 million people is incredibly different. Particularly when the claim is based on voting machines being "rigged." The problems with this theory are;
- voting machines are actually easy to screw up
- not everyone voted through a voting machine
- if it is a secret election they couldn't have caught the error, unless the voter could see the mistake before hand, thus making the "rigging" ineffective
- the vote was a two party system. If the machine was broken, it could only vote one other way, in contrast to a Canadian system with 5 parties all voting one way
Second, when your opponent concedes, he/she loses. People who believe they have a chance of winning, don't quit.
The environmentalist movement as we know it also poses a problem. Often they create additional, more harmful long term problems in favour of a band-aid solution. They ignore problems that can insist in the long term scope of things just as badly as the people who polluted the environment in the first place.
For starters, because humans are on the top of the food chain, we can not consider ourselves to be removed from it. Chose not to eat meat if you like, but humans (as we know them) have been on the planet for the same length of time as some species. We have been around a long time and have become part of the order of things as a "natural predator." Our ability to alter the environment on a large scale, and fear of permanently damaging it should not hinder our need to make small changes to it or "attacks" upon it. Tales of wolves say that though the wolf eats the caribou, it is the wolf that keeps them strong. Humans function as keystone species in this way.
Cullings of natural animals prevent their populations from growing too large. Human encroachment has already done damage to the balance of predator and prey. Humans can restore it through controlled and humane cullings. Some animals have no other predator besides humans. With out cullings, their number can grow exponentially, and the weaker ones could proliferate and ultimately weaken the whole species.
In a time in which much of the planet uses fossil fuels, there is still much resistance to a solution to the problems of both growing energy requirements and pollution. This solution is protested by the environmentalists who would rather us use current polluting energy sources in hopes that we might come up with something better, rather than use the answer already available. Nuclear power.
What is going to be worse for the environment? Nuclear power that is clean, and can be contained in the event of meltdown, or the continued use of fossil fuels because it's all we can use right now because no one has been able to discover anything else? The opponents of nuclear power often site the Chernobyl disaster. While this was unfortunate, it is avoidable in the future.
There are nuclear tests of all kinds that are conducted, and contained. Why? Because they are done in solid rock. There are also, countless rock quarries, that are good for nothing. Put a reactor in it and contain the area. Of all the nuclear power plants, and nuclear submarines used in the past and to date, there have only been six other meltdowns. In these cases the meltdown itself was not the more sever problem. So in the unlikely event of a melt down, that blast would be contained by solid rock, and would remain right where it is. With the kind of power grids we have built, a few nuclear power plants all over Canada and the US, and eventually all over the world, would greatly increase the amount of available power. This would also reduce costs of power, and things produced with energy, made from burning fossil fuels. Perhaps this is the real reason nuclear power hasn't been implemented.
Recycling programs are a band-aid solution. Only aluminium can be recycling cheaply, and cleanly. For everything else it take a lot more power and effort and ultimately, pollution to recycle. By running around to collect things that require lots of processing, that increases pollution we are making things worse. Glass can be re-used well enough but the cleaning process can be dirty. Also if the glass beaks it must be remake. Aluminium, once refine from boxite, it very easy to recycle with lot energy input and pollution. The problem of pollution when collecting, and recycling such goods could be solved if we had cheap, clean energy. Such as, nuclear.
The moral, protest if you like, but think for yourself.