Slapping the Dragon

I tend to avoid ‘In the news’ type postings. I don’t like them as everybody and their grandmother wants to blog their merit-less opinion on the matter (see previous posting) and I hate adding to the fodder. Sometimes though, these things hit a bit closer to home. Your opinion carries more weight as things hit closer to home.

As I live here in the Philippines, I have no problem acknowledging the fact that the nation is known throughout the world as one of the most corrupt, and sometimes the most inept. I try to keep a factual tone in saying such things as I love this country and the people that live here. They are victims of a corrupt government and the rich versus poor feudal system that has held these islands captive for so long.

The ineptness of which I speak was manifest recently during the hostage crisis that took place when an ex-policeman hijacked a bus filled with primarily Chinese tourists. The outcome was nothing short of a massacre before the gunman was shot. Since the story is international news, I won’t bother reiterating the gory details. If you’d like, you can read it here on Yahoo News. What I will touch on though, is the rage and anger that has been expressed by the Chinese government.

Since the majority of those killed were Chinese, you can understand the criticism of the Chinese government. Or, maybe not. There’s been thousands of flight cancellations from Hong Kong, tourists ditching their hotel bookings, and two of three Chinese recipients for the Ramon Magsaysay Award were a no-show for the ceremony in Manila. Normally, I would understand such angst and anger; but from China? I mean, isn’t that the country that gunned down their own people who were doing nothing more than exercising a desire of free speech and democracy?

I can’t begin to imagine the loss families feel in such tragedies and I won’t fathom to think that I understand their sorrow. God forbid that anyone, in any nation, should suffer through such horrors. Knowing that outcomes could have been better were there more competent leaders at hand only adds salt to the wounds. The outrage of the relatives is justified. The outspokenness of the Chinese government is not.

Any nation who’s human rights record is as tainted as that of China really needs to remain silent. Controls and restrictions on the freedom to assemble, the torture & ill-treatment of prisoners, failure to provide any kind of due process and the suppression of religious freedom are only a few of the things that line their national resume. Truly, what happened during the hostage crisis was a tragedy that should have been handled differently but the old adage still holds true, even in this situation: those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

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