I predict that within 5 years the World Snooker Championship will move to China.
There are already several snooker tournaments in China and this year there were four Chinese qualifying for the World Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield. This is a record.
So where are the Human Rights demonstrators? Did anyone see anyone with placards outside the Crucible? Did anyone deliberately interrupt a match by standing up and decrying China’s abysmal Human Rights record?
Are players who go off frequently to play in China for several thousand pounds vilified on their return?
Do hundreds of people try to fly to Lhasa airport in Tibet to show solidarity with the Tibetan people whose culture is being destroyed?
Will the Chinese athletes require special protection at this year’s Olympics in London?
You know the answer to all these questions is ‘no’.
I might remind you that the 2008 Olympics actually took place in China and the entire world turned up.
I will also remind you that the USA and others boycotted the 1980 Olympics because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan! You couldn’t make it up, really. In 1984 the Soviets reciprocated and the Warsaw Pact countries didn’t show up for Los Angeles.
Here are some facts about China:
Press freedom? Nah
Can you move freely around China? That’s a ‘no’.
Can you access any website you wish in China? Nope.
How about religious freedom? Ask the Catholics, the Falun Gong and the Buddhists. So, uh, uh.
How about political freedom? You are kidding me!
So you can have as many children as you like, at least? Ah, sorry, just one per family. Get pregnant with number two and it’s the abortion clinic for Mum, and they are not too particular about how many weeks of your pregnancy have passed.
But the judicial system is up to modern standards? Well, not quite – no less than 68 crimes are punishable by death. Torture is also rife.
I could go on. But it is self-evident that China is not alone. Some of its neighbours are pretty awful, including Russia. And then there are the old favourites: Sudan, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Syria, yada yada.
Now let’s look at Israel. Yep, you knew I would get there in the end.
Press freedom? Absolutely.
Can you move freely around Israel (I said Israel, not the ‘Territories’) Yes. Once you enter Israel you can go anywhere without hindrance.
Can you access any website? You sure can.
Religious freedom? Guaranteed by law. Try building a church in Egypt or a synagogue in Saudi Arabia.
Political freedom – pretty much. You can even create a party whose purpose is to destroy the state which gives it the political freedom to try to do so and to advocate replacing it with another state which doesn’t.
Can you have as many children as you like? – sure, and it’s compulsory if you are religious.
Death penalty? In theory, but only one person has ever been executed – Adolf Eichmann in 1962 and that was probably a mistake.
Ok, so Israel is not perfect. I agree. But is this country of 7 million people such an egregious state that a group of actors and theatre people decide that the Israeli theatre group, Habima, should be banned from contributing to the World Shakespeare Festival at the Globe in London? Why? Because they perform in ‘settlements’. Wow – crime of the century.
Now if these worthy luvvies were consistent they would wish to ban other companies which may well be sponsored by governments or be involved with some unsavoury people and institutions. Of course. They surely would.
Did they check all the other theatre groups? What about the ones from South Africa, Serbia, Belarus, Afghanistan, the United States (yes, don’t forget Guantanamo and special rendition etc.), Iraq!
Plenty there for the luvvy boycotters to get their intolerant, hypocritical, salonfaehig teeth into.
Now let us turn to Brazil. That caught you by surprise, I bet.
A beacon of western democracy in South America? Sure. No-one would want to boycott Brazil or its produce? Would they?
Well, yes, they would. That is, if they were consistent with their targets of demonisation.
Heard of the rainforest? I’m sure you have seen Sir David Attenborough and others cavorting through, under and up it for years, decades, in fact.
Did you know it’s being destroyed? Yes? Did you know that such behaviour, much of it illegal in Brazil, directly affects your climate and the world’s most important ecosystem? Don’t care? Rather declare ‘We are all Hamas’ and sit outside a cosmetics shop in Covent Garden? Your choice, but your children’s future and your grandchildren’s is at stake.
Not a ‘Human Rights’ issue, you say? Wrong!
Have you heard of indigenous people? Do you care that their way of life, their environment and, too often, they themselves are being destroyed? If not, why not? Do you only care about ‘indigenous’ people in a few thousand square kilometres of the Middle East?
Take a look at this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17827072
Yeah, I know it’s the BBC but it’s not all bad – as long as it’s kept away from the Middle East desk it can be quite reliable, sometimes.
The Awa are experiencing genocide and extinction. They are not the only rainforest dwellers thus endangered and not the only species, either.
So the Awa live a long way from civilisation (so-called) and do not have the UN and the US pumping in billions of dollars, or UN agencies to protect them in perpetuity. They are ‘primitive’. They do not contribute anything to the modern world – no arms dealing (though they may swap the occasional blowpipe), no insider trading, no suicide bombers, no desire to spread perverted ideologies across he world.
So who cares? Apart from Sting (and kol haKavod to him – I am not scoffing).
Hardly anyone speaks up for them, challenges the Brazilians, protests outside embassies, boycotts coffee shops for using Brazilian beans (or beauty parlours for providing ‘Brazilians’). Nothing. Nada.
Environmentalists may get a bit hot under the anorak on occasion but these people and this environment have few people willing to protect it. Effectively, that is.
So I think you get my drift.
If you want to criticise one country for a particular reason and this is your ’cause’ of choice and you want to ignore far more important issues, then that is your right. Just be a little more subtle about WHY.
Yom HaAtazmaut sameach. Happy Birthday Israel. Shame you don’t have any rainforests.