Vancouver’s antiwar movement’s odd bedfellows happened to be passing by the latest antiwar/anti-imperialism/anti-US protest outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on the weekend when I picked up some of the literature they were handing out. They really haven’t learned their lesson since a few months back.

Mobilization Against War and Occupation and Fire This Time reps are still handing out 9/11 conspiracy literature and advertising videos and audio recordings that “prove” that 9/11 was a neocon/Zionist/Vampire plot. That’s not new. But another pamphlet put out at the protest by the allied vancouver communites in solidarity with cuba (vcsc) was promoting a party to celebrate Fidel Castro’s birthday with the slogan, “80 more years!”

Why do our antiwar protesters give comfort to dictators and human-rights violators?

There is no political freedom in Cuba. Meanwhile, its communist system that strived to produce a utopian society where everyone was equally happy has only served to create a society where everyone is equally hungry, poor and willing to risk shark-infested waters in a rickety boat to reach the free shores of their president’s sworn enemy. 80 more years… of this?

That’s not where it ends, of course. The signs the protesters carry always criticize the USA, Canada, and Israel for the violence and human rights violations that they may commit while simultaneously giving a free pass to human-rights violators, tyrants, torturers and mass murderers like the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Palestinian militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad who lob rockets into Israel from Gaza, Castro’s Cuba, a North Korean regime that uses starvation as a weapon against its own people, Sudan’s genocidal regime, Syria’s state torturers, Iran’s backing of terror abroad and torture at home, Chinese dictatorship, Myanmar’s junta… la la la, the list goes on.

That’s all I’m asking for from Vancouver’s antiwar people… a sign (I mean this quite literally). You shouldn’t have to declare war on objectivity, logic and morality to rally for peace.

5 Comments so far

  1. john trenouth (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 10:48 am

    The radical right always seems to cry and moan about people criticizing the human rights abuses that the US, Canada and Israel commit. “But China does it…” their specious, whiny logic starts. Well…

    It’s a shame when evil people do evil things. But it’s a much greater shame when good people do evil things. And so when the US, Canada and Israel violate human right it’s a greater shame than when the Chinese government does it. Why? Because we are good people. We as a culture, as a nation and as individual people value each and every person’s life and liberty. When we commit human rights abuses we not only hurt the victim but we also hurt ourselves and our values. Good people can’t stand by let this happen.

    Furthermore our governments are, ostensibly, a reflection of us, the people. Meanwhile the Chinese government and other despotic regimes (by definition) are not. This makes us partially responsible for any human rights abuse our government commits. We are not however in any way responsible for the human abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government. Indeed, protesting Chinese abuses, and protesting our own abuses are morally and functionally different activities. Again, good people can’t stand by and let abuses happen in their name.

    The radical right seems to think its okay to point fingers elsewhere, but never at ourselves. Indeed, few things make political radicals of the left or right as nervous as frank self-criticism. But we can’t change other people or other nations–we can only change ourselves. And just as charity starts at home, so does moral rectitude.

    Personally, I like to see the protesters out there. They’re a sign of a culture reconciling itself with the frequent incongruity between its varied values and interests–it’s healthy. When the protestors vanish, that’s when you need to worry.

  2. Jonathon Narvey (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 8:12 pm

    Nice dodge, John. You have absolved all tyrants and torturers from guilt because “we are good people” and they aren’t. So tyrants and torturers outside the West get off scot free because, according to you, we shouldn’t expect anything better of them. They’re savages. Nice. It’s a good thing we don’t run our criminal justice system like this.

    If anyone is pointing fingers elsewhere, it is the radical left… well, actually, just the left in general. Why is it so terrible an idea to condemn human rights abuses and terror no matter where they originate from? Why is it so terrible to throw a few signs into the protest condemning Hamas rocket attacks on Israel, Chinese torture techniques, North Korea’s constant threats to attack, or Syrian or Iranian torture that includes the torture of Canadian citizens?

  3. john trenouth (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 9:21 pm

    My apologies–I’ll type slower.

    Criticizing one’s own moral failures is in no way a tacit or explicit approval of those same failures in someone else. Saying “The US should not torture people” does not mean “its okay if China does.” Your entire argument is a mash of old-school propaganda red herrings and willfully uncharitable misrepresentations.

  4. Jonathon Narvey (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 10:59 pm

    John, you can blow hot air all you like, but I’m afraid you’ve already hung yourself with your own words. I never said you approved of torture – only that you, and others like you, refuse to waste breath condemning it unless it is committed by people from the West. You’ve admitted as much in your own comment.

    I quote from your first response: “…when the US, Canada and Israel violate human right it’s a greater shame than when the Chinese government does it. Why? Because we are good people.”

    Actually, the greater shame is that you refuse to do the right thing and condemn tyrants and torturers no matter that they don’t fit your skewed ideology. Why keep dodging? Is it that hard to do the right thing?

  5. (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 12:59 am

    So what exactly are you doing?

    For once, can’t you write a positive article?

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