Friday, March 28, 2008

A Touch More Substance

I hate my last post. It is a terribly boring post. I'll leave it up anyway. This one is political.

Elections in Zimbabwe are taking place on Saturday. I expect riots and violence will take place on Sunday. 100,000% inflation. Yes... ONE-HUNDRED THOUSAND PERCENT INFLATION. Opressessed citizens, an economy in crisis, a worthless currency, a corrupt leader who's been in charge for 28 years, secret police, violence, etc., etc.. Of course, Mugabe says the elections will be fair and open and that they should all abide by the results. He also warned his opponents not to start riots if they lose. I wonder how many times he had to practice saying "if" instead of "when". Then again, reports are that campaigns and rallys have been open and unassailed by police and that intimidation is down. There's also a report that supporters of his opponents have been forced by the secret police to tear down their posters and EAT them. It all depends where you look. I don't have a lot of faith in this one.

Then there's Russia, where the elections earlier this month are generally considered rigged. Not an outright fix, but the considerable influence and dirty tricks of the existing government made it a cakewalk for Medvedev to win. Will he be Putin's puppet? Possibly. It's sad to watch such a significant nation slip back towards its communist-era ways of corruption and lack of freedoms.

China's got the Olympics coming in a couple months, and the world is thrilled! No... wait... the world is saying "We told you so." to the IOC. The situation in Tibet is classic, but is a watershed moment in terms of access to information via the Internet and the variet of personal reporting. Cell phone cameras, digital movies, blogs, and other technological aspects that weren't around for Tiananmen have increased coverage outside of China to unseen levels. The sad part is that the vast majority of the Chinese people are still in the dark about it. It doesn't help that there's been decades of them being convinced that China liberated Tibet from it's evil religious imperialist past. The acts of the Chinese government officials are laughable though. There's been some brilliant quotes and statements that have hilighted how ignorant even the government is of the opinions of the outside world. To think, a month ago China must have looked fabulous to the government. Beijing was being spruced up (in temprorary, laughable, end-of-pipe ways... painting the grass? transplanting trees? seeding clouds to affect weather patterns?), the world was coming to visit and see the glory of China, their economy was soaring as manufacturing was booming and the rich countries wanted their trade, Bush had taken them off the top-10 human rights abusers list.... and then those Tibetan monks got all uppity and caused this ruckus. The Olympics will be unbelieveably entertaining to watch. Protestors both domestic and foreign will try to be noticed and heard, and the police and military will do everything they can to keep them at bay without embrassing the country to the world. Something big is going to happen... just you wait.

And over in this neighbourhood we're worried about Bear Stearns, the US housing collapse, figuring out if a woman or a black man will be running for President against a war hero, if a recession is happening, and how much corporate taxes should be cut. Yup... it's pretty dismal in this part of the world.

But I'm still none to happy about the police cameras popping up around Toronto, US Security Theatre, Bush, Harper, or the increased surveillance techniques being used in Britain. What this World needs is an enema.

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