Curtain Raiser

No Thanks to Tyranny, Colltalers

Remember in 2016 when powers that be and the media went giddy with a global so-called ‘wave’ of tyrannic, right-wing leaders being voted to high office? Well, it doesn’t look too good now. Something got in their way to total domination: people’s outrage.
Democracy, or the struggle to nurture it and defend it, is still under attack. Thousands of Latin Americans are out on the streets, trying to defend it, and so are citizens in Asia and the Middle East, while some in Eastern Europe wish they could do the same.
Hold that thought as we review key events of the week. To get it out of the way, the impeachment of the U.S. president folded its hearing phase with astonishing testimonies about Trump and its cabinet of infamy by those who had to deal with it. Pardon the name-calling but to separate the revelations from their deleterious impact on the rule of law, one’s better off tuning in to CNN.
Partly because of that right-wing ‘contagion,’ attacks on journalists and activists have increased. Countries such as Egypt, Turkey, China, and Saudi Arabia, for instance, are notorious for their efforts to control information and for going after those who share it.
On that note, Sweden dropping its rape allegations against WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange restores his stature as a persecuted news publisher, not a rapist on the run. Whether the case was built on flimsy evidence, it served the purpose of vilifying him, and divert attention from the 2007 footage of a U.S. aircraft killing Iraqi civilians which WikiLeaks published three years later.
Two journalists were also killed that day. Army Intel Officer Chelsea Manning was court-martialed and sent to prison

for leaking the images to WikiLeaks. Pardoned by President Obama, she’s since sent back to jail twice and remains detained, while Assange is not doing too well either despite his lucky break: a U.N. rapporteur has said that jail time has taken a toll on his mental health.
Morality is not a choice, and where many choose to ignore or pretend that what’s happening is normal, whistleblowers are often the only way most of us learn the unvarnished truth; about the government, corporations, the powerful or anyone who pays to cover up their crimes. Once that choice is made, however, be prepared for death threats, either on your character or on own life.
The latest results of Hong Kong’s local elections revealed that a high voter turnout has elected pro-democracy candidates, in a show of force to Beijing. For months, China has used every tool in its authoritarian box to crush dissent in H.K., short of what it did 30 years ago in Tiananmen Square. And that’s what the world fears since if it does happen, Trump will likely stand idly by.
It’s clear that the opportunistic right-wing and Evangelical coalition that ousted Bolivia’s President Evo Morales is incapable of pacifying the country. On the contrary, daily clashes between armed forces and the indigenous majority have killed hundreds and driven Bolivia away from the path of stability and socialism it had followed over a decade. Morales, though, remains defiant.
Next door Colombia is the latest nation with massive public unrest going on, just as in Chile and far-away Iran. Although to just keep track and report on these rallies won’t add much to their resolution, to ignore them is a bigger, much more tragic mistake.
‘We have a president who doesn’t govern, who sits discussing fake news 24 hours a day,’ said former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva about Jair Bolsonaro. Fresh out of jail, Lula was referring to the latest scandal linking one of Bolsonaro’s sons to the murder of Rio councilwoman Marielle Franco a year ago. And the fact that Brazil has all but stagnated economically.
Oddly, there were no rallies for the biggest news this side of the political world: Israel’s long-term Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges. Having failed to form a government, he may be thrown in jail, and his country, into turmoil. But no matter what, Israelis don’t seem interested in candidates without far-right credentials.
Which is unwise. Netanyahu, Trump, Putin, Bolsonaro, Xi, Erdogan, Rouhani, Orbán, Márquez, Piñera and so many others are in it not to promote the well being of the common folk, but to advance their own agendas. That has been exhaustively proven. The Judiciary may indict them, congress may subpoena them, but ultimately, it’s the voter that will save or throw them all out.
Consider that they all are also climate deniers and won’t do a thing to save the planet, supporting them at this crucial time is like naming foxes to guard the henhouse; it’s an endorsement to their diet. After all, why vote for those who won’t hesitate to curb and manipulate the electorate? Protesters already know: keep them on and we may not get another chance to get rid of them.
Speaking of doing something, Dec. 3 is the beginning of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Kicked out of Chile by Piñera, who was probably afraid it’d empower people to demand his resignation, it’s yet another shot for us to find practical, enforceable, radical solutions for the already-in-progress catastrophe. And get going already. It’s either that or we’re doomed.
That lands us on the strange combo that closes this week in the U.S. On Thursday, Thanksgiving, a holiday that despite its false myths and vicious family brawls associated with it, it’s also about what families can teach society: the spirit of solidarity and love. And then there’s Black Friday when all hell breaks loose and even seemingly nice people become beasts for shopping.
Still, everyone has something to be thankful for, and it’s nice when we buy something we want or will give away as a gift. But if Thursday is already blocked to be the day to be good, and therefore be it, it doesn’t need to be followed by a materialistic frenzy.
Just in: U.S. Justice Ruth Ginsburg is now home, recovering from a health scare. Stay with us, Your Honor, we need you. Peace. WC


One thought on “Curtain Raiser

  1. I hope something is done very quickly. Here, in Sherbrooke, people drive to work alone in their car. They do not take the bus. Montreal has a good subway system. When I told a neighbour that we should install outlets in the basement garage, s/he said, in a reassuring manner, that were the deadline would not come for years. They are waiting until the deadline. We must also return Sherbrooke to its parochial system. Each parish had neighbourhood everything. Even if Quebecers insist on “laïcité,” neighbourhoods are necessary, or the planet goes.


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