Friday, June 17, 2011

Syria. . . . we are all in the same oppressive boat. . . . .

I must admit that I am tired of the feigned nobility and ridiculous superiority voiced by many Canadians, particularly men like John Baird, concerning the various protests in countries like Libya and Syria. People are so quick to condemn the governments of those nations for acts of violence committed against their own people. But it is mostly disingenuous noise by people who a) don't care a whit for the people in those nations (recall Harper in opposition speaking happily about how Mahier Arar was sent to Syria because the Syrians know how to deal with terrorists) and b) they would do exactly the same thing in the same situation.

The G20 prostests in Toronto were almost all non-violent efforts to bring important issues to the public eye and the government responded by rounding up everyone in sight and holding them without cause or charge, as well as assaulting many innocent by-standers. It was a total suspension of human rights with absolutely no consequences for the government or the police and there was not even any threat to the system whatsoever.

We live in a system in which about 25% of the adult population voted for a government that has more or less the power to do ANYTHING it wants. (Keep in mind they were just about to legislate the employees of a private corporation back to work - not government workers - and no one was going to bat an eyelid.) Yet if Canadians rightly took to the streets in the tens of thousands to call for an actual democratic government the police and the army would be called out immediately and they would not even flinch at gunning people down at random. They would kill anyone who got in their way and if the international community said anything they would tell them all to mind their own business They would kill and abuse with an efficiency that would make the Syrian police look like amateurs. Again I reiterate that the G20 protests did not even present a threat of any kind yet they were willing to completely suspend the constitution and human rights. Imagine what they would do in the face of a real threat to their power..

And if you don't believe then you are just hopelessly naive. Until John Baird (and the rest of disingenuous Canadians) are prepared to condemn the violence, anti-democratic spirit, and criminality of their own Government then they should stop shamefully making political hay out of the deaths of Syrians who are really struggling.

So the next time you hear someone condemning the Syrian Government for their oppression, ask them if they condemn their own government for the G20 and if they would stand behind protests in this country to overthrow a government that has less than 40% percent support of the population and can govern with more or less the power of a dictatorship.


Owen Gray said...

Our government is absolutely hypocritical. And people like Baird assume that no one will notice.

Anonymous said...

Harper is indeed the face of evil. He is much like Hitler's personality.

Wikileaks has said, the N.A.U. is just around the corner. The American citizens, are dead set against the N.A.U. They despise Harper. They say, Harper's election win was rigged. That I do believe. Well more than half the Canadian citizens, did not want Harper as P.M. The U.S. people said, there is a petition, to prosecute Harper and Peter MacKay for war crimes and crimes against humanity. I found the petition, it's with Presscore.

The American people, fear being overrun by Mexicans, and that Canada could be overrun too. They intend to fight the N.A.U. to the last ditch. We would be known as, Mexcanaricans, our currency will be, the Amero dollar.

Wikileaks also said, the American politicians say, Harper is a petty gasbag. He is arrogant and also stubborn, he is unable to co-operate with anyone else. Harper has embarrassed Canada numerous times. He really is blockheaded. Pretty much every country, finds Harper a p.i.t.a.

Anonymous said...

Many Canadians, don't believe Harper won the election, on the up and up. He was demented, frantic and rabid to win. He even begged for a majority, that's how badly he wanted to win. We are pretty sure his win was cheated. Too many Canadians despise him.

He behaved like a total jerk. He sent his henchmen to Guelph University, to stop the students from voting. They even tried to steal the ballot boxes. Is that fascist and dictatorship, enough for you.

Harper is a war monger. The U.S. laughed at him, when he threatened Russia, over territory in the high Arctic. What would Harper do? Send his jets with no engines, to protect Canada's territory? He also had harsh words for Iran, N. Korea, Pakistan, Libya and so on and on. He should have kept his mouth shut, and been thought a fool, than open his big mouth, and remove all doubt. Syria, is exactly what Harper is all about.

Harper needs to put his brain in gear, before he puts his mouth in gear. Terrorists have threatened Canada. We have a lot of lovely targets, for terrorists. Canada is a huge, vast country to protect.

Harper has really angered Canadian citizens. He chartered a $11000 jet, to take he and his daughte to a hockey game. He will eventually, have to use force, because he is truly hated. We hear, Harper has really stepped up his security. So he is aware, he is not liked.

Anonymous said...

Do you really believe that Canadian police and military members would "not even flinch at gunning people down at random"?


kirbycairo said...

Absolutely Leo. I have lived in a number of countries, I have watched police beat and even kill people on more than one occasion. More importantly, I am a reader of history. Anyone who does think they would flinch is not a careful reader of history and is indeed hopelessly naive. In Toronto during the G20 police de facto suspended the constitution, assaulted hundreds of people, rounded people up and put them in de facto detention centres. They did so without a single voice of concern or protest on the police's part. And they did so where there was no threat against the government whatsoever. Historically, one of the motivations for having a standing army was the control of domestic threats against the rich and powerful, and they have often been used in this manner. The police have a similar history. They exist in a culture of violence and history offers very few significant examples in which the army or police have balked at widespread oppression of their own citizens. That is just the way it is.

The Harper government can govern like a virtual dictatorship with support from less than 25% of the adult population. I am willing to wager that they have about the same support that the government of Syria has today. And in many countries these conditions have been enough to foster widespread uprisings. But be sure if history is anything to go by, if Harper perceived a threat against his government from a popular uprising, the troops would be out in the street and I would be surprised if a single one would balk publicly about using lethal force to secure the power of the government. People would do well to wake up and smell the coffee.

Anonymous said...

Certainly police and military forces have been used in the past to kill their own countrymen. But there are plenty of examples where those forces did not use excessive force, or outright refused their orders. Sometimes these two opposites occur within the same society, within the same time period. For instance, during the 1991 Coup attempt in the USSR, Soviet forces refused to engage civilians (we remember Boris Yeltsin famously atop a tank). And yet just a few years later, Yeltsin himself ordered his military to fire on his own parliament - which they did - and hundreds were killed.

In Canada, our crises (October, Oka, etc) have had remarkably few casualties.

In any case, aren't the members of the police and military your neighbours and fellow citizens? Don't they share the same stake in the future of the country as you and I? How could possible to toss out the Canadian government without at least the acquiescence, if not outright support, of the policing class?


kirbycairo said...

Your "plenty" of examples was one very dubious one. And for every example you can come up with I can come up with a thousand of the other side. Your position simply cannot cite any kind of consistent example of police or the army standing up against brutality. However, history displays a very convincing counter argument. So convincing in fact that it is overwhelming.

And when examples do arise it is most often in the case of the very tail end of a long standing period of brutality (such as your case of the Soviet Union). The police and the army have in these cases often been killing and oppressing for several generations and only when it appears that the regime in question is in a moment of self-destruction that the army or police decide not to follow orders and kill the citizens. Thus the argument is extra weak since they have already engaged in this behaviour for many years.

However, now try to find a case in which the police refused to follow orders in mass oppression in Western democracies, and I will be surprised if you can find even one. Because POLICE FOLLOW ORDERS! Wake up Leo and get real.

By the way, your OKA example doesn't apply because the forces were ordered to attempt to find a peaceful solution because the political leaders knew the risks of a all out war and were not willing to pay that price.

My point is that police would follow orders to kill here the same way they do everywhere. And if the political class saw a real threat to the power as it now exists they would be willing and even eager to give those orders and the military and para-military forces would be just as willing and eager to follow them. When there is a threat to the power of the prevailing political system the rich and powerful use the police and army as the tools they can be - controllers of the domestic power. And people who think Canada is somehow beyond and above this are foolish.

The sociology of this phenomenon is fairly simple since the people who join the police and army are those who basically believe in the power structure as it presently exists. When they come out to beat and abuse, for example the G20 protestors, they are convinced that it is for Queen and country so to speak. They are foolish enough to believe that they are doing "good." And this is what I am sure all the police and army believe in Syria today.

It is an age old story.

Anonymous said...

You might be right.

I guess it's good for all our sakes that there isn't a real threat to the power as it now exists.


kirbycairo said...

I'll tell you Leo, I wish I were entirely incorrect. Unfortunately the state has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence and far too many people tend to believe that whatever force the state employs is somehow legitimate.

I was a careful observer of the civil war in El Salvador and a solid portion of the Salvadoran people thought that the violent and oppressive government was legitimate in its constant murder of the people because they bought the spin that the rebels were a bunch of crazy terrorists. It was until the murder of Archbishop Romeo (which was also publicly blamed on the Rebels), that the government really lost support of most people.

One of the conditions of the peace agreement was that the police (fittingly called the National Guard) had to consist of a mixture of former police and former rebels in order to ensure that the police did not side with either cause.

Now more than fifteen years later the political culture has largely wiped away the memory of the war and the terrible deeds of the former guardia.

I don't know the answer, I just know that in the long history of the police and standing armies their violence against the people has been overwhelming and we in the West easily forget the political role that they can be quickly called upon to play when those in power need to hold on to that power.