Gates of Vienna Human Rights

Nidra Poller: Can Civil Rights be Defended With Posters……?

Nidra Poller was the guest pen over at the Gates of Vienna the other day, writing about her observations of the Olympic torch procession coursing its way through the streets of Paris.

The vision of fleet-footed runners coursing through postcard pretty Paris like Greek demigods bearing the hallowed Olympic flame turned into a vulgar roughneck demonstration this week. Stéphane Diagana, the first athlete in the aborted 28-champion relay, skipped lightly down one flight of stairs of the Eiffel Tower, kissed the torch, and got into stride.

But the protective bubble — composed of interlocking circles of Chinese handlers, riot policemen, firemen on roller blades, motorcycles and police cars — burst at the first attack from hissing, spitting demonstrators waving protest banners and Tibetan flags. Confused and confusing — you no speak Chinese — handlers in pale blue sweat suits gave orders, the police tackled activists determined to extinguish the flame, the relay was interrupted and the stifled flame pushed into a bus trundled through angry streets, looking more like a prisoner than a symbol of upward and onward sports.

Poller’s message is the hypocrisy of these very same demonstrators, who love to hang banners and posters about human rights issues, but when it’s all said and done, end up caring very little for the issues they’re protesting about. They can be summed up as loving to protest for the sake of protesting, but nothing else, if ever, materializes. It’s more about “feeling good about oneself” than actually doing anything, and when it comes time to actually do something about human rights, the interest and zeal…wanes.

Nidra Poller then graciously takes the time to examine the comments to the post, and offers some comments of her own in repsonse. Nidra Poller replies:

The comments show that our work is never done.

I think your readers are intelligent, and would recognize PC hype on a subject they are familiar with. I think they are outraged when Muslims say they are offended by this or that.

But I am not allowed to make fun of these professional French protesters? Do you know what happened afterward? The Chinese protested back. They boycotted Carrefour. the French government sent three emissaries, high ranking people who kowtowed and apologized.Reporters without Borders gets money from big corporations. They calmed down suddenly. The professional protesters were on the president’s case again this week. He was in Tunisia; he didn’t stomp and holler for civil rights. They interviewed civil rights advocates in Tunisia who happen to be Islamists. That doesn’t count.Anyone who claims to be for civil rights is worthy of support. What is their idea of defending civil rights? Protest marches. Period. They wouldn’t lift a finger to defend anyone against a bully.And when the Americans do it, they trash the Americans.

Can you see someone with a keffiyeh protesting against Chinese mistreatment of Tibetans? Well, that’s what you saw in Paris. Ask these people six months from now what they intend to do about Tibet. They won’t even know what you’re talking about.

The article is not about Tibet; it is not about Tibetans fighting for their rights. It is about protest chic as I saw it that day in Paris.It is about the hypocrisy of pols and pundits who think that France should not risk a hair on its head to protect the Afghans from a Taliban takeover and, at the same time, act as if hanging a few banners on the parade route and pressuring the president to boycott the opening ceremony is taking a stand for Tibet.

Am I wrong? These same professional protesters sent around petitions deploring the fate of Afghan women… until the U.S. decided to go in and take out the Taliban. Then they protested against the war.

I find it ridiculous to hang a banner on the City Hall claiming that France defends human rights all over the world when you belong to the political party that voted to censure the government for sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Can civil rights be defended with posters?

The answer is no. Are protests useful? Of course they are, but in order for protests to actually mean something, the organizers, as well as the people that attend the protests shoudln’t be against measures that are necessary in bringing totalitarians down, and the continued defence of human rights….like in Afghanistan for an example. The Tundra Tabloids gets it, do you? *L* KGS

NOTE: Picture of Nidra Poller was taken by Steen.

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