Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Way Off Target

The protesting during the Olympic Torch relay bugs me.

Don't get me wrong. China deserves every bit of bad press, criticism and shovels-full of guilt it gets for it's human rights record. I don't have a problem if people are protesting China during the torch relay.

But the target should be China, not the torch and the torch-bearer. There is simply no good reason to recklessly endanger the bearer, the police, your fellow protestors and the public at large.

From the San Francisco Mercury News:
Barry Chang, a former Cupertino school board member and a Beijing critic, is not mollified by calls for accepting the torch relay solely as an event to be celebrated. On the contrary, he will leave his struggling real estate business unattended today and go to San Francisco to protest. "Human rights is big stuff to me. If China wants to be part of the world, they have to be civil, they have to be humane and they have to stop abusing civil rights."

Unfortunately for Mr. Chang, the dangerous and un-civil displays in London and Paris drove the City of San Francisco to take every measure possible short of canceling to ensure that the scenes would not be repeated.

From USA Today:
A dramatically modified Olympic torch relay ended Wednesday in San Francisco amid tight security, as officials dealt with protests in response to its only North American stop on its journey to Beijing.
The relay, heavily changed and cut significantly in length, ended with the torch getting a bus ride to the San Francisco International Airport some 13 miles from the city. The closing ceremony was held there instead of Justin Herman Plaza, where thousands had awaited the torch's arrival in vain.

While I'll give Mr. Chang the benefit of the doubt concerning his own behavior, I have to believe that the Mayor is aware of his own populace and could only assume that much the same would have resulted.

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