To (some of) My fellow Americans:
Do you enjoy living in this country? Do you appreciate all it gives you? Or do you spend your time complaining about every last thing?
Do you think this country is fascist and run by an evil cartel? Do you gripe about having to pay high taxes on your property or your luxury goods? Do you piss and moan about the crushing of dissent and the making of a police state?
How would you like to live like this
bq. Rapes are still occurring. People do not feel safe leaving the camps to go out and forage for food. The situation remains very, very serious, and first and foremost the security has to be dealt with."
That's Colin Powell talking about the ethnic cleansing going on in Sudan. You know what struck me the most about that quote? The word forage
. Imagine having to forage for food for your family.
Let's move on
In 1988, the people of Burma revolted against the country's military rulers. It was one year prior to the widely-telecast Tiananmen Square uprising in neighboring China. Both uprisings were met with bloody crackdown by the respective regimes in Burma and China.
In 1988, within minutes, Burmese security forces machine-gunned down over 300 peaceful protestors including students, school children, monks and other citizens in an Upper Burma city of Sagaing. Subsequently, the troops bulldozed the dead and the wounded from the streets of Sagaing, threw them onto army trucks and dumped them into the Irrawaddy or the Nile of Burma.
Since its announcement of a 'roadmap' to democracy in August 2003, Burma's ruling military has been engaged in a nationwide crackdown on Burma's democrats. A new report by Alternative Asean Network on Burma (Altsean) reveals that the crackdown includes: the sentencing to death of journalists, the shooting of political prisoners and the arrest, imprisonment and torture of pro-democracy activists.
Not getting the point yet? Let's try Iran.
bq. The Islamic republic regime executed publicly a third individual in less than two days. This new victim of the Mullahcracy's repressive policies was named "Moosa Noori" and was hanged in the central square of the western City of Dehloran.
Here, try this photo
on for size. There's a few more here
Are you someone who likes to protest? Try protesting in Cuba
bq. At the risk of being taken from their homes by force, at the risk of being brutally interrogated, at the risk of being encarcerated like their husbands and family members, twenty-two wives, mothers and sisters organized a protest in Cuba this past Father's Day.
Yes, they risked their live
s to protest. See, in some countries protests are illegal
. In some countries, freedom does not exist. In some countries, dissent is really
crushed, along with your hopes, spirit and probably a few limbs.
In some countries, there are no inalienable rights. There is no freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to come and go as you please.
In America, you have rights and freedoms and cry wolf as you may, you are not being oppressed.
Go read about Sudan. Women are being raped, some many times a day. Rape is used as a political tool there, condoned by the government as a form of coercion. Thousands of children are starving to death every single day. A race is being ravaged.
Now stand here and try to tell me that our government is oppressing you. Go ahead, try to tell me that they're shutting you up or keeping you down. Have they ever sent a group of men to your house to slaughter your children in front of you because you dared to speak out? No, they haven't.
Go read about Iran. When was the last time you went to an anti-Bush protest and some of the protesters were rounded up and hung right in front of you?
Go read about Burma. Have your
protestations ever been met by a hail of machine gun bullets?
No to all of the above. To you, a grave crime against humanity occurs when Whoopi Goldberg loses her Slimfast ads because the owners of the company decided that she no longer was a good representative of their product. She spoke out against the president, against his administration, made jokes about him and she lost an ad contract. She didn't lose her life. She isn't in jail. Her family hasn't been wiped out. Try some perspective.
The Dixie Chicks dissented and made the cover of Entertainment Weekly the next month.
That's America for you. Fascist land of dictatorship, oppression, stifling of dissent and a police state.
Get some perspective, people. And stop taking your country for granted.
I look forward to facing the protesters in front of Madison Square Garden next month at the RNC. It will be a wonderful reminder of how great our country is, and how free we are.