Practice What You Preach: Wikileaks and the Nobel Peace Prize
Protesters from various democracy organisations march to the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong on December 25, 2010 to call for the relesae of jailed Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo (portrait). Liu, a writer who has advocated political reform in China for more than two decades, was jailed in December 2009 for 11 years on subversion charges after co-authoring Charter 08, a bold petition calling for change.
Recently two notable events flared up the pulse of media. They amplified the thrill of excitement and escalated intense unreasonable debate. The public opinion was largely skeptical. The first was about Wikileaks and the second was that of Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. In the case of WikiLeaks, its founder Julian Assange, was hunted for exercising freedom the cornerstone of western social and political philosophy while in the case of Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Liu Xiaobo, he was awarded and crowned for exercising the same in his absentia. The two individuals may be different but the objective is the same FREEDOM.
What the democracy advocate, Liu Xiaobo, was preaching in China, Julian Assange was literally practicing in Europe. Mr. Liu Xiaobo was given an 11-year prison sentence on subversion charges in December 2009 for urging Chinese leaders to embrace democratic reforms and for raising his voice against the system that strangled freedom. His arrest implies embarrassment to the democratic world and goes against the slogan of liberty, fraternity and equality the defining phrase that sustains the survival of democracy. The same slogan of liberty, fraternity and equality has caused a different climax. Julian Assange, the spokesman and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, has been arrested for his possession and dissemination of rare information to the world and meets the same fate of being in prison in England, possibly worse than that of Mr. Liu in China. He had been in prison since December 7.
They wanted him there and went to great lengths to deny him bail and keep him under lock and key. On Tuesday he was freed on bail and the prosecutor appealed. Then on Thursday the prosecutor's appeal was rejected. Assange's arrest in contrast signifies as Defence Secretary of America Robert M. Gates, who was in Afghanistan, reacted to the arrest by saying, "I hadn't heard that, but it sounds like good news to me." Is the offence of Mr. Liu any different from that of Mr. Julian? Then why is the crime of one viewed differently from the sin of other? Why is one glorified while the other being defiled? Does the morality of democratic nations allow delivering sermon to a responsible nation like China or for that matter any other nation about what they themselves are not following in true spirit? Does the conscience of progressive nations permit to advocate about the symbolic freedom of Mr. Liu while the same toxin of freedom has hurt Mr. Julian greatly?
The dilemma implies double standard of policy adopted by the powerful establishment in world politics. The case of Mr. Liu and Julian is symbolic and does not state an isolated occurrence. Numerous instances of similar double standard politics dim the most urgent conflicts in the world. People are victims and continue to be victimized by the practice of narrow political beliefs. The most prominent one is the conflict between Palestine and Israel a long standing dispute marred by westerner's lack of neutrality. The second one is the deadlock over the nuclear issue of Iran. Israel is trusted to proliferate nuclear weapons while Iran is victim of double standard policy. The war on terrorism is yet another example of global prejudice by imperial power.
The slightest stir by Muslim youths amounts to a threat to world peace while young Muslim men and women are routine-day victims of bombs and military operations. The counting goes on. Alas! The world being so much marked by disparity and inequ-ity where does the essence of defining phrase 'liberty, fraternity and equality' go? Why does the suffering of Mr. Liu hurt more than the anguish of Mr. Julian? Why does the blooming face of children in Israel evoke more compassion than the dying future of babies in Palestine? Truly, history is at the wrong side of its making. It is time powerful nations practice what they preach. The world would be definitely a better place to breathe.