Learning from the Enemies by Nalinaksha Mutsuddi SignUp
Learning from the Enemies
Nalinaksha Mutsuddi Bookmark and Share

 I’m writing this for the sake of provoking you.

I don’t support Communist Party of China (CPC) for its expansionist and hegemonic world view. I consider the practice goes against the very doctrine of communism. None can justify the ghastly massacre of Tiananmen Square a few decades ago. PLA deployed dozens of Tanks to snuff out the voices of unarmed students, turning the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen Square) into a dungeon of hell.

I’m driven by pure objectivity. I can appreciate good qualities in my opponents but evil traits in friends will not go unnoticed like Bhupesh Baghel, being chief minister of Chhatisgarh didn’t hesitate to send his father 17 days of police custody for his offence of giving a hate speech against a certain section of the community. He says as a father he respects him but must pay for his crime, if he ever commits one.

From that perspective can we see some merit in Xi’s thinking? He says economic freedom is more important than freedom of expression. China eliminated poverty from 50% in 2000 to nil in 2020. It’s a no mean achievement. According to RBI estimates 22% of Indians live below the poverty line. I’m personally acquainted with lives of slum dwellers in India. They lead a life at subhuman standard.  For them freedom of expression is a luxury they can ill afford. It echoes ancient Indian thought “Bahujana hitaya, bahujana sukhaya.(Welfare and happiness for the majority).

China created a burgeoning middle class and is the second largest economy in the world. It may soon surpass the U.S in the near future. Today economic development is the supreme goal of every country. With economic development everything else desired by the human mind follows suit. It is doubtful if this could be achieved under any democratic setup especially for developing countries.

Should we take a lesson from China?

Let’s have a cursory glimpse of what is the fate of freedom of expression in reality.

The Nobel committee awarded the Nobel Peace prize for 2021 to two journalists – Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia -- for their effort of safeguarding freedom of expression. But it's a fact that autocrat Duterte killed thousands of Filipinos as he liked. None could prevent him from his abuse of power. And Putin carried out killings in custody and torture to opponents as he liked. Six colleagues of Muratov himself got eliminated by Putin on various excuses for the crime of safeguarding freedom of expression. Navalny survived Putin’s poisoning and now is languishing in Putin’s jail. What could Muratov do?

Turkish president Erdogen, Bolsonaro of Brazil, Lukashenko of Belarus and others of their ilk are doing whatever suits them for staying in power. They are behaving as elected autocrats. The genre of elected autocrats is a flourishing breed today. Nonviolent protests – extolled by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King – lost its potency. Peaceful protests couldn’t budge them a bit from their wilful goals.

Seeing from that angle ‘safeguarding freedom of expression’ serve the purpose of post-mortem only. The victims were brutalised and murdered. You labour to find out how it happened, not how to prevent recurrence of it. The next autocrat goes on repeating the similar misdeeds as per whims.    

On the other hand, are all dissents justified? Is there any point for which multiple contrasting views don’t exist? What fate awaits for a 10 month long protest by Indian farmers?

Is the protest against ‘lockdown’ for the purpose of restricting Covid19 spreading further reasonable? Climate change is the raging issue today. It threatens the very existence of the planet. But the consensus on the topic is missing.

 Can an effective mechanism be devised to ward off random misuse of power by the leaders?


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