Friday, April 25, 2008

Torch in Oz: Priceless Commentary

A classic piece on the Torch in Oz. The whole thing must be read, from the Chinese guards in a shoving match with Aussie police, to Beijing's busing in protesters to drown out the pro-democracy voices:

If I hadn't seen the circus with my own eyes, I'd think the $2 million we spent running a torch around Canberra yesterday was wasted.

But I watched almost every comical minute of that three-hour relay of the Beijing Olympic torch and thought - hallelujah! - money well spent.

Far from blowing yet more cash on the most overhyped sports day in history, we'd been given a lesson on truth and politics that's worth even Kevan Gosper's head in gold.

I don't think we'll soon forget seeing Australian police wrestling the Chinese "flame attendants" - actually members of China's People's Armed Police - in a confrontation over who had the right to guard the torch.

Priceless! Here was a rehearsal for the first Australia-China war, live on television. How I laughed.

I loved in particular how our nervous police tried repeatedly to shove those blue-tracksuited Chinese ones out of camera shot so at least viewers wouldn't
see they'd been conned by their politicians. I mean, weren't we promised by our Prime Minister those Chinese guards wouldn't be there?

Don't miss the rest.... It's too bad the Torch didn't come here. It would have been an awesome experience.

UPDATES: More on the situation in Australia from The Age and The Daily Telegraph. UPDATE II: Maddog has video in the comments below.


Anonymous said...

Well in sleepy old Adelaide it was...."Torch? What torch?".
Honestly, although the commercial media was climbing over itself to beat up a Chinese vs Tibet confrontation story, in reality it was barely mentioned. Most people seem to be disinterested in the Tibetan's cause. But there have been a significant number of stories about what it was like in Tibet before the chinese take over. Not a nice story at all. Geoff

Anonymous said...

Priceless! And already an indictment against another neo-liberal government. Australia's conservatives are already preparing for their return.

Tim Maddog said...

Geoff, can you say "patriotic education"? I bet not too many of those stories about how bad it used to be -- relative to the arrival of Chinese soldiers -- are coming from Tibetans.

Tim Maddog

Tommy said...

I just can't get over the gall of the Chinese in this case. Rudd was very clear that the track-suited commandoes would not be surrounding the torch. The Chinese insist that they will be. Then they have the nerve to let the track suit guys run after all, despite the unease of the Australians.

Since when is it acceptable for a foreign government to openly send its police into another country and refuse to submit themselves to the authority of the local police?

For all the Chinese care about face, they really have shown that they have no compunctions about making other governments lose face. Disgust does not begin to describe my feeling about it.

A torch relay of protests, of changed plans, of intimidation by security personnel. Harmonious torch relay indeed!

Anonymous said...

Andrew Bolt is regarded as a bit of a right-wing ratbag unfortunately. Not everything he says is wrong by any means, although he usually over-eggs, but he rejects of global warming as a leftist Gaia conspiracy, continues to supported the Iraq war etc, etc. It's a pity that he is Taiwan's most vocal supporter in Australia, which makes it easier for the pro-China types to occupy the centre ground.

Michael Turton said...

Yes to bolt. It sucks that we can't get a broader base of support.


Tim Maddog said...

Here's some video of Australian police trying to keep the Chinese "flame attendants" away from the torch.

Pay attention to the action going in the left half of the screen at the 1:48, 2:57, and 4:03 marks.

Tim Maddog

MJ Klein said...

deport them all. deport every effing-last one of them, from every nation in the world where they are. send them all home and deny them access to the outside world.