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'Usury' is the one truth holding back humanity!

I recently watched the 2019 movie 'Mr. Jones', on the life of journalist Gareth Jones and the famine he saw in Ukraine, USSR (see below-movie review by Lee Yee).

China under the totalitarian Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is still similar to what Jones witnessed in USSR - i.e. in China humanity has not progressed! Rights for children, rights for all. The world is paying for Xi's autocracy.

What is the 'one truth' that I believe is holding back humanity? My answer is 'usury'.

Usury (/ˈjuːʒəri/) is the practice of making unethical or immoral monetary loans that unfairly enrich the lender. The term may be used in a moral sense—condemning, taking advantage of others' misfortunes—or in a legal sense, where an interest rate is charged in excess of the maximum rate that is allowed by law. A loan may be considered usurious because of excessive or abusive interest rates or other factors defined by a nation's laws. Someone who practices usury can be called a usurer, but in contemporary English they are frequently called a loan shark.

I believe to fully experience a humane life we need to develop and use our own critical thinking. The usurious Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and HK government frowns upon critical thinking because they need ignorant obedient humans to control - not wise humane beings.

'Usury' is a key anti-social, anti-Earth behaviour that needs to be reduced individually and collectively in order for everyone to move onwards and upwards as spiritual beings. We must have democracy, civil liberties and freedoms to participate in governance and to choose wisely.

What we consume - becomes what consumes us. Whether it is food, media, financial services, politics, religion, etc.

What traps us in usurious cycles are the negatives of greed, ego, hatred, etc.

What liberates us from usurious cycles are the positives of love, empathy, compassion, integrity, etc.

I see no difference between Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping or Donald Trump - same medicine, same BS - just different colored pills!

At WTPOHK our sense is that globally in 2019 we went through a paradigm shift which created the novel coronavirus SARS-COV-2 and its global pandemic diesease COVID-19.

The key issues we now need to focus on are the health and inter-dependency of ourself, our community and Earth. In truth we are One with Earth - now we human beings must be as One or we have no place on this Earth.

Usury has no place in this world!


Life in Torment|Lee Yee

Apple Daily 17 October 2020

Before the official release of Mr. Jones, I was excited to see its preview. I had expected to write something after, but my heart has been very heavy since I watched it, and did not want to review the misery and torment of life brought forth by the film.

I have watched many movies about the protagonist having to go through distress and even desperation in the process of revealing the truth, but in the end the truth is revealed and the scandals are exposed. The determined good person will prevail. People want to believe that the Western civilized world will eventually give justice to journalists who reveal the truth, even if in the process might be dirty and messy.

Mr. Jones, a film based on a true story, was not a movie like that. Gareth Jones was the first reporter who covered the famine in the Soviet Union and Ukraine in 1932. His coverage was criticized by the Western media and political circles for being groundless, all because of a series of slanders from Walter Duranty, the Moscow bureau chief of The New York Times at the time and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his reports on the Soviet Union. Duranty knew the truth but opted for the indulgence in the pleasure and enjoyment of his established fame and fortune, and not only used the New York Times as a platform to lie and slander Jones, but even joined forces with other colleagues to amplify the smearing and suppression towards Jones.

Western intellectuals believed that despite the shortcomings of the Soviet Union, time must be given for it to pursue the great ideal of equality. Because Western political circles needed to build relationships with the Soviet Union, it wishfully ate up all of its propaganda. Jones' reportage was buried for a good period of time and was boycotted by mainstream Western society and media.

In 1935, Jones was assassinated by Societ secret agents when he was reporting in Northeast China (Manchuria at the time). Duranty, who covered up the truth, had lived until 1957 when he was 73, and his Pulitzer Prize was never redacted despite the fact that the Soviet’s tyranny was being widely reported in the West at that time. It was not until 1990 when the New York Times finally admitted that Duranty’s article denying the famine constituted “some of the worst reporting to appear in this newspaper”.

Jones, who risked his life to reveal the truth, was almost anonymous for 90 years as an unknown person until his story was made into this film, Mr. Jones, by a Polish director.

This film was inspired by George Orwell, who wrote Animal Farm based on what he saw in Jones, and incorporated lines from the book into the scenes. Perhaps Jones' reveal of the truth constituted the greatness of Orwell; but the truth is Orwell also led a very miserable life. Orwell published Animal Farm in 1945 and established his status. In 1948 he wrote 1984, and two years later, he died. He was only 47.

Those who fought against totalitarian tyranny seldom had a good ending.

Taiwan translated the name of the film into “Pulitzer Journalist”, how ironic. In reality, it was the liar who concealed the truth that won the Pulitzer Prize, while the honest journalist loyal to the truth not only won nothing, but met a tragic end.

This is not something ancient. People who were eating people did not just happen during the Great Famine, it was still happening in the 1960s in many places in China, and not to mention countless of tragic things brought about by totalitarian tyranny that have continued to this day.

The Western media, academia, corporations, and Wall Street, among these include Hollywood and the NBA, have been tolerating, compromising, and downplaying the crimes against human rights for their own gains and benefits.

It seems as if Duranty keeps reincarnating.

Hong Kong’s traditional civilized values have been on a spiral downfall under the tyrannical regime. The American conservative values may also face a huge stumble from this upcoming general election after a short four years of revival.

Those who are able to profit under the grievances of authoritarian power are perhaps already reaping the harvest and living a comfortable life. They do not think or care that the destruction of values would bring about the kind of damage to the next generation.

If one was being asked to choose between being Jones or Duranty, I believe most would opt for the latter. Is it more important to live, or is the truth more important? Does a post-mortem reputation matter? How much is a catty for a conscience?

The Russian writer Doestoevsky said, “Man is a creature that can get accustomed to anything, and I think that is the best definition of him.”

Will I also be no exception? It has been two weeks since I watched this film, and it has been tormenting me. Jones, with his less than 30 years of life, had not lived his life in vain; Duranty, with his 73 years of a life swimming in fame and fortune, in the end was nothing but a flash before the eyes, and not a life lived as a person.

Although the real world still makes us miserable, we must continue to remain loyal to ourselves, in a life well-lived as a human being.

(Lee Yee, a prominent political commentator in Hong Kong who embarked on a career of writing and subediting in 1956, has been contributing unremittingly political commentaries to the local press. )

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