• jeremiahbull

Not without reason (part 1 of 2) 不是沒有道理…第一部分

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

(Please scroll down for Chinese translation 繁体中文请往下滑).

What are the origins of violence?

As the protests in Hong Kong have continued there has been a changing narrative between the mainland government, the Hong Kong government and Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the Police, the pro-democracy protesters, and others such as Demosistō leader Joshua Wong, the Office for Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, U.S. President Donald Trump, and former Governor of Hong Kong (pre-handover) Chris Patten. Each side tells their own story and argues a particular view of events.

It's the beginning of October, and lately there has been a distinct shift of focus, with public announcements becoming increasingly critical of the 'violence' and 'destructive behaviour' of the pro-democracy movement. Different sectors of society are being urged to join in the condemnation of the protesters who have messed up many parts of the city, smashed up parts of MTR stations and targeted some businesses.

What often seems to have been lost in this narrative is the recognition that violence against people and destruction or damage of objects are not the same thing. Even by the Police's own standard kicking an object is trivial, while life is to be protected. Molotov cocktails or petrol bombs are a case in point. Sometimes protesters throw them in a defensive manner to make the advancing riot Police back off. Other times they have been thrown either poorly or accidentally, but more commonly as an offensive tactic to start fires. Coincidentally one of the protesters' slogans is "If we burn, you burn with us."

How do we compare the breaking of a suspect's arm by a police officer who uses excessive force during an arrest, for instance, with the protester's smashing of a CCTV camera or other surveillance equipment? How do we compare the burning of the Chinese flag with violence against people in incidents such as when journalists are pepper-sprayed by the police who often do not show their warrant cards, or the retribution enacted by protesters after a taxi driver deliberately drives his vehicle directly into a crowd marching on the street?

It must also be remembered that harm can be inflicted on others in ways that do not involve physical violence. According to those who study peace and violence, direct violence is easily noticed because we can identify the perpetrator. Two other forms of violence are structural violence and cultural violence that involve systemic injustice, power imbalance and damaging social norms. Violence can be just like workplace bullying, but the harm is inflicted on a nationwide scale. We may be left out, not included, or discriminated against. We may be ridiculed and insulted verbally. We may be manipulated and controlled unfairly. We may be treated inhumanely as mere objects. People may lie to us, hide information or be reckless with the truth. Things can be released to us slowly, given to us incomplete, or withheld from us completely! We can be denied our human rights and freedoms under the Basic Law.

In the current context we should not forget the violence perpetrated against us by successive governments long before the protests began in July. Most people who join marches and rallies now are motivated by much more than their opposition to the Extradition Bill Carrie Lam introduced. For some the Umbrella Revolution of 2014 failed to win democratic reform because protesters weren't united, and were not aggressive enough in response to the government of the day. Now the strategies used by authorities in mainland China and our local Legislators are much more divisive. Its' all about "us" and 'them". As time goes by the number of reasons why pro-democracy activists have increasingly resorted to violence to make their point has grown. Violence is not pretty!

Please read Not without reason... Part 2 of 2

Jeremiah B.


隨著香港抗議活動的繼續,內地政府,香港政府與行政長官林鄭月娥,警察,民運示威者以及其他人(例如,民主領導人黃之鋒,香港和澳門事務辦公室主任美國總統 唐納德·特朗普和香港前總督[移交前]克里斯·彭定康)之間的敘事發生了變化。。雙方都講述自己的故事,並爭論事件的特殊觀點。


在這種敘述中似乎常常迷失的是,人們認識到對人的暴力和對物體的破壞或破壞不是一回事。即使按照警察自己的標準腳踢物體也無所謂,在生命卻要受到保護時。莫洛托夫雞尾酒或瓶裝汽油彈就是一個很好的例子。有時,抗議者會以防禦目的 扔他們,以使前進的暴動警察退避三舍。其他時候,他們要么被扔得很差,要么被意外的扔了,但更常見的是作為點火的防禦手段。碰巧的是,抗議者的口號之一是:“如果我們燃燒,你就會和我們一起燃燒”。

我們如何將一名警官在逮捕期間過度使用武力 折斷嫌疑人的手臂與抗議者搗毀閉路電視攝像機或其他監視設備 進行比較?我們如何將焚燒中國國旗 與對人民的暴力行為進行比較,例如發生在警察經常不向記者出示證件 的情況下向記者噴灑胡椒,或者出租車司機為報復抗議者故意駕駛他的車輛 直接進入街上游行人群的行為?

還必須記住,可能以不涉及人身暴力的方式對他人造成傷害。根據那些研究和平與暴力 的人的說法,直接暴力很容易被注意到,因為我們可以確定肇事者。另兩種形式的暴力是結構性暴力和文化暴力,它們涉及系統性的不公正,權力不平衡和具破壞性的社會規範。暴力就像工作場所中的欺凌一樣,但是造成的傷害蔓延到了全國範圍。我們可能被遺除在外,未被包括或受到歧視。我們可能會被嘲笑和口頭侮辱。我們可能受到不公平的操縱和控制。我們可能被非人道地視為單純的對象來對待。人們可能對我們說謊,隱藏信息或對事實不計後果。我們可能被剝奪人權。事情可以緩慢地發布給我們,不完整地提供給我們,或者完全不提供給我們!

當前情況下,我們不應忘記在七月抗議活動開始之前很久以來歷屆政府對我們施加的暴力。現在,大多數參加遊行和集會的人的動機遠不止是他們對林鄭提出的引渡條例草案的反對。對於某些人來說,2014年的雨傘革命 未能贏得民主改革,是因為抗議者不團結,對當今政府的反應不夠積極。現在,中國大陸 當局和我們當地的立法者使用的策略更具分裂性。一切都與“我們”和“他們”有關。隨著時間的推移,支持民主運動的人越來越多地訴諸於暴力 來表達自己的觀點。

請閱讀「沒有理由」 ...第二部分

Jeremiah B.

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