Five motives to be ashamed of lately
Last week, the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, received a prestigious journalism award from Argentina’s Universidad Nacional de La Plata “for his unquestionable and authentic commitment to support the freedom of peoples.”
I could stop there because such irony already makes me embarrassed. But unfortunately, there is more. During his current term, Chávez has chased the opposition, has closed down one TV station and many radio stations and he has also approved laws that condemned harsh criticism against the Venezuelan government.
Besides all that, Chávez won an award that honors an important journalist in Argentina, Rodolfo Walsh, who was murdered by the Argentinean military dictatorship. To finish the international fiasco, Chávez said in a press conference after the award ceremony, according to a CNN article, that in Venezuela today, there is “more freedom of expression and the press than any time in our history.”
Yes, he did say that.
These past few weeks have been full of shameful moments that make me feel disappointed as a human being, embarrassed and impotent. Here I list four more reasons for all human beings to be embarrassed recently:
1) When you thought that the Tea Party supporters and Republicans were done talking about President Barack Obama being Muslim and not a U.S. citizen, here comes Donald Trump.
Yes, you heard it right, Mr. Combover-of-the-century decided to go on national television — not just on one TV channel, but on many — and embrace the “issue,” calling on President Obama to show his birth certificate, which has been accessible online for more than three years at FactCheck.org, to prove that he is American and not Muslim.
What Trump forgot is that in birth certificates, religious affiliation is not listed. To make things worse, Trump is considering running for president in 2012 for the Republican Party. My question is: does anyone really take him seriously? I hope not.
2) One of the most important Chinese artists and critics of his government’s lack of human rights, Ai Weiwei — I have had the opportunity to see his work — has gone missing; no one has heard from him or seen him after he was detained at Beijing airport Sunday and Chinese authorities have refused to comment, according to BBC.
With the current crackdown of Chinese artists, writers and activists, China has increased its intense censorship against individuals who criticize the government.
To me, China is trying to silence its population, who might be influenced by the Arab world in demanding political change. But who will challenge one of the most powerful
countries in the world?
3) Remember that pastor from Florida, who decided to have a “Burn a Quran” day on Sept. 11?
Pastor Terry Jones decided to have a mock trial in his church on March 20, which ended with a book burning. Not only was a book burned, but Jones kick-started the demonstrations of protest in Afghanistan against the burning of the Quran, which has resulted in at least 21 deaths – including UN staffers – according to “The Guardian.”
The shame here is not only on Jones but also on the Afghans who decided that killing innocent people was a way to get back at him.
4) I just couldn’t leave Gov. Scott Walker out of this list.
Budget cuts were necessary and that part, I believe, the majority of Wisconsin citizens understood. But to take away union activity and collective bargaining rights that Americans took so long to fully achieve?
I don’t even know where to start and I have the feeling that words are not enough to show my frustration of such shameful action.