Sunday, April 22, 2012

Comment on China and Mao.

It's been awhile, 3 readers. It's not that I haven't been accomplishing things and even writing a bit -- it's mainly that I haven't been writing anything really annoying that would fit the purported tone of the blog.

And then there was this. It's 10 photos of kids from various countries and their bedrooms. It's a very enlightening set of pictures.

Unlike the comments, which are mostly very unenlightening.

Of course, when I see a bunch of junk on the internet, I have to jump in and start talking back to it. I'm pretty much helpless troll bait.

One person said "The one that struck me was the one in China, with the pic on the wall. How sad that child has to live like that because of that scumbag dictator, Mao. Not sure if that is him on the poster(actually, that guy looks too clean,) but the gov of that country is sick. What an awful depiction of propoganda."

Here's a reply comment from Mike:

"It’s no different than pictures of Jesus or the pope being on the wall. Or a picture of some roided out sports star who makes 60 million a year for that matter. The fact you aren’t even sure if it’s Mao or not underlines the fact you have no idea what you are talking about. You have no idea if that child is happy or unhappy. Many of the children I encountered while living in China for over 3 years were far happier than in the U.S. or Canada."

The reply (from a third person) to Mike:

Mike, I would not in any way compare the dictator of China, or a sports star anywhere on the same bookshelf… let alone sentence, as Jesus or the Pope.
The meaning behind those symbolic figures are very different, all are symbolic yes, maybe in China they view their dictators much differently, although I am not inclined to believe they feel towards them the same feelings as those towards a religious figure.
I do not say this in an effort to offend, or prove wrong. I am only stating my opinon on what you said, and that again I will say is highly uneducated in the lifestyle of the Chinese.
Although, I agree with your other statement about how can we make a judgement on their lifestyle, especially not knowing their background or day to day surroundings.

And here's my reply:

I also lived in China for 2 years, and I agree with Mike.

Mao is dead, and except for obligatory homage to the communist party and Mao as its leader, China's basically a socialist/capitalist country now. Pictures of Mao might still be easy to find, but it's harder to find his ideas in circulation.

But I'm not even offering this as an "it's okay now because Mao is dead" disclaimer. Consider, please, that even though Mao easily fits the description of "dictator" that we throw around in non-democratic contexts, China before Mao was actually run by an actual monarchic/dynastic system. Just like Europe was. All those kings were dictators, except with theoretical gods on their sides (whereas communist dictators didn't have gods/God). Our history (assuming "we" are white Americans, which is a stretch) is DEFINITELY no exception to the history of dictatorship. Just because it's more familiar to us doesn't mean it wasn't brutal and dictatorial.

I mean, has anybody here ever heard of the communist Chinese enslaving an entire race of people to do their manual labor? Because I haven't. Anybody ever heard of Chinese people gathering up millions of people they hated for no reason and killing them in death camps? No? Me neither. (Okay, that last one was Germany, but see also George Takei's recent work on the Japanese internment camps in American during WWII. It's shocking.)

What's more, we (Americans) have been propping up dictators and putting them into power around the world for decades. (Remember Saddam? The U.S. more or less installed him as head bad guy of Iraq. And gave him a bunch of weapons.)

Chinese people might not have all chosen Mao, and there have certainly been atrocities there. (Atrocities have happened here, too, and somehow we don't blame our government for all of them...or we do only if it's the other party in power.) But there WERE ideals behind the cultural revolution. And they weren't inferior to the ideals behind Western political, social or religious movements, just because they weren't Western.

Think about it from another perspective: Mao and the Gang of Four might have controlled China through part of the 20th century, but popes have controlled people around the WORLD for CENTURIES -- millennia even. It's been a pretty peaceful reign lately, but tell that to those living during the Crusades. And in a way, missionaries attempting to convert the natives were the harbingers of globalization, which has improved the luck of many countries (like the U.S.) and led to modern poverty for others, stratifying the world economically on a global scale -- in a way that's totally unfair and that causes philosophies like communism to start making sense.

I'd agree that Mao and the popes/Jesus aren't remotely similar in their impact on people throughout the world, in other words: from a gross numbers perspective, Jesus/popes' followers have had far more negative impact on the world over the millennia.

Of course, most followers aren't like that. Putting up Jesus/pope pictures don't mean that people are lauding the Crusades when they post them.

Just like Chinese people aren't saying "hey, didn't you love those atrocities?" when they post up pictures of Mao.

1 comment:

jenny d said...

As one of your avid readers, can I just say: You rock.