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To vilify or not to vilify?

I am probably not going to be popular for this, but when it comes to vilifying an entire nation, I am in favour of it. I live in a country that was vilified by the rest of the world until it changed. I know what it is like to be ashamed of being a citizen of a country because of that country’s government’s actions and I also know that that spurred most of us who were ashamed into working hard for the change that eventually came.
The change in South Africa came BECAUSE the country was vilified. And I believe that the time has come to stop kowtowing (for want of a better word) to China and actually throw diplomacy out of the window. Yes, there are people working hard for change inside China, and I support them wholeheartedly, but the pressure on China to change has to be applied from OUTSIDE. They need to understand that their policies are not just wrong, but actually completely unacceptable.
Mary and Susie have good points to make, but I tend to be a little more radical in my thinking. There is not enough time to pussyfoot around because we’ve been pussyfooting around this issue for far too long. There needs to be quick and decisive action and I want to work as hard as I can to bring that to bear. We cannot afford to lose 100 elephants a day whilst we pursue a course of quiet diplomacy (look at what that has achieved in Zimbabwe). This situation has to stop and it has to stop now.
So… I guess this makes me the Paul Watson of this group!


  1. The problem with most liberation campaigns is that they use the same militant language as the oppressors they oppose. I am more for the Gandhi than the George W Bush approach. As the Syria issue right now is highlighting – is it better to go in guns blazing and create more harm and destruction or is it better to gently persuade and change attitudes from within?

  2. Sharon van Wyk on

    I suppose it depends on what collateral damage you are willing to accept. I would consider a war to save elephants a far nobler cause than any for which men have fought and died thus far! Indeed, a battle to secure the survival of any species fires me up quicker than any to save oil wells or political interests.
    In all seriousness, I do not believe that the Gandhi approach is going to help at grassroots level where ill-equipped wildlife police officers are battling well-organised syndicates with superior fire-power. Nor do I think that a campaign of passive resistance is going to do anything where the decision-makers in the corridors of power in China are concerned, unless at least 60% of the Chinese population is 100% behind it, and I tend to think that the majority of China doesn’t give a fig about ivory poaching.
    Serious, and I mean SERIOUS political firepower is needed to bring to the Chinese Government’s attention that what is happening here in Africa is simply unacceptable and that they have a very simple choice to make – shape up or ship out. But that’s never going to happen because of the one common denominator in this shameful situation – money. So unless someone out there has more of it than China and can buy up Chinese interests in Africa, we’re going to have to accept that this is going to be a long and bitter fight.

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