Greek and Chinese antiques history has both had a wise and kind, or arrogantly powerful leadership. However, unlike Greece, China has always been imperial. Emperor or Chairman, all rules come from within the walls of the forbidden city and must be obeyed, or shame, pain, and death will follow you and your family into the grave.
Socrates drank his cup of hemlock for saying too much truth, but the people of Athens, disgusted, punished those Ruling 30 and soon all were in disgrace, banned or dead. His student Aristotle later told his own student Alexander that Socrates died a quiet death, insisted on no weeping, said he believed there was a divine power and that he was going to a better life where all were good and none so harmful and foolish as some here on earth. He felt he knew where his tormentors were going, and he was soon proved right
This was 350 years before the birth of Christ. Followers of Buddha had been here, history shows. So democratic ideals and a belief in a higher being and an afterlife that separates good from evil or foolish people was instilled into western hearts, but not so much in the east. Until it was forced upon them by America after Pearl Harbor, Japan is now of the west, and each little schoolgirl where the western influence has prevailed so far, from Korea in the south to Taiwan to more and more of the tigers.
It is brave to allow, as even in old British India, each school child should know what it means, this question of what is vote. Is coming, to a China near you, even if up and over your live body. With an Athenian Tibetan makeover. And so we see it happening in Tibet now. This sacred land of the most faithful followers of Buddha had been invaded by China in 1950 when the world was distracted with Korea. I recall as a boy why the world was not defending Tibet while at the same time it rushed to stop another Communist takeover in Korea. Korea was handy, right there on a peninsula that could be surrounded by the most mighty naval armada in history, and somehow be managed.
How do you get the mighty armada up over the Himalayas? Tibet would have to be considered lost to godless Communism. And the most famous faith based people on earth, perhaps, could await the eventual attention of some good old coastal hugs from pandas with rifles and large billy clubs. Well, with that new railroad right up to the front gates of the temples it is now very handy to have the Han soldiers begin their morning work out with a walk through town, from the morning television, and walk the streets beating any male wearing robes. Bad Tibetan, go home. Bad Han Chinaman, go home.
What a time to show your true democratic colors, just before the great Olympics that you intend to showcase your ancient and modern civilization. As a Tibetan monk said the the British reporter on camera, these people look like us, but they are not us. We are Tibetan, they are Chinese. Why can they come to us and beat us? Does any body any where care?
That sounds like the question in a letter that George Washington sent once to the Continental Congress. Mired in Valley Forge, without food, pay for the men, shoes for the men, rifles with bullets, with British and Prussian soldiers searched for them. Is anybody there? Does anybody care? We knew that his letter sat unanswered all too long, to the stretched breaking point until relief began to trickle in.
In Tibet, what trickles in are more British and Prussian soldiers, and enough settlers to soon overwhelm th locals. Soon, the majority will speak again the King's English, or good Prussian. We have stopped walking through native reserves beating the natives with clubs as far as I know. But Tibet is no Valley Forge, and we know that all we can to is use moral persuasion and show our eye to eye disapproval at all their lecturing scorn about internal matters. Mao prevailed in Tibet and his brutal legacy is arriving now each day on the train from China.
The Olympics, Chairmen, will have us applaud the athletes and enjoy the games and your grand spectacles, acknowledge your civilization in as far as it has evolved. But your great civilization pales in comparison to what the world has inherited from ancient Greece. And that is what a little Chinese schoolgirl asked when a big new decision was to be made in her classroom.
The class had a Hall Monitor who was a bully, and another smaller boy asked that the class vote on he or the other boy instead of the tallest being appointed.
Her words came across the screen as she asked, what is vote? And her face lightened up as it was explained to her that her and her classmates could all put the name of the boy to be their Hall Monitor in a vote box, and they all decide. She was elated that such a concept existed. The class went wild in happiness when the vote was counted. The bully was Hall Monitor no longer.
More Athens town square and less Forbidden City mind set is being formed under your eyes, fellow Chairmen.
And speaking of eyes. Our eyes have seen the glory of the people of Tibet. Their shining eyes wince as the steely eyed glaze of all those Hall Monitors who more than just pull shirts. Shame, China, shame. You will hear that in the crowds this summer as well as Oh and Ah. Chairman Now, you are no Tom Jefferson.
Derek Dashwood feels like Sherlock Holmes to trace the combining of science into the humanities to measure politics and use and mis use of power at