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Saturday, 9 June 2012

Hypocrisy and the Economy: Why the European Leaders visited the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008, but skipped the European Championships Football 2012 in the Ukraine

At this moment, many Europeans are watching the European Championships football in Poland and the Ukraine. Millions of fans in the stadiums and behind their television sets are enjoying three weeks of the best football that Europe can supply.

However, one category of VIP’s is not enjoying the football matches in the stadiums of the Ukraine: the European politicians.

Their reason is the supposed unfair trial and molestation during imprisonment of former Prime Minister and presidential candidate Yulia Timoshenko of the Ukraine. Timishenko was a pro-EU politician, who served two stints under former president Viktor Yushshenko. Her policy was rather aimed at the Paris-Berlin axis than at Moscow, the capital of ‘big sister state’ Russia. There was also a small, but undeniable overture between the NATO and Ukraine in those years; something that gave PM-at-the-time Vladimir Putin, the former and current president of Russia, the willies. The visible results of this Ukranian policy were two gas wars, based on Russian accusations of Ukrainian gas theft, and a very icy atmosphere between Moscow and Kiev.

During Timoshenko’s first stint under President Yushshenko, she and her whole government team had been fired, due to accusations of general corruption. However, two years later Timoshenko returned as a Prime Minister after elections in which her party won 22.3% of the votes.

While reaching for the presidency, Yulia Timoshenko lost the elections in 2010 from former president Viktor Yanukovich, who returned to power. In December 2010, the new government started an investigation against Timoshenko on abuse of government money and in August 2011, she was arrested.

On April 20, 2012 Timoshenko started a hunger strike that lasted until May 9. She accused the Ukrainian government that she had been molested in prison and received a powerful blow at her stomach. Timoshenko’s daughter witnessed that she had seen a blue spot of 8 to 10 centimeters at her mother’s belly.

This abuse against Timoshenko and the ‘political component’ of the corruption process against her was enough reason for many European politicians to officially skip the EC football in Ukraine and stay at home during the matches in the former Soviet republic.

To set things straight: I am against any form of physical or mental violence against (political) prisoners and when the accusations of Timoshenko against the Ukrainian government are true, I disapprove of this behavior in the strongest sense. I am also not especially pro-Ukraine. Just like in its big neighbor Russia, there is a lot of corruption, abuse of government power and hidden or openly displayed racism and hatred against minorities there.These are things that I openly despise. Especially the treatment of minorities is something that the EU countries fortunately have left behind in the seventies and eighties. 

However, there are also some things pointing to change in the Ukraine: everybody remembers the protests of the famous topless women against everything that is wrong in the country today. This is a small step in the right direction, which hopefully might be followed by more steps.

Now that is out of the way, however, it is good to take a look at the situation in the Ukraine. I don’t know if the accusations against Timoshenko are valid, but she seems to have some appearances against her, as she also had been accused of corruption in 2005 by her former ally Yushshenko.

My point is that the whole European Union remembers Timoshenko pro-European stance, while current president Yanukovich is an old hoodlum and sails a pro-Putin, pro-Russia course, which makes him very suspect in European eyes. Almost all European politicians therefore automatically assumed that Timoshenko is innocent of the corruption accusations and concluded that it was a disgrace that she was tried and imprisoned. The truth is: we don’t know yet if Timoshenko is guilty or innocent, so maybe the EU should take a more objective stance towards the Ukraine than it currently does.

And there is another point: when the Olympic Games were organized in Beijing in 2008, the human rights situation in China was ‘questionable’ at best. There is no country in the world that organizes more executions of citizens per annum than China: often after a very quick and opaque process in which the civil rights of the defendants have been massively violated. Opponents of the regime are stalked by the security forces and arrested at will on controversial accusations or even without any form of process.

The Chinese communist party adopted a kind of market-economy that brought extreme wealth to a small group of privileged citizens and party-representatives and moderate wealth to the millions of workers in the factories. Although this market economy propelled China to the second position in the international list of strongest economies, there is a chance of a snowball in hell that the communist party will voluntarily abolish government power in the next twenty years. The elections of the new central and local leaders in China are still an extremely opaque and carefully executed process that hardly any normal Chinese citizen has any kind of influence upon.

Even the slightest hint of protest and unrest among the Chinese population leads to draconic countermeasures of the communist government. Massive police violence and lethal use of force must take away any lust of protesting from the Chinese people.

It doesn’t matter if these protests are against the central and local governments or against the billionaire owners of the successful factories. There should be peace and quiet in China: at all costs.

From the protesters at the infamous Tiananmen Square revolt in 1989, several people are still imprisoned today; 23 years later.

In the many cases of corruption, crime and abuse that have been discovered in China during the last decade, there is a steady trend that the higher ranked, politically involved people (i.e. members of the communist party) walked or bought off their punishment, while the people without status could receive a neckshot or underwent very long imprisonment terms.

All this didn’t bother the politicians in 2008! Almost all European politicians were more than happy to cuddle with the Chinese leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao and to sustain the glorious Chinese fairytale of the best and most tightly organized Olympic games in history.

Nobody cared that all known protesters had been proactively imprisoned during the Olympic games. After some obligatory chitchat on Human Rights and the Chinese Protection policy, it was business as usual: money for nothing and chicks for free in China.

Now in 2012, everything has changed and the European politicians saw their chance to show their most humane face to the world. Visiting football matches in the Ukraine? How do you dare to think so after what happened with Timoshenko?!

Human rights are one thing, but money is another. The conclusion is simple: China is the economic king of the world and the Ukraine is just a foot soldier.

With this conclusion I end this tale on hypocrisy and economy in the European Union.

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