Tuesday, August 01, 2006

allegories of power

I have not known states to actively engage in creating allegories of their own excesses in power. Apparently, China has an active interest in the subject.

China massacred more than 50,00 dogs in an effort to curb rabies.

Good thinking there. No Dogs = No Rabies.

The five day long massacre in the Yunnan province spared only military guard dogs and police canine units, says CNN.

The systematic cruelty is mindnumbing.
Dogs being walked were taken from their owners and beaten to death on the spot, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported.

Owners were offered 5 yuan (63 U.S. cents; 49 euro cents) per animal to kill their own dogs before the teams were sent in, they said.
Report in CBS News. [via Indian Writing]

See also reports in The Telegraph and Austin-American Statesman.

I must confess I am not much of an animal lover, and was terrified of dogs till I met Kausha's Shadow. (Read Kausha's touching farewell to Shadow here.) But the point of this post is about a government that can be so brutal, so unequivocal, and so efficient in its perversity.

This post is about a government that can order unarmed pro-democracy protestors to be shot in broad daylight, and has managed to keep the actual number of dead a State Secret till today. This post is about the government that can show its people this when they Google for 'Tiananmen'.

Perhaps the Chinese government is indeed creating allegories of power, and its corruption. And of course, the rest of the world will be abuzz with condemnation. Safe in their mostly-conceptual democracies, and their theoretically-free media and entirely-imagined civil liberties.

Perhaps China is an exception. Perhaps I fear India is casting itself in the same oppressive mould. I wrote earlier about the Broadcast Bill and it continues to worry me.

Perhaps it's merely a bad day, and tomorrow's going to be another fine working day.


menon said...

you've got TS Eliot as a random snippet. And you wonder why people call you a lit fart.

Nath said...

Out of curiosity -- is your pity for the dogs, or for their owners?

angry fix said...

No pity, really.
What I wrote about was the sheer cruelty. And the horror it evoked me.
It horrifies me when I see a government killing any living being with such brutality.

This should clarify, I think. I repeat what I said in the post:
But the point of this post is about a government that can be so brutal, so unequivocal, and so efficient in its perversity.


Nath said...

Yes, that does clarify things, but I'm still a little confused. I read somewhere that every year, 100 million pigs are killed (by all accounts, rather painfully) in the US for food. Does this horrify you as well, or is it less horrifying because the slaughter is done by private businesses rather than the government? Also, were you horrified when governments reacted to avian flu by slaughtering large numbers of chickens?

(Granted, chickens are a lot dumber than dogs, but the same cannot be said of pigs.)

angry fix said...

That's an excellent point you bring up, and also a good time for me to think about the motivation behind my post.

Like I said earlier, I am a lot more interested in the cruelty that human beings are capable of. It horrifies me when I see someone who is capable of inflicting such cruelty on any living being. I suppose the rationale is vaguely the same as that the Nazis used for their new recruits who had to adopt a puppy, and arbitrary strangle it when ordered to.

I must admit I was a lot less horrified when chickens were slaughtered in India sometime back (last year, wasn't it?). I remember having read about cattle and pigs being mistreated, in the US and in India (although I had no clue of the sheer scale), and I remember the dead cattle in the Mumbai floods last year. The dead cattle last year induced a certain horror because they were trapped.

I was horrified by the Chinese massacre more than say, the buffaloes in the Mumbai floods, because this was systematic cruelty. Not that tieing up the buffaloes wasn't thoughtless, but it wasn't anywhere close to being as brutal as this.

I was moved by this instance because I saw this incident as a kind of allegory of the government's power, just as the pig-slaughter would most certainly be an allegory of capitalist excesses.

I should add that smartness was certainly not a criterion for me in any of my arguments.