Remember, Freedom Is Worth Dying For 150

In the UK, we are understandably preoccupied with the fact that so many of our elected representatives are personally corrupt in terms of filling their own pockets, and appear not to be particularly distinguished or inspiring people. I actually do not believe the oft-repeated mantra that they all went into politics with good motives.

This country has been through a terrible decade. We have launched illegal wars on others, to further the economic interests of a wealthy class, and unleashed death, mutilation, poverty and grief upon millions in foreign lands. In so doing we made ourselves hated and then disliked the fear of retribution. We have substantially circumscribed our own liberties, hard won by our ancestors, and not cared because we were seduced by a dream of limitless wealth and ease. That bubble inevitably burst and proved to be based on an economic lie. Ordinary people will be paying for bailing out the extremely wealthy, for generations.

So extreme frustration is justified. But today, on the twentieth anniversary of the massacre of Tiananmen Square, we should remember that freedom is so important it is worth dying for.

That has never been a remote concept to me. I have several friends who have died struggling for democracy in Uzbekistan in the last seven years. I also still believe that the Second World War and the fight against fascism was a noble and necessary defence. Like many of my generation, there are close relatives I never got the chance to know because they gave their lives for democracy then. My mother’s only brother, for one. My grandparents never really recovered.

Today in China numerous websites, twitter, Flickr, blogger, livejournal and much else is closed down to try to prevent Chinese people from seeing any remembrance of Tiananmen. This blog was blocked there already, as it is is Uzbekistan and several other countries.

About half as many people as died at Tiananmen, died at Andijan in Uzebkistan, also massacred as they protested for democracy, just over five years ago.

When I was in Uzbekistan, the official line I was given by Jack Straw’s FCO was that Uzbekistan was following the “South East Asian Model” whereby economic liberalisation was bringing about social shifts and the development of a strong middle class, which would eventually lead to democracy. The existence of the model was not a nonsensical argument, though in Uzbekistan there was not any actual economic liberalisation, which invalidated the argument against criticising the regime.

In China there has been economic liberalisation. But precious little sign that this has led to real democratic development or even toleration of dissidence.

In those diaries, Zhao called the massacre of peaceful demonstrators at Tiananmen Square “a tragedy to shock the world”, and clearly stated it could have been averted, had any of the party leadership sided with his view that the demonstrators should be permitted to protest or otherwise be peacefully dispersed. The violent crackdown remains to this day one of the great signs that liberalization of China by trade and engagement has been a moral failure.

The greatest sign of lack of progress over the last twenty years, is the Chinese government’s attempts even today to deny what happened at Tinananmen Square, and its Herculean efforts to prevent its population from knowing about it.

Two decades ago the air was heady, communism was tumbling everywhere, apartheid was vanishing, freedom seemed possible. We are left with a sense of ashes in the mouth. In China, the repression in Tibet and of the Muslim Uighurs – the latter a far less fashionable cause in the West – continues undiminished. But even toleration of dissent is not increasing, and there seems no end to the totalitarian desire to control what the people may know.

China may be moving towards capitalism pretty quickly. It is not even looking in the direction of political freedom.

150 thoughts on “Remember, Freedom Is Worth Dying For

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  • Chris

    Eddie you lack grace and that is a shame. I always thought that two wrongs don’t make a right….

    Brian Haws is there because they couldn’t apply the legislation retrospectively – although they did try.

    I would have thought that you would know that… In fact I believe that you do and are simply being awkward for the sake of it.

    You asked for examples: I gave you two and you managed to, incorrectly, deal with one of them. I presume then that you will now back down?

  • eddie

    eddie the questioner – I refer you to Brian Haws as above. Any response?

    Monbiot is a public figure with an agenda, I am not.

    Lots of people are arrested and not charged or convicted. Hold the front page. What’s new? It’s been happening since the first laws were passed. I think you will find it is only in countries like China and Norht Korea that everyone arrested is convicted.

    In any society there has to be a balance between peaceful protest and making a bloody nuisance of yourselves and affecting those who want to go about their business. Look at the Metropolitan police website. I think the balance is about right and we are as liberal as any country in Europe – I have already said that I oppose kettling and the general police tactics at the g20 and those are under review.

    So you still haven’t provided any evidence that our freedoms and liberties have been eroded. I quote Human Right legislation and you quote a dodgy list from Monbiot. Next.

  • Chris

    I also think it very sad that Eddie can play semantics with the deaths of Iraqis. The ‘I quote one source, you quote another source’ really is rather irrelevant. Whether the death toll is 100,000 (very doubtful) or in excess of 1 million (a figure accepted by our own government as likely) is really quite awful. Either way we are talking about deaths to which we have directly contributed. If the number stood at one then it would be one too many.

  • KevinB


    Quote:”KevinB I agree with your first sentence. The rest is bilge. It’s hard to know where to start with your stupid “facts”. Your thesis is basically this: dark forces control the world; I am an intelligent person who can uncover the evidence of these dark forces via the internet;…”

    I’ll tell you where to start with the “stupid facts”.

    Start with explaining how multi-storey steel-framed buildings also containing hundreds of thousands of tons of structural concrete can collapse through the path of greatest resistance at free-fall speeds.

    When bodies fall without resistance ALL of the potential energy due to the body’s height is converted into kinetic energy of motion…..there is NO WASTED ENERGY. So, where did the energy come from to completely demolish the building, turning hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete into microscopic dust particles? There had to be an another source of energy at work here and there was. Explosive demolition charges and thermitic steel cutters….and there were such chemicals in the building. If you can’t understand the physics, then the chemical evidence exists as I’ve said. Professors of Physics and Chemistry have carried out the investigations and produced the proof.

    One other proof of controlled demolition is the violation of the Law of conservation of momentum that took place under the official narrative. Everybody knows that if they start running and bump into something then the collision MUST slow them down. The floor-on-floor impacts of the collapsing towers caused no such decelleration. This cannot happen naturally. Each successive floor’s supports must have been systematically and simultaneously destroyed as the buildings fell for this to happen.

    The only answer people like yourself have to this hard evidence is name-calling…..”Bilge”, “fantasists” etc.

    All the internet has done is make available the original footage of the WTC collapses and allowed discourse on information while such discourse is forbidden elsewhere.

    Engage directly with these issues or slide away in shame.

    As it happens I do have an honours degree in Physics so being called a spouter of ‘bilge’ by someone who slides away from every difficult issue and fails to comprehend the significance (or lack of) of the few facts he can grasp is trying enough.

    I’m suspecting that the eddie/Eddie phenomenon on this site is a new kind of trolling…..of counteracting interesting material by generating voluminous quantities of the kind of nonsense that makes an alert person of average intelligence lose the will to live.

  • Anonymous

    Response to Eddie:

    “eddie the questioner – I refer you to Brian Haws as above. Any response?”

    -Hand out leaflets for a day and if you still hold the same views after gaining a new experience of being on the receiving end of ‘public order’ enforcement, good for you.

    “Monbiot is a public figure with an agenda, I am not.”

    -You have an agenda. Public figure? Well you are cultivating a public persona on these pages. Go and demonstrate.

    “Lots of people are arrested and not charged or convicted. Hold the front page. What’s new? It’s been happening since the first laws were passed. I think you will find it is only in countries like China and Norht Korea that everyone arrested is convicted.”

    Doesn’t sound like you have the numbers. Find out. Be one of them and then be flippant.

    “In any society there has to be a balance between peaceful protest and making a bloody nuisance of yourselves and affecting those who want to go about their business. Look at the Metropolitan police website. I think the balance is about right and we are as liberal as any country in Europe – I have already said that I oppose kettling and the general police tactics at the g20 and those are under review.”

    -Go and demonstrate your views. If you still feel the same way, good for you.

    “So you still haven’t provided any evidence that our freedoms and liberties have been eroded. I quote Human Right legislation and you quote a dodgy list from Monbiot.”

    -Missed the quote on HR legislation. Sorry. Go and demonstrate and then use that legislation to defend yourself.

    ” Next.”


    All I’m saying, if you’ll forgive the repetition, is demonstrate as mentioned and come and tell us about your experience. I’m not arguing anything other than for you to pick up the challenge; or ignore me.

  • KevinB


    i didn’t know about the database order from the EU. Is anybody challenging this legally do you know?

    I don’t want to abuse this board by using it for personal communications but I thought you said you’d email me? (blue link below)

  • eddie

    MJ – it’s pointles arguing with you. It’s like a gorilla trying to speak to a chimp. We don’t speak the same language. Anyone who thinks that the UK is like Hitler’s Germany or Stalin’s USSR is a complete fool (apologies Chris) – all I can say is that you debase the english language when you make such silly claims.

    Chris – I will be gracious if people don’t abuse me, but when I get abuse I will respond. It’s the normal cut and thrust. You asked two questions. 1) Brian Haws – he could have been removed for any number of reasons. His site is an eyesore in my opinion. Any other government in Europe would have removed him long ago, the fact that he hasn’t been evicted shows how tolerant we are. 2) you referred to people reading out names at the cenotaph? Parliament has decreed that there should be no unauthorised demonstrations close to the House. I think this is reasonable. Look at the Met website and you will see how easy it is to apply to demonstrate. You will argue that reading out names is not a demo. SO what if the BNP wanted to read out names of white people killed by Asians? Would that be ok in your view? Sauce for the goose. Most people believe that this restriction is reasonable and prevents vexatious activity. I agree.

  • eddie

    KevinB all I can say is ha bloody ha. You may be a physicist but you are a also a fantasist – I’ve seen tower blocks demolished and it takes a team of people. So how many people placed the charges, why did no one see them do it, and how is that not one of those people has come forward to tell the tale? Perhaps they were all knocked off by the CIA afterwards? Then explain to me how the demolition team were in cahoots with the people flying the planes and again why none of them has told the truth? Tell me that to begin with and then I will engage with your lurid imagination.

    eddie the questioner? Your name did not appear. If I want to demonstrate I will do so in accordance with the law. What other answer do you want? I try to obey the law. I try to observe speed limits. It’s a rational answer. If I weant to demonstrate I check the law first and I try to avoid being a pest to other citizens who are going about their lawful business.

  • MJ

    “Anyone who thinks that the UK is like Hitler’s Germany or Stalin’s USSR is a complete fool”

    Here we go. My point was specifically about detention without charge. About how has history has never looked kindly on ANY regime that has introduced such legislation. Demonstrate that I am a fool by citing just one instance where I am wrong.

  • eddie

    “Regime” – the word itself condemns you and shows that your use of langauge is defective. Since when did we live under a regime?

  • eddie questioner


    “eddie the questioner? Your name did not appear. ”

    -Apologies for the lack of name.

    “If I want to demonstrate I will do so in accordance with the law. What other answer do you want?”

    -I’m not after any answers. Just interested in what your experience would be and your take on it.

    ” I try to obey the law. I try to observe speed limits. It’s a rational answer.”

    -As every reasonable person should do. Have you ever disagreed with a law?

    “If I weant to demonstrate I check the law first and I try to avoid being a pest to other citizens who are going about their lawful business.”

    -This I think goes to the nub. The debate is about our right to make that demonstration. Laws have been passed that make it increasingly difficult to achieve. The laws passed are used in ways that were not debated. Research the use of the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act, amended by the 2005 Serious Organised Crime and Police Act as an example.

    Again, broken record time, I would be very interested in your views post leafleting.

  • tony_opmoc

    Because Craig desn’t like any links – here is a cut and paste re DNA

    Richard’s Kingdom

    Privacy, security and politics in the digital world

    UK DNA abuse to continue despite EU ruling

    I’m disgusted by the Government’s new DNA database proposals being laid out as a “consultation” today. Jacqui Smith’s transparent attempts at spin are risible. So is any claim by this Government that it values freedom, civil liberties or the presumption of innocence.

    SIX TO TWELVE YEARS. That’s the length of time Smith wants to keep the DNA of the innocent. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that The UK’s National DNA database (NDNAD) is a violation of the rights to a private and family life after two innocent Sheffield people’s DNA was retained for seven years (including the time they spent fighting court actions to have their records expunged).

    Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty said: “This isn’t necessarily a complete two fingers to the ECHR but it comes pretty close.”

    In Scotland most DNA samples and resulting profiles must be destroyed if the individual is not convicted or is granted an absolute discharge. For certain sexual or violent offences DNA can be retained for up to five years however a Chief Constable must apply to the courts for any extension beyond three years. Why are the Scots’ human rights being respected while those of 850,000 other UK subjects are being violated?

    The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have both called on the Government to adopt the Scottish system nationwide but Labour seem determined to comply with the letter of the ECHR ruling while keeping the number of NDNAD records as high as possible. Such data kleptomania is a grave threat to our human rights. We must force the Government to acknowledge this fact and take action to reverse these illiberal proposals.

    Write to your MP now and express your outrage!

  • Chris


    I would indeed uphold the rights of all, not just one group or another. That’s the thing about freedom and freedom of speech: You either believe in it or you don’t.

    To badly quote Noam Chomsky: If I don’t believe in free speech for those I despise (not you, I hasten to add!) then I don’t believe in it at all.

    The thing that strikes me is that the offences that have been outlined above, by various people, are all new. This in itself is indicative of an increasing level of social control which many of us find disturbing. The issue is not one of whether we have a ‘police state’ or whatever; it is of maintaining scrutiny of the state to ensure that such a development never takes place. In many previous cases the introduction of such a state is a gradual process and vigilance is the price we pay for freedom.

  • tony_opmoc

    Incidentally my daughter who is now 18 years old and claims to have no interest in politics was right on the frontline of the G20 protests and took some literally amazing photographs.

    She didn’t do it for political reasons.

    Despite 3 years earlier she was simply walking home with a group of teenagers – and a meat wagon turned up – and all her friends ran for it – she just kept on walking – she had done nothing wrong – she didn’t try to run – and some cunt in a uniform – threw her to the ground – put his knee in her back – and cuffed her – and slung her into the back of the meat wagon – and threw her in a police cell – and they wouldn’t even let me see her for 5 hours until 3:00 am in the morning

    No she doesn’t hate the police – and isn’t the slightest bit intimidated by them

    When a kid got shot dead and ended up in a pool of blood at Streatham ice rink a few months later – she travelled there by herself – to see her (gay) boyfriend dance on ice – the moment it re-opened (no she is not gay)

    No she went to the G20 protests to take photographs (she is a brilliant photographer) for her art & photography “A” Level

    She was given the theme discord

    If she was given the theme beauty – she would probably have taken some photographs of flowers

    She ain’t taking any fucking shit off anyone. The police action empowered her to stand up for her rights as a Free Human Being.


  • KevinB

    You’ve got no answers at all, eddie. Even your only vaguely related questions are so dopey they’re not worth answering

    You just fill threads up with shit and I know why.

  • tony_opmoc

    I have tried my best to try and get my kids to vote.

    They have both said I do not want to vote for any of these people.

    And so I said – well – just go along to experience the process. The polling booth is where you both went to school.

    The electoral form in itself takes 5 minutes to read.

    You have a choice of about 14 different political parties as well as about 5 candidates who have just put their names down as independents.

    Don’t you want to use your democratic right to vote for the first time in your life?

    NO – it won’t make any difference.

    We Have NO Democratic Rights.

    It won’t make ANY Difference.


  • tony_opmoc

    After we came back from our cycle ride my wife went for a check up with the dentist.

    She had to fill out a long detailed form in order to get a slight reduction on the charge of £195

    The Question was

    How many times a month do you have Anal Sex?

    She said – what the fuck has that got to do with my teeth?

    And the answer was FUCK OFF


  • MJ

    “Since when did we live under a regime?”

    When have we not? Honestly eddie, this squirming away from the issue is pathetic. I’m sure you understood my point perfectly well. However, let me rephrase it: name a single instance when a “”government”” [of any degree of cuddliness] has introduced extended detention without charge and has not subsequently been shown to be a repressive, authoritarian regime?

    Just one example eddie, then I will accept your original charge of being a fool.

  • Chris

    Just for Eddie

    “In politics, a regime is the form of government: the set of rules, cultural or social norms, etc. that regulate the operation of government and its interactions with society. For instance, the United States has one of the oldest regimes still active in the world, dating to the ratification of its Constitution in 1789. Although modern usage often gives the term a negative connotation, Webster’s definition clearly states that the word “regime” refers simply to a form of government.”

    There you go…. we do live inder a regime after all.

  • eddie

    Perhaps you would enlighten me. Has the 42 detention rule been brought in?

    KevinB – we all know you are a racist and an onanistic fantasisti so go back under your stone.

    Once again, I return to the point. None of you has persuaded me that we are less free, have fewer liberties now than we did 30 or 40 years ago. I have repeatedly referred to the Human Rights Act, and you have balanced that against… very little in response. So I rest my case.

    Chris – nice try but everyone knows that “regime” is commonly used to refer to a totalitarian form of government. Do we have a totalitarian form of government in this country? Answers on a postcard to Warner Brothers cartoon department.

  • eddie

    I know all about the Lancet study but a) the methodology has been discredited and b) its results are way out of kilter with every other investigation, producing around 10x the number of deaths as other studies. SO on the basis of reasonable doubt I think it has to be treated with scepticism don’t you?

  • KevinB


    So it’s ‘wanker’ now as well?

    I present facts, physics and chemistry. You have no answers and no arguments. You ignore the issues and come back with nothing but cowardly abuse.

    If you weren’t a fantasist yourself you’d at least respond with something vaguely coherent.

    The more inadequate you feel, the more vile your abuse. You seem to like to imagine that those that disagree with your worldview ‘live under stones’, that those who criticise the banking system, or Freemasonry or Talmudic Judaism are racists.

    Maybe they’re just serious Christians eddie……inheritors and propagators of the deepest, most reliable, centuries old foundation of what used to be our culture.

    It makes me sad that we are now ruled by a ‘government’ who seem to think and argue like you do. Without vision, without love, without respect for history, without any discernable integrity, intellectual or moral…..and without the courage to directly face any issue that doesn’t serve and affirm their own empty agenda.

    The even sadder thing is that NuLabour activists can support a bunch of people who have started an illegal war that has killed over a million Iraqis, ignore 9/11 evidence, invade another country on the basis of 9/11 lies, build a fascistic surveillance state, oversee the continued demise of the Unions, and act exactly like Tories for the last decade…..and seriously claim that these betrayers of their own history having been doing an honest and even a good job.

    It’s gone way beyond sad actually.

    This is a dark, dark thing.

  • Chris


    “I think it has to be treated with scepticism don’t you?”

    Er no.

    The methodology was not discredited. One aspect was challenged but proved baseless.

    The British Gov (or regime if you prefer) admitted that the mehtodology involved was best practice. However, I return to my point above: Is it okay in your book that 100,000 civilians are killed as a direct result of the actions of your government?

  • Stuart


    The more I read your comments the more I realise you are a clone of the nu labour idiots that chant the mantra on TV today. “The government is OK we know best”, “the people want “us” to get on with running the country and fixing the expenses scandal and the economy”.

    The pricks have forgotten they allowed and profitted from the first and caused the second. Wake up you morons the people want a change of government and the people on this blog want you to stop telling us we are wrong and cant see the evidence under are noses, and for you to take off your nu labour issue rose tinted specs and see what a mess labour is making of this country….

  • eddie questioner


    Are you going to exercise your right to demonstrate against your bete noir of G20 policing policies?

    Please do and tell us about your experience.

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