Tag Archives: repression

VANOC Police State?

Well, Vancouver, are we about to be a police state? Will we feel more protected or more repressed with the beginning of the Olympics? The one billion dollar budget (that somehow the provincial government forgot to include when they were selling BC on this venture) for security means we’ll have such a plethora of police and guards that criminals are bound to take a vacation elsewhere.

A police state is defined as the “government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life” of the people. It’s hard to know in advance how our social life will be affected because two weeks before they start road closures (yes, 12 days before the Olympics) we still don’t know what roads will be closed. You’d think that they might at least let us know this in advance because it will inconvenience people. And of course road closures do curtail social aspects in certain areas and affect the economic realities of businesses in these zones. And let’s see, political life. Well, Stephen Harper has decided to prorogue parliament on another whim, saying it’s to get the budget in order. Errr, excuse me, but that’s what working every day as a politician is about, not taking a vacation from the hard questions. But let’s just cease any government until after the Olympics. I’m not sure Canada will have much difference from Beijing on repression.

Interestingly, this morning CBC interviewed the person who had been in charge of the Salt Lake City Olympics security. He said police were in bright jackets so you always knew where they were. When asked about how he handled road closures he said he didn’t know because they only closed a couple of roads around the site. Unlike Vancouver, where routes into the downtown core will be closed completely, and other areas around the city will be blocked or narrowed to one lane. Anywhere where an athlete might go, might practice or might compete, will have numerous restrictions. Of course with no map yet of what areas this will be we, the simple citizens who live and work here will be left with a bewildering maze to maneuver last minute.

Oh and Translink and VANOC spoke the other day urging people to not take transit between 2 and 7 pm  so that people could get to their “time-sensitve venues.” So what are people supposed to do with those time-sensitive things called jobs? Signs put up at various intersections are already spouting to bike, walk or take transit for the 2010 Olympics. So which is it, VANOC? Do you want us to take transit but only when it won’t inconvenience all those people paying big bucks for tickets?

On top of that, we have had lessons by way of radio (and I can presume TV but I don’t watch it) on how to behave. Be nice to visitors, they say. Duh. Hello, VANOC, you’re dealing with Canadians and we are supposed to be polite by nature. Maybe not perfectly polite and we’ll be less so after we deal with delays in transit and road closures (and believe me, there is enough road rage/aggressive driving already). In fact, I’ve changed doctor’s appointments and moved them back so that I don’t have to go downtown during the Olympics. I’m not even sure I could get down there, let alone that it wouldn’t take four hours.

So the VANOC thought police are trying to bring us into line, make us behave, line up where we should and stay away if we interfere with their game. We will only be able to protest in set areas. We’ll see how that goes. I just wish all the ridiculous overkill in security (far more than heads of state even get) was not deterring from the actual Olympic feats of the athletes. As it is, I won’t be able to afford to go, I probably would not be able to drive up to Whistler without using some VANOC sanctioned vehicle, and I’ll be paying, along with everyone else for a long time.

This could have been cheaper if it wasn’t taken to olympic proportions. These people aren’t gods and nor is VANOC god. I really hope that we can survive this without feeling that we’ve been scrutinized in every direction. On that note, I haven’t heard from the VANOC thought police yet but because I’ve been protesting here I’m sure that I’m on their radar as some sort of subversive. I protest with words but VANOC would prefer even that to be repressed. Sorry, folks, but I find little to be shiny happy about with this. To the athletes, I hope you have a marvellous competition and that you’re treated well. You should be; we’re being told to greet you on bended knee.

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Japanese Gropers: Molestation Hits a New Low

Molesters have never had a good name. They sneakily prey on others, mostly women, to get their clandestine pleasures. Some molesters go for underage children, even more despicable. So one must truly wonder what is happening to Japanese culture where gangs of gropers (known as chikan, the term meaning groping, touching, rubbing and illicit photo taking) stalk trains to inappropriately touch women.

Estimates are that two-thirds of women commuters have been touched on the trains. Japan has long had overpacked commuter trains where employees cram people into each door until they’re packed tighter than sardines, unable to move at all. A claustrophobic or asthmatic person would not survive long on these trains and I wonder how well short people endure, squeezed amongst the muffling coats.

So one must presume that these gropers pick lines with a bit less restriction as no one would be able to even move their hands on the crushing commuter lines. In fact, there are websites dedicated to this pervasive perverseness. They indicate the best lines to hit for a grope and where the best escape routes are. Most of the women attacked have been in their teens and twenties, the majority underage schoolgirls in uniform. What it is with the pedophilic fancy for women in schoolgirl outfits runs the edge of creepy and I suspect most women who even dress up in these outfits veer away from thinking about what it means when a grown man is attracted to a schoolgirl.

Some of the chikanhave organized into gangs that separate out a woman, surround her and block other people from seeing what is being done to her. Not much different from gang rape. Yet it is such a problem in Japan that they have women-only trains (as they have had in India for years, because of cultural moires more than groping issues), but the problem is still prevalent. Japan also has a secluded nightclub set up to look like a commuter train, where women stand like commuters and men wander through, groping at will. They can touch any way they desire as long as they don’t ejaculate on the trains. At least that is done by consensual people on both sides.

This behavior is disgusting and offensive on a lot of levels and yet another example of where women are sexualized and treated as nothing more than toys for the perversions and pleasures of men. It would be interesting if roving gangs of women started applying pliers and vice grips to mens’ genitals, or goosing them with giant silicone phalluses. However, the only problem with a reciprocating gang is that two wrongs don’t make a right and innocent men would be targeted. Still, you don’t hear of women running around and groping.

The biggest concern that I see in all this is what is there in this specific culture that encourages and entices people to fall into public groping, where other cities and countries don’t suffer the same problem? Is it the Japanese work ethic, which keeps people working too much (and where some will kill themselves to save face) that has them implode into irrational, law-breaking behavior? Is there a restrictive sexual attitude in this society that causes men to push outside the restrictive boundaries? What factors play in making many men sway to the pedophile and sexual aggressor mode?

It’s well known that in Thailand’s sexual economy, the biggest purveyors of pedophile trysts are Germans and Japanese. Why? Japan even has an underground trade where men will pay for a pair of underwear that has been worn by women. And yes there are women in other countries who mail their underwear to such purchases. But what is it about these cultures that raises the number?

The Victorian era was known of a time of prim properness, where ladies were ladies and men acted like gentlemen. Yet it also had the Hellfire Club, a place frequented by nobles and politicians to carry out rakish and immoral acts. Again, is it the very repression of a society that pops perversion to the surface? It makes one wonder at what must be going on in Afghanistan. And yet, in all these sexually unacceptable acts, it seems to be men perpetrating their base desires on unwilling women. It really makes me wonder when we took the civilized out of civilization, if it was ever there.

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