I’ve recently found myself in what is for me a very unusual situation; that of being the victim of an injustice. I’m not going to go into any details here, suffice it to say that it’s a workplace-related dispute which I’m determined to resolve in the calmest and most effective way possible, which is to get those responsible into big heaps of trouble themselves. I find that doing so actually gives me a fair bit of satisfaction and moral purpose. When I was striding purposefully to work this morning I idly started to imagine myself as some sort of Soldier of Fortune making a stand on behalf of the world’s downtrodden and mistreated. Fortunately the consequences for me or for the world as a whole are not particularly serious, but it’s gratifying to feel that I’m definitely taking the right course of action for a change.
If by any chance you hear of a bloodbath taking place in a language school in Cambridge, you’ll know that I’ve had a change of tactics.
On the theme of the struggle against injustice, there is someone, quite possibly a child, who has taken to hanging round this website expressing heartfelt concern for the possible fate of Britain’s muslims as a result of the Government’s catastrophic reaction to the terrorist attacks in London. He, she or it has also repeatedly expressed outrage on behalf of the malogrado Brazilian executed in cold blood and with apparent impunity by the British police several weeks ago.
This may appear puzzling to anyone who has visited this site before, given that it focuses almost exclusively on issues related directly to my experiences of teaching English in China. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that the person concerned may just be Chinese, and that a basic fact about the big wide world outside China may remain tantalisingly outside their grasp.
It goes pretty much like this: it is not just that people living outside of autocratic regimes enjoy the freedom to openly think and speak critically about what goes on in their and in other countries – many, many people around the world do not see the country where they happened to be born as the single defining factor in the way they choose to see the world. This means that they see injustice as something that exists in every country, and something that must be exposed and fought wherever it occurs in the world.
For this reason, until I begin to meet many more Chinese people who can and will express concern for the victims of injustice in China, I will not be inclined to regard their expressions of outrage at injustice elsewhere as genuine or sincere. Which is a shame, because I have the feeling that some very noble and laudable sentiments, especially amongst young Chinese people, are being led carefully astray.