【明報專訊】Pardon me that I have a case to answer this week and I am further dissuaded to read the newspapers (I'm old-school enough to keep my subscriptions to a number of print papers!). These days news on the papers is such bleak news testifying only to the vulnerability of good and the ascendancy of evil. What a global bleakness!
When the Belarusian authorities ordered a Lithuanian passenger plane passing by their airspace to land immediately, they also sent up a fighter jet to ''escort'' the plane to ensure its compliance with the order which was only subsequently justified by a claim of bomb threat. It transpired later that the threat was a bogus (假的) one (or the claim was itself bogus?!) and it turned out that the forced landing was a calculated move in intercepting a prominent Belarusian opposition journalist and his partner who happened to be on board. ''State piracy!'' cried an EU Commissioner. An act of state damningly amounted to the commission of piracy putting hundreds of passengers of different nationalities at great danger for the only manifest purpose of decimating its opponent. It's committed within its sovereign airspace in broad daylight. It's a sovereign crime precipitated by a sovereign whose incumbent president just stole the country's last presidential election.
Then there're the never-ending fights between the Israelis and the Palestinians of which the casualty always falls on the latter, harder and bloodier. We saw on the television how Hamas rockets rained on Israel but Israel's Iron Dome, its air-defence missile interception system, proved spectacularly to be a perfect shield. Israeli missiles, proven much more deadly, killed 250 Palestinians and injured more in the war-torn Gaza Strip. A British-Palestinian reconstruction surgeon treating those injured lamented that the injuries were just endemic diseases! However, casualty isn't the only brunt of the hostility inflicted on the Palestinians who have become a nation of destitution and hopelessness due to decades of denial of full-fledged sovereignty which they are struggling for at all times. The Palestinians are also inflicted with the denial of hope and future. But incomprehensibly the Palestinians are governed by their own Palestinian National Authority (PNA) led by a president of almost infinite terms (I said ''almost'' because I couldn't work it out precisely from the constitution of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation but his multiple terms of office definitely outnumber those of his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu) whose ''governance'', in the verdict of The Economist, is ''sclerotic''. One couldn't help wondering whether the PNA would undergo its metamorphosis (徹底的變化) even when one day the State of Palestine is rising from its people's land. Being sovereign is no guarantee for good governance and accountability, so it seems.
Then there's the Myanmar junta (軍政府) which took the country back as its captive in a coup on February 1. Now the political and economic crisis triggered by the coup and compounded by COVID has turned too many Myanmarese into internally displaced persons (IDP, a euphemism for refugees within the sovereign territory). The Myanmar coup and the junta irritated the world and its people. However, well before the February coup, weren't we all categorically outraged by Aung San Suu Kyi and her democratically elected government which openly denied responsibility for the state's mistreatment of the Rohingya Muslim minorities? A democratic sovereign could trample (踐踏) the rights of the minority unscrupulously with impunity. Whether such a democracy is still superior to the junta facilitating the same is a moot question warranting no serious argument for or against. That's because it doesn't matter at all.
I'm slightly sorry for dragging you fellows too far and away from the city which is our very habitat. Nevertheless Hong Kong is a global city in which our pride resides. She's understandably not immune from what's going on in the not-too-distant corners of the globe unless you're a faithful opponent of George Bernard Shaw who once wrote in his Everybody's Political What's What:
'' . . . if we have neither the political capacity nor the goodwill to remedy them [the human devastating evils], we had better not torment ourselves uselessly by making ourselves conscious of them. Better cling to our delusions and keep our hope and selfrespect, making the most of our vices and follies before they destroy us.''
Excuse me, I now go to answer my case.
■by Lawrence Lau•劉偉聰
Lawrence is a life debater who has to debate with his life. Being a barrister makes him a living while reading and writing gives him a life. Meet his cat 寅恪.