A few days ago I came across this video featuring a librarian (presumedly a protester by my assessment) being removed from a building hosting an event with John McCain. I was confused by various far left outlets showing this as proof that we are living in oppression in the United States. If you don't believe me, read the comments at Crooks and Liars in this post. Under the pseudonym of John Stone I tried to reason with people that this incident is exaggerated...
I’m sorry, obviously the sign was meant to imply that McCain is nothing more than another Bush term. Plus the deal with Banana man accompanying her, I mean come on.
I want a challenge for you to find a conservative person, make a sign that says “Obama=Kerry”, bring along Banana man with pictures of Kerry and Obama plastered all over it, and see how far they make it inside one of Obama’s events.
The lady obviously wanted to create a ruckus. You all are over exaggerating this incident.
Someone replied that the librarian was outside the event, yet by view seemed to still be inside a building, nonetheless, I replied...
Secret Service I’m sure had a legitimate reason for removing from the premises (she seemed to still inside a building, whether or not McCain’s event was inside another section). Plus there is the fact that the video is made by a supporter, and we don’t know the entire detail on why she was removed. We don’t know the whole story. Plus, I’m sure the same thing would happen with a protester (which this lady clearly was, despite her backdrop story) at an Obama event. Secret Service makes these calls.
Second, I find it quite odd that a lot of people here (not all) are claiming tyranny and that we are in oppression. I’m sorry, go to Ethiopia and go to an event where the leader is speaking, and try a stunt like this. I guarantee you the response won’t be the same as in this video. That would be real oppression.
This isn’t oppression, this is an inconvenience for the lady and her banana man.
I picked a country that is authoritarian and a current ally of the United States like Ethiopia to appeal to them, and it seemed to have no effect. Being removed from a building is hardly a qualifier as being in a state of oppression; it's an inconvenience (you could make the point it is offensive to your 1st Amendment rights, yet it doesn't necessarily prove anything other than protesters being unwelcome at town halls).
Of course the person didn't take too kind to this response and replied...
Your spinning and right-wing apologetics are masterful. Kudos. Your brethren at The National Review must be golf-clapping themselves silly.
Understandable response given the outlet, yet completely untrue. I was trying to make the point that this outrage over something this trivial lacks comparison to actual oppression. So it came to a surprise to me today that I would come across this article. It's a story about Ahmad Batebi (a protester for freedom) who was tortured and put in prison for simply speaking out in Iran. Code Pink would like you to believe that in the United States we got it bad. Read about what happened to Batebi...
During his interrogation he was blindfolded and beaten with cables until he passed out. His captors rubbed salt into his wounds to wake him up, so they could torture him more. They held his head in a drain full of sewage until he inhaled it. He recalls yearning for a swift death to end the pain. He was played recordings of what he was told was his mother being tortured. His captors wanted him to betray his fellow students, to implicate them in various crimes and to say on television that the blood on that T-shirt was only red paint. He says he refused.
He was sentenced to death for “creating street unrest”. But after a global outcry, the sentence was commuted to 15 years in jail. He speculates that his high profile made it hard to kill him without attracting negative publicity. For two years, he was kept in solitary confinement, in a cell that was little more than a toilet hole with a wooden board on top. He was tortured constantly. Only when he was allowed to mingle with other prisoners again did he begin to overcome his despair.
Remember, this is for simply protesting and having his picture on the cover of a magazine. I would really like to see how this compares to the treatment the librarian received, who seems to run in circles that obviously show her intent to protest.
If you're wondering what a real fear society is, read this quote about the town square test by Natan Sharansky in his book The Case for Democracy:
If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society. We cannot rest until every person living in a "fear society" has finally won their freedom.
Ahmad Batebi: A true hero.