Why I’m Boycotting Virgin Radio

I was on the road more than usual yesterday, and my ever-present IPod was unusually absent, which meant I had to resort to listening to the radio instead. I decided to give Virgin radio, which was once The Bear, a try, and was disgusted with what I heard. Unfortunately, the radio station is only responsible for half of what disgusted me.

I will admit that I haven’t been paying exceptionally close attention to the protest held by Tamil supporters at the steps of Parliament over the last while. I actually feel pretty bad for that, because I am an example of why atrocities like Rwanda and Darfur, and Sri Lanka, occur. Justifiably, the Tamil supporters want people to be aware of the disaster unfolding in Sri Lanka, and are pressuring the government to intervene. After all, Western governments pride themselves on having compassion and for acting in aid of other nations. It seems only reasonable that the Canadian government would be interested in the cause of the Tamil people.

Right?

Absolutely, the protest was disruptive. At first. Traffic was disrupted. People lay in the streets. There were hunger strikes and people had to be given medical attention.

Not yesterday, though. There wasn’t any disruption to traffic. The protesters stayed on the lawn of Parliament; all 30,000 of them. The protest, overall, was far less disruptive than the transit strike and had less effect on the average Ottawan.

So I was a little disgusted when I was listening to the radio and heard people calling in criticizing the protesters. One caller asked “Don’t they have jobs, or hobbies, or something better to do with their time?” Another said that the Tamil-Canadians shouldn’t be doing that as Canadian citizens, and another said that the government was right for not getting involved in the affairs of a foreign nation. Another didn’t like the fact that the protesters were disrupting their lives for something that has no bearing on them.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

For the DJ’s part, he laughed and joked and seconded the question about whether these people have jobs, and why, if not, we’re paying unemployment benefits to them to sit on the lawn and disrupt traffic. He asked “If they don’t have jobs, don’t they have something better to do? Like go fishing or something?”

Let’s take a step back.

The Tamil Tigers, regarded as a terrorist group by 32 different countries (only around 20% of the world), are an organized revolutionary group fighting for an independent Tamil nation. The Tamils are a minority group in Sri Lanka, by the way. The Tigers are known for violence and aggression, including suicide bombings and assassination.

The culmination of a 27-year war, the Sri Lankan military has cornered the Tigers in a tiny section of the country bordered by the coast. The aim of the Sri Lankan military is to break, once and for all, the Tamil Tiger organization. Sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it? Just a few months ago the Israeli’s were attempting to do the same thing to Hamas when they cornered them in the Gaza Strip.

Reports are coming in of heavy civilian casualties. In the last 48 hours, hundreds are reported to have been killed. Some witnesses have testified that they have seen civilians gunned down as they try to flee the area the military has surrounded. The Red Cross is calling the situation “nothing short of catastrophic.” Many are likening what is happening in Sri Lanka to the human rights atrocity that was Rwanda and Darfur.

We are getting very few direct reports, because independent journalists are not being allowed into the conflict area. The military is claiming that civilians are not being targeted. Again, this is all sounding a lot like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a few months ago.

In case you didn’t notice, which is understandable considering that the reporting of the latest on that subject didn’t make it any higher than a small article on the ninth page of the Citizen, Israeli military officials and soldiers have since admitted that civilians were deliberately gunned down, including women, children and the elderly. One sniper reportedly took careful aim and killed a mother and her two children. Of course, Israel has promised to protect it’s soldiers from prosecution, so there isn’t any risk in unveiling truths like this. I wonder what we’ll find out after the fact when Sri Lanka has stopped their attack.

Back to the subject at hand, I wonder how this situation compares to the contemplation of a suitable fishing hole?

The DJ and the callers also voiced complaints that in Canada we’re too careful not to say anything that might offend someone. I, being the cynical and generally unpleasant prick that I am, am immune to such failings, so allow me to speak as frankly as possible.

I don’t know what special brand of ass you have to be to call yourself “Gonzo” and host a radio show in the afternoon that you promote as “So brutally honest it hurts,” but apparently it helps a fair bit if you are the kind of insensitive intellectual midget who equates concern over the deaths of innocent civilians to a hobby, like fishing. I’ll move on to how disturbed I am that the Ottawa public can have an attitude that ridiculously childish in a moment; what’s really terrible is that a public personality thinks it’s appropriate to laugh and ridicule people giving voice through protest to a deadly atrocity and imply that they are a lazy pain in the ass whining about something that nobody should really care about. It is the pinnacle of asshattery that “Gonzo” not only entertained the callers who reported in with their selfish drivel, but condoned it by making fun of the whole situation. For that reason alone, I changed the station and listened to CHEZ instead. I’m not one to deny someone callous humour, but this crossed the line.

As for Joe Public, all those idiots that called in and chortled with the asshat “Gonzo,” I’m actually relatively unsurprised. I mean, my disdain for humanity is well documented, and this just further emphasizes my basic thesis that people are detestable. The fact that people can show such utter lack of compassion for people protesting the killing of children and innocent civilians just goes to show that the selfishness that drives the average human overrides the parts of humanity that can actually be commended. Whatever admirable qualities people might have in their make-up, they are ultimately only interested in themselves. The fact that people called in to complain about the disruption of their daily routine, or to question why we would pay (if we are) unemployment benefits to the protesters for protesting, or to ask if they don’t have anything better to do, demonstrates how unaware and disinterested people are in anything outside of their own, personal little spheres.

Fuck every one of you who cursed the protesters or disparaged them for what they were doing. I don’t think I would have the guts to protest day after day, or starve myself, in order to bring attention and demand aid for people on the other side of the world who can’t ask for help themselves. We are a nation that has gone to war in the Middle East under the premise of helping the downtrodden and the helpless. Our soldiers are dying in this lost cause. The same slack-jawed imbeciles who were on the radio yesterday laughing at the Tamil protesters are the ones shedding a tear when a Canadian soldier is killed in Afghanistan. Those same fucktards are the ones who voiced outrage at FOX for letting an on air personality ridicule the brave Canadian soldiers we send to “protect” and “liberate” the people of a foreign nation. The hypocrisy exhibited by that brand of walking turd makes me truly disappointed to call myself Canadian.

This has nothing to do with support of the Tamil Tigers. I don’t agree with their actions. But disagreeing with the Tigers is not the same as allowing the Sri Lankan military to do what they are doing. If we really call ourselves stewards of the world and pride ourselves on concern for those less fortunate than ourselves, we should maybe show it, and not just when it’s convenient or suits the puppetmaster south of our border that has a hand up our ass.

On the opposing page to today’s Citizen article about the protest there is the headline “‘We must speak out. We must not be neutral’,’ proclaiming Canadian MPs vigilance in the face of anti-Semitism. Funny how we only seem to have morals and concern for some ethnic groups and not others. It’s easy to call yourself brave and principled when you pick and choose your moment.

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