A rare moment of truth from billionaire National Basketball villain Chamath Palihapitiya the other day when he frankly suggested in an interview that “nobody cares” about the persecution, internment and extermination of the Uyghur minority in China. The “nobody” that he refers to are the elites who he hobnobs with and who often own or play for NBA teams. China can do no wrong because it is a source of vast capital. You don’t criticize a mountain of money like that. You don’t even suggest there is anything worth assessing. You just remain silent.
Of course, China is poised to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and that means a lot of money for a lot of people, especially the U.S. media so this is not an opportune moment to start caring about the Uyghurs or asking questions about concentration camps.
When Germany hosted the 1936 Olympic Games, there was little criticism of the Nazi’s persecution of the Jews because as far as the elites were concerned, nobody cared. The Nazis did their best to cover up all traces of the systemic anti-Semitism in the country, removing the “Jews noted wanted here” signs and ensuring Jews were allowed to walk unmolested on the streets. We remember those games today as a triumph for racial equality because of the gold medals won by Jesse Owens but at the time, the Nazis claimed victory by winning the most gold and most medals overall.
The Holocaust was ignored by the Western media and no democracy had any time or room for Jews trying to esape Nazi Germany before the war. There was a lot of talk but no action. Nobody apparently cared that much, The same denial applied to the Soviet Union. Even though the New York Times had a correspondent on the ground in the Soviet Union, he either deliberately ignored or lied about the millions of people who died as a result of Joseph Stalin’s contrived famine that swept through Ukraine and parts of Russia. We were trying to get along with the Soviet Union, so nobody cared if Stalin’s domestic policies trampled on basic human rights.
While the American media covers the games, do you think they’ll do a feature story on how the Chinese system oppresses its journalists? Or how dissenters are silenced? Or how it covered up the origin of the coronavirus? Or how unpopular groups are put in concentration camps or used as slave labor? Very unlikely.
Just look at how professional basketball has treated China. Los Angeles Lakers egomaniac Lebron James embodies the profound respect that the league and its sponsors have for China. James, who lives in a mansion – yet routinely plays the race card and pretends to be an oppressed person of color – is fond of eviscerating any police officer who enforces the law but is loath to question China crushing the resistance in Hong Kong because that is about money.
“We all talk about this freedom of speech — yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others and only thinking about yourself,” James said during a press conference in October 2019. “I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand.”
“So many people could have been harmed not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually,” James said.
Thank God for NBA stars who have their priorities straight. Enes Kanter wasn’t even born in the United States but he recognizes what is great about America and refuses to bow to China. He would think that putting people into concentration camps is something to care about and something that America should be utterly opposed to. He is becoming an American citizen because he believes America still cares about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The Boston Celtics center recently told Fox News that said America values free speech and that is what he tells people who want him to keep silent about human rights abuses in China.
“I wore those Free Tibet shoes, right before the game there’s two gentlemen from the NBA came up to me and said, ‘We are begging you, please take those shoes off,’ and I was like, ‘Listen, am I breaking any rules?”
The two unidentified men had to admit that Kanter wasn’t breaking any rules because the NBA had yet to amend the Constitution to strike out freedom of speech or expression. So Kanter responded, “I’m getting ready for my citizenship test, and there’s 27 amendments and my First Amendment is the greatest amendment, freedom of speech.”
Kanter told the NBA Gestapo that he wasn’t going to remove his shoes, was prepared to be fined for wearing them. The thugs told him he could be looking more than a fine but a ban. Kanter says he was ready for that as well.
So who cares about the Uyghurs? America does. It doesn’t matter if we agree with what the Uyghurs believe in. It doesn’t matter if China thinks they are contributing to the latest five year plan. Any country that keeps political prisoners and utilizes slave labor deserves our contempt, not our respect – no matter how much advertising revenue or consumer base they offer. Six million Jews died because nobody cared before it was too late. How many Uyghurs and others will die in China, how many other pandemic cover ups will occur, how many stories will be buried because gutless cowards like Lebron James value their millions more than their factitious principles?
It is time to care again.