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Now that your city has been in flames for more than six months, your families divided, and no end to the violence is in sight, I have decided to write this short essay, in the form of an open letter, to the young people of Hong Kong.
First of all, I want to ask: Why?
Why all this smoke and fire, wrath and violence? Were your lives, before the so-called "protests", or "riots", really so dismal?
You have been living in one of the richest cities on earth. Even according to Western evaluations, Hong Kong has one of the highest "freedom indexes", higher than that of most of Western countries.
Water that comes from your taps is clean, the Internet is extremely fast, public transportation is cheap and one of the best in the world. You can enjoy an exciting cultural life, as well as great public spaces constructed along your impressive coasts.
Naturally, Hong Kong is not a perfect place, as there are no perfect places on this planet.
Your housing is some of the most expensive in the world. Job opportunities for college graduates are not really excellent. Some cities on Mainland China are now more exciting places to live, to create and to dream, than 'good old' Hong Kong. But still, it is a fascinating, solid city, with its own culture, mindset and complex history. And in many ways, it is a beautiful city; beautiful and unique.
So, why? What happened? Why suddenly such anger, and such frustration?
Should we talk? Please let's.
I have worked in around 160 countries and territories, on all continents. I have written about, and I have filmed many wars and conflicts. I have been covering revolutions and rebellions, but also terrible riots ignited by Western countries. You probably have heard about the so-called "Color Revolutions", or the "Arab Spring".
I have witnessed, first hand, the fate of countries that have been occupied and then thoroughly destroyed by the United States and NATO: Afghanistan and Syria, Iraq and Colombia, to name just a few. I have seen millions of ruined lives in nations where the West overthrew left-wing governments, and then injected fascism: places like Indonesia (1965), and Chile (1973). Now there is nothing left of Indonesia; its nature is thoroughly ruined and the great majority lives in misery. In Chile, people have stood up, and are proudly fighting and dying for socialism which was stolen from them by Western governments and corporations.
I have lived and worked all over the African continent, the most devastated part of the world, colonized and terrorized first by Europe, and later by the United States, for many centuries.
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