Good Souls of Sichuan, poor souls of Lhasa

I saw a fantastic play last night at the Young Vic, 'The Good Soul of Sichuan’ by Bertold Brecht, starring Jane Horrocks (she of Little Voice and Ab Fab fame). Go and see it if you can. It’s set in Sichuan (of earthquake fame, entirely coincidentally) and is all about the difficulty of being ‘good’ in a world that’s so hard and full of reasons to be ‘bad’. It features a trio of indifferent Gods who can't find a person who can live up their standards of ‘goodness’, a nasty-but-good-looking pilot, a kind-hearted prostitute and a frantic water-seller.

I’m not going to make a laboured link between the play and the report that we put out last night on the situation in Tibet – other than to say that they’re both set in (roughly) the same part of the world. But as the Olympic torch heads to Tibet, over a thousand protesters who were detained during the March protests in Tibet are still unaccounted for – and given the Chinese authorities’ record of treating prisoners, this is serious cause for concern. Here’s what CNN had to say about it.

I’ve got no problem with China hosting the Olympics – in fact I think it could be a really good thing – but people have got to kick up a stink (which you can do right here!) when the government throws anyone who disagrees with them in jail. Otherwise it simply sends out a message that the rest of the world doesn’t mind.

Meanwhile, the situation in Zimbabwe appears to be going from bad to worse (via ‘very bad’). Millions are going hungry, the government has kicked out the aid agencies so it can manipulate food supplies to get votes, and violence against opposition supporters and activists just seems to get worse and worse, as the Guardian details here.

And from the appalling to the ridiculous… I used to play football with Matt Weaver who wrote that Guardian piece. He was pretty good as I recall. I am itching for the start of the Euro 2008 semi-final tonight, which pitches Portugal (my office sweepstake team) against Germany (Rob Shuster’s from office management). For once I’ll be hoping to see Ronaldo with a big smirk on his face at the end of 90 minutes.

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