By Michele Li-Fay 老安试译
米歇尔·李菲(Michele Li-Fay) 英国一位美食家及摄影家
An Open Letter To The Protesters and Their Supporters
Another weekend, another round of escalating violence.
You all take to the streets every night, spreading chaos, confusion and fear, claiming to be fighting for democracy and freedom, but instead you have proven to the world you don't even know what it means.
Democracy is not just a vote; it is so much more than that.
It is an attitude, a mindset, a way of behaving in a civilised society.
Democracy is understanding that society is filled with people with different views. There are many who will agree with you, but many more who probably will not. That's OK. A wise man once told me that different opinions make the world a little more interesting, a little more diverse. It prompts conversations, discussions, debates, even arguments. It stops us from becoming boring and complacent. It forces us to open our eyes, minds and hearts, but more importantly to understand the fact that different socioeconomic factors result in different realities and points of view. As long as the opinions and actions are lawful, valid, backed with real reason, logic and truth, and not with conspiracy theories and fake news, it isn't a wrong opinion. It is merely a different one.
Democracy is respecting opposing opinions, and realising you don't always win. I voted to Remain in the Brexit vote. Many of my friends and loved ones voted Remain as well. However, we lost. We were shocked, outraged maybe. We couldn't believe we weren't the majority, when we were so confident we were. And I also know some who voted to Leave which resulted in our loss as Remainders. I have not cut out those who voted against my beliefs. I have never once belittled or berated them, nor do I think less of them. Because while I may not agree with them, or even agree with their reasons, I respect their decision to vote that way. Because in their eyes, it's for the right reasons, and it's their reason, not mine or for me to judge.
Democracy is accepting defeat, but not giving up and striving to better the situation. Protests happened when it was announced the UK was leaving the EU, but no riots. There was plenty of anger, disappointment and frustration, many slogans, banners and chants, but there were no petrol bombs, hateful graffiti or attacks on law enforcement. Then once the dust settled and reality sank in, people got on with their lives and their jobs, and tried (and are still trying) to make the best of the situation, to reach the best resolution possible, even if it wasn't what they voted for to begin with. We didn't sit back and protest and sulk until our "demands" were met. Because we know a vote means options, which means one side must lose, even if it is your own.
Most of all, democracy is self-betterment and self-reflection. Democracy requires education and a desire to seek the truth through all the hazy smokescreen of reality and life. It isn't churning out the party line, without understanding what it is you're even referring to. It requires real fact-checking and a dose of common sense, to understand that not everything--or unfortunately in this day and age, nothing at all--can be taken at face value. The Internet makes it very easy to spread unverified news and vicious rumours. People, politicians, even news publications, which are meant to be impartial, all have their own agendas and inherent bias, and it's down to the individual to exercise their brains to think of a situation's plausibility.
民主最重要的是，是自我完善和自我反省。民主需要经过教育和通过经历现实的和穿过各种充满朦胧的、烟雾瀰漫的生活的体验、寻求真理的愿望的考验。它不是未经验証的，滔滔不绝的、意识形态式的符合政党路线的党言团意。民主是需要真正的事实核查和符合一定程度的常识。要明白不是所有事物 - 或者不幸的是在今时今日，没有任何东西 - 可以按表面知道实相。今天的互联网非常容易传播未经证实的新闻和恶毒的谣言。人，政治家，甚至是新闻传媒，本应需要扯有不偏不倚处事，可惜他们每个人都有自己的议程和固执的偏见，他们更千方百计用尽脑汁去涂饰他们所做的一切，吹起来振振有词。
Democracy is not intimidating and shouting at those who don't share the same opinion as you, and forcing them to agree with you or apologise, or else. It is not beating up men and women on the streets till their blood paints the pavement, just because they have come out to condemn your violence or sing a different tune. It is not destroying and defacing public property, causing hundreds of thousand dollars worth of collective damage, because that corporation or that shopkeeper has offended you. It is not violence, terrorism and bullying.
It is not destroying a politician's parents' grave, because he spoke out against you. It is not injuring police officers who are trying to keep the peace you insist on destroying. It is not striking first, then crying police brutality when you get your just deserts. It is not spreading fake news and conspiracy theories, and gobbling them up with no reflection or analysis.
It is not terrorising locals and tourists, adults and children alike, shutting down airports and stations, and bringing the economy to a halt. It is not brainwashing and influencing impressionable young minds that should be thinking about fun and dreams, not politics and protests. It is not destroying your home, a city you claim to love. It is not asking for liberation and freedom while holding the entire city hostage.
You have reduced the concept of democracy to being just about universal suffrage, when it is so much more than that. You claim to selflessly sacrifice yourselves to fight for the future of all, but you are selfish. You are selfishly pushing your own agenda without care of how people really feel, what others really want. And with your violent actions and narrow one-track mind, you have shown what little understanding and respect for what democracy truly represents.
So bravo to you, as you proven through entirely your own actions and naivity that you don't deserve the one very thing you claim to be fighting for.