Tuesday, October 08, 2013

公民抗命: 以卵擊石? / Civil disobedience: David Against Goliath?

以卵擊石 / David Against Goliath


【維基百科】公民抗命(Civil disobedience),指發現某一條或某部分法律、行政指令是不合理時,主動拒絕遵守政府或強權的若干法律、要求或命令,而不訴諸於暴力,這是非暴力抗議的一項主要策略。

I recall that when I graduated from university, many of my classmates refused to apply jobs with companies that were involved with the war in Vietnam. However, the action back then was quite different from civil disobedience in which an individual deliberately breaks the law on the basis of his/her own political believes.

There are numerous examples of these individuals, dead or alive, e.g. Green Peace activists currently being charged with piracy by Russia, pro-democracy/anti-govt Chinese dissidents, Gandhi's non-violence fight against the British, Martin Luther King leading the US Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War draft dodgers, students who were shot dead by Ohio National Guards at Kent State University in 1970 during an anti-war protest, etc.

And more recently here, we have an 89 years old woman who refused to fill out the 2011 census form based on her political belief (rightly or wrongly).

According to CBC News: ".... An 89-year-old Toronto woman who is a Second World War veteran is in court facing a judge for refusing to fill out the 2011 census form. Audrey Tobias faces a criminal charge under the Statistics Act, which makes refusing or neglecting to fill in the census an offence punishable by a $500 fine and up to three months in prison. .... Tobias, who has become a peace advocate since her time in the Armed Forces, says she decided not to participate in the national census because U.S.-based weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin provides services to the Canadian government to analyze census data...."

There is an old Chinese saying that describes someone fighting against a powerful opponent: Using an egg to break a rock 以卵擊石 .

So, here are my questions:

(1) To the egg: How many smashed eggs will eventually break a rock?

(2) To the rock: How many eggs to smash?

***** UPDATED 20131009 *****

Census protester Audrey Tobias acquitted of not filing form

CBC News:

"..... An 89-year-old peace activist who refused to fill out the census because of its link to a U.S. military contractor is not guilty of violating the Statistics Act, a Toronto judge decided today.... Tobias's lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, had argued that forcing her to complete the census would violate her freedoms of conscience and free expression. The judge rejected the charter arguments, but said that Tobias's memory and some conflicting testimony left him with reasonable doubt as to her intent at the time of the refusal. Judge Ramez Khawly noted that for a conviction both the act and intent of a crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, so he had to acquit Tobias.... The judge also described the Justice Department's decision to prosecute Tobias, a Second World War veteran, as a "PR disaster." ...."

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/census-protester-audrey-tobias-acquitted-of-not-filing-form-1.1930998?cmp=fbtl


Related links:

* CBC News: WW II Veteran and Census Objector Audrey Tobias in Court

* Toronto Star: "...... When Tobias discovered the Lockheed connection, she ignored the census. A dangerous move. Ignore such forms, it says, and suffer fines and/or jail time. But she is a peace activist — “not a pacifist!” — and a war veteran. She just couldn’t associate herself with a company that builds and sells cluster bombs, missiles and the F-35 fighter jet .... "
(Woman Ready To Go to Jail Over Census Fight)

* The Globe and Mail: "..... In 2011, a Saskatchewan woman was found guilty and given an absolute discharge for refusing to fill out the now-voluntary long-form section of the 2006 census over the Lockheed software link, and is awaiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will grant her appeal request...."
(89-year Old Activist Defiant Ahead of Trial for Census Refusal Over Weapons Maker Link)

* Montreal Gazette: "TORONTO - A senior Statistics Canada manager says it's impossible for giant American arms maker Lockheed Martin to pilfer information on Canadians. Yves Beland says the agency did a thorough security audit on software the U.S. company provided. Beland's testimony comes at the trial of 89-year-old Audrey Tobias in Toronto .... "
(Peace Activist Defiant Ahead Trial Over Census Refusal)


the inner space said...


Alice Ann Munro (née Laidlaw; born 10 July 1931) is a Canadian author. The recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature。

Anonymous said...

THe real problem with the census is that it is mandatory. Tobias was right to oppose but for the wrong reasons. http://www.statisticsblog.com/2013/10/the-disgrace-of-the-mandatory-census/

Haricot 微豆 said...


I have to admit I am more a fan of Margaret Atwood than Alice Munro. But that's just my own taste/preference. I am glad a Canadian writer was bestowed the prestige award this year.


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