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JERRY KASSAR
JERRY KASSAR

I am just one of a loud, large and bipartisan chorus that has been criticizing Mayor de Blasio’s trip last week to Hamburg, Germany to join in the G20 protests. The mayor left the day after an assassination of a New York City police officer, which only added insult to injury.  

New York City in recent months has been plagued with all sorts of very basic problems ranging from a transit system that is failing New Yorkers, city services that are not up to par, a child welfare agency that leaves the most vulnerable unprotected and even questions concerning numerous categories of crime increasing.

And the mayor has allowed property taxes to go up well above the effects of inflation while increasing the city budget by 20 percent since entering office. We are paying more and getting less.  

My point is that he has ample things to do at home before taking his progressive national political agenda on the road.

And yet what I find most disturbing is his lack of interest in the most basic of his duties – leading  as the city mourns the murder of a police officer.

Police Officer Miosotis Familia’s assassination shocked every corner of this city. As mayor, de Blasio had a responsibility to cancel a trip to Germany to be part of a protest that had nothing to do with him governing our city to remain home with a stunned Police Department and city.  

It is almost as though Mayor de Blasio does not care about New York City unless it fits into his political agenda. Combine this with a City Council leader who talks about making her next move a run for public office in Puerto Rico and it is no wonder many are losing faith in their city government.

***

Recently, Brooklyn’s Chinese-American community celebrated China’s control over Hong Kong. Twenty years ago, the British long rule over Hong Kong came to an end as its 99-year lease expired. I can understand the Chinese community’s joy in such an important piece of China becoming independent of a foreign power.  

But celebrating might be a bit premature. Mainland China 20 years ago agreed to abide by a set of rules that guaranteed numerous freedoms that Hong Kong residents enjoyed under British rule. Freedom of speech, freedom to protest and democratic elections are just three of the guarantees that were written into the transfer of authority from the British to China. At that time, I warned that there was no way to enforce these “guarantees” and in time they would evaporate.

Over the past few years, I have sadly been proven right. Free speech has been curtailed, protesters arrested, and democratically elected officials who disagree with Bejing not allowed to take their seats.

Mainland or dare I say communist China’s grip over the day-to-day lives of Hong Kong residents and the operations of its government has essentially choked out of existence the freedoms that were written into the transfer-of-power documents and the constitution that governs Hong Kong.

There is a lesson to be learned. Authoritarian governments, no matter what they call themselves, cannot tolerate the freedoms we consider basic to our existence. They will over time move to stamp them out because they find them a threat.  

When interacting with these governments, we should be wary of the motives of their leaders and always place the interests of America first.

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