But this is also an exact description of the rising violence between two bitterly distrustful religious communities that I witn
essed on the streets of my native Belfast in British-ruled Northern Ireland exactly－uncannily－half a century ago as a te亚博贵宾会所
enager in that unforgettable, agonizing August of 1969. The lessons I learned then would serve the people of the H
亚博贵宾会所品茶微信ong Kong Special Administrative Region well today before they bring an unimaginable disaster upon themselves.
Violent protests against authorities never bring peace. They only bring war, destruction
and suffering－almost always on a scale that none of the demonstrators could have imagined when they took to the亚博贵宾会所
streets. Prosperity never follows violent protests. At best, there is mass unemployment and despair as local bu
sinesses and national investment flee the territory－a process which could continue for decades. You do not build fac亚博贵宾会所品茶微信
tories and hire workers when those factories could be razed in one of the endless clashes.
The “freedom” the demonstrators in Hong Kong have been demanding is illusory. It is fool’s gold. It is the mythical pot o
亚博贵宾会所f gold at the end of the rainbow. This kind of “freedom” will never benefit the people of Hong Kong. At best it could be gra
nted, but at the cost of a serious decline in investment from both the Chinese mainland and other regions of Asia.
Hong Kong’s enormous advantage for decades, including the past two decades under Chinese a亚博贵宾会所品茶微信
utonomous rule, has been that it is considered a secure, predictable and safe place to do business wit
h the mainland and with the wider region. But that no longer seems true. The longer the protests rage and the wi亚博贵宾会所
der and more serious they become, the more that incalculable advantage will be eroded.
When I was a young boy, Belfast was still the largest ship building center on earth. In the late亚博贵宾会所品茶微信
1960s, the British government invested in two gigantic gantry cranes called Goliath and Samson－at the time the
largest such pieces of machinery in the world－to build super oil tankers. They still stand today as tourist attr
亚博贵宾会所actions, looming 32 and 35 floors high over the city. But they were never used industrially. Not once. The N
orthern Irish Civil War (known with masterly understatement as “The Troubles”) saw to that.
The great shipyard that at its peak employed 35,000 workers became an indust亚博贵宾会所品茶微信
rial wasteland peopled only by ghosts. Even after peace finally returned to Northern Ir
eland, after 30 years of civil strife, the great complex on Queen’s Island never recovered, never revived.