Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

n
e
w
s

f
e
a
t
u
r
e
Double standards used by the US

These selectively humane humanitarians know very well that the security forces of Sri Lanka have a far better track record than the US or UK in Iraq or Afghanistan. They know that if Osama bin Laden was in Prabhakaran’s slippers and they were in the shoes of the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary, they would not have done what ‘Gota’ did and is doing; they would have killed over 100,000 civilians to get their man dead or alive.
Let’s compare and contrast. In Sri Lanka, a terrorist leader is confined to some 3 square kilometres; in Afghanistan, a terrorist leader’s whereabouts are unknown. In Sri Lanka, the terrorists are holding ordinary civilians hostage; in Afghanistan there are no such constraints. In Sri Lanka the Army suffers a high rate of casualties; in Afghanistan the citizens of that country are slaughtered

The United States of America is fighting a war against terrorism. They say. Great Britain, ever the willing pup at Uncles Sam’s feet tags along (shall we christen the creature ‘Brownie’?). Master and pet rush into Iraq looking for non-existent weapons of mass destruction. The world’s greatest fighting machine (so-called) sprays vast swathes of a country called Afghanistan in the hope that a stray bullet might find the chest of someone called Osama bin-Laden, whose whereabouts are unknown.

In the process people die - ordinary people, non-combatants, women, children in their hundreds no, hundreds of thousands. Does Uncle Sam care? Does Brownie, the ever-faithful lapdog care? Of course not! It’s just a fact of life, a fact of death. In a word, ‘collateral.’

Before May 5, 2009, I hadn’t heard of Bala Boluk, Farah City or Grani. I didn’t know anyone by the name of Atiqullah or that he was a doctor. Now I know that Bala Boluk is a province in Afghanistan, the capital of which is Farah City. I know that according to Dr. Atiqullah, a resident of the village of Grani in that province, some 130 plus dead bodies have been retrieved from beneath the debris of destroyed homes. Yes, I know these things now and I still think it would be scandalous to thank the US Air Force for this knowledge.

Interestingly, the air-strike had been commissioned after an insurgent attack on a police check post that killed six people and three others on spy charges on Sunday. An ‘eye for an eye’? Two hundred and sixty eyes for twelve? The US believes that 30 Taliban fighters were killed in the bombing. One hundred innocent civilians had to die to eliminate these 30 ‘terrorists’.

Not a new phenomenon

To throw in some context, let us remember that US air strikes on civilians is not a new phenomenon. The United States of America has caused the death of over 35,000 people in Afghanistan since 2001. Someone might say this is ‘nothing’ compared to over 1 million deaths attributable to the US-led invasion of Iraq (that is, people who would not have died if not for the invasion) which excludes the half a million Iraqi children who died as a consequence of US-led sanctions, but still it is certainly a number that cannot be footnoted or erased by subsequent event or deliberate non-mention (as has been the US practice).

The USA has done what it usually does. Express regret and move on. It does not help the dead or the loved ones left behind of course. There is a neat erasure-facilitating word in the games of war: ‘collateral’. And when over a million deaths constitute legitimate ‘collateral’, what’s a couple of hundreds, one may very well ask.

Is the world supposed to get used to this kind of massacre, and behave like the New York Times, which was happy enough to carry Hillary Clinton’s ‘regrets’ and, yes, ‘move on’? Like how we were supposed to respond to the Israeli attacks on Gaza late last year when 1,417 Palestinian civilians were killed, 313 of them children: note and forget? You bet that’s what they (Uncle Sam and Brownie the Pup) want. And that’s exactly what we shall not do.

What is tragic about what happened on May 5, 2009, is that it will not stop the US from destroying another village in a few days time if the Taliban beheads someone. What is comical about it is that the collateral of that particular attack was not limited to the village of Grani or the province of Bala Boluk. Put another way, not all casualties were Afghans. I counted a few. David Miliband was one. Then there was Des Browne. Oh yes, there was one Hillary Clinton. And one Robert Blake. All of them were stripped to their panties by the US Air Force.
I have been waiting and waiting. I have waited for Human Rights Watch to roar in protest. I have waited for David Miliband to rush to Bala Boluk to assess the ‘humanitarian crisis’ there. I was waiting for Des Browne to seek a UN Security Council censure of the attack. I was not waiting for Hillary Clinton to say anything except what she said. And as for Robert Blake, I believe the man is probably yet to discover Bala Boluk, Farah City or Grani and probably will never hear about a doctor called Atiqullah, so ostrich-like is he!

Experts on civilians

These people are experts on civilians, I was made to believe, the way they were going on and on and on and on about Tamil civilians held hostage by the LTTE, the way they were going on and on and on about how the Government of Sri Lanka should declare a truce with the LTTE. But on May 5, 2009, we learnt that some civilians are tear-worthy, some not; some ‘civilians concerns’ warrant a halt to action against terrorism, some not. I learnt that some civilians are spoken for by constituents and that some are not, a fact that might explain the existence of two kinds of civilians; those in whose names Miliband, Browne, Clinton and Blake would bite a cyanide capsule and others who can be casually made unrecognisable-in-death without batting the proverbial eyelid.

These selectively humane humanitarians know very well that the security forces of Sri Lanka have a far better track record than the US or UK in Iraq or Afghanistan. They know that if Osama bin Laden was in Prabhakaran’s slippers and they were in the shoes of the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary, they would not have done what ‘Gota’ did and is doing; they would have killed over 100,000 civilians to get their man dead or alive.

Let’s compare and contrast. In Sri Lanka, a terrorist leader is confined to some 3 square kilometres; in Afghanistan, a terrorist leader’s whereabouts are unknown. In Sri Lanka, the terrorists are holding ordinary civilians hostage; in Afghanistan there are no such constraints. In Sri Lanka the Army suffers a high rate of casualties; in Afghanistan the citizens of that country are slaughtered. In Sri Lanka, the LTTE fires at civilians; in Afghanistan, it is Uncle Sam who is trigger-happy. Sri Lanka is veritably swamped by those professing concern regarding humanitarian issues; in Afghanistan, the US operates as though there are no humans. The LTTE is treated with indulgence in London; the Taliban would be butchered if they held demonstrations in that town. All manner of journalists, human rights advocates and aid workers are falling over each other to get to Sri Lanka and into the ‘No Fire Zone’; no one wants to go to Bala Boluk.

There’s a word for this folks - disingenuous. The word has some synonyms - insincere, hypocritical, deceitful, devious and dishonest. Anyone of them would fit Blake, Browne, Clinton and Miliband and, of course, the ‘whatisnames’ in international outfits such as Human Rights Watch.

There was some talk that Miliband, Browne and others who are being held hostage by LTTE proxies in their respective constituencies (the ‘international’ human shield of the LTTE if you will) were planning to push for a UN Security Council resolution against Sri Lanka, based not on verifiable evidence but what the LTTE says. Well, if they do, then someone is going to laugh so loud that Miliband might decide to stop strutting on the world stage like a jackass.
British and US hypocrisy has a new word. ‘Bala Boluk’. Say it again. Bala Boluk. Again ‘Bala Boluk’. Say it again and again and again: Bala Boluk, Bala Boluk, Bala Boluk, Bala Boluk, Bala Boluk, Bala Boluk, Bala Boluk.

I would like to think that US arrogance and idiocy would be buried in Bala Boluk for all time, but things really don’t happen that way. The only positive I can take from Bala Boluk is that David Miliband has lost the right to say the most outrageous things and get away with it. Robert Blake too. And others. Indeed, ‘Bala Boluk’ may have precipitated their early retirement. A good thing too.

 

 

 


home