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Hypocrisy and Western-centric Human Rights

 By: Jamal Kanj*

 June 17, 2011

France is leading the way to censure the Syrian regime for violations of human rights. Obama and Secretary Clinton spoke profusely of the Syrian regime’s culpability in shooting and killing civilians in the cities and suburbia of Syria’s hinterlands. Britain and the rest of the Western Hampshire democracies have joined the chorus purportedly defending Arab human rights.

The same chorale preached the human rights charade and succeeded in passing a Security Council resolution allowing the use of military force against Libya. Today Libya is being destroyed under the pretext of human rights. Meanwhile, the same countries were bashful in response to public protests in Egypt and Tunisia or disappeared from the radar screen in Western backed non democratic Arab countries.

To avoid any confusion, let’s clarify that the rights of Arab masses, collectively and individually, to demand democratic change in their countries has long been passed due. Safeguarding human rights must be universally cherished value, enjoyed by everyone, everywhere, and censuring must equally apply against all violators, no prejudice, and no exception.

Palestinian human rights have been denied for more than 60 years with complete inaudible Western silence; one and a half million Palestinian have been under economic siege in Gaza for more than five years; Israel has continued to violate the Western own driven “road map” for peace by building Jewish only settlements on occupied Palestinian lands. Nevertheless, the same Western chorus defending Arab human rights in Syria and Libya has conspicuously ignored the same for Palestinian Arabs. It is even worse since Western powers have empowered Israel financially and politically to carry on with these abuses against the Palestinians.

One important observation worth mentioning as we watch the Arab Democratic Spring: the West must have been caught by surprise and was unable, or didn’t want to interfere in the uprising against Western backed regimes in places like Egypt and Tunisia. Inadvertently though, this may have helped the march towards democracy in these two countries arrive successfully to its final destination with the least damage.

However in other places, where the West attempted to influence the Arab Democratic Spring, mostly in non-Western friendly nations like Libya and now in Syria, the Democratic march took a more bloody turn. Unlike Egypt and Tunisia, public protests have turned or are turning into armed revolutions. These countries will spend years in nation building before they can stand on their feet.

Not being a person who was big on conspiracy theory, I wondered however, if the recent arrest of allege Israeli spy, who reportedly attempted to drive a wedge between the demonstrators at Tahrir Square in Cairo and the army, was part of a larger Israeli conspiracy. Could this have been part of a failed plan, to turn the peaceful protests into an open confrontation between the protestors and Egyptian Army? Could Israeli spies be doing the same directly or via their influence on Western powers in Libya and Syria?

Israel has the most to gain from turning peaceful protests into war zones. Western Democracies crocodile tears over human rights violations, albeit true, are belied by their failure to stop financing human rights violation in occupied Palestine.

The West’s irrational duplicity remains the heart of the mistrust between Arabs and Western countries. Hence, the West failed to convince the Arab street of its altruistic motivations.

*Jamal Kanj writes frequently on Arab World issues and the author of “Children of Catastrophe, Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America”, Garnet Publishing, UK . Jamal’s articles can be read at www.jamalkanj.com, his email address is jkanj@yahoo.com