Coupled with the menacing problem of terrorism is human rights. No sane person can and should condone violation of human rights and that too at the hands of the state. The state terrorism is worst. If the state starts violating human rights, who will safeguard the violation of human rights. But the terrorists too should not be allowed to use the platform of human rights in the way they are successfully exploiting the free press under the cover of freedom of press. The latest move to change some laws in Europe to prevent misuse of human rights is a overdelayed but welcome step. The West, Europeon countries in particular, used to be fond of raising the bogey of human rights’ violation. But, when the monster has reached to their doorsteps, they are realising that the violation of human rights at the hands of terrorists is too bad and is to be curbed. The BBC, claiming to be the leader of the free media, calls terrorists in Ireland as terrorists but prefers to call terrorists in Kashmir state of India as militants, a respectable term in political jargon. Yes, it is right that a terrorist for a group may be considered and hailed as freedom fighters by a section of the society. However, the basic fact remains that anyone, out to spread terror is a terrorist. Another equally important question is of the credibility of the human rights groups. They are fast losing their constituency in the civilised society on account of their action of turning the nelson’s eye towards the violation of human rights by terrorists. The human rights groups must realise that the terrorists cannot be allowed to perpetrate atrocities on innocent citizens. At the same time, the human rights groups should have transparency in their financial transactions so that the citizens could know their source of finance.
The human rights groups ‘bend over backwards’ to prove their radicalism. And this radicalism seems to consist of a ‘gleeful and malacious’ State-bashing, of ‘proving’ that the law and order machinery is excessively violent; that terrorist violence is almost excusable in the face of ‘State terrorism’, and so on. That the dominant sections of the guardians of public discourse ‘the intelligentsia and the media’ ‘too fell easy prey to these sentiments is predictable. Their willing complicity in a self-imposed censorship or a deliberate distortion (or worse, fabrication) of news only further strengthens the votaries of an authoritarian state. Rarely do the human rights groups realise the faith that this society had reposed in them. Unlike the official media, the politicians and the administration, the human rights groups were seen as courageous guardians of public morality. It is this faith that had given them their power, quite out of proportion to their numbers. But if they too are to be seen as ‘no different from the rest’, then we are indeed in for difficult times. Their pride in a belief that such reports create confidence in the victim groups and communities that at least someone cares, remains at best a partial argument. The purpose of a human rights report cannot be to merely contribute footnotes to history. It must, to be effacacious, communicate with wider sections in society so as to facilitate the emergence of a genuine public discourse on the issues that it contends with. Maulana Bakri of UK, who was reportedly apprehended by the police abroad, is a classical example of ‘rent a quote’ for bytes-hungry TV journalists.
Pakistan’s President General Perwez Musharraf, like any other Pakistan’s politician and army leader, has once again raised the issue of Kashmir bt describing it as an unfinished agenda in an interview to a British newspaper. The fact is that Pakistan’s leaders, since the existence of Pakistan on this day (August 14) way back in 1947, are busy in raising the bogey of Kashmir by whipping up sentiments of the Pakistan’s population. They argue that it was their business to look after the interests of Kashmir State, a predominantly Indian State which opted to remain with India at the time of partition of India, 58 years ago. The United States of America has drawn a roadmap for ceasing the hostilities of India and Pakistan over the issue of Kashmir. The leaders of both the countries have seemingly agreed to accept the Line of Control or The Line of Actual Control as the international border. They are just waiting in wings to announce it. But the leaders in both the countries do not want to take risk of annoying their own citizens who have constantly been fed with the diet of ‘sentiments on Kashmir’. The Line of Control came into existence in 1947 when the United Nations intervened as the Pakistan’s Army regulars under the disguise of civilians had attacked the Kashmir Valley to annex it from India. The Part, remained with Pakistan, following the ceasefire of hostilities, is described as ‘Azad Kashmir’ by Pakistan while the India calls this part ‘Pak-occupied Kashmir’.
The hypocrisy of the United States of America has once again come to the fore in the wake of its opposition to the demand of human rights group to release all the pictures of inmates’ abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison at the hands of the US Marines. The AFP, the news agency reports from Washington that the Pentagon has forcefully moved to block the release of new video evidence in this regard, arguing such a step would help recruit new Islamist terrorists and endanger American lives. The plea has been taken in a lawsuit, filed by human rights groups, for the release of the entire set of 87 pictures and four videotapes in this regard by Specialist Joseph Darby. The scandal was triggered last year when Darby handed over military investigators extensive material implicating his fellow armed forces men in brutal abuse of prisoners. The pictures showed inmates piled up naked on the floor, cowering in front of snarling military dogs, chained to beds in stress positions, with women’s undergarments put over their heads, and forced to stand naked in front of female guards. This sordid development stirred the conscience of the world but the US, a votary of the freedom of expression, wishes to cover up the shamful events. Little wonder, the US loses its respect among the conscientious citizens of the world.
The US does not seems to be left with any other option but to exit Iraq honorably lest the Iraq become another neck in her neck by becoming another Vietnam. The saner voice of the Republican senator Chuck Hagel, who is also a probable candidate in the next presidential polls in 2008 and a decorated Vietnam War vetera, should not go unheard. However, President Bush is unlikely to pull out from Iraq as he does not have to go to the presidential polls since the US Constitution does not allow a third term for the President. Therefore, he is seemingly dancing to his whims.
Last Settlers of the Gaza Patti has left Gaza Quietly, ending a 40-Year Era. It is a welcome step in the direction of a peaceful settlement of a contentious issue, perennially threatening the peace in the Middle East. However, it would have been better if the settlers would have been informed in advance, saving them from the last minute’s miseries. It is also heartening that the Palestine leader has responded to the development positively.
Anura Bandaranaike is the new Sri Lanka Foreign Minister. A senior cabinet minister, Bandarnaike has been named as successor of the slain Lakshman Kadirgamar, the last incumbant. Bandarnaike is the younger brother of Sri Lankan President Ms. Chandrika Kumartunga. Their parents S.W. R.D. Bandaranaike and Ms. Srimavo Bandaranaike were both prime ministers of this island-nation. In his college days, he was the classmate of Ranil Wickremesinghe, the leader of the Opposition and a former prime minister. 56 years old, Bandarnaike is a graduate from the University of London. He had earlier made public his intention to run for the presidency after his sister Ms. Kumaratunga’s term comes to an end, but had last month backed the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapase as the presidential candidate. With the assassination of Lakshman Kadirgamar last month, the fragile peace in the strife-torn island, brooked by some European countries, Norwey in principal, has been endangered once again. Political rule by the dynasties is very common in some South Asian countries who adhere to the lofty principles of democracy. It may sounds anomalous to the western countries but it is a fact. In India, the Nehru-Gandhi (Indira) dynasty is there; In Pakistan Bhutto Dynasty and in Sri Lanka Bandaranaike Dynasty in the name of Democracy.
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is trying to reassure Muslims in Britain that the new measures, proposed by his Labour government to combat ‘extremists’, are not directed against ‘law-abiding’ British Muslims or Britons of any other faith. At last, UK arose from its slumber to realise the grave threat, posed by terrorists though Blair continues to call them extremists. However, he has refrained from calling them militants as he and his colleagues and his government used to refer terrorists in the past. It has to be seen that whether the proposed tough measures, bestowing enormous power to the state in its crusade against increasing tide of terrorism, will prove a step towards the destruction of the lofty ideals of democracy or strengthen the democratic process by curbing the menace of terrorism
The China Daily, an English language daily of Peoples Republic of China has forewarned ” China’s growing income gap is likely to trigger social instability after 2010 if the government finds no effective solutions to end the disparity”. It has quoted a study by the Ministry of Labour & Social Security. Little wonder, violent protests and riots have become common among Chinese, frustrated by soaring social inequality, massive corruption and illegal land requisitions, sparking government fears of triggering mass-scale social instability. More or less, the same is the situation in another emerging economic Asian tiger, India, where NGOs and independent agengies are apprehensive over the increasing tide of widening gulf between two sections of the society on economic plank. A social scientist has said that the worsening law and order situation and increasing tide of terrorism are the by-products of income-gap. And both the countries have sizeable Muslim population which has already refused to be a part of the mainstream and culture of the respective countries.
The shooting of a 27-year old Brazialian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes by the London police on July 22 continues to haunt the London police. The media, T.V. and the Opposition besides the human rights activists across the world, in particular from the victim’s home country Brazil, allege that the British Government and the London Police were covering up the unfortunate incident in which an innocent was killed by the police. He was mistaken as a terrorist. Accusing the British Government, Prof. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Director of the Center for India and South Asia in UCLA in U.K. said: ” As with their bogus claims on Iraqi nuclear weapons, the British government has tried to brazen it out. No one will resign. While issuing a tepid apology to the family, both Blairs have attempted to justify the shoot-to-kills tactics, which they state will continue. No warning will be issued to the victim.” The Police have admitted their mistake. Human rights activists should also ponder over the question that whether such a sustained anti-British Police hostilities would not boost the morale of terrorists who are out to spread terrorists.