Saturday, August 04, 2007

The shame of the 'silent majority'

Aug.4, 2007

The shame of the 'silent' majority

by pv vivekanand

The alarming report that more than half of Iraq's population live in poverty and hunger and disease are growing in the country brings up the key question: Why is the US doing this to the people of Iraq?
Did the people of Iraq invade the US?
Did the people of Iraq threaten the US?
Did the people of Iraq challenge US interests anywhere in the world? Did the people of Iraq occupy homes in the US?
Did the people of Iraq rape American girls?
Let us for a moment consider the theory that the regime of Saddam Hussein was rogue and did not serve US interests in the region and that was the reason the US invaded Iraq.
Doesn't it follow that, having invaded the country and toppled the "rogue" regime, it becomes the responsibility and obligation of the invader and occupier to ensure that those who were oppressed during the ousted regime should enjoy the fruits of being "liberated" from a tyrant?
The US is behaving in a manner that it is nobody's business to question what it is doing in Iraq and how it is treating the people of Iraq. Washington seems to believe that the world should continue to celebrate that the poor suffering Iraqis were "liberated" and should be thankful to the sole superpower for having done so.
The US should not have shirked its responsibilities towards the people of Iraq. But Washington is not showing any sign of accepting that it did evade its responsibility. It is continuing to subject the people of Iraq not only to murder, abuse and gross oppressionand expose them to starvation and disease by denying them basic essentials to survive.
In post-war Iraq, prices of food have shot up so high that one third of Iraqis could not afford even a decent daily meal. Compare that with the pre-war situation, where the government offered them most staples at subsidised prices.
In post-war Iraq, nearly 70 per cent of people do not have access to drinking water. Compare that with the pre-war situation, where there was no shortage of drinking water.
In post-war Iraq, people have an average of four to five hours of power supply and that too intermittently. Compare that with the pre-war situation, where there was no shortage power and even industries thrived.
In post-war Iraq, people did not have to cower inside their homes fearing they could get killed in bombings or they could be shot to death in their homes by storming troopers. Compare that with the pre-war situation, where the fear of death is ever-present, whether at home or outside. One might be fortunate to escape a car-bombing in the street, then there is no escape from the fear that sectarian militias or occupation soldiers could simply knock at your door and shoot you down.
In post-war Iraq, children could go to schools and entertain dreams of good education and a fair career whether in the country or outside. Compare that with the pre-war situation, where the country's education system is in shambles, with teachers and students living in perennial terror of being targeted by insurgents or of being caught in the cross-fire between the "good" and "bad" men (regardless how you define "good" and "bad").
Who bears the responsibility for this state of affairs in Iraq?
It is easy to hold the governments of the US and its allied countries responsible. But then, don't the people who elected those governments have any responsibility? If the people plead helplessness to influence their elected government against gross violations of the human rights, then they don't have the right to call themselves democracies.
There is something seriously wrong when only a small percentage of the world's six billion people have the willingness or inclination to publicly express their rejection of what their governments are doing to the people of Iraq. Doesn't that imply that the "silent" majority approve of whatever is happening in Iraq but that they still belong to the so-called civilised world.
It is hypocrasy of the tallest order, and the "silent" majority should be ashamed of themselves. Everyone of them is responsible for every Iraqi who gets killed or maimed, for every Iraqi who dies in the daily bombings or in the US-led military sweep, for every Iraqi who goes to sleep hungry, for every Iraqi who is detained and tortured, for every Iraqi who lives in perpetual terror, every Iraqi who dies because the country's health system functions no more, every Iraqi who had to flee his or her home, and for every Iraqi who has no school to go to.
The "silent" majority is also responsible for shoving Iraqis into the arms of groups like Al Qaeda, which has turned Iraq into killing grounds and a platform to wage a war of attrition against the US.
Al Qaeda never had a presence in Iraq prior to the US invasion and it is the US military presence there that is drawing "international jihadists" like a magnet.
It was the governments elected by the majority of the "civilised" world which pushed the people of Iraq and tipped them over into the bottomless abyss of denial, despair, frustration, anger, agony and suffering. And the majority of the "civilised" world have to answer for it.