Wednesday, May 04, 2011

We're being lied to about Libya

A depressing but valuable article from Johann Hari saying we're being lied to about Libya.
Yet now we are told that these people [Cameron, Sarkozy, Obama] have turned into the armed wing of Amnesty International. They are bombing Libya because they can't bear for innocent people to be tyrannised, by the tyrants they were arming and funding for years. As Obama put it: "Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different". There was a time, a decade ago, when I took this rhetoric at face value. But I can't now. The best guide through this confusion is to look at two other wars our [UK]government is currently deeply involved in – because they show that the claims made for this bombing campaign can't be true.


This all went unreported. By contrast, when the Congolese government recently nationalized a mine belonging to US and British corporations, there was a fire-burst of fury in the press. You can kill five million people and we'll politely look away; but take away the property of rich people, and we get really angry.

Doesn't this cast a different light on the Libya debate? We are pushed every day by the media to look at the (usually very real) abuses by our country's enemies and ask: "What can we do?" We are almost never prompted to look at the equally real and equally huge abuses by our own country, its allies and its corporations – which we have much more control over – and ask the same question.

So the good and decent impulse of ordinary people - to protect their fellow human beings - is manipulated. If you are interested in human rights only when it tells you a comforting story about your nation's power, then you are not really interested in human rights at all.
As I said, it's depressing but valuable.

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