by Zafar Bangash (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 48, No. 3, Sha'ban, 1440)
Hypocrisy is not the exclusive preserve of Western regimes but they are master practitioners of this evil craft. That explains why Western hypocrisy is often so easy to miss. Barring a few exceptions, even the most enlightened individuals in the West fail to challenge it. This point can be best illustrated by looking at specific examples.
Let us begin with how the West treated Nelson Mandela. He is considered an icon of the European 20th century. He led the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa spending 27 years in prison as a consequence. Many other members of the African National Congress (ANC) also suffered the same fate, mostly at the notorious Robben Island Prison, off the coast of Cape Town.
While most people are familiar with Mandela’s anti-apartheid struggle, few would recall that it was Ronald Reagan’s regime (1981–1988) that branded him a “terrorist.” In 1986, a House of Representatives resolution calling for removal of Mandela’s name from the US terror list was defeated. Dick Cheney, who later became vice president, was among those who voted against it.
Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990 and sworn in as the first president of post-apartheid South Africa on May 10, 1994. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, together with F.W. de Klerk (the last apartheid-era president of South Africa) in 1993. Following his release from prison, Mandela visited several Western capitals including the US but he remained on Washington’s terror list. The US State Department had to issue a waiver each time Mandela wanted to enter the US. His name was removed from the terror list only in 2008 when then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice found the whole affair embarrassing and an impediment to cultivating good relations with post-apartheid South Africa.
Months after Mandela’s release from prison and while holding direct talks with the apartheid regime, the New York Times still scolded him in its opinion pages for refusing to unilaterally renounce violence. “Why Won’t Mandela Renounce Violence?” asked a June 21, 1990, op-ed by congressional aide David G. Sanders.
In a 10-year survey about media demands of Muslims to “renounce violence,” published by the web portal, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), Adam Johnson wrote (March 29, 2019), “There’s no evidence in the Times archives that South Africa’s apartheid government was ever asked the same question (in sharp contrast to Dr. [Martin Luther] King, Mr. Mandela continues to call for an ‘armed struggle’, a 1990 New York Times op-ed (6/21/90) complained)”. Perhaps one should point out to the Times editorial writers that Dr. King ended up being killed while Mandela walked to freedom and also freed South Africa from the shackles of apartheid, partly through armed struggle that ultimately forced the regime to negotiate with the ANC.
While Mandela’s case shows with stunning clarity the hypocrisy of Western regimes in dealing with opponents — real and imagined — there are other equally glaring examples that illuminate the point. Consider the possession of nuclear weapons. Why is it alright for some countries to have nuclear weapons but not for others, and who decides this?
The February 28 talks in Hanoi between Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung un collapsed because Trump demanded North Korea completely denuclearize and hand over all its stockpile of weapons and fuel to the US (Reuters news agency, March 30). The North Koreans considered such a demand insulting and rejected it. Trump then resorted to an outright lie by alleging that the North had demanded the lifting of all sanctions before they would agree to partial denuclearization. While not true and the North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho categorically rejected this assertion, they would be in their right to make such a demand. After all, US sanctions against North Korea, as indeed against Iran and many other countries are completely illegal. Only the UN Security Council can impose sanctions following a vigorous debate and vote, not unilaterally by bullies!
The nuclear hypocrisy runs deeper. There is no problem with Western regimes and their Zionist and Hindu allies having nuclear weapons but no Muslim country should have them. Nuclear weapons of a Muslim country — Pakistan — have been christened as “Islamic bombs”! Do bombs also have a religion?
In the case of other Muslim countries that do not have any nuclear weapons or even plan to acquire them, they are still accused of trying to make them. Islamic Iran falls under this category. Despite its top leadership repeatedly rejecting the acquisition of nuclear or any other weapons of mass destruction, the Western regimes continue to accuse Tehran of trying to acquire them. These demands have now escalated to calling on Iran to abandon its defensive missile program as well. In other words, they want Iran to have no defensive capability so that Western warmongers would have a free hand to attack and possibly destroy it. This was the situation in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011 leading to the destruction of both.
A far more convincing argument can be made for all countries to have nuclear weapons so that nobody would blackmail others. Pakistan vis-à-vis India illustrates this point well. Had Pakistan not possessed nuclear weapons, a belligerent India would have attacked it long ago.
True, it would be far better if no country had nuclear weapons but would the US, Britain, France, Zionist Israel, or Hindu India agree to this? Trump has abrogated a number of arms limitation treaties with Russia including the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and has allocated $1 trillion to upgrade America’s nuclear arsenal. This is absolute madness even if Western rulers have seldom shown much sanity in dealing with others.
There is another ploy the Western regimes use against those who defend themselves against imperialist and/or Zionist aggression. They are branded as “terrorists” even though the resisters are defending their homeland, life, and honor — a fundamental right recognized in international law and the UN Charter. The defenders are also called upon to “renounce violence.” No such demand is ever made of the aggressors.
This point can be better understood if we consider what the Americans, Zionists, Hindus, and their allies demand of people they are attacking. Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Kashmiris struggling against Hindu colonialism are constantly told to renounce violence. Surely, people under attack and colonial occupation have an inalienable right to resist their occupiers by whatever means necessary. The Fourth Geneva Conventions as well as the UN have affirmed this fundamental right of people to resist foreign occupiers.
After getting a beating in Afghanistan, the Americans have stopped the nonsensical demand that the Taliban “renounce violence.” They are now sitting down with them — the Taliban — earlier denounced as “terrorists,” to negotiate a safe withdrawal of their forces from the country.
Interestingly, ISIS terrorists in Syria were never asked to renounce violence. They were called “rebels” trying to overthrow a “dictator” even though the vast majority of ISIS members were not Syrians but foreign mercenaries. The US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and their allies supported, financed, trained, and armed these terrorists and unleashed them in Syria destroying the country.
A similar scenario is currently underway in Venezuela. Washington warlords are supporting a little known Venezuelan politician, Juan Guaidh, claiming he is the “real president,” instead of the elected President Nicolas Maduro. This again reflects Western hypocrisy and hubris.
The greater tragedy is that these hypocrites and warmongers never give up inflicting suffering on countless innocent civilians worldwide. They seem to take sadistic pleasure in killing innocent people whom they do not consider to be humans.