Saturday, November 28, 2015
CAMP LIBERTY - SOLD OUT BY THE US AND THE UN - THE ROLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IN THE BLOODY HISTORY OF CAMP LIBERTY
CAMP LIBERTY - SOLD OUT BY THE US AND THE UN
THE ROLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IN THE BLOODY HISTORY OF CAMP LIBERTY
Stes de Necker
Camp Ashraf forerunner to Camp Liberty
Camp Liberty is a former United States military installation in Baghdad, Iraq, now being used to house the members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI, also called MEK) who were forcibly evicted from Camp Ashraf.
Camp Ashraf or Ashraf City was a camp in Iraq's Diyala province, having the character of a small city with all basic infrastructure, and headquarters of the exiled People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The population used to be around 3,400 in 2012 but nearly all have been more or less forcibly relocated under pressure by the premier minister Nouri al-Maliki's office of the Government of Iraq to Camp Liberty near BIAP (Baghdad International Airport).
Camp Ashraf (aka US Forward Operating Base Grizzly) is situated 27.6 km northeast of the Iraqi town of Khalis, about 80 kilometers west of the Iran border and 40 kilometers north of Baghdad. Ashraf was created in 1986, after the PMOI leadership relocated from France to Iraq. It began as barren land with only a handful of deserted buildings and no facilities, paved roads, or running water. Over 25 years, however, Ashraf was built by its residents into a modern city with a complex of roads and buildings with many educational, social and sports facilities, and it became the PMOI's main enclave in Iraq.
One remarkable characteristic of Ashraf was the presence of thousands of people who have freely chosen to come to Ashraf with only one goal and desire—to dedicate their lives to their people’s freedom from the clutches of the mullahs’ terrorist religious dictatorship.
Prior to the 2003 U.S.-led war in Iraq, the PMOI publicly declared its neutrality and played no part in the conflict. In the early part of the invasion, as a result of quid pro quo between Washington and Tehran, PMOI bases were repeatedly bombed by Coalition forces, inflicting dozens of casualties and enormous structural damage.
In April 2003, US forces signed a cease-fire agreement of "mutual understanding and coordination" with the PMOI. Finally in May 2003, as a result of negotiations between the PMOI and US forces led by General Ray Odierno, the PMOI agreed to a "voluntary consolidation" and disarming of its forces in exchange for US protection of Camp Ashraf and its residents.
After an extensive 16-month investigation of every member of the PMOI in Camp Ashraf by seven different US government agencies that began after the US agreement, PMOI members were found not to have violated any US law [New York Times, July 27, 2004]. In addition, the US Government declared them to have been "non-combatants" during the 2003 war.
In 2004 the US led Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I) formally recognized all the residents of Camp Ashraf as "Protected Persons" under the Fourth Geneva Convention [Coalition Statement, July 2004], and U.S. forces took up their protection.
On 1 January 2009, despite strong opposition by the residents and several legal opinions by distinguished jurists, the camp's security was transferred to Iraq without necessary credible guarantees. The US stated that the Government of Iraq has given written guarantee respecting the rights of the residents. For over 10 years, Camp Ashraf has been attacked several times, the worst being on April 8, 2011 when Iraqi security forces stormed the camp and killed as many as 36 and wounding 320 residents, and on September 1, 2013, leaving a death toll of 52 victims.
Relocation to Camp Liberty
Under strong pressure by the Iraqi government, whose declared will is to expel the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from Iraq, but who was aided as well by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) under the pretext to preserve their security, near all of the 3400 MEK residents of Camp Ashraf were forcedly moved to Camp Liberty in 2012.
Following an agreement between Ambassador Martin Kobler of UNAMI and the Government of Iraq, and at the behest of the Iranian regime, Ashraf residents were subject to a forced eviction and involuntary relocation to Camp Liberty, a former U.S.-base in Baghdad.
Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Iraq, misled the residents and the international community by repeated assurances about the residents welfare and protection at the new site which has until now proved to be blatantly false.
In 2012, some 3,200 residents moved to Camp Liberty, but Iraq has denied them freedom of movement, basic humanitarian needs, and the right to transfer or sell most of their property.
The MEK is a political party was banned in Iran in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution, which the government of its host country of Iraq still considers it to be a terrorist organization.
Establishment of Camp Liberty
Camp Liberty first came into existence during the 2003 invasion of Iraq as Camp Victory North, and was renamed (its Arabic translation is "Camp Al-Tahreer") in mid-September 2004 to its later name of Camp Liberty (in Arabic "Camp Hurriya").Other camps that made up the Victory Base Complex include Camp Victory (formerly known as Camp Victory South), Camp Striker, Seitz, and Camp Slayer. The renaming was part of an effort to give U.S. facilities around Baghdad friendlier connotations, and an attempt to resolve the issue of constantly changing facility names.
During the Iraq War, following the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, the base was a large coalition military installation located northeast of the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP), becoming part of the U.S. military's Victory Base Complex (VBC).
Camp Liberty was twice the size of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, and one of the largest U.S. overseas posts built since the Vietnam War.
Billions of American tax payer’s dollars were spent to establish this military installation. The camp was equipped with some of the most modern infrastructure equipment like electrical generators, water purification plants, medical facilities, dining halls, command centres and accommodation and ablution quarters.
A substantial amount was also spent on upgrading the infrastructure of the nearby airport used for air transport.
For all intense and purpose, Camp Liberty was now American territory.
Life in Camp Liberty after 2012
Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Iraq (SRSG), gave the residents repeated assurances about their welfare and protection at the new site. But the Government of Iraq (GoI) has imposed a siege on the camp and denied them the right to transfer or sell most of their property.
In violation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Iraq and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Camp Liberty lacks human rights standards and is considered a prison from every aspect.
Residents have no freedom of movement, and Iraq has banned them from having access to their relatives, human rights activists, parliamentarians, reporters and any foreign visitor in Liberty or Ashraf.
This helped partly to convince the United States removing the MEK from its list of designated terrorist groups.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on 23 November 2012 described conditions at Camp Liberty as synonymous with that of a detention centre and in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and called on the Iraqi government for the "immediate release and lifting of all restraints upon the free movements of these persons". This was the second opinion adopted by the Working Group detailing abuses at the camp.
Another opinion issued on 17 July 2012 found similar abuses taking place.
A rocket and mortar attack left at least eight dead and nearly 100 wounded occurred at Camp Hurriya on 9 February 2013.
Iranian residents of Camp Liberty and their representatives and lawyers appealed to the UN Secretary-General and U.S. officials to let them return to Ashraf, which they say is 80 times larger than Liberty and has concrete buildings and shelters that offer more protection. They argue that this move is all the more imperative because according to the UN Refugee Agency and the US embassy in Baghdad, resettlement will take anywhere from three to 10 years. So, the residents would be at risk of further attacks and the move to Ashraf would not hinder their resettlement.
On 29 April 2013, 20 explosions hit Camp Liberty/Camp Hurriya. Its residents accuse the Iraqi government of failing to offer adequate protection or medical care.
A deadly rocket attack occurred on 26 December 2013, killing four Iranian dissidents and wounding about seventy. This was the last of a total of four rocket attacks to Camp Liberty in 2013.
The destructive power of 26 December attack was particularly high, as in addition to previously used rockets, missiles hit the camp with had about 10 times explosive power. Iraqi authorities have repeatedly denied involvement in attacks on the group. However, in a rare claim of responsibility for attacks on the MEK, Wathiq al-Batat, commander of the al-Mukhtar Army militia, admitted his group had fired rockets at the camp. This army is a relatively new Shi'ite militia, which has said it is supported and funded by Iran. Batat is a former leader of the more well-known Kata'ib Hezbollah militia.
The UNHCR called on the government of Iraq to urgently scale up security measures in the camp to ensure the safety and security of its residents. UNHCR urgently reiterated the need to find solutions for the camp's residents, and appealed to countries to find places for 1,400 persons from Camp Liberty that had been submitted for relocation since 2011, stating that only 311 residents were secured to third countries so far.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran informed and warned on activities in Iraq by Iranian Quds Force, led by Qasem Soleimani, aimed to massacre Camp Liberty residents via a joint operation with Iraqi forces. In August 2014, the Iraqi government started to block food, fuel and water supplies.
Former UNAMI chief Ad Melkert, who, in fall 2009, had strived to find a mediated solution for residents to remain protected in their original home city Camp Ashraf, appealed to UNAMI to hold the Iraqi government accountable for creating the descent conditions in Liberty and for blockading the delivery of daily life essentials.
In October 2014, the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe reiterated its concern over the situation, namely over a recent statement of the Iraqi Minister of Justice, in which he said that if Iran asked for the extradition of the residents of Camp Liberty, Iraq would deliver them.
As per December 2014, UNHCR informed that it has been working since February 2012 to identify "individuals with international protection needs" and to find solutions outside Iraq for the remaining population of still 2,746 individuals.
On 30 January 2015, 100 Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in a written declaration urged Europe, USA, and UN that "Camp Liberty, home to Iranian exiles in Iraq, be recognized as refugee camp under supervision of UNHCR and specially medical and fuel siege be ended."
Instead of designating Camp Liberty as a refugee camp, the camp has been illegally designated a “temporary transit location - TTL” to cover up the appalling lack of minimum standards for a refugee camp and violation of laws and regulations related to refugees and asylum seekers. The term TTL applies to a camp which has a several-day or several-week passage for transferring refugees to third countries.
Latest Rocket Attack on Camp Liberty
On the evening of 29th October 2015, another heavy rocket attack killed more than 20 residents in the camp. As with regard to many past attacks to Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf, evidence points to Iran paramilitary forces being the perpetrators.
“This was a horrific act of violence against the residents of Camp Liberty, which cannot simply be ignored by the Iraqi authorities. They must ensure a prompt, independent and effective investigation into this attack and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
“Their utter failure to investigate previous deadly attacks against the camp sends the message that its residents can be murdered with impunity.”
Eyewitnesses told Amnesty International that the attack started around 7.40 pm local time as camp residents were gathering for dinner. Twenty people were killed instantly while another four later died from injuries in a Baghdad hospital.
Residents said around 80 rockets hit the camp, which they identified as Iranian built Falaq Katyusha rockets, though Iraqi media reported that between 12 and 38 rockets were fired.
The attack caused widespread destruction as it hit the camp’s electricity generators while hundreds of residents have been left homeless. The damages inflicted on PMOI properties at Camp Liberty because of the missile attack last night has been estimated at over $10 million.
This includes 131 trailers completely destroyed and 226 rendered unusable. Ten dining halls have been totally devastated or can no longer be used. 275 air conditioners have also been demolished
The Iraqi government has yet to make a statement on the events, but other governments as well as the UN Refugee Agency – which considers Camp Liberty residents “people of concern” – have condemned the attack.
The Iraqi authorities’ silence about the killing of 24 people is inexcusable. They are manifestly failing in their duty under international law to protect everyone in the camp, many of whom are asylum-seekers. On top of the loss of life, the destruction caused by the attack has left many residents facing desperate conditions. The Iraq government must urgently ensure that electricity and water are restored, and that those whose homes have been destroyed are provided with adequate temporary shelter without delay.
UNHCR strongly condemned the attacks and stated that the residents are entitled to protection against expulsion or forced movement to any place where their lives or freedom would be threatened, and informed that it has supported the relocation of more than 900 residents to safe third countries since 2011; as however, approximately 2,160 people still remain, UNHCR renewed its calls upon governments of other countries to find ways to offer long term solutions.
The European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA), led by Struan Stevenson, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009 to 2014, who was deeply involved in diplomacy aiming to safeguard the lives and human rights of the residents of Camp Ashraf, stated that to avoid further bloodshed just condemning the atrocity is not enough.
EIFA urged the USA to provide air cover for Camp Liberty, the UN to "stop any further obfuscation and officially recognize Camp Liberty as a refugee camp under its direct supervision and protection" and asked that the "international assistance to Iraq must be suspended forthwith until the security of the Camp Liberty residents is assured".
Since the 29 October 2015 missile attack on Camp liberty and notwithstanding the international condemnation by a host of politicians and other role players in the Western World, the Iraqi Government, in a clear show of contemptuous defiance of the feelings and opinions of the West, has intensified the blockade imposed on the camp and prevented the delivery of basic daily necessities.
Fuel and sewage discharge trucks, along with machinery needed to clean up the remaining debris after the attack and supplies necessary for repairing damaged trailers, various equipment and appliances were blocked from entering the Camp in a blatant attempt to seriously harm the survivors of the missile attack.
What the American people are not told
As mentioned earlier, Camp Liberty was established as a military base during the Gulf War and was officially recognized as American territory.
After the Obama administration withdrew the American forces from Iraq in 2011, Camp Liberty and the Iranian refugees were left behind, unprotected and uncared for.
Not only were the refugees left to fend for themselves, but the entire multi billion dollar military installation was abandoned without taking any further responsibility for the Camp and its residents.
Assets worth billions of American tax payers’ money and 3000 helpless Iranian refugees, sympathetic to the American cause, were left abandoned and unprotected.
Not to mention the legal agreements with the residents that was simply just walked away from; ignored and dishonored.
This disgraceful act of dishonesty will remain a stain on America’s good name until the US Government has corrected this atrocity.
Monday, November 23, 2015
XENOPHOBIA AND RACISM
SQUID OR CALAMARI
APARTHEID MAY BE DEAD BUT RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL IN SOUTH AFRICA
Stes de Necker
When a squid swims in the sea it’s called squid. When it is harvested, it’s called chokka. When it lands on your plate it’s called calamari.
Much the same with racism. When it is used as an accusation it’s called racism. When it is used to justify racially motivated attacks on foreigners, it’s called xenophobia.
Poor governance, corruption and a lack of accountability are still reinforcing racial stereotypes in South Africa long after 1994.
Institutional racism has plunged black people into a perpetual victimhood, never taking accountability for their individual and country failures, forever blaming racism, apartheid and colonialism, and not being able to take control of their own destinies.
Despite a lack of directly comparable data, xenophobia in South Africa is perceived to have significantly increased after the installation of a democratic government in 1994.
The ANC government – in its attempts to overcome the divides of the past and build new forms of social cohesion... embarked on an aggressive and inclusive nation-building project. One unanticipated by-product of this project has been a growth in intolerance towards outsiders. Violence against foreign citizens and African refugees has become increasingly common and communities are divided by hostility and suspicion.
Xenophobia is the fear of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange.
Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an 'ingroup' towards an 'outgroup', including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity.
Xenophobia can also be exhibited in the form of an "uncritical exaltation of another culture" in which a culture is ascribed "an unreal, stereotyped and exotic quality
Immigrants from Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique living in the Alexandra township were physically assaulted over a period of several weeks in January 1995, as armed gangs identified suspected undocumented migrants and marched them to the police station in an attempt to 'clean' the township of foreigners.The campaign, known as "Buyelekhaya" (go back home), blamed foreigners for crime, unemployment and sexual attacks.
In September 1998 a Mozambican and two Senegalese were thrown out of a train. The assault was carried out by a group returning from a rally that blamed foreigners for unemployment, crime and spreading AIDS.
In 2000 seven foreigners were killed on the Cape Flats over a five-week period in what police described as xenophobic murders possibly motivated by the fear that outsiders would claim property belonging to locals.
In October 2001 residents of the Zandspruit informal settlement gave Zimbabweans 10 days to leave the area. When the foreigners failed to leave voluntarily they were forcefully evicted and their shacks were burned down and looted. Community members said they were angry that Zimbabweans were employed while locals remained jobless and blamed the foreigners for a number of crimes.
In the last week of 2005 and first week of 2006 at least four people, including two Zimbabweans, died in the Olievenhoutbosch settlement after foreigners were blamed for the death of a local man. Shacks belonging to foreigners were set alight and locals demanded that police remove all immigrants from the area.
In August 2006 Somali refugees appealed for protection after 21 Somali traders were killed in July of that year and 26 more in August. The immigrants believed the murders to be motivated by xenophobia, although police rejected the assertion of a concerted campaign to drive Somali traders out of townships in the Western Cape.
Attacks on foreign nationals increased markedly in late 2007 and it is believed that there were at least a dozen attacks between January and May 2008. The most severe incidents occurred on 8 January 2008 when two Somali shop owners were murdered in the Eastern Cape towns of Jeffreys Bay and East London and in March 2008 when seven people were killed including Zimbabweans, Pakistanis and a Somali after their shops and shacks were set alight in Atteridgeville near Pretoria.
On 12 May 2008 a series of riots started in the township of Alexandra (in the north-eastern part of Johannesburg) when locals attacked migrants from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing two people and injuring 40 others. Some attackers were reported to have been singing Jacob Zuma's campaign song Umshini Wami (Zulu: "Bring Me My Machine Gun").
In the following weeks the violence spread, first to other settlements in the Gauteng Province, then to the coastal cities of Durban and Cape Town.
Attacks were also reported in parts of the Southern Cape, Mpumalanga, the North West and Free State.
In late May 2009, reports emerged regarding a possible resurgence of xenophobic related activity and the organising of attacks in the Western Cape. Reports of threats and secret meetings by local businessmen surfaced in Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Philippi, Cape Town.
Samora Machel in Philippi once again emerging as a flash-point. In Gugulethu, reports emerged of secret meetings by local businessmen discussing 'what to do about Somali shopkeepers'. The Anti-Eviction Campaign brought these issues to the open by organising a series of anti-xenophobia meetings attempting to find the root cause of the crisis.
In July 2012 there were new attacks in parts of Cape Town and in Botshabelo in the Free State.
On 30 May 2013, 25-year-old Abdi Nasir Mahmoud Good, was stoned to death. The violence was captured on a mobile phone and shared on the Internet.
Three Somali shopkeepers had been killed in June 2013 and the Somali government requested the South African authorities to do more to protect their nationals. Among those murdered were two brothers who were allegedly hacked to death. The attacks led to public outcry and worldwide protests by the Somali diaspora, in Cape Town, London and Minneapolis.
On 7 June 2014, a Somali national, in his 50s, was reportedly stoned to death and two others were seriously injured when the angry mob of locals attacked their shop in extension 6 late on Saturday. Three more Somalis were wounded from gunshots and shops were looted.
After another round of xenophobic violence against Somali entrepreneurs in April 2015, Somalia's government announced that it would evacuate its citizens from South Africa.
In April 2015, there was an upsurge in xenophobic attacks throughout the country. The attacks started in Durban and spread to Johannesburg. Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has been accused of fuelling the attacks by saying that foreigners should "go back to their countries".
Locals looted foreigners' shops and attacked immigrants in general, forcing hundreds to relocate to police stations across the country. The Malawian authorities subsequently began repatriating their nationals, and a number of other foreign governments also announced that they would evacuate their citizens.
In October 2015 there were sustained xenophobic attacks in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. It as reported than more than 500 people were displaced and more than 300 shops and homes looted and, in some cases, destroyed altogether
Notwithstanding all the so-called ‘reasons’ for the attacks, a report by the Human Sciences Research Council identified four broad causes for the violence:
Ø relative deprivation, specifically intense competition for jobs, commodities and housing;
Ø group processes, including psychological categorisation processes that are nationalistic rather than superordinate
Ø South African exceptionalism, or a feeling of superiority in relation to other Africans; and
Ø exclusive citizenship, or a form of nationalism that excludes others.
Prior to 1994, immigrants from elsewhere also faced discrimination and even violence in South Africa, though much of that risk stemmed from the institutionalised racism of the time due to apartheid. After democratisation in 1994, contrary to expectations, the incidence of xenophobia increased considerably.
Centuries of colonialism, slavery and apartheid have left a legacy of institutional racism, where there is instinctive prejudice against people of different nationalities in societies across the globe.
In the US and South Africa, racism has infused the DNA of almost every institution and racist practices have in many ways become so part and parcel of habits and interaction that they are often not even recognised as such.
In South Africa, incidents of government corruption are interpreted by some whites as a failure by ALL blacks.
Racism has a terrifying impact on individuals. The Institute for Peace and Justice in the US describes some aspects of racism as a “rejection or neglect as well as attack – a denial of needs, a reduction of persons to the status of objects to be broken, manipulated, or ignored. The violence of bombs can cripple bodies; the violence of miseducation can cripple minds. The violence of unemployment can murder self-esteem and hope. The violence of a chronic insecurity can disfigure personalities as well as persons.”
Institutionalised racism and apartheid have left black South Africans with massive “existential insecurity”. Chronic insecurity caused by humiliation that scared the sense of ‘self’. Slavery, colonialism and apartheid have caused a “dislocation” of “familiar and trusted social benchmarks”– whether cultural, individual or social. This leaves a void in many individuals. The challenge for South Africa is how to help broken individuals fill that void.
In our globalised world, self-esteem, identity and value are measured increasingly by possessions. This reinforces existential insecurity among poor blacks.
Some blacks tend to overcompensate for white racist attitudes: over asserting their “blackness”, seeing the world only in black and white, not in between or as a mosaic of different colours.
Many white South Africans appear to be ignorant of the continuing legacy of “white privilege”. Some argue that poor blacks are in their predicament because of their own doing.
Others say affirmative action is making blacks privileged. Yet others make fundamentalist calls for ‘merit appointments’ merely as guise to continue white privilege.
Some white South Africans have argued for “colour-blindness”, saying race does not matter. Yet, as the African-American psychologist Monnica Williams argues, “colour-blindness” has helped to make race a taboo topic that polite people cannot openly discuss.
And if you can’t talk about it, you can’t understand it, much less fix the racial problems that plague our society.
Without an open, honest and sober conversation about race in South Africa, we cannot understand the extent of the continuing legacy of racial segregation, and the policies needed to rectify it.
Racism has existed throughout human history. During the past 500-1000 years, racism on the part of Western powers toward non-Westerners has had a far more significant impact on history than any other form of racism (such as racism among Western groups or among Easterners, such as Asians, Africans, and others). The most notorious example of racism by the West has been slavery, particularly the enslavement of Africans in the New World (slavery itself dates back thousands of years). This enslavement was accomplished because of the racist belief that Black Africans were less fully human than white Europeans and their descendants.
The UN does not define "racism"; however, it does define "racial discrimination"
According to the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination:
“the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”
In South Africa, ‘Black racism’ is an invisible, weightless knapsack of special provisions, passports, visas and blank cheques that accrues benefits to a person purely for their political association.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
THE PARIS TERRORIST ATTACK OF
13 NOVEMBER 2015
A SOUTH AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE
Stes de Necker
As a South African I wish to pay my respect to those Parisians who lost their lives in the diabolical terrorist attack in Paris on the night of 13 November 2015.
I’m convinced that I speak on behalf of many South Africans in offering my condolences to all those who have lost a loved one during this diabolical attack and we express our solidarity with the French people suffering now the trauma of this murderous mayhem perpetrated on innocent people.
As a Christian I denounce any and all acts of genocidal, homicidal, and suicidal violence, anywhere in the world; and in particular, I wish to denounce the criminal gangs gathered under the flag of "Islamic State" or any other similar group terrorising innocent people all over the world.
In a speech expressing his solidarity and sympathy with the French, US President Barack Obama said, "This is an attack not just on Paris, its attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share."
Of course, the attack on the French is an attack on humanity, but is an attack on a Lebanese, an Afghan, a Yazidi, a Kurd, and Iraqi, a Somali, a Palestinian or a South African farmer any less an attack "on all of humanity and the universal values that we share"?
What is it exactly that a North American and a French share that the rest of humanity are denied sharing?
In his speech, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking as a European, was emphatic about "our way of life", and then addressing the French he added, "Your values are our values, your pain is our pain, your fight is our fight, and together, we will defeat these terrorists."
What exactly are these French and American and British values?
In Paris, 120 people lost their lives. Between 1990 and mid-year 2015, a total of 1‚747 farmers were murdered and 3‚542 farm attacks took place in South Africa. For years we have tried to gain international awareness regarding theses senseless farm attacks. It is important for the world to take notice of how serious these farm attacks are.
So whilst we have all the sympathy for those that died in Paris in the terror attacks, people must understand that South Africans will be more concerned with the vicious murders of our farmers and our people in our own country.
When South African farmers die at the hands of the selfsame criminal elements in South Africa, they are reduced to their lowest common denominator and presumed ‘White Apartheid Activists’.
But when French or British or US citizens are murdered, they are raised to their highest common abstractions and become the universal icons of humanity at large!
Some 400 years ago, in the ‘Merchant of Venice’, William Shakespeare turned the internally demonised European Jew into a figure of defiance against systematic stigmatisation and allowed his Shylock character to cry out loud:
"I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?"
Or does the murder of one South African farmer not constitute harm to the entire body of humanity?
It is time that the West, and in particular the United States and Europe, stop applying their hypocritical values arbitrarily and selectively and start to apply their ‘universal values’ openly and without favor or prejudice.