“Those who recoil in horror at the mention of Taliban beheading captives applaud targeted killing programmes which decapitate civilians”
There is a certain bizarreness to the hypocrisy of the west on judging what they deem to be human rights abuses. Taking stoning for example, many in the west were up in arms regarding the possibility of married adulterers being subjected to this form of punishment under sharia law in Afghanistan. Stoning has rightly been rejected. The Guardian reported that,
“after several days of silence in the face of growing international outcry, the justice ministry said in a statement that although stoning had been proposed it would not appear in the new legislation because there was “no need to regulate the issue”.
The country’s penal code already encompasses sharia law, but some controversial aspects of traditional punishments such as stoning have never been put on the books in Afghanistan.”
However many of those that are so vociferous on what they view as barbaric and uncivilized behaviour are cheering on the the use of drones and justifying another form of barbaric and uncivilized behaviour. Isn’t civilians being buried under tons of rubble as bad as the pain of stoning?
Those who recoil in horror at the mention of Taliban beheading captives applaud targeted killing programmes which decapitate civilians. As Faisal bi Ali, Jaber from Yemen recently testified to US Senate, the missile strike in his area was akin to “a mountain falling on the community” with legs, arms and a head strewn on the ground.
Politicians that voice fury on hearing of women attacked and burnt with acid feel nothing when reading articles where children are incinerated by drones and sanitize charred bodies as acceptable “collateral damage”.
Eye witness account of carbonized drone victims give to Co-ordinators for Voices For Creative Non-Violence:-
“The social worker recalled arriving at a home that was hit, in Miranshah at about 9pm (May 2009). The drone strike had killed at three people. Their bodies carbonized were fully burned. They could only be identified by their legs and hands, one body was still on fire when he reached there. Then he learned that the charred and mutilated corpses were relatives of his who lived in the village, two men and a boy aged seven or eight. They couldn’t pick up the charred parts in on piece. Finding scraps of metal they transported the body parts away from the site. Three to four others, joined in to help cover the bodies in plastic and carry them to the morgue. But these volunteers and nearby onlookers were attacked by another drone strike, 15 minutes after the initial one. Six more people died. One of them was the brother of the man killed in the initial strike.”
Those that see red at the mention of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) blowing up soldiers in Afghanistan will argue until the cows comes home that drones are legal and ethical. Though not in the eyes of shepherd Reshan Khan who lost 15 members of his extended family that were blown to pieces in a drone attack and so traumatized “he stares into the distance blankly unable to speak of his ordeal.”(DAWN)
As H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva said in his speech of 14th November on lethal autnomous weapons and drones, the pressing questions should worry the international community.
“When a weaponised drone is piloted from thousands of miles, who bears the responsibility for humanitarian violations in its use? When vital data related to the use of weaponised drones is withheld from scrutiny, how can compliance with international law, international humanitarian law and ethical standards be verified?”
I commend PTI Chairman, Imran Khan for organizing blocking of the NATO supply line in protest against drone strikes and for naming CIA director John Brennan and alleged CIA station chief Craig Osth for allegedly “committing the gross offenses of committing murder and waging war against Pakistan.”
So often western governments that want to police the world on human rights are the worst violators even allegedly committing war crimes. There is little accountability. Human rights are not a bag of pick and mix sweets, those who claim to uphold human rights should stop being selective and recognize violations whoever is the perpetrator!
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.