Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Obama's address to the Muslim World falls flat ...

We live in the age of lawlessness. Western democracies which extol the virtues of a free press, libertarianism, and human rights have again and again flaunted the very essence of these principles they are attempting to sow in other countries.

From Guantanamo to Bagram to secret rendition to waterboarding, international law is barely worth the paper it is printed on. It is a device used by Western powers to propagate strategic policies in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East.

Bringing to justice Western heads of state who launch pre-emptive wars - and in the process kill hundreds of thousands - is an exercise in futility. Nevertheless, the pursuit of justice far outweighs in importance the pursuit of happiness, and some do-gooders continue to try.

But in the age of lawlessness, there is room for comedy. And the absurd.

On February 13-14, the gas-rich state of Qatar began hosting the Seventh US-Islamic World Forum - an event which brings luminaries from opposite ends of the "divide" together to discuss bridging misunderstandings wrought by the unfortunate events of 9-11.

President Barack Obama addressed the opening ceremony saying:
Yet you also know that the United States and Muslims around the world have often slipped into a cycle of misunderstanding and mistrust that can lead to conflict rather than cooperation.

That is why in Cairo last year I called for a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect. I laid out a vision where we all embrace our responsibilities to build a world that is more peaceful and secure. It has only been eight months since Cairo, and much remains to be done. But I believe we've laid the groundwork to turn those pledges into action ...
Is it poignant to remind everyone that it has been seven years since the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq?

It is kind of ironic that I mention Iraq. Yes, I know you will say that Iraq is now a democracy and that it has been liberated from an evil dictator and that the stores are full of commercial items, wages are higher, Iraqis can travel, etc.

But on the very eve of the convening of this World Forum, 10 Iraqi civilians were killed in a US military operation in Maysan province near the Iranian border. The US military claimed it had killed 5 insurgents, but local officials in Maysan insisted that those killed were innocent bystanders.

The above news report carried by most news agencies highlights that there is no security in Iraq, that the US is still a military occupier, and that Iraqi lives remain as forfeit as they did in 2003.

There can be no new beginning based on mutual respect, Mr. Obama, as long as your military continues to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, maintains bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Jordan and soon playing at a theater of tragedy near you - Yemen.

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