The mask is off

By ignoring zulm (cruelty) against humanity, the West sleepwalks into an endless minefield,

Inam Ul Haque April 25, 2024
The writer is a retired major general and has an interest in International Relations and Political Sociology. He can be reached at and tweets @20_Inam


Someone recently shared a street photo from some Western country, where a letter box had a note stuck on it requesting people not to use it as birds were resting inside. This was an apparent reference to Western humanism, where even birds’ rest is sacrosanct. My remark was: “One wishes they show such humanism to the ‘human animals’ of Gaza”. I don’t want this piece to sound as another column criticising the West Plus, only if it could be otherwise. One sees the situation loaded with paradoxes that beget a rationale interpretation…and that sadly is not there.

The sad and almost catastrophic situation in Gaza spanning lack of security, basic services, healthcare, food and water and above all total callousness towards human dignity and civility is an unspeakable crime on the part of all of us, watching helplessly and silently, as babies are killed in Israel’s genocidal war on civilian population of Gaza. These ‘human animals’, now uprooted umpteenth number of times, have no human rights, no dignity, no honour…and no right to exist. Birds in Western letter boxes are more fortunate.

A careful review of Western print and electronic media coverage of Gaza war reflects disconcerting trends.

First, almost every iteration starts with the Hamas brutality, to willfully water down Israel’s subsequent excessive and pitiless response, where millions have now been evicted several times, and pushed south. And almost 35,000 humans — all genders and all ages — have been killed, including over 13,800 babies, and more than 1,000 kids amputated.

Second, ceasefire is a pipedream for the rest of the world, as the only superpower, the US, championing the bogey of human rights and democracy in dealing with countries like China, for example, vetoes repeated UNSC resolutions. Biden Administration is standing alone with a vicious man in Israel who is on a mission to hang on to power at all, yes, all costs… costs to Israel, costs to World Jewry, never mind cost to the human animals. They are expendable in this high-stake game of thrones.

Third, for a long time, the West Plus — led by the US — has ‘crusaded’ for rule-based order and rule of law; human dignity and rights; and opportunity and tolerance etc, mostly on its terms, and according to its interpretations of these values. West Plus makes these tenets the bedrock of its foreign policy and international relations. One wonders if human animals of Gaza have any… or lesser human rights. If democracy is only for the northern half of the globe, and if Palestinians have any right to a state of their own, over a land they have owned for as long as history knows. Even double standards have been put to shame… shamelessly.

Fourth, though one has no love-last for Hamas’ brazen violence against Israeli civilians, killed or taken hostage, one finds that discourse from leading lights in the UK and the US, and the tailing brigade of intellectuals and analysts, is hell-bent on the “total destruction” of Hamas. How many dead Hamas would be enough? Paradoxically, this saga will give rise to deadlier, much larger and more persistent Hamas. It is no rocket science to fathom that violence begets violence, and whatever the initial asymmetry, with the passage of time, the scales are first balanced between the powerful and the weaker sides, and later tipped in favour of the side with more numbers in the field. Hence time and numbers will always be on Palestinian side, irrespective of Israel’s overwhelming technological and military superiority…for now. Hamas achieving complete surprise in the face of this superiority on 7th October is just the tip of the human iceberg, that is Gaza. One wonders why the saner heads in the World Jewry cannot understand this simple and enduring historic truism, and continue to persist in error. But then perhaps — a qualified perhaps — that is the design behind repeated exodus.

Fifth, the language of hate and dehumanisation, like nuking Palestine’s human animals for example. States never become angry. They are always cool, rational and pragmatic. War in Gaza and settler attacks in the West Bank spewed hate and venom, and persistently manipulated effort to dehumanise Palestinians… all of them. Only then would the use of excessive force and persistent cruelty not prick any conscience, or whatever is left of it. Denying aid, exacerbating human misery, and obstinacy of hate are loathsome. This is 21st century holocaust in front of our eyes, perpetrated by survivors of the Holocaust. Gaza bears many similarities with Auschwitz…sadly and ironically.

Sixth, nobody can, nobody will stop the right-wing Israeli regime, led by a man possessed with the urgency of political survival, from pursuing a course of action laced with perils, transcending into ethnic cleansing, so to say. He defies the UN, the world opinion, the World Jewry and the good conscience of many Israelis and Zionists all over — and there are plenty of them. Saddam Hussein was ‘brought to justice’ on the flimsy charges of pursuing ‘weapons of mass destruction’; Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Iraq were laid to waste after realities were manufactured, justifying those ‘good wars’. But nobody dare restrain Israel from its nihilist policy towards unarmed women and children. What a shame, what a criminal silence and neglect in our 21st century global village! Israel just narrowly missed dragging Iran and the West Plus into an enlarged conflict, although it is not over yet. To appease Israel, the West Plus is now dutifully and diligently sanctioning Iran with more punitive measures, that “could pinch harder”.

Seventh, an irate Antony Blinken, the US foreign secretary, himself a Jewish, continues to defend Israel vehemently against genocide, human rights violations and cruelty in widely circulated social media clips. In one such clip, he angrily remarks, “We will support Israel forever.” One wonders as to how Israel is an enduring American interest. Is it because of Israel’s abysmal and almost criminal human rights record in the occupied territories? Is it because Israel is a vibrant democracy and not a right-wing theocracy? Does Israel provide all the fossil fuel the US needs? Is it a regional policeman to keep the already pliant Arabs more plaint? Does it help the US in its image makeover efforts? What is that enduring interest after all, that the powerful US elite of Jewish faith keep condoning every Israeli crime, every excess and bankroll it irrespective?

The mask is off. By ignoring zulm (cruelty) against humanity, the West Plus sleepwalks into an endless minefield, where moral injuries are severe!

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2024.

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