Monday, December 1, 2008

Kafka has a rival. Today, the Foreign Office lectures us on human rights

Such an open day beggars belief. At this PR gala you will find no stall for the victims of rapacious British power

John Pilger, Monday December 1

"Today, a surreal event will take place in London. The Foreign Office is holding an open day "to highlight the importance of human rights in our work as part of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". There will be various "stalls" and "panel discussions", and foreign secretary David Miliband will present a human rights prize. Is this a spoof? No. The Foreign Office wants to raise our "human rights awareness". Kafka and Heller have many counterfeits.....

There will be no stall for those Iraqis whose social, cultural and real lives have been smashed by an unprovoked invasion based on proven lies. Will the foreign secretary apologise for the cluster bombs the British have scattered, still blowing legs off children, and the depleted uranium and other toxic substances that have seen cancer consume swaths of southern Iraq? Will he speak about the universal human right to knowledge, and announce a diversion of a fraction of the billions bailing out the City of London to the restoration of what was one of the finest school systems in the Middle East, obliterated as a consequence of the Anglo-American invasion, along with museums and publishing houses and bookstores, and teachers and historians and anthropologists and surgeons? Will he announce the dispatch of simple painkillers and syringes to hospitals that once had almost everything and now have nothing, in a country where British governments, especially his own, took the lead in blocking humanitarian aid, including Howells' ban on vaccines to protect children from preventable diseases?

There will be no stall for the people of Gaza, of whom, says the International Red Cross, starvation threatens the majority, mostly children. In pursuing a policy of reducing one and a half million people to a Hobbesian existence, the Israelis have cut most lifelines. David Miliband was in Jerusalem recently, within a short helicopter flight of the captive people of Gaza. He did not go, and said nothing about their human rights, preferring weasel words about a "truce" between tormentor and victims......."

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