Throwing stones from glass houses
Most countries, especially those in this
part of the globe, swallow hook, line and sinker what the Western media
dishes out from time to time.
Nevertheless, if one were to make an analytical study of what some of
the most prominent news agencies in the world and international
television channels say, it is crystal clear that most of them dance to
the tune of some Western countries. A few powerful nations in the West
manipulate these key news agencies and TV channels to suit their
Over the years, most people in this part of the world believed that
what was projected by these news agencies and TV channels was
independent, impartial and unbiased.
However, the true colours of these news agencies and TV channels now
stand exposed. They make a big hue and cry over human rights when there
is an isolated incident in countries such as Sri Lanka. But for reasons
best known to them, they turn a blind eye to even greater human rights
violations by the US-led Forces, including the drone attacks which had
missed the target and killed many innocent civilians, including women
The latest human rights violation by the US forces was spotlighted
last Sunday when an American soldier opened fire at civilians in
Afghanistan, killing 16 civilians including nine children in southern
Kandahar Province, according to Afghan officials.
According to eyewitness reports, US soldiers, who appeared to be
drunk, had gone on the rampage, showing no mercy whatsoever to human
lives. One Afghan father said that his children were killed in the
shooting spree and US soldiers later burned their bodies.
Witnesses said that they had seen how a group of US soldiers arrived
at their village in Kandahar's Panjwayi district at around 2 am on that
fateful night, entered homes and opened fire indiscriminately. The US
Embassy in Kabul washed its hands saying that an American soldier had
been detained over the shooting incident. This flagrant inhuman act is
one of the worst of its kind since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in
The so-called 'accountability process' of the country, which
pontificates to us on the subject of human rights is mind boggling -
such incidents are vaguely referred to and 'regretted' for same with not
even a formal apology being tendered. On the latest human rights
violation by the US Forces in Afghanistan, the course of action taken by
the US was short and simple; a senior defence official saying that "The
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta was deeply saddened to hear of the
incident and is closely monitoring reports from Afghanistan". The White
House also expressed "concern".
Even the minuscule action taken against such human rights violations
by the US Forces ended in ultimate presidential pardons. An American
soldier who was sentenced to 20 years' rigorous imprisonment for human
rights violations was pardoned barely three days after the judgement.
The Kandahar incident came to light weeks after US soldiers burned
copies of the Holy Quran at a NATO base, triggering widespread
anti-Western protests. Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the
rampage as 'intentional murders' and demanded an explanation from the
One Afghan said that eleven of his relatives had been killed in one
house, including his children. Pictures showed ghastly blood-splattered
walls where the children were killed. "The American soldiers poured
chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them," a weeping relative at
the scene was quoted as saying.
Barbaric acts of this nature remind us of the thousands of Tamils,
Muslims and Sinhalese who were brutally massacred by LTTE terrorists for
almost three decades before Sri Lanka's Security Forces eradicated
terrorism in May 2009. By a strange quirk of fate, the same country has
brought a resolution on Sri Lanka before the current United Nations
Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva.
It would be a small wonder if some member countries of the UNHRC,
which show an extraordinary sympathy over the human rights of LTTE
terrorists, bring a similar resolution against the innumerable human
rights violations by the US-led NATO Forces in Afghanistan.
It was only last year that a South Korean court sentenced a US
soldier to 10 years in prison for raping a teenage girl - the second
harshest punishment handed down to a convicted American soldier in Seoul
in two decades. The Uijeongbu District Court convicted the 21-year-old
US private of sexually assaulting the 16-year-old Korean girl many times
after breaking into her small boarding room near Seoul last September.
The American soldier had committed many "sadistic and sexually perverted
acts" while threatening the girl with a pair of scissors, a knife and a
lighter, as disclosed in Court.
The US came under heavy scrutiny following the United Nation's 2011
Human Rights report presented by High Commissioner Navi Pillay, for its
alleged human rights abuses, according to Press TV. Pillay and the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation were disappointed that the US has
not closed the Guantanamo Bay military base that had served as a torture
camp, a Press TV correspondent in Geneva had reported.
In November 2010, accusations of human rights violations were
levelled against the US for the first time at the UNHRC sessions. The UN
human rights body levelled a barrage of criticism at the US
administration, calling for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison and
for investigations on alleged torture by US troops abroad. These are a
few of the numerous unruly acts committed by US soldiers all over the
The US, indeed, has an inalienable right to protect itself against
external threats, especially against a deadly terror outfit such as Al
Qaeda. The US action to crush terrorism in their region is no doubt
praiseworthy because terrorism in any part of the world is terrorism and
should be eradicated likewise. At the same time, the US and all other
countries must respect Sri Lanka's legitimate right to protect its
people against the LTTE - the world's most ruthless terrorist
organisation at one time.
A democratically elected government has a bounden duty to protect its
people against terror and safeguard the country's sovereignty and
territorial integrity. Sri Lanka, under the illustrious leadership of
President Mahinda Rajapaksa only exercised the right to protect the
human rights of over a half a million people held forcibly by the LTTE.
Goes the popular maxim, those who live in glass houses should not
throw stones at others. Those who accuse Sri Lanka of human rights
violations should be told in no uncertain terms that they must take a
closer look at their own human rights record before passing judgement on