Saturday, April 02, 2005

Chechnya and the West's Silent Hypocrisy

Has any Western politician stood out against the slaughter in Chechnya? Read this on David's Medienkritik:

Day for day in the German media, the United States is mercilessly criticized over abuses and alleged abuses that have occurred at Abu Ghraib and other military prisons.

But when it comes to Chechnya, where up to 5,000 people have simply disappeared in a brutal Russian war that has claimed thousands of victims, there is no widespread outcry or criticism in the German media. When compared to the amount of reporting done on Iraq, the level of reporting on Chechnya is negligible.

Among Germans, Putin is about as popular as G W Bush.

Natan Sharansky explains this. He's experienced tyranny at first hand, as a dissident imprisoned in the USSR. He knows how it works and how it fails. He observed that the West tended to support the Soviet bosses in the name of stability.

Then he went to Israel and found exactly the same attitude to Arafat: he's a tyrant but he keeps things under control.

Sharansky's point is that tyrants only keep control by torture and murder of their opponents and by demonising an external enemy. For the Soviets, the enemy was the West and of course for Arafat the enemy was Israel. So feeding them was a ticket to hell for the people they oppressed and for the West.

As Reagan and now George W have proved, we can destroy tyrants by supporting their people's quest for freedom.

Unfortunately looking the other way on Chechnya is not unique to the Germans. I can't think of any nation that has condemned it. Besides being immoral, this silence must enrage decent Muslims.