Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Sudan is Not Al-Bashir | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The decision to issue an [international] arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir was met with suspicion and contempt by the non-Western world, but not out of support for Al-Bashir or in defence of him. Many dislike Al-Bashir and his method of rule, seeing him as a prime example of the political backwardness that is widespread throughout the Arab world. They believe that President Al-Bashir, along with his National Islamic Front, have presented a distorted form of government that goes against the Islamic method of rule. Certainly the tragedies which occurred in Darfur during Al-Bashir’s reign include examples of injustice and tyranny, in addition to the fear, hunger, and poverty that the region was already suffering from. All of this is true, but it is also true that many of the rational minds within the Arab world disapprove and condemn the International Criminal Court’s [ICC] issuance of arrest warrants for Al-Bashir, not out of love for the Sudanese President himself, but in sympathy for Sudan. In the same way that they did not support Saddam Hussein, but felt sympathy for Iraq prior to the vicious American occupation of the country.

The issue does not lie in whether or not it is proven that President Omar Al-Bashir is directly or indirectly responsible for the crimes in Darfur, or whether he proves his innocent; rather the issue is that we should not be naïve [in this case], and allow ourselves to be affected by the West in this way. In short, ladies and gentlemen, the issue is that Western colonialism left Muslim countries after it had destroyed them and consumed their wealth via overt occupation. Yet now it is trying to return but this time through the framework of legal proxies that it designed itself to best serve its own interests, such as the ICC, under the pretext of the protection of human rights and the spreading of the culture of justice; however this is Western, and not international justice.

I will not pause for long at what others have said with regards to drawing comparisons between the crimes committed by Olmert and his [criminal] gang in Gaza, and [former President] Bush who occupied and destroyed Iraq on the pretext of [the threat from] weapons of mass destruction. The West did not think of submitting either of these cases to domestic or international court, and so as the British Guardian newspaper said, international justice requires that what applies to the President of Sudan applies to the President of the USA as well; international justice is not specifically designed [to be used] against smaller states.

The lacklustre international reaction towards the issuance of arrest warrants against Al-Bashir is understandable and logical since the standards of Western justice are not just, and because the eyes of the world probe, compare and monitor [the world]. One of these monitored events exposes the double standards inherent in the West’s justice between victims of the same crime, only one set of victims are Western, and the other are Muslim. In both incidents, the perpetrators confessed to the crime, and compensation was provided to its victims. The first incident is the US bombardment of an Afghani wedding ceremony, and so the “just” US forces transformed a celebratory event into bloodshed and sorrow. The second incident is the bombing of the Pan Am Flight [103] known as the Lockerbie bombing, which Libya was accused of. You must now that the standards of Western justice estimated the compensation for the life of a Western human being at more than $10 million, while life in the third world, seen as “trivial” in the eyes of the West, was valued at no more than $2,000.

Although I consider it likely that the West played a role in fuelling the conflict in Darfur for colonialist reasons, this does not absolve the Sudanese government’s negligence in tackling the regional problems which only provided the opportunity on a silver platter to those looking for any excuse to interfere in Sudanese internal affairs, and disjoint and dismantle them as they did in Iraq. “Western justice” has embarrassed us, and other Arab regimes and their people, and can be summarized by the Arab opposition figure who described the choice between foreign interference and internal tyranny as the choice between “cholera and the plague.”

Wise Arab countries should learn the lesson from Iraq, with regards to what will happen in Sudan. While the wisest of the wise Arab regimes will block the march of the evil international forces by reconciling with its own people, putting an end to corruption, and giving the people a share of responsibility [of power], opening parliaments and civil institutions, giving generously and granting the people freedom. This [action] would be the preventative vaccine that gives immunization against the remaining colonial microbes.