|Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
10 - 16 September 1998
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Whose double standards?
Most Arab intellectuals had little to say when the Iraqi regime gassed nearly five thousand Muslim Kurds. Their pretext, at the time, was that the massacre was invented by the West to besmirch an Arab regime opposed to the US and engaged in a struggle against Israel. After the Gulf War, however, international and Kurdish sources submitted documentation of the massacre in all its horror.
Last week, an Amnesty International report disclosed that the Taliban has exterminated thousands of Shi'ite Muslims. Most of them were children, women and the aged. There were too many of them to bury. Their bodies were left lying in the streets for days.
This massacre is a crime against humanity. The victims were not murdered because they belonged to political or military groups opposed to the Taliban, but because they were Shi'ites. All Arab intellectuals must take a strong, unequivocal stand on this crime perpetrated by a group of deluded bigots who cannot possibly call themselves Muslims. This declaration will also confirm the integrity of Arab intellectuals, who accuse the West of using double standards in exempting Israel from the human rights criteria that are applied to the rest of the world.
The US strike against Afghanistan and the subsequent media war have improved the Taliban's reputation. Their military capabilities are seen as an asset for the alliance against America and the Zionists.
We are being faced with a test of our humanity and integrity. We cannot accuse others of applying double standards if we do the same, and allow anyone who opposes the US to commit mass murder on ethnic or religious grounds.
*This week's Soapbox speaker is the director of the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.