Double standards of West push Iraq to abyss of violence

By Shi Tian Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/7 21:57:10

Iraqi security forces chase anti-government protesters who set fire during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq on Sunday. Photo: IC

Nearly 100 Iraqi people have been killed and 4,000 wounded since October 1, according to the human rights commission of Iraq's parliament. After anti-government protesters perpetrated acts of violence, security forces reportedly used live rounds and tear gas. 

Constant unrest in the region is turning - or has already turned - the "Arab Spring" into an "Arab winter." The US once attempted to foster a democratic transition in Iraq. But has this "beacon of democracy" ever pointed a correct way for the Middle Eastern country?

In contrast, the West, led by the US, once again points a finger at Iraq. The BBC reported Sunday that the US and UN have "expressed concern over the violence." "We call on the Iraqi government to allow people to freely exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The use of force should be exceptional, and assemblies should ordinarily be managed without resort to force," said UN human rights office spokesperson Marta Hurtado. UN Secretary-General António Guterres also reiterated his call to security forces "to act at all times with maximum restraint."

Before the US and the West voice their disapproval of the Iraqi government, however, they should reflect on a couple of simple questions: How would they themselves respond if the protests took place in their own countries? Would restraint solve practical problems and calm the streets?

Take Occupy Wall Street in 2011. It was reported that nearly 8,000 protesters were arrested in connection with this particular activist movement. And in a single year of 2018, 992 people were shot and killed by police in the US.

The US will undoubtedly assert that its people enjoy the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Then why does its police resort to force instead of exercising "maximum restraint?"

It is indisputable that citizens' basic rights to express appeals must be respected in every country and region. But meanwhile, all societies have a bottom line. An authority is responsible to take care of not only a few people's demands, but also the majority of its people's interests. 

Once the line is crossed and some demonstrators become rioters, and once protests are paralyzing the societies, governments are also entitled to resort to force. The US should have known this well because it's exactly what it has been doing.

Are most Iraqi people willing to see their beloved cities be destroyed by certain rioters? Do they want to live on tenterhooks with endless unrest? External forces, thus, should not interfere in Iraq's internal affairs or oppose the Iraqi government's lawful crackdowns on radical protests. 

This conclusion applies to Hong Kong as well. Former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying posted Saturday on Facebook in Chinese, "No other city was raped by its own residents like last night's Hong Kong." The city can in no way allow the riots to continue, and foreign forces should stop judging the city's lawful actions with their double standards. Hong Kong has its own rules, which both the government and the citizens should abide by. Whoever breaks laws ought to be punished. Hong Kong is not and will never be allowed to become like Iraq. 

Posted in: OBSERVER

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