A Global Tale of Oppression and Deprivation

The world is a dangerous place

Martin Luther King once articulated the enduring truth that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This assertion underscores the grave implications of injustice, an insidious game of oppression, human rights deprivation, and the systematic maltreatment of vulnerable ethnic groups, thereby stripping them of life’s most fundamental necessities.

A poignant example of such injustice can be discerned in the case of the Palestinians, an ancient ethnic group with a history spanning millennia, yet now mired in perpetual insecurity and aggression. The ignoble occupation of Palestine by the Jewish forces, facilitated by global powers in 1948, continues unabated, manifesting a wanton disregard for the right to life and a conspicuous absence of conscience.

Regrettably, such reprehensible occurrences are not confined to one corner of the globe but are pervasive worldwide. The aspiration of Palestinians to establish an independent nation was met with hostility from the authorities in what is purportedly a democratic Spain. Elected leaders, including Catalonia’s president, speaker, and cabinet members, were apprehended, and the special constitutional privileges of the Catalonians were arbitrarily revoked.

It is incumbent upon us, as global citizens, to pause and reflect upon the lengths to which we are willing to go in our pursuit of justice and human rights. Do we truly possess dominion over the world that justifies such fervent tampering? History has demonstrated that even the mightiest empires, akin to Nimrod and the Pharaohs of yore, eventually met their downfall. Let us tread carefully, mindful of the consequences of our actions, and strive for a world where justice prevails over vengeance

This egregious violation of democratic norms raises a disconcerting question: Why should external forces interfere in the internal affairs of a civilization that has endured for a thousand years? The turn of the 21st century witnessed a grave transgression of international law when the USA, under the pretext of a purported nuclear threat, together with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, perpetrated a disastrous invasion of Iraq. This audacious act of illegal occupation and catastrophic devastation inflicted upon a sovereign nation exposed the frailty of the global order.

It subsequently emerged that the pretext for this operation was entirely unfounded, leading the British Prime Minister to publicly acknowledge his culpability and offer an apology. However, this apology offers little solace to Iraq, as the damage inflicted upon the once-prosperous nation over the span of 500 years is irreparable. The irrationality that permeates our world becomes ever more pronounced. Egypt, a nation steeped in an 8,000-year-old civilization, saw a brief flicker of democratic hope when Mohamed Morsi was democratically elected President in 2012.

However, his tenure was cut short within a year when he was ousted by General Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi. Morsi met a tragic end, and despite the presence of international bodies like the United Nations, the Arab League, and the OIC, no meaningful objection was raised. Consequently, an illegal military junta continues to govern Egypt, stifling any opposition, and subverting the principles of democracy.

The plight of Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian opposition figure, serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of democracy in certain regions. In a democracy, the Leader of the Opposition traditionally assumes the role of head of the shadow cabinet. However, in Russia, Navalny is systematically marginalized, declared “ineligible” when he seeks election, and subjected to harassment, imprisonment, poisoning, and physical abuse. These actions are incongruent with the treatment one would expect in a civilized society.

Moreover, Russia’s occupation of Chechnya through the use of force remains an unresolved issue, prompting questions about the effectiveness of international organizations like the United Nations.

A recent example of vindictiveness is exemplified by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has clung to power for nearly three decades. In the most recent election, marred by electoral fraud, Lukashenko declared himself president, igniting protests across the nation. Thousands of civilians, including opposition leaders, were forcibly expelled to evade torture.

Roman, a young journalist, fled into exile in Italy, only to be apprehended when a false bomb threat on his plane was invoked by the Belarusian authorities. His “crime” was the publication of critical reports on Lukashenko’s authoritarian regime, underscoring the depths to which retribution can stoop.

The Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang province represent another oppressed ethnic group that has garnered global attention due to their persecution. The efforts of activists like Rabia Qaderi have shed light on the plight of the Uighurs, with the United Nations estimating that one million Uighur Muslims are held in concentration camps in an attempt to suppress their religious activities.

Finally, we come to the egregious violation of human rights in Kashmir, a region of unparalleled natural beauty and historical significance. The tragic transformation of this once-idyllic land into a militarized zone, marked by violence and repression, stems from the unilateral decision of the Hindu Dogra king to align with India, despite the express desire of the predominantly Muslim population for independence. In 1947, the United Nations adopted a resolution stipulating a referendum to determine Kashmir’s fate, a commitment India initially accepted.

However, the promise of a referendum remains unfulfilled, as time has passed and circumstances have changed, with Article 370 granting special status to Kashmir ultimately being abrogated by the Indian government. These instances serve as stark reminders of the pervasive violation of human rights and the erosion of democratic principles worldwide. In regions such as Myanmar, Thailand, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Ethiopia, and Sudan, chaos and human rights abuses continue unabated.

It is incumbent upon us, as global citizens, to pause and reflect upon the lengths to which we are willing to go in our pursuit of justice and human rights. Do we truly possess dominion over the world that justifies such fervent tampering? History has demonstrated that even the mightiest empires, akin to Nimrod and the Pharaohs of yore, eventually met their downfall. Let us tread carefully, mindful of the consequences of our actions, and strive for a world where justice prevails over vengeance.

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Dr Muhammad Akram Zaheer
Dr Muhammad Akram Zaheer
The writer has a PhD in Political Science and can be reached at [email protected]

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