Understanding the double standard [Archives:2004/728/Viewpoint]

April 12 2004

The incidents of last week in Iraq are a clear indication of the fact that there is what is called “double standard” in the world and the US administration is quite aware of it. In just over a week, more than 450 Iraqi civilians were killed in air raids in Fallujah in Iraq, for ongoing compensation for the killing and mutilation of the bodies of some Americans in the city. This is in total contrast with basic and fundamental human rights principles and hence, is the reason why Arabs and Muslims, and in fact most of the developing world and many citizens of developed countries, hate the US policy.
In last Saturday's seminar organized by Amnesty International, the phrase 'double standard' was mentioned so many times. No one was able to otherwise explain why the death of a few thousand Americans in the 9/11 incidents could justify the killing of tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans elsewhere in the world.
Meanwhile, the killing of hundreds of thousands of people also takes place in various parts of the world, such as the genocide in Rwanda that included the massacre of 800,000 people, one hundred times more people than those killed in New York, yet the world showed little reaction.
The atrocities going on in Palestine and Iraq were a major topic in the seminar, which has clearly stated that if the superpower of the world, the USA, is using such a double standard system in carrying out its operations, and then it ought not to be the leading example for other countries to follow.
Prominent human rights activist Terry Waite also delivered a very important message about the importance of ending the double standard phenomenon taking place everywhere in the world in order to achieve global justice and peace.
“We cannot use military might to fight terrorism. Such action only incites more hatred and frustration and results in greater extremism.” he said.
It is often understood that modern countries give greater value to their citizens than developing countries. That is a fact that cannot be denied and it is due to many factors including the level of democracy, which in turn empowers citizens who can speak up and express their thoughts openly, and can pursue the law to hold governments accountable.
But on the other hand, it is not the fault of citizens of developing countries. They are mere innocent people who wanted to lead a respectable life and care little about regimes and political affairs. So having their lives seen as less valuable in one way or another is a violation of their rights as humans and makes their families and communities potential havens for radical and extremist ideas.
The new world order is clear. It places the interests of developed countries far above those of the developing world. It is also obvious that interests of developed countries lies in preserving their human resources and protecting their people, who are the driving force in their economies. On the other hand, governments of the developing world are not aware of the potential of their people. In fact, many citizens in developing countries decide to leave their homelands for better opportunities in the West, and to be seen as of value and be respected.
So the double standard we see and feel every day is a mere reflection of the economic-political gap between the rich and the poor, the developed and developing. This gap cannot be closed down overnight, but actions like that of the USA are not helping at all.