Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Amnesia International?

'Protecting the Human'? UN peacekeepers in Somalia, 1993.

Don't get me wrong. As NGOs go, Amnesty International does important and necessary work, highlighting human rights abuses around the world. However, does anyone else find its latest campaign to send UN Peacekeepers into Sudan slightly nauseating? This is their rational for sending in troops to stop the horrific killing that is currently going on:

'How can it be stopped?
Sudan must consent to an effective peacekeeping force. At the current time the best option is provided under UN Security Council Resolution 1706 which calls for the deployment of UN peacekeeping force with a strong mandate to protect civilians. Global pressure on governments to see this happens quickly must be continued.'

As a result, local groups of Amnesty in the UK have been really busy collecting petitions urging support for UN Peacekeepers, and even doing protests with placards reading 'Protect the Human - UN Peacekeepers Now'. What bothers me about all this is two things. Firstly, after the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan, surely the last thing the world needs is Western troops occupying another Muslim country through force under the guise of 'humanitarianism'? Any foreign troops would inevitably be resisted by sections of the population of Sudan - quite legitimately - and so the violence and killing would not 'be stopped' but rather would likely continue. The record of UN interventions historically is appalling, from Somalia in 1993 where as the photo above shows, Belgian paratroopers committed appalling human rights abuses, to the forgotten bloody UN occupation of Haiti more recently. Put simply, UN troops are not the military wing of Amnesty International, as some seem to think, they are part of the military wing of capitalist globalisation.

Secondly, if Amnesty can take to the streets to protest for troops to go in to a country for 'humanitarian' reasons without being accused of being 'political', surely they can also now call for troops to come out of Iraq and Afghanistan? After all, Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the UN declared the Iraq war illegal - so why didn't the UK branch of Amnesty International affliate to the Stop the War Coalition and join the demonstrations before and during the war?

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At 2:27 pm, Blogger paddington said...

"UN troops are not the military wing of Amnesty International, as some seem to think, they are part of the military wing of capitalist globalisation."

I think that sums it up perfectly.

At 2:51 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Cheers - glad you are enjoying your time in Argentina (or so it seems from your blog)

At 10:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said.


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