Avoidable disasters

Avoidable disasters

July 20, 2014, 9:29 pm

The world is divided along the pre-Cold War lines over the downing of a Malaysian jetliner with 298 people belonging to 11 nations including many children aboard on Thursday. The blame game continues with the US and its allies holding Russia and the pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine responsible for the disaster while Moscow has blamed the western-backed Ukrainian fighters for the missile attack. Only a thorough probe will help find out what really happened.


Let’s not dupe ourselves into believing that the grief of all world leaders who are shedding copious tears for the victims of the tragedy is genuine. Geo-strategic, security and economic interests take precedence over the much-publicised concerns of most of them for human lives and justice. The release of Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi from prison on medical grounds, is a case in point.


Interestingly, British national, Nasir Sheik, welcoming the sentencing of the killers of his younger brother Khuram to 20 years RI here on Friday said he hoped the convicts would not be given presidential pardons. We cannot but agree with him. No criminals should be pardoned. This being the reaction of a person who has lost his beloved sibling at the hands of a bunch of thugs, how the near and dear ones of about 260 Pan AM passengers killed in the Lockerbie attack felt when the British government went out of its way to facilitate the release of al-Megrahi is not difficult to understand. The Guardian (UK) reported in Feb. 2011 that a study of hundreds of confidential British government papers by the Cabinet Office had concluded that there had been an ‘underlying desire’ on the part of the then Labour government to see al-Megrahi released early from his jail term to further UK-Libyan relations and secure a BP oil deal!


Those responsible for the missile attack on the Malaysian jet on Thursday must be brought to justice forthwith for that heinous crime and it is hoped that Russia will do everything in its power to facilitate a probe into the disaster. Likewise, the time has come for all powerful nations to wake up and smell the coffee. They ought to realise that they have, through their regime-changing interventions and backing for terrorists on some flimsy pretexts, rendered this world a dangerous place with several countries already plunged into chaos or even anarchy. The Malaysian flight would have been safe if Ukraine had remained peaceful without an externally induced regime change and the attendant violent upheavals; its conflict has resulted in bloodthirsty militant groups having access to sophisticated weapons.


Meanwhile, the latest air disaster should not distract the world powers from the pressing need to address global issues that find expression in mindless violence. While the world was mourning for 298 people killed in one fell swoop on Thursday the death toll in the Gaza war reached 300 with no end in sight for the Israeli invasion.


Israel, according to what its leaders including Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz say, is planning something of the magnitude of the 1967 Six-Day-War in Gaza in a bid to neutralise Hamas missile threats. Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon has said the air-ground-sea assault will go on ‘until it’s necessary and the quiet returns.’


International media has quoted Doctors of the World, a medical charity, which has been functioning in Gaza for twelve years as saying that the Palestinian healthcare system has suffered irreparable damage owing to the ongoing military onslaught which has also restricted access to humanitarian aid. The outfit has said most of the cases they receive are women and children. The fear of a drug shortage is also said to be looming.


Hamas now pretends to be the underdog in the conflict, having provoked attacks. It needed a large-scale war to regain sympathy and shore up its crumbling image and dwindling fortunes vis-à-vis its growing isolation in the region with countries like Egypt turning hostile to it. It should have known better than to trigger a full-blown war which it cannot fight. Those who are mourning for Palestinians’ deaths—and rightly so—should not lose sight of Hamas attacks on Israeli interests and citizens.


However, there is no reason why the world powers which lead international human rights campaigns from the front should not step in to prevent many more innocent lives being snuffed out in the ongoing Gaza conflict where over 300 Palestinians two Israeli soldiers have so far been killed. These tragedies won’t just go away; they will continue to happen so long as the Palestine issue remains unsolved.


Originally Published at http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=news-section&page=news-section&code_title=55

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