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Selective morality of geopolitics & Man's Inhumanity to Man

Duff photographer

Active member
This thread stems from Shashin's "Solidarity with Ukraine" thread.

Out of respect for Shashin, who would like to keep his thread restricted to people posting solidarity messages, I have started a separate thread dealing with the wider issues revolving around such situations, both presently and historically.

It is intended to be a thread discussing the reasons why such conflicts occur around the world. I feel a bit discourteous in typing this, but emotional, unthinking responses are not welcome. Considered thoughts are welcome.

I will start by continuing from a comment made by Jorgen in Shashin's thread...

...because the sorrow is selective...

This is the aspect that sickens me too.

I have to prerequisite my comments by making the point that I and everyone here agrees with the sentiment that Shashin made in the first two sentences of his opening post of his thread. No-one is questioning them despite accusational comments to the contrary. However, the last sentence politicised the sentiments he gave (no disrespect to you Shashin) which has largely lead to a geo-socio-political discussion in that thread which was not Shashin's intention. I also have to repeat for the umpteenth time that I or anyone else is NOT seeking to justify Russia's invasion of Ukraine in any way! I am seeking to point out the hypocrisy and double-standards.

What I have to say goes beyond the tragedy in Ukraine. Again, I expect some people may take offence to what I have written below, but if anyone can't or refuses to understand what I am trying to convey then it says something about themselves, and I'm sorry for it.

Unlike one or two people, I see where Jorgen is coming from in his posts on Shashin's thread (which should now be here). While we have rightly seen condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the support for the innocent people involved in all this, it is not belittled by what Jorgen has been writing. Indeed, quite the opposite. The term 'Whataboutism' was bandied around a few times, and has been used as an offensive weapon against those attempting to convey to everyone that a deeper understanding of the issue, any issue, is required. It seeks to comprehend, not legitimise any political, military, or social action!

When people dismiss 'whataboutism', they are dismissing the horrors of previous conflicts and the suffering of innocent people which in many parts of the world is currently ongoing. With reference the the media and politicians, we are seeing (other than the usual propaganda from all sides in such moments) is a large spoonful of hypocrisy, double-standards, and prejudice.

Jorgen's "...because the sorrow is selective..." comment is highly acute, and I'll bring up the 'whataboutism' again. The crisis in Ukraine has been widely reported (24 hrs a day in some cases), multiple charities set up, and world-wide condemnation. All well and good, but what about other conflicts that have resulted in suffering, indeed much worse suffering. What about the US-lead bombing of Libya that has brought the country to ruins where now there exist open slave markets? What was the intent? Where is the outcry? What about the blatant lies about the possession by Iraq of chemical weapons where Colin Powell held up a vial (Anthrax apparently!) in front of the UN Security Council stating “What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence”? He knew this was an abject lie, which lead to the deaths of nearly a million Iraqis, including ironically many hundreds of innocents at the hands of US incendiary/chemical weapons in Fallujah. Why? Where is the justice for the victims of the multiple war crimes committed, principally by the US? What about the selling of illegal weapons (cluster bombs) by the UK to Saudi Arabia to indiscriminately bomb Yemen resulting in part in the deaths of thousands of civilians (men, women, and children)? Who stands in solidarity with the children of Yemen? Where was the media and political outrage? Why are the actions that are being applied to Russia not being applied to these countries, their governments, their guilty officials, and those that have committed war crimes? Where is the sympathy for the victims of these 'people'? Am I belittling or casting aside the plight of Ukrainians by saying this? NO! I am including them!

Then there is the imperialistic problem. The US currently runs a world empire, one run mainly by proxy where the US has backed or instigated coups that ensure governments are sympathetic or subjugated to US foreign policy (the history books are your friends if you want to research). It has this 'empire' because it is an economic and military powerhouse. It was the same for the British Empire (although they dictated directly), and even further back, the Roman Empire. Of course, the US is not the only country to pursue imperialism and influence on foreign powers. Russia wants heavy influence on countries surrounding its border, but this is at least in part to counteract the ongoing US encroachment around Russia's borders. The days of "Workers of the World Unite" are gone. Yes, there have been conflicts in Chechnya and Georgia. Chechnya was a conflict where no-one was clean and where the voice of anyone decent was drowned out by the violence. Pro-separatists included many terrorists in their ranks, while the pro-Russians were no better. It was state ruled by thugs and warlords where torture and murder was almost normalised. Chechnya had a right to self-determination, if that was the wish of the majority of its population, but in reality those wishes were sadly dictated by terrorists and warlords, this resulting in many atrocities not least the massacre by Chechen terrorists at Beslan in South Ossetia of 186 children, many of their parents, and their teachers. I openly wept as events unfolded that day.

While the US had no direct involvement in what happened (other than ignorantly supporting the separatists on the basis that they were anti-Russian), in the aftermath of all this suffering, we still have people, who have no connection to Chechnya, supporting one side or the other merely on the basis that they hate the 'other side'. No-one 'won' in that series of conflicts.

Then we have Georgia where the US did have a direct involvement. Indeed, does anyone know that George Bush Jr. (the then US president) extensively supplied arms and military training, and effectively gave permission for the Georgian government to launch an offensive against independence-seeking South Ossetia and Abkhazia which lead to the Russian intervention and brief occupation of Georgia? None of what happened in Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia was right. American imperialism on the doorstep of Russia. What the hell were Bush and Rice thinking?

This previously unstable situation has been mirrored in Ukraine where the Oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk seek independence fom Ukraine (despite what has been said elsewhere on this forum, Crimea is made up primarily of ethnic Russians. Crimea was gifted to Ukraine in 1954 by Krushchev for some bizarre reason, so there are many people alive in Crimea who were born Russian. While the referendum may have stemmed from the illegal occuptaion of Crimea by Russia in an international sense, the fact that between 82% and 97% [the latter is the official figure] voted to rejoin Russia rather than become an independent state [whereupon it could choose to remain with Ukraine] is a huge inconvenience to certain authorities, including the media who gloss over such triviaities as the democratic right of the people to choose their own destiny [and before anyone counters this comment, it is based on independent non-Russian, non-Crimean, non-Ukrainian sources, before and after the referendum]). Ukraine appears to be a larger version of the situation that occurred in Georgia. In both cases, Georgia and Ukraine have been extensively trained and armed by the US (particularly Georgia) and to a lesser extent their allies. I'm just stating this as it is. I DO NOT condone offensive (as opposed to defensive) intervention by ANY military force or intimidation.

US imperialism is much more extensive, primarily based on its anti-Soviet and anti-Communist ideals since WWII. However, it seems it has also influenced countries who may be of use to the US strategically and/or economically. A look at the location of active US military bases around the world mirrors this, some of which are based on annexed territory (where have we heard that before) in Cuba (Guantanamo) and Syria (about a third of the country). In comparison, the number of Russian military bases is much smaller, restricted to friendly countries around its southwestern and western border, and Syria. Largely since WWII, history is full of US direct intervention and intervention by proxy. Again, the history books show this, including one which is not greatly recognised, but should be. The US stood behind and was complicit in the genocide and mass atrocities in Indonesia in the mid-60's where estimates of up to 3 million 'communists' were killed, with the then Intelligence Officer Howard Federspiel recalling the views of US government officials stating "...no one cared, as long as they were Communists, that they were being butchered". This was a genocide that ranks alongside Stalin's purges of the 1930's, and the Holocaust. At the time, there were few desenting voices, no charity appeals, no standing in solidarity with the Indonesian people. As then BBC reporter Robert Challis recollected, "...it was a triumph for western propaganda."

Just to be complete. The imperialism shown by the UK is well documented (you know, the British Empire), and today's dreadful government is to some extent wanting to relive it (it won't, shouldn't, become reality thankfully). The history taught in the UK is that the British Empire was beneficial or benign. In many cases it was, but in many others it wasn't. It seems possible that more people (principally Indians) died needlessly under British rule than all the genocides from elsewhere in the world combined. While it exists in historical documents, it is not included in the widely read history books. It certainly isn't taught in schools. It is still even denied by some!

France has recently re-invigourated it's imperialistic intensions, strengthening its ties with overseas territories by adopting for them a single constitution, and who are now, bizarrely, part of the EU and represented directly by the French government and not the government of those respective territories (e.g., French Guiana in South America). This makes it potentially difficult for any 'overseas territory' to seek independence. Why do I mention this? Because if it was a certain country that uses the Cyrillic alphabet that did this, there would have been condemnation. So, why would this be? Other countries have remnants of their imperialistic past floating around, Netherlands, Denmark, and so on, these nowadays being much more benign, but imperialistic ideals are harmful and always will be, but the media and governments seem to treat imperialistic tendencies of other countries differently depending on whose side they're on. I repeat - hypocrisy, double-standards and prejudice.

By all means criticise the state of the house of others, but bear in mind that your own house might not be that much better. That means bringing to account those in our own countries that have perpetuated and continue to sustain war for their own selfish or imperialistic gain, those who satiate their own prejudices, and those who commit crimes against humanity.

It is of course fine to show solidarity from the comfort of our armchairs (that includes myself), but an even greater show of solidarity is to recognise the pains and failures of the past as well as the present caused by all involved and TO ALL THAT HAVE SUFFERED IT, to understand why they come about, and to ensure they don't come about again by standing up against hatred, prejudice, moral and international crimes instigated by our own countries and our own governments, whether Russian, American, English, or whatever. ...and yes, that also means kicking our own media and governments very hard up the backside.

Cheers,
Duff.

P.S. A reminder to keep any discussion respectful. Thanks. :)
 
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Shashin

Well-known member
If you would like a geopolitical thread to discuss the Ukrainian invasion, please title it that way. Or if you want to discuss man's inhumanity to man, something that reflects that.
 

Shashin

Well-known member
Lets put whataboutism in a less political context. If I talk about saving the whales, that does not mean I don't recognize there are other creatures that are also threatened. Nor does that mean all animals have had better of worse histories. All I am doing is stating that whales need help and there needs to be action to do that.

If someone brings up the Dodo, that was hunted to extinction, what is the relevance? Are you implying that the concern for the whale should be less because they still exist?

And this is what is happening.
 

Duff photographer

Active member
If you would like a geopolitical thread to discuss the Ukrainian invasion, please title it that way. Or if you want to discuss man's inhumanity to man, something that reflects that.
Done. Thank you.

Lets put whataboutism in a less political context. If I talk about saving the whales, that does not mean I don't recognize there are other creatures that are also threatened. Nor does that mean all animals have had better of worse histories. All I am doing is stating that whales need help and there needs to be action to do that.

If someone brings up the Dodo, that was hunted to extinction, what is the relevance? Are you implying that the concern for the whale should be less because they still exist?

And this is what is happening.
I absolutely agree, but the parallels differ in one aspect. While you may know that other species are threatened and the pointing out of one species does not diminish the plight of another, it is possible others are not aware that other species are threatened or have become extinct.

To exemplify this, we know the history of the Dodo and its extinction. The 'whataboutism' is therefore irrelevant because we already know why it became extinct, know how to prevent it, and undertake active measures to prevent extinction happening again to another species. Unless however, the extinction of the Dodo was 'whitewashed' where people have not been made aware of why it became extinct or have been mislead over the reasons for its extinction. Do they learn how to prevent the next extinction?

Cheers,
Duff.
 

Abstraction

Active member
When "whataboutism" is used as an argument, it is hollow and reflects someone who has drunk the Kool-Aid. However, "whataboutism" can serve as an example of a historical parallel, in which case, it can serve provide context and deeper understanding of the issue at hand. The same example can sound moronic and ignorant or it can serve to provide a perspective on the current events. It all depends on how things are presented. In any event, a tragedy of the years past does not detract from the tragedies of the current events.
 

Duff photographer

Active member
When "whataboutism" is used as an argument, it is hollow and reflects someone who has drunk the Kool-Aid. However, "whataboutism" can serve as an example of a historical parallel, in which case, it can serve provide context and deeper understanding of the issue at hand. The same example can sound moronic and ignorant or it can serve to provide a perspective on the current events. It all depends on how things are presented. In any event, a tragedy of the years past does not detract from the tragedies of the current events.
Well said.

One thing that I haven't perhaps fully related about "whataboutism" is not so much the "what about the..." geo-political tragedies of past and present in themselves (which speak volumes of course) and should not (must not) detract from current tragic events around the world, but people's reactions and responses, or more pertinently, the lack of them. Particularly those of the media and governments.

This is the crux of Jorgen's argument in the other thread (please correct me if I'm wrong Jorgen).

Cheers,
Duff.
 

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
Just in case anybody wonders why I have shown no interest in this thread so far: I'm currently suffering from Covid-19, so my brain activity is somewhat hampered. Hopefully, I will be feeling better within a few days.
 

Duff photographer

Active member
Just in case anybody wonders why I have shown no interest in this thread so far: I'm currently suffering from Covid-19, so my brain activity is somewhat hampered. Hopefully, I will be feeling better within a few days.
Erf! Not good. Take it easy and I hope you get through it okay.

This is only a thread on the internet, of little or no consequence to the real world. One's health is infinitely more important. ;-)

Take care,
Duff.
 

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
Erf! Not good. Take it easy and I hope you get through it okay.

This is only a thread on the internet, of little or no consequence to the real world. One's health is infinitely more important. ;-)

Take care,
Duff.
My health won't suffer much from writing stuff. However, being sick means that I won't have the energy to do good enough research about what I write and probably not being able to express myself clearly enough. If I don't know enough about what I'm writing about and can't express myself clearly, I'd better shut up for the time being. That goes for being sick, and it also goes for being emotional about a case, an event. Feeling sorry for people doesn't help my objectivity.
 

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
This piece by Chris Hedges is the best I have read in a very, very long time about "Man's Inhumanity to Man". Read it, and read it to the end.

For those who don't know who Chris Hedges is, here's a summary:
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He was the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact.

 

Thorkil

Well-known member
Hi Jørgen, hope you will recover fast and good, and without those long-term damages.
I shall defenitly read that later on, looks interesting.
KR Thorkil
 

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
Hi Jørgen, hope you will recover fast and good, and without those long-term damages.
I shall defenitly read that later on, looks interesting.
KR Thorkil
Thank you Thorkil. I feel pretty recovered already, but I haven't taken a test yet. I cure disease by healthy food, meditation and brute force. If there are long term damages that this combination won't cure, that is something I will have to live with. Life isn't perfect and I am certainly not.
 

Thorkil

Well-known member
Thank you Thorkil. I feel pretty recovered already, but I haven't taken a test yet. I cure disease by healthy food, meditation and brute force. If there are long term damages that this combination won't cure, that is something I will have to live with. Life isn't perfect and I am certainly not.
Yes, I'm afraid we're in a phase of our lives where most of the damage to our physique is at an increasingly permanent stage :)
and if you by brute force mean you are making heavy training, I can only appauld that (and envy you, mostly I'm dreaming of it)
 

Duff photographer

Active member
Thank you Jorgen for that link.

This may also be of interest, an article from Media Lens.

Doubling Down On Double Standards

For those who don't know, 'Media Lens' is run by two brothers undertaking to hold the media, in particular western media (beause they live in the UK), to account. They have been operating for many years and have gained respect internationally, from the likes of John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, and others, for their thorough research based on facts rather than opinion or hyperbole.


Cheers,
Duff.
 
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Duff photographer

Active member
Here's Peter Oborne, looking at the double standards of war reporting:
Thank you Jorgen. I have not been watching the news lately due to the hypocrisy of the media and politicians becoming too much to stomach. I do hope this is one thing that begins to stick with people. Sadly, the current mass propaganda push in moments like this makes it less likely they will hear or see.

Cheers,
Duff.

P.S. I changed the title of the thread to better reflect the content.
 
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