Western governments and countless Western television stations, newspapers and radio stations are lambasting Russia for invading its near-neighbours, Ukraine.
And, as the West is wont to do, its television reporters are going wall-to-wall with stories of the courage of Ukrainians in standing up to the Russian siege, of heart-breaking stories of long lines of refugees, with possessions in bags, fleeing a homeland they will probably never see again, and of hundreds of homeowners in the UK, filling out forms and clearing out spare rooms in anticipation of welcoming refugees from Ukraine.
Of course, many of us will remember how downright antagonistic the UK was to taking refugees from countries their government had played a major role in destabilising in Africa, Asia and elsewhere….
Wars must be condemned wherever they occur, whoever’s weapons helped to fuel them, and whoever orchestrates them.
Therefore, Russia should be condemned for attacking Ukraine.
But this does not mean that the USA and the UK should be let off the hook for their despicable warmongering, their sponsoring of tyrants and their forced starvation of already poor people – especially children – all over the world.
This is not whataboutism.
It’s about bringing arrogant, bullying, opportunistic neo-colonialists who go around the world killing – and continuing to kill – millions of people.
Madeleine Albright, the former US Secretary of State, died this week. What she said after 500,000 Iraqi children, perished (mainly from hunger) after US-led oil sanctions against their country, will never be forgotten. Reminded that more children died in Iraq than had died after an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, in Japan, during the Second World War, and asked whether the price was worth it, she said: ‘I think that is a very hard choice. But the price … we think, the price is worth it.’
Despicable too has been the US’s sponsorship of Israel, including an endless supply of weapons to the Zionist rulers of that state. Weapons which they have used unhesitatingly against Arab residents of Gaza and the West Bank. Again, children have been the ones who have suffered most.
Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organisation, reported last year that since the year 2000, 2,198 Palestinian children were killed as a result of Israeli military and settler activity in the Occupied Territories.
And they pointed out, tellingly, that in these two decades, ‘almost no Israeli officer or civilian has been held accountable for the deaths of these Palestinian children.
In Yemen, according to the United Nations, at least10,000 children have been killed or maimed since fighting started in March 2015.
Where do the Saudi-led forces who seem determined to bomb Yemen into the stone ages get their weapons from?
Well, let’s guess….
The Saudi Foreign Minister has said British and US officers are in charge of the command and control centre for Saudi-led strikes into Yemen.
The US, in addition, to the weapons it supplies the Saudis, also provides intelligence and logistical support, including aerial refuelling and search-and-rescue operations for downed coalition pilots.
Coalition, you say? Oh yes, Saudi fighter jets are supported by ground forces from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the UAR, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain, while Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia make their airspace, territorial waters, and military basis available to the Saudi coalition.
Iran supports Yemen.
Meanwhile, not too far away, Ethiopia, replete with weapons from China, Russia, Israel, the UAR and Belarus, seems determined to wipe out everyone living in the Tigray region.
Since its president, Abiy Ahmed, sent troops into the area, thousands have been killed, thousands more detained, and millions displaced.
In just four months last year, close to 200 children died of starvation in 14 hospitals in northern Tigray.
And in Syria, almost 12,000 children were killed in fighting, in which the US, Russia and Israel were heavily involved
The UN’s UNICEF also released figures last year for Afghanistan, another country in which the US tried – and failed – to throw its weight around.
They failed dismally but, as usual, it was the children who suffered most – in a country in which suffering reached new levels. Almost 27,700 children lost their lives in fighting, violence and diseases associated with poverty.
Those – especially South Africans – who are agonising over the tribulations of country in which the majority of its residents are white – and because of this are hitting out at the South African government for not criticising Russia, need to cast their eyes to what’s happening in other parts of the world with much more concern.
And like on our own doorstep, in Khayelitsha, or Nyanga or Manenberg, where residents are gunned down every weekend.