Friday, December 12, 2008

Human rights

Human Rights: The Hazy Picture

(An uneasy silence prevails in the room,)

A: These human right activists are the most qualified for elimination. Where does their …sympathy go when we are killed? Do they think we have iron bodies? Enough is enough. So long as they keep on intentionally defaming us, no mercy towards them.

B. This is not the first time they are doing it. They are same as the bastard judges who feel great to free the terrorists who kill us.

A: By the way how did this all reach the media? The fools over there must have been seeking for some …stuff. This son of a bitch will keep hunting us even after his death.

C: That is what has puzzled all of us, sir. A so called prominent writer has written a long article on the issue.

A: What if these Impotents keep writing? We should teach the lessons to them as well. We risk our lives for their security and these … treat us like the damned enemies! What the hell are they going to do if we eliminate this weed too? What do you think inspector?

D: Sir, if you don’t mind, killing him right now will create a create a lot of trouble. His arrest didn’t go smoothly as planned and people saw it. It is already in the newspaper that he was abducted by the government forces………

A: (interrupts) What the hell is the meaning of emergency then? They keep breeding like the piglets due to this … laxity. They are planning to hit more district headquarters in the west and daily killing our boys with ambushes. Is this the way to fight a battle.

D: They even appealed the minister of home affairs. He is known to have assured them of cooperation.

A: Forget these damned politicians and their… politics. This all wouldnot have happened in their absence. The hellhole of multiparty democracy is behind all this. They sleep with … in five star hotels and order us to sacrifice our lives. This is all they want. We should teach the lesson to them as well. I will just see how the damned parasites can save this bastard. Just bring him in.

( A handcuffed and blindfolded person is escorted inside the room by one soldier.)

What the hell is your last wish before death.

E: ( trying to maintain the composure) Let peace prevail in this country and no more persons like me will have to die so untimely.

A: You seem to be a hardened terrorist not deterred by even the death. You prefer to die rather than disclosing the names and locations of your seniors.

E: I swear by the name of the god, sir. I have no links with them. It was the first time they called me to observe their ‘base teritorry’ to showcase their achievements there. I went there as a scholar and it has nothing to do with their ideology.

A: What about the damned article you wrote about human rights? All of us should be hanged for its violation. Is this not that you want?

E: Never sir, I was just discussing the violation of the human rights due to the conflict. I still maintain that anybody proven guilty for its violation should be brought to book.

A: (Bangs the table loudly.) Stop giving lectures now. We know how to deal with this damned human right and its activists. Where does your … sympathy go when we are massacred? What do the bloody politicians and judges do to save our life? Does your rotten mind ever think this way? No, you all have been the victim of the propaganda of the terrorists.

Take him out now!

( He is taken out by the same soldier.)

Now there are rumours about another ceasefire and the terrorists want to further consolidate their position. There is no alternative to acting swiftly. Inspector! You get one more day to extract something from this scholarly terrorist. There should be no hiccups tomorrow, ok?

Inferences from the above drama in real life:

  1. Might is right.
  2. You are either with us or with them, not in between.
  3. One who fights is supreme to decide anything related to the war.
  4. Human right is the propaganda tool to defame the armed forces, often on behalf of the enemies.
  5. The security of the people comes as a mercy of the armed forces, not as the right for sustaining the institution financially and morally.
  6. Let many innocents be butchered but a single culprit should not escape alive.

And the list is open.

How do we start a discourse on human right then? Though much is talked about this throughout the world and assertions to the protection has been a cliché among the politicians, the ground reality of its implementation is often comparable to the case above. The inferences the army general draws from the turn of events are often reflected in a wide perspective. As such the question of human rights has been viewed as a thorn by the warring parties in any conflict.

The inferences of the above incident from the side of the detained professor would be in contrast to the above inferences. That is where an open-ended dispute starts for which a justifiable solution becomes beyond reach as the factors like the emergency or some anti-terror act are in place. At the same time the keens of the disappeared or detained persons have to suffer from the agony of loss of a family member with the incessant humiliations and setbacks from the crippled legal system and the puppet civilian government.

During the Maoist conflict in Nepal when the incidents like the above one occurred at large scale I used to have a bitter dispute with my Medico friends who were convinced by the claims of the government forces. The atrocities whatsoever committed by the security forces could be, in their opinion, justified by the vigor with which the rebels were committing the same. The factor of innocence of the suffering civilians didn’t practically came to their consideration. This notoriously flawed comprehension of the matter was the routine among the upper and the upper-middle classes who could not experience the atrocities of the war first hand. Like the army general in the above case they seem to understand human rights as a relative phenomenon which is to be opposed vehemently whenever their interest is threatened. Blatant disregard for the suffering of the others is way to safeguard their interest.

I would like to add another dimension to this discourse on human rights by referring to the communist version of this concept: we can’t imagine ensuring the human rights to the majority of the people so long as the oppressors of the people keep leading the country. So long as the regime has its foundation on the coercion and exploitation of the majority of people to ensure the welfare of the few in power, it becomes the mere slogan. The social structure which promotes inhuman competition to become wealthy by any means, from fraud to crime has its innate limitation in this regard. So long as the constitution safeguards the interest of the oppressors and the political system provides impunity to the rich and the powerful, how can we promote the human rights? Thus to end all the evils like human right violation, discriminations based on gender, cast, religion, and financial status, we need a political system where the majority or the proletariat rules. Crime and impunity is deep inside the foundation of both the feudalism and the capitalism both of which advocate the exploitation of the majority. We can go the courts to get the justice but the corrupt judge will free the criminal as a consequence of the under-table dealings that we never know, but we will have to suffer for life. We may seek the help of the police to catch the culprits but there always exists a rear exit in the legal system for those power and money.

By elections, we can change the rulers but not the inherent ruling mechanism with knee-deep corruption, inefficiency, hypocrisy and nepotism. The concept of the human rights will always remain different in the theory and the textbooks from that in practice. Ultimately the only way to safeguard the interest of the people including the protection of the human rights, is to demolish this mechanism to establish the people’s rule through the revolution led by the proletariat.

With little doubt most of these allegations to the present political system are true and they can’t be sidelined as propaganda. Indeed the concept of human rights has suffered a huge setback in the present system. But when we come to the solution as pointed by the communists, it doesn’t go as smoothly. Particularly, the relevant records in the communist states in the past have not been that impressive and the gross disregard to the protection of the human rights has acted as a trigger in the collapse of those regimes.

The political set up has been an important determinant in this regard. The decades old confrontation between the communists and the capitalists characterized by the cold war is over now. But a crucial dispute still exists: does capitalism intend to ensure welfare of every citizen as advertised or inherently select a few for whose interest those of the others are to be sacrificed?

The fundamental flaw in the traditional communist states was that the process of choosing a leadership on behalf of the proletariat masses was soon skewed. This soon led to the emergence of an authoritarian ruling elite theoretically representing the masses but not fundamentally different from any other dictatorship. The spirit of the ‘commune’ or togetherness of the people thus changed into the evolution of a hierarchy with the role of the masses limited to living a life as outlined financially, socially and culturally as dictated by the ruling elite. The cultural revolution in china defamed for the cruelty of the communist forces to the dissenters and the alleged purge or killing of them exposes the vulnerability of the communist regimes to take extreme courses with little control of the masses over the rulers.

Given the innumerable experiences worldwide, where capitalism has induced, promoted, sustained and institutionalized the violation of the poor people’s right to live, the question arises: how can it be regarded as the better protector of the human rights than communism? The latest version of capitalism with crucial role of the media in shaping the attitudes of people has categorically subverted this discourse thus projecting itself as the best protector of the human rights. Practically this term thus implies different meanings in different contexts, giving different criteria for its violation with respect to different people.

The execution of Saddam Hussein in charges of violating human rights by killing the dissidents was given much publicity. But now it has been established that the whole adventure of Iraq war was the collusion of the sadistic attitude of the Bush administration with the fabricated hypothesis of the WMD. The flip-flop of the previously credible intellectuals in the US and the west on the issue is amusing to see. The uniform criteria to judge the HR violation would have justified the reciprocation of the Hussein’s penalty to Bush once the hoax of the WMD was exposed, for massacre of the more than six lakhs of Iraqi civilians. But this never happens here and Bush will now serve the humanity through some charity. This is where exactly the present day scenario matches the most barbaric moments in the history diluting the memories of brutalities of the communist era. Significantly, everything seems to be running smoothly now with no threat to humanity as in the past just because our media is able to present the things this way.

The impotence of the liberal democracies, the civilian governments was exposed during the foreplay of the Iraq war when the massive demonstrations worldwide could make no difference in the chain of events.

The controversy arising from the use of variable criteria or the double standards in defining the term in different situations has enormously challenged the

Is any acceptable still implement able definition of the human rights possible?

. The catastrophe that devastated Iraq is now coming to media attention mainly because of the tug of war in US exists about the planned pullout of its troops from Iraq

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