Friday, August 28, 2009

Death of an old friend

I am currently reading Rohinton Mistry's wonderful Such A Long Journey, borrowed from my sister. Because of this, the Pakistani government's brutality against Bangladesh during the 1971 war, a war in which 3 million civilians were killed, has been in my mind.

In the Spittoon, Faisal writes an appreciation of Ted Kennedy, who was one of the few friends in the world of politics that Bangladesh had then. The Nixon government, pursuing the "realist" agenda developed by Kissinger, aided and abetted the Pakistani slaughter. This "realism" - supporting murderers and dictators as the "lesser evil" against some perceived geo-political threat, or standing back when no perceived geo-political "interest" is at stake - has been the default position of American and other Western states since the Armenian genocide.

The courting of Gaddafi in the age of the war on terror continues this default position, a trend that includes the courting of Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein and the Mujahideen in the Cold War. There have been relatively few politicians who have stood up against this sort of realpolitik, and Ted Kennedy, ז״ל, was one who spoke out in 1971.




Previous: BHL and Bangladesh, Sharon and Bosnia; The genocide loophole; Conservatism, realism and the anti-war movement; A friend of Biafra.

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