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Silent slaughter, small people and big powers

EditorialSilent slaughter, small people and big powers

Monday, January 29, 2024

The world will never be the same; the common people of the world having been exposed to happenings that were well-kept secrets in the past, but are now spreading like wildfire through the information liberation of social media, which has allowed voices that could never be heard on the major politically controlled media, to now share their insights and views on a wide-open grassroots stage, where ordinary people can now “pick sense from nonsense”. The adage of the old computer culture that was spawned in the 1980s was “garbage in, garbage out”; and it accurately reflected the inability of common people the world over to make fair judgements of various conflicts when they were only fed one side of the news, the side that certain big powers that controlled the major news agencies wanted them to hear. But in the last few years, brilliant thinkers, professors and human rights activists whose views were not considered acceptable on CNN, MSNBC, FOX or BBC, have been able to share their thoughts through blogs and podcasts on YouTube, TikTok, etc. for everyone to read and hear. The brainwashing game is coming to an end, and the challenge for small and vulnerable countries like Belize, is how to maintain cordial relations and remain close allies with our Big Brother in the north, while at the same time letting him know in respectful terms that our eyes are now opened, and we fervently disagree with his actions, and sincerely advise that he change course and trod the path that leads to peace, as was so well-articulated by their former president in 1963.

For decades, there has been a conspiracy of constructive silence or deception by major “Western” news media that we have been exposed to in regards to the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. These major media outlets have generally focused their news stories on the regular skirmishes on the streets of occupied Palestine – youths throwing stones, Israeli soldiers firing back on them, occasional casualties, big funeral processions/demonstrations by the citizens of Gaza, and the beat goes on with those “violent people” in the distant Middle East. Any reference to injustice and domination by Israel, of taking over Palestinian lands against what was agreed by the United Nations in 1967, is either glossed over, or countered by arguments on the “norms of war and conflict,” whereby it is argued that the Arabs attacked Israel, and Israel defeated all of them, and seized more of their land, which is thus “justified” as the “spoils of war,” though not approved by modern standards of international law. Moreover, no mention is ever made of the fact that Israel was/is never alone in its combat/defence against attacks from its Arab neighbors; it is always backed up by the economic ($3 billion annually) and military hardware expertise of the mighty USA. But those days of one-sided media control are gone; people the world over, including Belizeans, are getting our news from all sides now, and we can clearly see who is taking unfair advantage of whom.

When our next-door neighbor Guatemala was undergoing a CIA-orchestrated coup d’etat in 1954 against their popular president, Jacobo Arbenz (see Wikipedia “1954 Guatemalan coup d’etat”), our Belizean people were kept totally in the dark. We didn’t have a clue. Just over a decade ago, when news contacts from the south informed us of tens of thousands of Hondurans demonstrating in the streets in support of their popular president Zelaya (see Wikipedia “2009 Honduran coup d’etat”), it had the blessing of the USA, and the major American news media we received in Belize had little to tell us about how he was removed from power and replaced by a US puppet (who was a few years later exposed as corrupt).

But the times “they are a changing,” and right now, thanks to the internet, Aljazeera, Democracy Now, and a number of individual social media blogs and podcasts, we know a whole lot about the ongoing atrocity being perpetrated against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Meanwhile, CNN, MSNBC and FOX prefer to spend most of their news time on local politics and the Trump litigation saga.

Even the American people, who, like Belizeans, were in the past kept in the dark about what their government was doing overseas in their name, are now getting their eyes opened with the new explosion of media outlets that cannot be stifled and controlled by the political establishment. And they don’t like what they are seeing in Gaza, just like the Belizean people; and there have been more and more demonstrations, even in cities in Europe, demanding an end to the slaughter. While some may argue that it is all about securing “national interests”, and that the US government has to sometimes do unpalatable things in foreign lands, so that their citizens back home can continue to enjoy their high standard of living; in this modern day, many of those same American citizens are battling inflation and an ever-widening gap between the poor and the obscenely rich, and whatever their circumstances, there is just so much that their humanity can endure with the blatantly vivid pictures showing what their taxpayer dollars are paying to do to thousands of innocent children and women, in the name of trying to capture and kill the enemy, Hamas. As much as Belizeans love the USA and share so much in common with the great American people, among whom are thousands of our diaspora Belizeans, we still feel compelled to humbly beg our mighty Uncle Sam, in the words of our past prime minister, “For God’s sake, stop it!”, Mr. Biden.

Some Belizeans, aside from those whose vision is blurred by religious confusion, are tempted to believe that, we are over here, and they are over there, and it is not our business, as much as we may sympathize. But it is our business, indeed, as we have already, with the Guatemala claim, submitted ourselves to the ICJ, an arm of the U.N.

At the ICJ, many Belizeans are confident in the justice of our case. It is our hope and our prayer that the US leadership also has come to see the wisdom of letting justice prevail over their own self-interest on a matter of principle, rather than being tempted to indulge in undue influence and intimidation through economic pressure on the organs of the United Nations that might somehow affect the judgement of the court. We have seen what is happening before our eyes and that of the whole world to the Palestinian people; and still, because of their strategic “interests,” the US insists that Israel is acting in “self-defense”. The ICJ has given them a month to reconsider their perspective. Pray for peace, Belize!

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