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A Moral Mocker: Exposing the Hypocrisy of Western Democracies

Ahmed, The Priory Academy, UK

The West, champion of human rights, freedom and democracy, is a leading player in global geopolitics. It dominates the global economy and supervises the world order crafted by its colonial past. It has created an image that portrays itself as the paradigm of civilisation. In simple words, Western governments’ standpoint is that the “West is best”.

This level narrow and orientalist standpoint is quite apparent in the minds of Western politicians and representatives, to such extremes that Josep Borell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs in a speech compared Europe to a garden – and the rest of the world to a jungle. The West tries to act as an optimistic gardener that hopes to trim down every tall plant and pluck out every weed – a true advocate of democracy and ethics around the world. But is this the case?

The West vehemently opposes authoritarianism globally, criticising nations like China, Russia and Iran for their poor human rights records and lack of democracy. However, this opposition rings hollow when one considers historical and recent actions.

In 1953, Iran has its first ever democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, toppled by CIA and MI6. His crime was that he nationalised Iranian oil which ultimately prevented British oil company BP from exploiting Iran’s oil reserves. In 2022, the prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, was kicked out of office by a vote of no confidence because Donald Lu, a US diplomat, proposed to the Pakistani ambassador in Washington DC that if Khan is kicked out “all will be forgiven”. This was because Imran Khan had visited Moscow for an import deal the day before Putin invaded Ukraine – an ally of the West. According to studies, the US engaged in 64 covert and six overt attempts at regime change during the Cold War alone.

The West seem to put on a blindfold on human rights when it comes to their own interests, where international laws are bent and set aside. The West has a history of operating institutions offshore to escape their own laws, such as the cases of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, where prisoners experienced inhumane physical and psychological torture which clearly contradicted the United Nations convention against torture. The illegal invasion of Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of lives were lost due to “collateral damage” resulted in no weapons of mass destruction to be found. Instead it gave the world an unstable Middle East and the birth of terrorist organisations such as ISIS.

The blatant hypocrisy exceeds all heights when it comes to the invasion of Gaza by Israel after the 7 October Hamas attacks. With Western support, Israel has an immunity against international law and face no accountability, just like its Western counterparts. The West continually supplies Israel with weapons that are used on the civilian population of Gaza, despite Israel is facing a genocide case in the International Court of Justice. Thirty thousand Palestinian lives of which the majority were women and children were lost, for the West to ignore the war crimes of the IDF in Gaza. However, it took the lives of only three British aid workers for the World Kitchen, who were killed in an air strike by the IDF, for UK prime minister Rishi Sunak to call for a “transparent investigation” into the killings.

As of April 2024, then tensions between Israel and Iran are at an all time high. Israel, on 1 April, conducted an air strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, killing two high-ranking Iranian military officials and several others. Israel’s attack on the Iranian consulate violated the UN Charter and Vienna Conventions but like always, Israel faces no repercussions, nor any condemnation from its Western allies.

In the summer of 416 BC, during the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta, Athens invaded the small, neutral island of Melos and demanded that the Melians surrender and pay tribute to Athens or face annihilation. The Melians refused, so the Athenians laid siege to their city. Melo surrender in the winter, and the Athenians executed the men of Melos and enslaved the women and children.

When asked about the moral justification, Athens replied: “The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” More than two thousand years have passed but humanity always seems to die on the island of Melos. To state it in modern terms, humanity is being butchered in the narrow strip of Gaza. In these uncertain times, we can only hope for the best. Should regional conflicts escalate into global ones, we must remember that history is now also being written by the so-called “losers”, for the first time in human civilisation.

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