Saturday, March 5, 2011

American Equality Means Some are more Equal than Others

The New York Times published an article yesterday about the disappointing lack of American support for the brave protestors in Bahrain. This development is yet another shameful example of American hypocrisy when it comes to promoting rights and freedoms in the Middle East. We support only those who promote our interests. Washington has invested a lot of time and money nurturing ties with Bahrain's autocratic ruling family from the Sunni minority. Indeed the Obama administration considers the King a close strategic friend and ally. Of course this is despite the cruel oppression of the Khalifa regime, especially against the country's majority Shi'i population.

Which is why I find it so deplorable that The Times cannot even offer a sympathetic article about the injustice of this situation. Instead Thomas Fuller writes that: "A majority Shiite government [in Bahrain] could further alter a religious balance already upset by the ascendance of the Shiite-led government in Iraq after the American-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein."

Balance? What kind of distorted concept of balance is this man talking about? He must be living in the pages of George Orwell. Balance means equality, or as Merriam Webster defines it a "stability produced by even distribution of weight". Up until the recent revolutions there has not been any balance in the Middle East, at least not since the colonial encounter. Indeed Shi'i majority populations in Iraq and Bahrain have suffered terrible injustices for decades. Balance is precisely what Bahrainis are now fighting for. And American supported dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and Yemen also oppress the minority Shi'is who are treated as anything but equal to their Sunni counterparts.

Indeed balance will only come to the region despite Washington and because of the courageous Shi'is in Bahrain as well as the inspirational Libyans, Egyptians, Tunisians, Yemenis etc.

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