We need to learn to think. Urgently. Not just as individuals but also as governments and international organisations. We need to learn to see both our immediate reality while still keeping an eye on where we want to be in the future.
The recent talks in Istanbul between Iran and members of the United Nations Security Council (P5+1) regarding Iran’s development of nuclear capabilities attracted many human rights demonstrators. These people were advising the UN not to barter away human rights within Iran in an effort to appease the regime and get ‘promises’ regarding the development of nuclear weapons.
These ordinary people were pointing out that the best way to safeguard the rest of the world vis a vis any threat from Iran is to ensure that Iranian society is democratic and safe because then there will be no issue. The ordinary person in Iran has no interest in bombing anyone so the ordinary person in Iran (and everywhere else) needs to have a voice.
This seems like a fairly obvious point but somehow it is the type of principle that has always been missed by governments negotiating to avoid war. The Spanish Civil War was ignored by the Allies in Europe in the 1930s – in spite of the fact that Germany and Italy both took an active part in supporting Franco. Everybody hoped it’d go away. Everybody ignored what was happening to the Spaniards in the belief that it would be confined to Spain. Everybody told themselves that the ‘hole’ in the boat was far away.
This was then further enhanced by appeasing Hitler in the hope that that would be enough for him and everything would be OK. The fact that it didn’t work out all that well is a matter of historical record and attested to by over 60 million deaths.
We need to see that if we compromise our principles – as people and as governments – it will never solve anything and will, ultimately, come back and bite us. Therefore, it is not only nice, ethical and moral to defend the victims of human rights abuses in Iran and elsewhere – it is also the wisest course of action even in terms of our own self-interest.
Listen to their case for yourself –
- Breaking news: Nasrin Sotoudeh from Iran – MEA 2012 nominee (thoolen.wordpress.com)
- Obama works against human rights abuses in Iran, Syria (wjla.com)
- Obama targets technology in human rights abuses (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)