Gaza and Flight MH17: Just how modern is our modern world?
By: Raed Omari
We citizens of the world, as opposed to politicians, are feeling insecure these days with our lives being literally bargained by interest-driven statesmen, rarely caring for humanity or violations of international law.
Everyone is justified in criticizing and questioning the validity of the world-systems’ theory and international relations theory used to handle the ongoing Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip in addition to the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine and, needless to say, the world’s inaction on the Syrian crisis.
In the 21st century, said to be an age of change – legally, economically, politically and culturally –children are killed heartlessly and civilian planes are shot-down down mysteriously with the international community’s response not exceeding condemnation. Denouncing a plain crime by an international organization has proved to be a tough job after all. Statements of condemnation must be re-worded many times to avoid angering the perpetrators and their allies. If such are the aspects of the modern civilized world, then why are “dark ages” used to refer to ancient times?
In international politics, or international relations theory, humanity holds primacy and supremacy are over interests. Any inter-governmental endeavor seeking to end or prevent a large-scale humanitarian disaster is argued to lie in the heart of international politics. To political scientists, humanity is to be preserved by sovereign states, or international actors, through law, morality and politics. But in the case of Gaza and MH17, things have fallen apart.
War on Gaza and the political façade
International diplomacy has failed so far to end the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip despite the large-scale suffering, massive destruction, and the horrifying scenes of mourning mothers. The U.N. Security Council has failed many times to adopt a decisive resolution that would oblige the warring parties to agree on an immediate ceasefire even after the bombings of UNRWA and other U.N.-run institutions in Gaza.
If such are the aspects of the modern civilized world, then why are “dark ages” used to refer to ancient times?
With the international community’s inability and failure to enforce law, protect its institutions and safeguard humanity, people from all over the world took to the streets to protest Israeli crimes against the unarmed people of Gaza. Social media networks have replaced the Security Council and the International Criminal Court with thousands of pictures, comment and tweets, condemning the Israeli assault and showing evidence of the Israeli generals’ involvement in crimes against humanity.
It is absolutely true that this public “awakening”, so to speak, was in response to the Israeli violation of human dignity and its unsurpassed brutality against the Palestinian people. However, worldwide protests also reflect peoples’ dissatisfaction and dismay with the international community’s failure to shoulder its responsibilities. Certainly, citizens of the world, including Jews, have been dissatisfied with “Israel’s right to defend itself” being the only international rhetoric governing the war on Gaza.
The international community’s reaction to the Israeli war on Gaza has ignited suspicions over the validity of international law and international relations. These suspicions are in place as, if Israel’s killing of children and civilians in the coastal enclave do not amount to war crimes, then what is the purpose of the relevant international conventions? Additionally, if not favoritism, bias, partiality, double standards and indifference, then in what terms should the international community’s silence on the “mass slaughter of Palestinians” be described as?
The best comment I heard on the war on Gaza and the “poverty” of international politics was in the form of exclamation raised by Queen Rania of Jordan. Citing principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Queen Rania said, ” either the declaration is not so universal, or the people of Gaza are not human beings, worthy of the same “universal” rights. This is the message the world is sending out today.”
The Flight MH17 catastrophe
The poverty of international politics is easily illustrated when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The norm is simply the following: so much favoritism to Israel and too much negligence of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, ranging from their right to statehood to even their right to live.
The catastrophe lies is taking no strict legal action against the shooting down of a 100% civilian jetliner over eastern Ukraine, a hotspot that the international community’s inaction turned into a crisis-hit region and gradually to failed state. In my estimation, the downing of Malaysian airliner MH17 in eastern Ukraine marked culmination of the poverty of international relations.
It has been established that the airliner MH17 was downed by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine using the Russian-made SA-11 Buk missile. However, the rhetoric now is whether the surface-to-air missile was launched on purpose by the pro-Russian separatists or by mistake by an “ill-trained crew.”
The downing of the Malaysian jetliner MH17 was an evidence of the international community adopting a reaction rather than an action approach to world’s affairs and treatment rather than prevention when handling international crises. The downing of the civilian plane has been classified as a “war crime” and then followed by a set of further sanctions by the U.S. and E.U on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle for supporting eastern Ukraine separatists. However, the tragedy of the MH17 jetliner was the direct result of the international community’s inaction on the crisis-hit Ukraine.
Crisis-hit Ukraine has been abandoned, or not adequately addressed, by the international community to the point its eastern province has turned into a hostile conflict zone threatening the European continent and world security. It was definitely the international community’s inaction on Syria that has allured the Jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to proclaim its “caliphate” over territories in eastern Syria and western Iraq. The same applies for eastern Ukraine which has turned into a conflict zone that is open to all hostile probabilities due to the resurrected global power struggle between the U.S. and Russia.
Raed Omari is a Jordanian journalist, political analyst, parliamentary affairs expert, and commentator on local and regional political affairs. His writing focuses on the Arab Spring, press freedoms, Islamist groups, emerging economies, climate change, natural disasters, agriculture, the environment and social media. He is a writer for The Jordan Times, and contributes to Al Arabiya English. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @RaedAlOmari2