Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Gulag of Our Time

Hyperbole is rarely criticized these days. In fact, exaggeration has become an artform. Ann Coulter was (and is) ahead of her time.

With US Senators regularly comparing their opponents to Hitler and Nazis, no one pays much attention when hyperbole is used.

Now, to get noticed, you have to go to new heights (or is it depths?).

Perhaps that explains the astonishing rhetoric inside the 2005 Amnesty international Report and the even more amazing accusations made during the press conference releasing the report. Here is your link to press coverage by PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer : Amnesty International Takes Aim at U.S.

Here are a few quotations from the Associated Press Article.

"Amnesty International branded the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay a human rights failure Wednesday, calling it "the gulag of our time" as it released a report that offers stinging criticism of the United States and its detention centers around the world."

" 'Guantanamo has become the gulag of our time,' Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan said."

"At least 10 cases of abuse or mistreating have been documented and investigated at Guantanamo. Several other cases are pending."

I want you to know that I support Amnesty International and appreciate their work. It is important to read their reports and understand the great harm being done to people worldwide.

But, they are so biased and so unfair and so stunningly prejudiced against the US and, especially President Bush, their report reads like a bad Ann Coulter column (at least Ann is always funny).

Let's compare two world situations, the "Gulag" at Guantanamo and the current situation in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Kofi Annan this week again pleaded for financial and military support against the horrific genocide in Darfur. As I write 500 people die every day as a result of the most basic of human rights violations in Sudan. That toll will rise (back) to 1,500 to 2,000 a day within three months.

Here's the report:
Kofi Annan Asks for World Support on Darfur

Rape of women and girls and sexual slavery now numbers in the tens of thousands.

So, quoting directly from the Amnesty International 2005 report, let's compare the tenor of the language used in describing Darfur and the Sudan against the language used to describe George Bush (who is curiously identified personally):

SUDAN: "The parties to the north-south warfare in Sudan made commitments to reach an overall peace agreement by the end of 2004. Wealth and power sharing agreements had already been signed, and interim security arrangements made. In stark contrast to these peace negotiations, thousands of people were killed or raped in the escalating conflict in Darfur, western Sudan, and hundreds of thousands driven from their homes, many of them by government supported militias. Ceasefire agreements were regularly violated by the various fighting forces."

You'll note the very objective reporting of the facts, without editorialization of hyperbole. Certainly Amnesty International condemns the deaths in the Sudan. But there is no anger, no outrage. The facts are fairly reported.

Now read the report on the USA: "The blatant disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law in the war on terror continued to make a mockery of President George Bushs claims that the USA was the global champion of human rights. Images of detainees in US custody tortured in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq shocked the world. War crimes in Iraq, and mounting evidence of the torture and ill-treatment of detainees in US custody in other countries, sent an unequivocal message to the world that human rights may be sacrificed ostensibly in the name of security."

Hatred, vitriol and hyperbole spill from nearly every sentence of the entire report. How is it possible to be so calm about the deaths of 180,000 people, the displacement of over 2 million and the possible starvation of tens of thousands and yet be so outraged over the possible civil rights violation of a few prisoners of war.

Again, let me say that I appreciate and support Amnesty International. And I do not support any violation of Human Rights by the USA.


But Amnesty International is so biased they lose all credibility. In their language, their attitude and their reporting show they feel lack of a very particular standard of judicial due process grievously outweighs genocide , rape, torture and murder in other parts of the world.

I wonder if the world agrees?

Imagine, if you will, a woman who has seen her village bombed and burned in the Sudan. A surprise air raid, just before dawn, from her own government.

Immediately after fleeing her burning home, her family is set upon by attackers on horseback who chase the family into the woods only to slaughter her husband , brothers and sons before her eyes.

But her horror has only just begun. She is captured by her attackers and raped repeatedly as her seven year old daughter is forced to watch.

Displaced, injured and alone, she travels hundreds of miles to a refugee camp. But there the rapes continue. And now her daughter is also attacked. The horseman move freely through the camp, the military protectors do nothing to protect her.

But now her daughter is ill from starvation and abuse. She will die soon.

Do you really think this mother is thanking god she wasn't captured by the Americans and transported to "the gulag of our time," Guantanamo, where she might have just been held without charges. Or perhaps had her religious books mishandled.

Or do you think she just might wish she and her family were subjected to American abuse rather than Sudanese?

No injustice should ever be tolerated, but, perhaps, with less hyperbole directed at George Bush, the world might just come to the aid of those who need it most.

Here is your link to Amnesty International's 2005 Report: http://web.amnesty.org/report2005/index-eng