The ‘Implicit’ Sacred Trust of Civilization!

by Maha Al Aswad

EXTREMELY OUTRAGED by the western frenzy over the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill that was supposed to be discussed in the parliament these days. Today the bill was pushed out of parliament for lack of time this session.  The bill was supposed to punish homosexuals by death penalty. I personally consider the bill as nonsense and anti-human, nevertheless critique to a country’s domestic performance towards its citizens, should be through UN special Human Rights bodies. It can also be through regional human rights system like the African Commission and the African court for Human and Peoples’ Rights which are both open to individual complaints against States.  It can also -of course- be through local human rights groups and  international Human Rights NGOS.  Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued statements in this regard.

Photograph: Dai Kurokawa/EPA- From guardian.co.uk

I detest the whole International Legal system, which totally rejects the notion of having other active players on the international scene other than Nation States.  BUT as the same time the current international system has a rule that says ” Sovereigns Are Equal”. Sovereigns here mean the Nation States. You don’t have the freaking right [ as state A] to criticize [ state B] regarding its own domestic affairs.  Both countries agreed to give up some sovereignty to UN Human Rights bodies or regional human rights bodies to speak up and criticize and sometimes investigate state domestic behavior. I personally see great potential in regional systems for human rights compared to the international one. This system proved being useless, corrupt and politicized over the years. But just compare this ~seemingly~ logical  international system to the rude interference in third world countries’ [aka ex-colonies] domestic affairs by super powers [aka ex-colonial powers].

GET OVER IT people!

Get over the the whole idea of the Mandate System which was included in the League of Nations Covenant, transferred later on to the “Trusteeship” system, that was bluntly stipulated in a unique article in the UN charter!. I personally think that both concepts are the same. Colonial powers at that time thought they have an obligation towards “uncivilized” nations to teach them how to be civilized! By colonizing them under the Mandate System, or by de-colonizing them under the Trusteeship System!

Basically, for western powers, having different authentic cultures other than the western culture was considered uncivilized! For them, it required a “sacred trust of civilization”!  The system was eventually abolished in 1994! Only in 1994! With Palau gaining independence from- guess who? the United States of America.  But apparently, the rationale behind it is still live and kicking.

Remember the massive campaign led by western liberal feminists and women’s rights organizations to pave the way in front of the US invasion of Afghanistan? I remember very well all the media frenzy about the oppressed poor Afghan women who are waiting to be saved by the generous West.

Remember the ‘democratization of Iraq’? How can I forget. It was the second major reason for the US invasion on Iraq, after the ‘ weapons of mass destruction’ Saddam Hussein owned, of course.

Women in Afghanistan were ( and still) oppressed and Iraq was a dictatorship, I totally agree. But it doesn’t mean that I support a country’s invasion to any other country. It is called Aggression in International Law, a crimes that falls under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Not to mention atrocities and Crimes Against Humanity committed in those countries by super powers who claim to have a moral obligation to democratize the world, the uncivilized world.  If it was a just world, we would have seen quite a few famous names brought to international justice.

Homosexuals in Uganda and anywhere else deserve to be treated as normal citizens. Sexual behavior is a very private matter that belongs to individuals. States should never interfere to regulate and punish such practice. BUT OTHER STATES SHOULDN’T INTERFERE AS WELL! Not by issuing statements, or so-called annual countries’ freedom reports, and definitely not by imposing any kind of threats.If the bill was discussed in the Ugandan parliament, I am sure 100% it wouldn’t have passed.

It seems that I am criticizing everything here. The international system, super powers, politicization of the international legal system, uselessness of UN human rights bodies in front of the notion of state sovereignty, and hegemony of nation states. Thinking of a way out gives me a severe headache. A way out that indeed puts all people of the world on equal grounds to enjoy their humanity rather than feeling less human inside their states or less human compared to people of other states.