Saturday, December 25, 2010
The killings and rapes in Bangladesh have not yet been investigated and never will be because accountability of the army and the state is an unheard of concept here and has led to the atrocities in Balochistan
Deviant states and institutions conveniently use the excuse of lack of 'proper guidelines' to explain away atrocities, excesses and outrages by their functionaries against their own people, those whose land they occupy, or are involved in illegal wars against. This they think is a good enough fig leaf to justify their deliberately perpetrated crimes against humanity.
Not many in the present generation would have heard of M? Lai. On March 16, 1968, during the Vietnam War, a massacre conducted by Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade of the Americal Division, United States Army took place in the hamlets of M? Lai and My Khe of Son M? village; 347-504 unarmed citizens were murdered. All the victims were civilians, mostly women, children, infants and elderly people. Many were raped, beaten, tortured, and some of the bodies were found mutilated. The incident was exposed in 1969.
Initially 26 US soldiers were charged with criminal offences for their actions at M? Lai but in spite of all the evidence only 2nd Lieutenant William Calley, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, was convicted of killing 22 villagers. Originally given a life sentence, he served three and a half years under house arrest.
Mau Mau is another unfamiliar word that the new generation needs to know. Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta wanted independence from the British and started the Mau Mau movement dedicated to overthrowing the colonial regime. In 1952, Kenya's Governor Sir Evelyn Baring, amid the growth of the Mau Mau movement, declared a state of emergency. Baring's administration devised the "dilution technique" — a system of assaults and psychological shocks to detainees, to force compliance from the toughest Mau Mau supporters.
London sent troops, naturally without 'proper guidelines', to crush the rebellion and accordingly the Kenyan administration built a series of 'screening' or interrogation camps designed to break the will of the suspects. During the fighting at least 150,000 Kenyans were subjected to screening. Official figures are that 11,000 rebels were killed but academics say twice that number died; special courts sent more than 1,000 rebels to the gallows. Incidents of many prisoners being burnt after beatings were recorded. The uprising was put down in 1960 and Kenya gained independence in 1963.
The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) says 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed and 160,000 people were detained in appalling conditions. The extent of the sufferings of the Kenyan people has not been recorded in the documents released now but have been horrendous. The irony of it all is at that time all was either denied or misreported though the cabinet in London knew full well what was happening.
Released papers show that a commander, Terence Gavaghan, had developed the techniques at the Mwea camps in central Kenya — and needed permission to treat the worst detainees in a "rough way". The cabinet minister's approval came soon. The 'Cowan Plan', a regime of forced labour under threat of beatings, was approved by the government and it contained instructions that in effect authorised unlawful use of violence against the detainees.
The detainees were forced to work, beaten on refusal, and harsh treatment was reserved for the ringleaders of the 'Mau Mau moan' — a chant of defiance. The European officers themselves carried out the violence, the senior ones leading and directing. A ministerial delegation saw firsthand prisoners beaten for refusing to don camp clothes but the world was kept in the dark.
The documents disclose that officials were telling ministers as early as 1953 about forced labour in the camps and that "if therefore we are going to sin, we must sin quietly". Governor Baring told Alan Lennox-Boyd, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, that eight European officers had been accused of serious crimes, including accessory to murder. They would be given immunity from prosecution.
Now three Kenyan men and two women, survivors of the detention camps, say they suffered castration, sexual abuse and severe beatings in the detention camps administered by the British government and want an apology and financial compensation from London. The government denies the claim, saying London cannot be held responsible for the actions of a former colonial administration. I wonder if London would give up Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands because it should not be responsible for the deeds of their past governments?
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Agent Orange, napalm, depleted uranium weapons, invasion and killings of thousands of civilians of Afghanistan and Iraq, Baha Mousa's murder, Abu Ghraib, rendition of Belhaj and thousands others, an infinitely long list of atrocities and crimes against humanity cannot be attributed to lack of proper guidelines. Unfortunately, deviant states like deviant tyrants remain unanswerable as long as they are powerful.
Traits of inhumanity are predominant in the states here too, otherwise why would the discovery of mass graves across four districts of Kashmir with 2,156 unidentified bodies be sidelined for the Anna Hazare circus? Why would there be Salwa Judum, al-Badar, al-Shams, the Gujarat pogrom, lynching suspected bandits, killing of members of minority groups and the rampant death squads in Balochistan? The latest victim being Javid Naseer Rind, former Deputy Editor Daily Tawar, a leading Urdu language anti-government Baloch newspaper kidnapped on September 10 by unidentified people.
The killings and rapes in Bangladesh have not yet been investigated and never will be because accountability of the army and the state is an unheard of concept here and has led to the atrocities in Balochistan where now torturing and killing abducted persons has become the favourite pastime of the army and the state. This is not because there are no 'proper guidelines' but because these are the guidelines the state gives for dealing with people who demand their rights, just like the British dealt with the Mau Mau in Kenya. All this has happened in the past and will continue in future unless the balance of forces radically changes, for which the Baloch continue to struggle.
It seems we humans lack humanity and are mostly human in form only and this probably explains our callous and indifferent attitudes towards the sufferings of others, and deriving sadistic pleasure from torturing, killing, maiming and blowing up others.
Hafiz Shirazi says:
"Wafa-o-Mehar Nako Bashad, Agar Be-Aamouzi,
Wagarna Har Kay To Beeni Sitamgari Danad."
(Learn, we must, magnificent qualities of love, compassion and humanity,
For even untutored we master malice, hatred, vindictiveness and brutality.)
I want to inform my readers that I will be taking a three months break for health reasons. Computer-related problems of low back pain and neck pain are the culprits. Once back to health I will write regularly. Vintage and classic models may have some value but become increasingly hard to keep in top condition.
"Ghalib-e-Khasta Ke Baghair Kaun Se Kaam Band Hain,
Roiye Zaar Zaar Kya, Keejiye Haaye Haaye Kyun."
(As the world ceases not for Ghalib the frail and broken, So why grieve and mourn the forgotten and forsaken.)
The writer has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Afghan leftist , international revolutionary. Trained many revolutionaries from 1978 to 1992 in the art of armed insurrection. Hizb e Parcham All we know is that Marx was right. A graduate of USSR Intelligence school at Tashkent and Kiev. Originally a Baloch from Farah province in Afghanistan and now settled in Quetta Pakistan.
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