View Full Version : Peter Tatchell: Why has the left gone soft on human rights?

22-03-2007, 16:30:16
Further to Laz's seriously serious Iraq thread...

There are no worldwide protests to support the Zimbabwean struggle. Large sections of liberal and left opinion have gone soft on their commitment to universal human rights. They rightly condemn the excesses of UK and US government policy, but rarely speak out against oppressors who are non-white or adherents of minority faiths. There are no mass protests against female genital mutilation, forced marriages, the stoning of women and gender apartheid in the Middle East. (http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article2381043.ece)

This chimes in very strongly with Laz's OP in his thread...

Originally posted by Lazarus and the Gimp
I'm currently reading this book-


-and getting a "Hallelujah!" moment. It's a left-wing author asking all the awkward questions about Iraq that I've been banging on about for years.

When I was a teenager, it was simple. Saddam was a genocidal tyrant. I did all the good, left-wing stuff of calling for his removal, and the left was pretty much agreed on that point (the left that I knew at least).

Then he invaded Kuwait and the US got interested. Suddenly you've got this new sound from the left, and the chant is "No war!". OK- it left me wondering just how clear-cut we were on the issue.

By the time of the US occupation of Iraq, you get this tremendous volte-face, and left-wing commentators suggesting "Well, Uncle Saddam wasn't that bad really, and Iraq would be better off with him still in charge".


We cannot allow any form of accommodation of discrimination or injustice to creep into what should be a consistent approach to human rights, turning a blind eye because the perpetrators of these crimes are not right-wing. There is definitely a whiff of left-wing hypocrisy to the extent that the enemy of my enemy is my friend and damn how many causes the left is supposed to uphold that are trampled upon by these new found 'friends' simply because they oppose the 'great satan', the US...

Can't we all just get along - and come down hard on anyone who steps out of line, either on the left or the right...

Lazarus and the Gimp
22-03-2007, 19:19:16