By Aamer Anwar
Two weeks ago President Obama commemorated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I Have a Dream speech’, claiming he shared the dream. Yet King was about more than racial harmony. He believed the Vietnam war diverted attention from poverty at home and saw an irony in sending poverty stricken blacks thousands of miles away to fight for ‘guaranteeing liberties’ when they had no such thing back home.
Unsurprisingly Obama mentioned none of this when he spoke at the same spot in Washington where King made his speech in 1963.Men like King only become heroes once they are dead, deemed no longer a threat, allowing history to be rewritten.King asked why the murder of a citizen of his own nation was a crime, but the murder of citizens of another nation in war was an act of heroic virtue?
That question remains as relevant as ever.
Obama’s military action has stalled for the moment, but as G20 met this week in St. Petersburg, boys with big toys and big egos fought for a photo spot next to Obama as they argued over the right to take military action against Syria. Some plonker on TV news practically accused David Cameron of not being a real man as he won’t get to ride ‘shot gun’ into Syria with Obama.
For once a British PM talked about the priority of giving Humanitarian aid to Syria warning of the ‘worst refugee crisis this century. Yet of the $4.4 Billion promised by G20 to assist the Syrian people, only $1 billion has been handed over by twenty of the world’s richest nations in the last 2 years.
There are now 2 million refugees who have crossed the borders, with 4.2 million displaced internally. In the months ahead hundreds of thousands of children will die of disease, hunger and hypothermia if they aren’t killed first by the regime. In 2 years 150,000 Syrians have died but there is still no progress on how to resolve the crisis.
The World Food Programme is halving the size of its food parcels as the number of refugees increases, Lebanon with hundreds of thousands of refugees is expected this weekend to run out of food and 2.8 million Syrians in rebel held territory face starvation as Assad’s government will not allow in international Aid.
Meanwhile Russia is still supplying weapons to Assad to commit crimes against humanity. For all the talk of Obama trying to win over the likes of China and Russia, on one issue they remain united- their refusal to refer Syria through the UN Security Council to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
The failure to put on notice members of Assad’s regime for war crimes means they know that once Assad gets bumped remnants of the regime will be allowed to carry on business as long as they are compliant. But a referral to the ICC may actually reduce barbaric attacks on civilians from the regime and rebels who think they have immunity.
Meanwhile for G20 it’s business as usual for the world’s richest countries, the march ‘Make Poverty History’ over G8 in 2005 at Gleneagles seems like a very very long time ago.
The poor are poorer and the rich are richer.
One month before King was assassinated he said “If America does not use her vast resource of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too is going to hell.”
Some 50 years on I suspect that if the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today he would have been deeply ashamed about America’s first black President whose priority remains bombs not poverty.
Labour & Selection Rigging
As the investigation into alleged rigging of the Falkirk by-election candidate by Labour comes to an end, I wonder whether Miliband will offer an apology to ‘Unite’ Trade Union whom he accused publicly of rigging the selection battle votes. It now turns out they did nothing wrong. I had wondered why Labour was so worried when its leadership has spent years rigging such selection battles?
Miliband hoped joining the ‘union bashing’ bandwagon without knowing the true facts, would increase his popularity. It did not, his ratings are at an all-time low and this snivelling geek has nothing more to offer to the people of this country.
If he thinks losing ‘Labour’s Soul’ will do it for him, at this rate the Tories will be on course to win the next election, but we do have a trump card to stop that happening again, just Vote for Independence.
Courtesy of Aamer Anwar