03.02.2024 Feature Article

The “Wretched Of The Earth” Have No Protection In Today’s World

The Wretched Of The Earth Have No Protection In Todays World
03.02.2024 LISTEN

IT is unbelievable, isn’t it, that countries like Israel and Russia, which spend millions of dollars each year, seeking to create a `’good image” for themselves in the world, can, nevertheless conduct themselves with such impunity as to astonish the very citizens of the world they spend money to try and impress?

If, before February 2023, someone had told you that Super-Power Russia would launch a ruthless onslaught against Ukraine, for merely announcing that it was taking steps to join the North Atlantic Organisation (NATO) would you have believed it? A secret, subversive movement against Ukraine, yes. Many countries create secret services for just such purposes. But a hard-hitting open-ended war, in which daily television news, show Russian warplanes and drones pounding and pounding Ukrainian cities, towns and villages with powerful bombs?

Russia flattening Ukrainian hospitals and schools; Russia interrupting Ukrainian farm-work and international trade; Russia completely unmoved by appeals from small friendly countries to stop creating a feeling of insecurity amongst them?

Alas, any feeling of insecurity amongst the weak nations of the earth, has been justified by how Israel has ignored world opinion and used the excuse of a senseless operation by the leadership of Hamas in Gaza, on 7th October 2023, to try and deport the entire 2-million populace of Gaza.

As in Russia’s lawless actions in Ukraine, the Israeli attacks on alleged Hamas “hideouts” in Gaza, have been widely televised to the world. But Israel does not care. ‘Proportionate’ response? Israel doesn’t seem to have heard of that concept. Civilians have been ordered out of their homes. The roads on to which they have been herded – like cattle being “stampeded” out of areas no longer allocated to them – have no ordinary water or food supplies; no fuel. It is only when the Israeli military allow it *that such supplies can reach the uprooted people as they march to – they know not where.

And the world watches. Millions of people condemn Israel’s heartless actions. But it’s all futile. The countries that created Israel – the US, the UK, France and other Western countryside – cannot even summon the courage or concern to call on Israel to “cease fire”. Instead, they make “diplomatic journeys” during which they argue fruitlessly about “pauses” in the killings. “Pauses”? Of what usen will thatb be to the hapless babies whose lives are being regularly sucked out from incubators, in hospitals devoid of water and electricity?

It is all beyond understanding. And the observer of the international scene ponders: did the horrors unleashed by the Second World War actually end in 1945? Did the United Nations Organisation (UNO) really succeed the impotent League of Nations after the Second World War? And did the Cold War that dominated the UNO until 1991 end? Where is the “peace dividend” that was widely touted as something that would follow the end of the Cold War, after 1991?

What has happened to the Non-Aligned Nations – the body that attempted to bring peace to the world, by acting together in the UNO, to bring pressure on the Super-Powers not to threaten the world with arms again?

All the optimism has vanished from the world, hasn’t it? Russia that was supposed to constitute a countervailing power to put pressure on the USA and its allies to behave lawfully on the international scene, is today, a worse bully than any other country. And Israel, which in the days of the “Cold War”, was careful of its military actions because it was frightened of Russia helping Israel’s enemies in the Middle East, now feels free to do what it likes, because Russia is preoccupied with its own lawless military action elsewhere (Ukraine).

The lesson for weak countries, then, is this: watch your internal tensions carefully. Never open yourself to outside

intervention of any sort – be it in the economic or socio-political sphere. For unscrupulous opportunists will take advantage of it and bring ruination to your people.

And pray – who are the “unscrupulous” nations waiting in the wings? You will never know. Because they change from year to year. So guard yourself, for it has been amply demonstrated by history that no country ever has “permanent friends”. But it does possess “permanent interests.”

Let Ukraine and Gaza warn us that the future can turn into darkness, at the drop of a hat. Meanwhile, we should try and reinforce the efforts of courageous nations, like South Africa, that are going out on a limb, to remind the conscienceless members of the international community that the world is watching them. Certainly, South Africa’s concerns of today, are not uniformed by its own tribulations – watched with callous unconcern by

certain powerful countries – of yesteryears. Long may South Africa’s conscience serve as a beacon of light to “the wretched of the earth.”