Saturday, 28 April 2012


One of our greatest criticisms of Britain and America, is due to their complete inaction during the Holocaust. First lets get something out the way, they knew exactly what was happening to people in Eastern Europe. Both governments had meetings and consultations, deciding whether to take action but they chose not to act. In fact the British government pressurised the Americans to do nothing, so as not to make them look bad. This inaction is an eternal stain on the characters of these nations.

Humanitarian intervention, is sadly extremely controversial. The issue of state sovereignty (a country being responsible for its own people and affairs) is a major argument against intervention. People and states argue that no country has the right to tell another country what to do. Despite the importance of state sovereignty in some cases, as we mentioned in the 'Women' post, cultural practises cannot supercede the rights of the individual. What we mean by that is (in our opinion), no state has the right to oppress its own people. This then means that we do believe in humanitarian intervention.

At what point does it become the responsibility of foreign powers to step in and help neutralise a situation? We believe that organisations such as the United Nations must facilitate humanitarian intervention if a situation warrants it. How do we decide that though? That is the biggest problem for us here on the ground. Do we only intervene in situations where people are being murdered? What about situations where people's human rights are being completely denied? For us to intervene do we need to wait until blood has actually been spilled?

This lack of action once again points to the fact that we just haven't learned from the past. If the (future) Allied forces had intervened in Germany when they were shipping homosexuals off to concentration camps or denying Jewish people all their basic rights, then perhaps the Holocaust may never have happened? It seems odd that we are still willing to wait for people to be murdered before we even consider intervention. For example, should we be intervening in Uganda if they pass a law saying homosexuals can face the death penalty? Should we intervene on behalf of the women who are beaten publicly on the streets of Egypt? However, even if people are being murdered in their thousands, meaningful intervention cannot be guaranteed. Despite 300,000 people dying in the Darfur genocide, the 26,000 peacekeepers from the UN and African-Union's main job was to report what was going on, not intervene. How many lives need to be destroyed for us to sit up and take notice? 

This issue is difficult and it is hard for a foreign power to essentially invade another sovereign state and tell them what to do. It can be hard to decide at which point humanitarian intervention is justified. All we know is that we should not wait until people are being murdered before we step in. We must learn the lessons of the past. We must learn from the mistakes of the Allied forces. We must not allow great injustices to occur and we must protect the vulnerable. Otherwise in fifty years, people will look back at us and ask 'why did you do nothing!?'

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