In a time of war, especially this present war-without-end-against-terrorism, the United States is cozying up with a bevy of nations that it has recently damned as violators of human rights. One need look no further than Russia.
The Russian war against Muslim minorities in Chechnya has been condemned by the United States in recent months as genocide, and wholesale torture, and an impediment to closer relations between NATO and the U.S. According to a Soviet-era human rights activist, Sergei Grigoryants, The human rights situation in Chechnya has become catastrophic and seems to grow worse every time the Russian authorities declare the war is over and life in Chechnya is normalizing. Grigoryants, head of the Glasnost Foundation, explained, To be a Chechnan anywhere in Russia today is to be damned to pain and persecution. (Fred Weir, Forgotten Terror, In These Times, 11/3/01). Russian soldiers and officers have kidnapped, robbed, raped and murdered Chechens in the midst of its ugly war, without serious prosecution. Over 200,000 Chechens have been sent away from their homeland into neighboring countries as refugees from the Russian war machine. Tens of thousands have been killed in the two years of war. But in the wake of 11 September, 2001 all of this is now irrelevant. Russia, erstwhile human rights violator, has now become Americas ally. Her human rights record be damned. Russia, in an effort to harmonize its national security objectives, has painted the Chechen nationalist and separatist movement as a terrorist movement. Eric Margolis, writing in the Toronto Star, gives quite another perspective, Russia crushed all revolts with ruthless ferocity and twice attempted genocide... Margolis added, Muslim peoples of the CaucasusChechen, Ingush, Circassians, Abkhaz, Dagestanishave been in almost constant revolt against their Russian colonial rulers for three centuries. [fr. Enver Masud, The War on Islam (Arlington, VA: Madrasah Books, 2000), p. 126]
If the 20th Century has taught the world anything, it is that nation-states are fully capable of committing terrorism: The Turkish treatment of the Armenians, the German treatment of the Jews, the Cambodian treatment of its own people, the list is long and bloody. But nations look out for their own interests first. In order to wage a withering and destructive war in Afghanistan, the U.S. needs allies, and Russia fits the bill. And as Russian human rights violations are ignored, the principle of quid pro quo demands the same for the U.S.
Copyright 2001, Mumia Abu-Jamal.