Obama is not the only hypocrite

Published: January 6, 2013
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Have you paid any attention to the scores killed in your own county everyday? PHOTO: REUTERS

A few weeks ago, there was a great outrage when the killing of school children in the US state of Connecticut, USA was compared to the tragic deaths of children killed in drone attacks in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. An article in the Guardian succinctly described the gloom felt all over Pakistan as children lose their lives as collateral damage.

All criticism was regarded impassively by US diplomats who are rumoured to have ignored similar sentiments expressed by the NYU-Stanford report on drones.

If our fury is directed towards the unfair attention and outrage felt for the loss of some lives, and sheer ignorance towards other killings, we must take a moment to reflect on the unfairness of this.

Having worked long enough for the Peshawar city pages of The Express Tribune, it is safe to say that at least three to four stories are filed daily about people being murdered because of  ‘petty arguments’ in the province.

These stories pour in from just a couple of districts in the entire province, and that too from families of victims who are brave enough to lodge FIRs with the police.

If we feel sympathy for one particular killing incident, we must remember that dozens more, lives are lost exactly the same way. Most of them are just remembered through a mere 30-word brief, probably alongside a news story about a motorcycle theft.

It’s not that we should not care about high-profile deaths, but we must care about other injustices just as much. All life should be of equal worth.

We are quick to criticise US President Barack Obama’s speech after the Connecticut incident, and say that it is ironic that his sympathy isn’t directed towards children killed through drone strikes in Pakistan.

But then, aren’t we perpetuating the same ‘irony’? Aren’t we being unfair too? We must stop and think.

Read more by Myra here or follow her on Twitter @myrakhan

Myra Khan

Myra Khan

A former sub-editor on the Peshawar desk at The Express Tribune. She tweets @myrakhan

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ahmed Ibrahim

    Yes women and children die in drone strikes but because we are killing such high-profile targets, collateral damage is acceptable to some extentRecommend

  • Critical

    If you use women and children as human shields,then not every country has the compassion to leave you alone,certainly not US….

    To all those whose kids died due to Drone attacks,please stop harboring terrorists in your home and if you really want to do so to help your holy cause,then send your kids to some relative’s house….

    Dont sacrifice them to prove a pointRecommend

  • Pessimist

    Just a thought, if our own government and army are not bothered about drone victims, then why on earth should Obama be bothered? I do not agree with his policies, but at least he is protecting his people. Meanwhile our government continues with it’s rhetorical non-sense about drones.

    It seems Pakistanis want to blame Obama for everything…Recommend

  • Rizwan Ali

    “We must stop and think” – stop of what? i didnt get conclusion of this post. shouldnt we be criticising such hypocrisy at all levels whether its external or internal? as essence of title is

    i dont see any point of quoting Malala’s case here, few cases get hype (for many reasons), like recent Delhi rape case, so should indians stop protesting for student victim that why her; rapes happen every hour there? same goes for Shahzebs case? such are symbolic figures to fight for CAUSE.

    Obama’s hyporcisy counts here, not only him, our establishment need to assure that blood of our chidren is as red as theirs.Recommend

  • Myra

    @Critical:
    @Ahmed Ibrahim:
    This is actually about Shahzeb KhanRecommend

  • Myra

    @Rizwan Ali:
    It is not about Malala at all! I was not even thinking about Malala… About how the death of Shahzeb Khan and the amount of media attention that got by the same people criticising others for doing the same. Unfortunately ET sometimes edits things.Recommend

  • Philosiraptor

    Extra judicial killing by dictator using secret police is bad. Extra judicial killing by drone is praised by West and their lovers. Is this not hypocrisy?Recommend

  • De

    @Critical
    You are utterly shameless. Even when kids are going to school they are being killed by drone attacks. Stop thinking of the U.S as some god sent people who can’t do anything wrong. Accept that they kill innocents. There are many accounts of that. And no the terrorists have their own dens where they hide. They don’t go around looking for kids to hold up while a drone is hovering around in the area. It’s funny how u support such a disgusting act when America is the one perpetuating such attacks. It’s so revolting! You should read all the stories of the innocent children being killed and how were they being killed. I’m 100% sure u support Israel’s massacre of Gaza too claiming that ‘Hamas a terrorist organisation controls the territory’ even though its an ELECTED party. Oh no u will only look into Cases of Balochistan and AhmedisRecommend

  • Salman

    Crocodile Tears of Obama for Connecticut shooting…and LMAO for Killing from Drones! enough said… Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    Tell me something: If there no Terrorists in Pakistan, would US still use the Drones?

    Whose fault is it that people who attack Americans are ensconced in a safe area in Pakistan? US’s?

    Isn’t it Obama’s duty and promise to the American people that he will protect them, no matter what? Is it his duty to protect Pakistanis who get killed as collateral damage?

    Whose job is it to protect Pakistanis? If they have the capabilities to stop the US drones, why aren’t they doing that? Doesn’t that mean Pak Military is turning an intentional blind eye?

    Why is no one writing an article about this?Recommend

  • Insaan

    Author “If we feel sympathy for one particular killing incident, we must remember that dozens more, lives are lost exactly the same way.”

    In Pakistan killing children and women by suicide bombings in mosques, markets and funerals is a way of life. You forgot to mention target killings of minorities.

    Pakistan should take care of its terrorists so no drone strikes are needed. Pakistan actually helps terrorists.Recommend

  • Parvez

    I think the title is all wrong. Obama is not the hypocrite, as a matter of fact far from it. Its us and our policies that are hypocritical.Recommend

  • Zameer Qureshi

    I thought it was a well-written and thought provoking piece. We often ignore stark realities and only see things from a Pakistani viewpoint.Recommend

  • Rizwan Ali

    @Myra:

    “one particular killing incident” links incorrect i guess and created confusion.

    nice effort!Recommend

  • Talha Naeem

    @Ahmed Ibrahim:
    Sir Pakistan or its people do not consider the killing of high profile as something in favor of Pakistan. If America breaks our sovereignty then it is a threat. Answer me that if Pakistan do the same with America, will the American government or people of America allow us to do that? The answer will be NO even if we assure them that high profile targets will be the main point and civilian causalities will be minimal in amount. The same is the case with PakistanRecommend

  • http://tribune.com p r sharna

    Those who are against the drone attacks because it hurts their feelings on the erosion of sovereignty. This is a face saving propaganda by the helpless politicians as the drone attacks have been allowed by the establishment (voluntarily or involuntarily) Now collateral damage ( killing of innocent ) can be avoided if Pakistan herself does the job what Drones are intended to do. Now the question be asked to yourselves including the perspective of West is, the militant Organisations involved in the activities of violence/ killings on the soil of USA / West , having safe heavens in North Waziristan, Pakistan do not deserve to be caught and and pass through the judicial process. And if Yes, is it not the responsibility of Pakistan. And if NO( means militants have not committed any such crime)then it is to be declared by the state accordingly. . Failing which Drone strikes shall be carried out and shall stand justified by Majority of the global community even though it causes very sad.collateral damage too. Recommend

  • manish rohera

    Each crime is a crime but some crimes become symbol of the collective criminal mindset of our society it may be delhi or peshawar such cases are not showing hypocrisy but the mindset of the common people of the country who are emotional but can’t go on street for each and every case but these can shake the governments make system move fast which is relatively slow in both countries and will create a fear in others and will be a impediment of for others who think that can easily get away with it we have been able change something here in india but will be long process to the male chauvinistic society and in case of pakistan it will take time to change their feudalistic and male chauvinistic society.Hence will conclude by saying to the author please don’t be a pessimist in each and everything this is not hypocrisy but common people seeking their fundamental right “Right to be protected”.Manish Rohera (India) Recommend

  • sars

    I agree with the author. If we want to keep our countrymen safe from drones and becoming collateral damage, we need to stop the monsters that hide in our midst and attack us.

    If we do not do anything then others may well target us, for their own security.

    Why are innocent people killed by drones any different from innocent people killed on the streets , or in markets or mosques.

    When raymond davis killed two pakistani men the whole country protested, when one of the victims wife’s father killed her himself we were noticibly silent. Do only people killed by americans have any value???Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Myra,

    Obama is a conridiction and an imposter! Do not take his example as a presience for anything. On the building of the USA supreme court, you will notice the figure of a n individual holdig a book, this is supposed to represent Moses holding the Ten Commandments.

    Though shall not kill is the commandment of God. Has any american president followed this golden command? On the contrary most have ordered eath for people aroud the world. Jimmy carter once claimed that none die on his watch!

    keep writing and this is one way in our 21st century Knowledge Community to reach parts of the world which are far away from that of yours.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Rex Minor

    @sars:
    The monsters usualy have not the ability to hide nor the skill to live in the midst of communities they strike. They are usualy foreign elements, that is why they are called foreign, because of their culture, language and commitment to the community they attack. There s no such thing as terrorism today in the civilised world; no individual or a group of individuals have any fancy ideas of attaining their political aims by terror or terrorising civilians. What we witness today is the ‘RESISTANCE’ which iniviuals and groups of people are demonstrating around the world against hegemony, injustice and forceful occupation of their lands;from Northern Ireland to Palestine to Yemen and Afghanistan, Kashmir and Pakistan. Try to unerstand how the world functions today, were the words of Jian Assange on xmass eve.

    Obama is proposing Chuck Hagel as the next Defence Minister, since he chairs currently the committee which is going to cut down military expenditure; while proposing John Baner as the next CIA chief who is the architect of DRONE war as the cheaper way to conuct military operations and was also the man who supported the torture of prisoners under the banner of “Enhanced Interrogation”. Chuck is one of the best moderate a liberal among the republicans and believes in negotiations instead of war and is not popular with the Israeli lobbyists.

    Talibans are today the most lethal force on the war front, not monsters, since they are armed with ‘Jehad’ and suicide force which they use against all those regardless of their faith who support the American occupation or use of drones. They are now following George W Bush strategy, if you are for them than you are against us. Take care, I am just an observer and have been following up on the war for some time.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Alz

    Our heart sunk and ache a lot when we see children dying either in US or Pakistan reason is it’s human nature. Who is hypocrite and who’s not its both sides of the world has to decide make them realise the simple act live and let them live or in other case tit for tat. Irony is that we don’t go into facts and figures least amount of research mostly based on the fabricated stories in the news we try to make our points to be more factual and authentic. We can’t impose our views and opinions on other people unless or untill it’s based on the meaningful and genuine research with facts and figures. Whole point is how many of children are dying with unprecedent and brutal air strike no one know even the author doesn’t even have the clue. With few dying in US how would that justify the illegal and immoral killing of children in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    @Alz:

    there is only one consolation for decent people who genuinely feel the pain of victims; God has created the universe and controls it as well!

    Rex Minor Recommend