Meet the ‘unpeople’ – Whose views don’t matter to West’s faux-democrats (OP-ED)
What do these groups of people have in common?
* The millions of Syrians - perhaps a majority - who support their government, or at least regard it as preferable to the alternatives.
* Iranians who voted for Ahmadinejad in the 2009 Presidential election.
* Belarusians who support President Lukashenko.
* Libyans who did not support the violent NATO-backed ‘revolution’ against Muammar Gaddafi.
* People who lived in communist countries in Eastern Europe and who thought there were positive aspects of life under communism.
* Ukrainian citizens who did not support 'EuroMaidan'.
* Venezuelans who voted for Chavez and Maduro.
* Russians who support United Russia or the Communist Party.
* Labour party members and registered supporters who voted for Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership election.
The answer is that all of the above are examples of 'unpeople’ - human beings whose views don't matter to Western Democrats.
A belief in democracy should mean respecting the idea that all peoples’ views are equal. However, that's not the way it works in today's so-called 'democracy.' Today, those who have the wrong views (i.e. views which don’t align with the interests of Western elites) are treated as if they don’t exist.
Let’s start with Syria. The 'Assad must go' brigade in the West show a staggering disregard for the views of the millions of Syrians who - for whatever reason - want their President to stay in power.
Right from the start of the conflict, only the views of Syrians opposed to their government and those who wanted it to be overthrown by violence have mattered to Western ‘democrats’. Any evidence which showed that large numbers of Syrians actually supported Assad was simply ignored.
In January 2012, the Guardian’s veteran foreign correspondent Jonathan Steele, a man with great first-hand knowledge of Syria and the Middle East, wrote a comment piece on a YouGov poll which showed that 55 percent of Syrians supported their President. It was entitled: ’Most Syrians back President Assad, but you’d never know from Western media’.
Needless to say, Steele was attacked for saying the unspeakable as far as the Western faux-democrats are concerned.
Syrians who support the government - and even Syrians who aren’t Baathists, but who engaged in the political process after the introduction of the new 2012 constitution - don’t exist for the West’s faux-democrats, because they have the ’wrong’ views.
Consider the furor when a peace activist - a Syrian-based nun called Mother Agnes Mariam, aged 61, was invited to speak at a Stop the War conference in November 2013. It was deemed outrageous that Mother Agnes had been invited as she was ’pro-Assad’, the Western faux-democrats screeched.
A despicable campaign - which I wrote about here - was launched to get other speakers to boycott the meeting and get the invitation to Mother Agnes cancelled. In the end, Mother Agnes withdrew from the conference.
No credible evidence was produced that she was ’pro-Assad’, but let’s just suppose that Mother Agnes had been a supporter of the Syrian government. Did that mean that she should be prevented from speaking? Western faux-democrats clearly thought so, because for them people who support the Syrian government- even if they are a majority of people in Syria - are ‘unpeople’.
Revealingly, the same people who worked for Mother Agnes to be ‘disinvited’ have this week been attacking Stop the War for not having any anti-Assad Syrians on their platform at a recent meeting. For these faux-democrats it’s clear that only Syrians who oppose their government should be allowed to voice their opinions in public meetings in Britain.
The millions of Iranians who voted for the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran’s Presidential election of 2009 were ‘unpeople’ too. How could it be that the awful Ahmadinejad got 62.6 percent of the vote the faux-democrats declared? All the people we know from Iran loathe him and would much prefer it if the Shah was still in control! The result simply has to be a fix!
In fact, it was left to former CIA officer Bob Baer, a man who knows Iran extremely well, to point out that Western polls actually predicted a higher share of the vote for Ahmadinejad than he actually got. Baer explained how the West viewed Iran through a very distorted lens - which only really acknowledged the views of ‘liberal’ opponents of the Islamic revolution as legitimate.
“Most of the demonstrations and rioting I've seen in the news are taking place in north Tehran, around Tehran University and in public places like Azadi Square. These are, for the most part, areas where the educated and well-off live — Iran's liberal middle class. These are also the same neighborhoods that little doubt voted for Mir-Hossein Mousavi, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's rival, who now claims that the election was stolen. But I have yet to see any pictures from south Tehran, where the poor live. Or from other Iranian slums,” Baer wrote.
But of course for the West’s phony democrats, the inhabitants of south Tehran and other working-class areas in the Islamic Republic where Ahmadinejad, the son of blacksmith, gained his support, were ‘unpeople’.
It’s the same for those who support communism, or have nostalgia for some aspects of communism in Eastern Europe. My wife grew up in Hungary in the 1970s and 80s. She wrote about her everyday life behind the so-called ‘Iron Curtain’ and was inundated with emails from others who had the same experiences - and who thought it so refreshing to read such articles, considering that usually it’s only the voices of fierce anti-communists that are heard.
Again, for the West’s faux-democrats the opinions of people like my wife - working-class people who actually lived and worked in the countries in question don’t count - the view of anti-communist ideologues in the West (some of whom never visited an Eastern European communist country) have to take precedence.
All over the world, if your politics is not aligned with the interests of the Western elites, your views count for nothing. You are an ‘unperson’. By the same measure, if you're supporting the favored candidate of the West, your views will be given special, elevated status.
That's why Russian 'liberals' are portrayed as the opposition to United Russia - and not the Communists, who are in fact the biggest opposition party. But of course, the sizeable support for Communists can’t be acknowledged.
By contrast, the electoral support for pro-Western liberals in Russia is tiny but these ‘liberals’ are portrayed as the people who really should be running Russia - and all in the name of ‘democracy’!
It’s a similar story in Venezuela. The late Hugo Chavez won regular victories in elections and referendums and was beloved by ordinary Venezuelans. But he was labeled a ‘dictator’ by Western ‘democrats’, and accused by Canadian’s neocon Prime Minister Stephen Harper of wanting "to turn back the clock on the democratic progress that’s been made in the hemisphere".
Of course, the views of the ‘democratic’ opposition in Venezuela are deemed more important than the views of those who support the PSUV.
In an interview earlier this year, John Pilger explained why: “Washington wants to get rid of the Venezuelan government because it is independent of US designs for the region and because Venezuela has the greatest proven oil reserves in the world and uses its oil revenue to improve the quality of ordinary lives.”
In Ukraine in late 2013/early 2014, the views of the people in the Maidan receiving cookies and speeches from Victoria Nuland, John McCain and co, were the only ones that mattered. There was no evidence that the Maidan protestors spoke for the majority of Ukrainians - but still their cause was described as being ‘pro-democracy’. Supporters of the Party of Regions or the Communists were simply ‘unpeople’ whose views did not count.
This process of not recognizing people's views if they’re not the ’right’ ones occurs in Western countries too. We saw a classic example of that this summer with the stunning victory of Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election.
The Corbyn surge did a great job in exposing the faux-democrats in our midst. First, there were calls for the contest to be suspended when it was clear that the socialist candidate was storming ahead. Democracy? It’s only supposed to deliver results that we - the elite - approve of!
Without any sense of irony, ‘pro-democracy’ Establishment commentators called for Labour MPs to declare that they wouldn’t serve under the party’s democratically elected leader. There were calls too for Corbyn to be toppled.
2/2 The Times on Labour democracy, 2015... pic.twitter.com/vqM5OXbrOI— Media Lens (@medialens) August 11, 2015
Again, the views of the 251,417 people who voted for Corbyn don’t count - only the views of those in the Labour party who oppose him. These New Labour critics of Corbyn are, needless to say given a prominent hearing in the media and hailed as heroes fighting to save ‘democracy’ whereas in fact they’re trying their best to subvert it.
When Western elites and their media stenographers talk of 'democracy' it’s clear that they mean that power should only go to those groups/parties/leaders who will govern the country for the benefit of those elites, regardless of how much actual support these groups/parties/leaders actually have. 'Assad must go' not because that’s what a majority of Syrians want, but because Assad staying in power in a country of enormous geostrategic importance does not suit the interests of the most powerful people in the West.
Across the world, the views of millions of people are ignored - ironically by people who boast loudest about their support for ‘democracy’. But democracy if it means anything means respecting equally the views of everyone, not elevating the views of some groups above others just because their candidates are good for Washington and its allies - which is what happens in practice.
Racist and imperialist attitudes underpin the mindset of the Western faux democrats. These people, most of whom have never set foot in Syria, believe they have to right to dictate who should or shouldn’t be running the country. The Western faux-democrat believes that it’s the opposition that should be ruling Venezuela, and that someone like Garry Kasparov or Mikhail Khodorkovsky should be in the Kremlin and not Vladimir Putin, or heaven forbid, Gennady Zyuganov.
Snobbery plays its part too. Generally it’s the working class, the unemployed, the urban and rural poor who support the economically populist candidates that the Western elites don’t like (e.g. Hugo Chavez) and the upper middle-classes living in the ‘best’ parts of town, who support the ’liberal’ candidates the West does like - as ‘liberalism’ gives Western elites the greatest opportunity to pillage the country‘s resources. The same applies at home too.
“The strange breed of ‘unpeople’ can be found everywhere, including the United States: in the prisons that are an international scandal, the food kitchens, the decaying slums,” wrote Chomsky in 2012.
And of course while millions are ignored, wealthy émigré voices from countries which have the ’wrong’ leaders, are given the most attention - as we saw with the feting of billionaire fraudster Boris Berezovsky in the UK.
Berezovsky even appeared on an edition of BBC’s Question Time - a privilege not given to ’unpeople’ Russians who were impoverished by robber baron oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky in the 1990s.
Not only do ‘unpeople’s’ views not count; they have no human rights either. Parties that they support can be banned with no condemnation from Western supporters of ’free speech’. ‘Unpeople’ can be put in cages and held as human shields, but it won’t be the fault of their oppressors.
‘Unpeople’ can be burned alive - as they were in Odessa or subject to racist pogroms as they were in ’liberated’ Libya and Western faux-democrats show not the slightest bit of concern. ‘Unpeople’ can be blown to pieces by terrorists/’moderate rebels’ in Syria, and supporters of the ‘war on terror’ are silent. Compare, as Noam Chomsky did, the outrage over the Charlie Hebdo killings, with the elite reaction to the murder of 16 innocent people when the headquarters of Serbian television RTS was bombed by NATO in 1999. The difference was of course, that unlike the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, the workers at Serbian TV were ‘unpeople’: no marches were held in Western capitals in their honor.
In his 2007, Mark Curtis used the term ‘unpeople’ to describe the 10 million or so victims of British human rights abuses since 1945.
But it goes way beyond that. The term describes everyone on this planet whose views don’t align with the interests of Western elites. What genuine supporters of democracy must do is to make sure that the voices of ‘unpeople' are heard.
We must challenge at any opportunity, the propaganda which seeks to dismiss the views of Syrians who don’t support violent ‘rebels’, of Venezuelans who support the Bolivarian Revolution, of Russians who don’t want a return to the Yeltsin era, of Labour members who voted for Jeremy Corbyn, of Ukrainians who didn‘t take cookies from Victoria Nuland in the Maidan.
Democracy means everyone having a say - and not just those who arrogant western elites and their stenographers decide are ’acceptable’.
And when it comes to Syria, let’s not forget that failure to acknowledge the views of the ‘unpeople’ who support their government only means prolonging the conflict still further.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.