Contrast in West’s approach towards Syria and Tibet

NS Venkataraman

NS Venkataraman

By NS Venkataraman

CHENNAI, India, 26 April 2018

For over seven years, civil war has been going on in Syria between the Syrian government and the rebels. Thousands of people have been killed, many more have been injured, and large numbers of people have left Syria and sought asylum in Europe. In the civil war in Syria, the Syrian government has received support from Russia and Iran directly, and the US and its allies have been directly and indirectly extending support to the rebels.

Suddenly, the US and its allies have been expressing deep concern about the plight of innocent citizens in Syria, and saying that chemical weapons have been used by Syrian government in the war against the rebels.

The Syrian government has denied that chemical weapons have been used. But the US and its allies insist that chemical weapons have been used, that such weapons have been stockpiled in different locations in Syria, and that innocent people have lost their lives or sustained enormous injuries due to chemical attack on them.

Claiming that the US and its allies, including France and the UK, have the responsibility to prevent attacks on innocent citizens in Syria by the so called chemical attacks, the three countries jointly bombed several locations in Syria where chemical weapons are supposed to have been stockpiled.

After the bombing of Syria, US and allies complimented themselves that they exhibited a humanitarian gesture by taking steps to save the lives of innocent citizens in Syria.

The question now uppermost in the mind of discerning observers is whether these western countries are really so concerned about humanitarian issues and protecting the lives of innocent people. If they are really so concerned, have they gone to the aid of many other innocent people who have suffered atrocities in different parts of the world?

Are the humanitarian concerns of the US and its allies very selective and subjective?

While viewing the claims of the US, the UK, France, and other countries such
as Australia, Israel and Canada, who are supporting the Syrian bombing as a “humanitarian act”, discerning observers wonder as to why similar humanitarian acts have not been carried out in the case of Tibet, whose people have suffered severe atrocities at the hands of China.

Around sixty years back, China occupied Tibet forcefully and mercilessly arrested, killed, or drove out the Tibetans who were protesting against Chinese occupation of their motherland. In the last several decades, China has suppressed the freedom of the people in Tibet, and imposed an iron curtain so that news about happenings in Tibet would not be known to the outside world except the news that Chinese government would approve. The Chinese government has been slowly and systematically destroying the Tibetan culture and traditions and brainwashing the Tibetan youth.

US and its allies who say that they have humanitarian considerations and sympathy for suffering people that prompted them to bomb Syria, have simply closed their eyes to the plight of Tibetans who are now forced to live in Chinese-occupied territory under a brutal regime.

Instead of condemning China for its acts of aggression in Tibet, US and its allies are bending forward and backward to do business with China, and are taking cautious steps to maintain friendly relations with China, totally ignoring the Chinese acts of aggression in Tibet. Obviously, US and allies adopt such approach towards China, due to China’s economic and military strength, as well as the investment and trade opportunities that China provides them.

Most Tibetans now wonder whether the claims of countries like US, UK, and France about their commitment to the cause of liberty and freedom can be believed.

Tibetans hoping that the free world would come to their aid now or later to get their fatherland back from Chinese occupation, wish that US and its allies would come forward to this as a humanitarian cause, just as US and its allies claim that they are helping the innocent Syrians .

The contrast in approach of US and its allies towards Syria and Tibet is conspicuous and obvious: They will support a humanitarian cause only if it would serve their geopolitical interests.


About the author

NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as a social activist in Chennai, India. He is the founder trustee of Nandini Voice for the Deprived, a Chennai-based not-for-profit organisation serving the cause of the deprived and down-trodden, and working for probity in public life.

More articles by NS Venkataraman on Tibet Sun.

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