Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ah, idealism

Amnesty International wants an arms embargo in Israel and Palestine. From their press release:

A full arms embargo on all parties involved in the Gaza conflict is urgently needed to prevent further unlawful attacks and other violations of international law, as the civilian death toll continues to mount in Gaza. At least 900 Palestinians have so far been killed, more than a third of them civilians, including some 200 Palestinian children – as more US munitions are en route to the region.

“The last thing that is needed now is more weapons and munitions in the region, which is awash with arms that are being used in a manner which contravenes international law and is having a devastating effect on the civilian population in Gaza,” said Malcolm Smart, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

Amnesty International says the UN Security Council must act now and impose an immediate, comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict in Gaza to prevent any further flow of arms to the warring parties.

As far as feasibility, this one is slightly less likely to happen than Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," though it's at least slightly more on point than the ongoing boycott attempt of Caterpillar because of Israeli use of its bulldozers to build settlements. (Sidenote: this may be the most misbegotten boycott attempt ever. Will they go after the tool companies who make the hammers and nails used to build the settlements next?) But Amnesty's embargo call does beg the question: what exactly is the difference between Israel/Palestine and other conflict zones where arms embargoes were implemented by the Security Council and were fairly successful... say, Liberia and Sierra Leone? What's that? Politics, you say? What are those?

All I know is, as a freshman in college, I joined an environmental group called Free The Planet! and duly protested corporations like Citigroup (little aware that what was once the world's largest bank would one day be completely undone by the financial crisis). I remember when I had this kind of idealism. Vaguely. Not sure what I was thinking. The world is not an idealistic place.

No comments: