Tuesday, June 11, 2013

'Arrest Obama when he visits' South Africa

Times Live
Katharine Child
June 11, 2013.

The Muslim Lawyers Association in Johannesburg wants US President Barack Obama arrested and tried for war crimes when he arrives in South Africa on June 29.

It submitted a 600-plus page document to the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions on Friday asking for an investigation into Obama's involvement in the Middle East.

Group spokesman Yousha Tayob said Obama ordered drone strikes that killed innocent civilians.

In terms of the Rome Statute, South Africa has the right to prosecute a war criminal on its territory, said Tayob.

Researchers from New York University School of Law and Stanford University Law School recently released a report entitled "Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan".

They found that in four years Obama commissioned five times more drone attacks than former president George W Bush did in his two terms in the White House .

The report estimates drones have killed between 474 and 881 civilians, including 176 children.

The US Embassy in South Africa's spokesman Jack Hillmeyer said it had "no comment".

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Bulelwa Makeke said the office had received the docket and was studying it.

Read the original article here.
Comment: The Muslims Lawyers Association's Press Release on what they calling the "Obama Docket" was carried here at blog central the day it was released (June 7).  It has received very little media exposure but that may change as Obama's visit draws nearer.

It is a 600 page document so I guess the NPA can be excused for not having an immediate response though you should not be holding your breath that anything substantive will emerge before Obama arrives and leaves.

If you click on the link of the original article above you can mosey down and look at the dumbass comments from some readers of Times Live.

As expected, there are folks who equate all Muslims with Al Qaeda.  There are also those similarly deluded racists who think that all Muslims are Indian and, therefore, they are to be derided alongside the controversial Gupta family who happen to be Hindu.

I know that comment sections are not an absolutely accurate reflection of what any given population may think of an issue - any issue.

But it cannot be denied that what we see in these commentaries are strands of anti-Muslim/Islam vitriol that is common in the West, particularly the US and the UK.

This comment from David Lewis illustrates some of the idiocy that floats as commentary opinion on Muslims and Islam in South Africa:
"South Africa is a secular country not a theocracy. We a democratic state not a state run by the Mullahs. Mandela is the Kemal Ataturk of South Africa, not the Ayatollah Khomeini. Barack Obama is the leader of the free world, not the representative of God on planet earth. I suggest all those members of Gods party complaining about Obama re-evaluate their failure to embrace the Freedom Charter. Islamic Colonialism and Imperialism is the result of racism and Anti-Semitism."
Nothing in the "Obama Docket" supposes that South Africa is a "theocracy".  And who is "God's party" anyway?  Also, what is "Islamic Colonialism and Imperialism"?

What absolute nonsense.  Where was this man educated?

The Obama Docket may be symbolic motioning at best but what it represents is an attempt by an interest group in South Africa to advance the rule of law.  And the reason is because Obama has perpetrated serious and grievous crimes against humanity.  South Africa as a signatory to the Rome Statute is obliged to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity.

This is, therefore, a human rights issue with standing in international law.  That the MLA are Muslims is inconsequential and attacking Muslims/Islam is merely fallacious straw dog grandstanding.

To be fair to the overall commentaries added there are also other voices who have taken the opportunity to engage the idiots who equate their racist opinion and Islamophobic thinking with facts.

That said, I remain convinced that the average South African is about as misinformed as the average American when it comes to matters of what Obama does in the name of the so called "war on terror".

We should not be surprised really; we are after all mostly a dumbass nation founded on settler racism and related values just like the US.



Brian Waldron said...

In the same way that you want to arrest and try Obama,does the opposite not apply ie. arrest and try muslims for acts of terror commited across the world? Its a fine line between right and wrong and sadly no party is trully innocent. As the saying goes'It takes two to tango!"

Ridwan said...

Thanks for your comment Brian.

I think we need to separate and define issues carefully.

The MLA is asking the South African state to investigate its claim of gross human rights violations by Obama and his administration.

There is precedent in international relations/law for this kind of legal complaint. You may remember the Pinochet case in Great Britain, for example.

That said - their 600 page document makes a legal claim under international law (Rome Statute). The NPA in South Africa will now have to decide whether the case has legal standing.

It will not be an easy decision since great political stakes are at play.

But, at the very least the MLA are not calling for Obama to be assassinated or locked up for a decade or more in a prison without any legal charge.

I am of course referring to the practice of killing suspected terrorists with drones and the Guantanamo debacle - both of which contravene international law.

As to your reference to Muslims and acts of terror there is a substantive problem.

Which Muslims are you referring to specifically? And what crimes do you have in mind?

It is somewhat disingenuous to lump all Muslims into an 'US vs Them' kind of rationalization, no?

I mean is the US/Obama/West at war with Muslims/Islam?

There are more than a billion Muslims across races, ethnicities, cultures, nationalities, etc.

Still, if there are Muslim figures who are flying drones and killing innocents I will invoke the call for justice too.

But it seems just a little unsound to construct a case that this is about a "tango" between Obama/Us and Muslims.

At the very least we should pay serious mind to what the MLA are alleging.

And also bear in mind they are not alone in calling for him to face justice - in fact there are groups and prominent persons across the world that share the MLA's perspective and not surprisingly they are not Muslim.

In effect this case is not about Muslims as much as it is about a war criminal that should be brought to justice.

The same goes for Kissinger (Vietnam/Cambodia war crimes) and G.W.Bush and company (for invading Iraq and related war crimes).

Thanks again for looking in.