Coming Apart to be Whole

Human Rights International Law Islam Today Reasoned Comments

The 2011 War in Syria, Racism, Sectarianism, & Human Rights

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

To reframe the issue of human rights abuses I refer to two case studies in this paper: the European wars and the 2011 War in SWANA. These two conflicts point to the organic connections between human rights abuses, colonialism, and racism. Based on the evidence from these events, I will argue that the legacy of human rights abuses should not be explored out-side the more important destructive racist and supremacist impulses. However, racism itself cannot be used to explain human rights abuses, unless one thinks beyond the classic definitions and manifestations of racism. Racist justifications for human rights abuses and racist narratives of war in these conflicts make compelling connections between racism and abuses of human rights.
In Western societies, most of the cruel acts of mass killings were couched in racial or racial-sectarian discourses. In Europe, the most re-cent spate of violence erupting in the former Yugoslavia ushered in ethnic cleansing. Hence, a new euphemism was added to the genocidal legacy, driven by both racist and sectarian motives and narratives. Through wars and via support of corrupt regimes, Western powers amplified the depravity of racism, sectarianism, and nationalism to the Arab and Muslim-majority countries and made it an existential challenge. Through military occupation and political, economic, and cultural influence (and, at times, coercion), Islamic societies, (especially in SWANA countries), were made, through direct and indirect actions of regional and global powers, to relive the atrocities of the European wars in the dawn of the twenty-first century.


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