Human rights as the new ideology of conquest


ANYONE who has studied the emergence of human rights both as a concept and a set of practices will appreciate how mankind has struggled across centuries to improve the way we treat each other as human beings.
It is not surprising that today ‘Human Rights’ has become a generalised catch phrase referring to several concepts involving our entitlement to rights to freedom, peace, dignity, equality, justice etc. Deep down most of us aspire to enjoy all these rights and more!
What is worrisome is the way powerful countries have high-jacked the same concept of human rights and transformed it into a weapon with which to stigmatise and attack smaller countries which fail to follow instructions and directions defined by the more powerful. An example involves Zimbabwe and its relationship with Europe. Here is what the European Union (EU) said recently in connection with one missing fellow citizen, Itai Dzamara:
“Zimbabwe will never lure Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and enjoy peace until the authorities respect the rule of law and stop persecuting its own citizens.
“Sustainable peace, development and prosperity cannot exist without respect for human rights.
“It is the responsibility of the Zimbabwean authorities to ensure that justice is served.”
Europe assumes the role of a senior white tutor who feels beholden to dish out a mandatory sermon to a lesser country such as Zimbabwe.
The content and tone of such a statement is that of an imperial supervisor who feels Zimbabwe is crossing too many red lines drawn in the sand and should be punished.
On a practical level, the statement is implying that Europe and its allies will continue to make it difficult for Zimbabwe to get the much needed FDI that it is looking for until Zimbabwe begins to tow the line dictated by the same Europe.
Two key questions arise here.
First, who appointed Europe to assume this presumptuous role?
Second, at the moral level, is Europe and its allies entitled to play this role?
By looking at their record in history can we say in all fairness that Europe and its allies are qualified to lecture to anyone or to any African country about human rights? The answer to these questions is a resounding no; all of them are not qualified for reasons related to their predatory past and dark deeds of the present.
For instance, it is a well documented fact that Europe enslaved Africans for over four centuries (1450-1860) and used them as a source of labour on the basis of which it became industrialised.
Up to now, the same Europe has never bothered to apologise, let alone to pay reparations!
It is again an uncontested fact that the same Europe carried out widespread programmes of genocide during its colonisation of Africa.
Hundreds of thousands of Africans were murdered by the Britain, France, Portugal, Germany etc during wars of conquest and subjugation of our continent.
Again up to this day the same Europe has not bothered to apologise, let alone pay reparations for the wholesale pillage of African resources by the same Europe, which followed, and which went on for over a century!
What comes across is the image of a greedy and voracious Europe, always making unjustified and infinite material demands on Africa, killing its people in the process, always dictating its policies on Africa in order to continue looting its abundant resources!
The same Europe shows no compunction, no conscience, no regret whatsoever about its well documented atrocities in Africa.
The latest of them carried out in Libya in 2011 in broad daylight for all to see!
How can such a continent come to regard itself as a moral bastion of human rights?
This question is even more poignant now when hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing from wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, again wars caused by the same EU and its US ally, are being denied entry into the EU!
Where is the so-called responsibility to protect?
The US and Europe are responsible right now for the epic human tragedy that they have caused in Africa and the Middle-East and the same Europe goes on to lecture to Zimbabwe about the sanctity of human rights.
Does the EU ever look itself in the mirror?
The truth is that the human rights that we all aspire to enjoy are not the same as the human rights that Europe and the US preach around the globe.
Europe and its allies have redefined and recast the content and meaning of human rights to mean Western rights to access resources in other countries!
In a way the Western discourse about human rights does not take into account all those epic struggles which Africans in particular and people of the Third World in general have waged in order to free themselves from colonisation and exploitation by the same West.
In other words we, non-Western peoples may use the phrase ‘human rights’ thinking they are referring to the same meaning that the West is referring to when in reality they are referring to totally different things.
The West has deliberately decided, in a cynical fashion, to appropriate the rhetoric of human rights, convert it to an imperial Western ideology of sorts and then to redeploy it as a self-marketing exercise.
The aim is to appeal to those young generations all over the world who have no clear memories about the numerous atrocities committed by the West in other countries and the naked exploitation associated with the spread of global capitalism.
When the West refers to ‘human rights’, it is using the phrase in a propaganda sense, projecting itself as the model to follow; it is saying Western society possesses the ideals and values that all other non-Western countries should follow! In brief the West is using ‘human rights’ as an imperial ideological weapon of choice, a weapon that is readily deployed against those countries like Zimbabwe, which resist some of the policies of the West in order to protect and promote their own economic interests.
The gospel of ‘human rights’ as preached by the EU and US can be likened to a situation where Satan, in his devilish ways, decides to run away with the Holy Bible in order to lure all Christians to his side!


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