Deafening Silence and the Intolerable Hypocrisy by Liberals and Intellectuals

12/05/2016 11:13 | Updated 12 May 2016

I'm becoming impassive to the inconsistent and selective mantra chanting of Western liberals calling for human rights, rule of law and democracy. They seem to be quick to condemn human rights abuse in certain situations but in others, especially those involving Muslims, they remain curiously silent.

Let me give you a very recent example. Yesterday, on the 10th of May, the fourth member and the leader of Jamate Islami Bangladesh, Motiur Rahman Nizami, was hanged at the age of 73 for alleged war crimes during the Independence war in 1971. He was accused of genocide, rape and massacre of intellectuals during the Bangladesh-Pakistan war.

Mr Nizami served as a cabinet minister in a coalition government led by Ms. Hasina's bitter rival, the Bangladesh Nationalist party a few years ago. He played a prominent and frontline role in Bangladeshi politics for over 40 years. Yet his execution by hanging has hardly raised an eyebrow in the Western World's liberal and intellectual circles.
Despite many respected political analysts accusing Prime Minister Hasina of carrying out politically expedient executions motivated by revenge, the silence from the West is deafening.

After being returned to power in 2009, Prime Minister Hasina vowed to bring war criminals to justice, and many quite rightly hoped that this afforded the opportunity to "right a historical wrong" but instead it has become a tool, fueled purely by political retribution, to silence the opposition by execution.

Bangladesh's tribunals process has fallen far short of anything resembling justice, and has clearly served as a method of railroading the politically inconvenient to the gallows. It has failed to meet basic international standards. The process has never been independent of political interference from its inception. Several leaked documents and videos evidences have foiled the government's attempts to hide its political influence over the judiciary and have even highlighted the conflicting affiliations of the judges themselves.

The tribunal has restricted the number of defense witnesses who could testify during the war crimes trial. Mr. Nizami was allowed just four and disallowed any defense challenge to inconsistent prosecution testimony.

"We have no complaints about these guys being prosecuted, but you have to find all the evidence," says Meenakshi Ganguly, a South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "What's happening is there is not enough of an attempt to build the prosecution case and there is very little attempt at the right to the defense."

The prosecution has miserably failed to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt and yet has executed many people so far. The state murder of Nizami will not bring an end to the "historic wrong" of 1971. In fact it will create further resentment amongst the masses of innocent people who have suffered at the hands of this tyrannical government. It will fuel an environment of instability in Bangladesh when the ruling political party is using the security apparatus to terrorise people and strengthen its grip on power. But the World's leaders remain silent!

The governing party has run a state of terror while the international community has stayed deaf, dumb and blind to these terrible developments in Bangladesh. The world leaders have not held Hasina to account; in fact they have welcomed her with red carpets whenever she has visited other countries including the UK. She has been provided a cover and patronage by India. She has got away with murder, mayhem and corruption. Where is the international outcry? Where is the international media's reporting of this government's terrible crimes? Where is the international arrest warrant?

Western liberals and intellectuals have made a lot of noise when extremists murdered the secularist bloggers in Bangladesh. They have demanded a full investigation to bring the murderers to justice and have, quite rightly, brought these murders to the attention of the international community. Of course those who have murdered these bloggers should be brought to justice and punished. But can we circumvent the rule of law and the judicial process? No, we must always consistently follow a legal process that serves justice and does not compromise international standards.

Contrast this to how the same liberals and intellectuals of the world are deadly silent when a number of Islamic party leaders have been executed without due process in Bangladesh, when members of the Muslim brotherhood leadership are unfairly languishing in the rotten hell holes of Egyptian jails, when Israel has committed war crimes against Palestinians for decades, when the Syrians have been mass murdered by Assad and Putin and when the Rohingya Muslims have been dehumanized and displaced by Burmese government - why such hypocrisy? Why such deafening silence?

We have to offer the right to due processes even our archenemies. We have to remain fair even to those who we vehemently disagree with. We have to be consistent with our call for the rule of law, human rights and democracy in all parts of the world. It is only through our consistency and honesty that we shall defeat radicalism, extremism and terrorism from the world. We can only enjoy peace and stability in the world when we have eradicated injustices.