The left and internationalism is a funny thing; on the one hand, at first glance, it may seem straightforward as we are pro-immigrant, anti-racist. Yet there is a strand on the left that poses as internationalist but behaves in a dangerously isolationist fashion. It's the one that believes the west should permanently withdraw from the globalised world, retreat from international politics and turn a blind eye to everything.
It's the left that backs Brexit and the left that can witness a massacre take place and deny its existence if the west wasn't responsible for it. It's the left who will criticise the USA and Saudi Arabia but ignore Russia and Iran. To them, it's futile to criticise others and more useful instead to focus on one's own government and allies. Theresa May and the Tories are rightly criticised for indulging Saudi Arabia despite their treatment of women yet Jeremy Corbyn has never been criticised for taking money from Press TV, the state channel for Iran - a country that violently represses gays and women. When it comes to ethical consistency in foreign policy and relations, the left are dangerously wayward. Oz Katerji, a journalist, explained this to me as "hypocrisy based on outdated ideological assumptions about the world where discussing our international responsibility to protect civilians from harm, a fundamental precept of international law, is gas-lighted as British imperialism."
When an atrocity occurs it requires action and responsibility from the international community, yet too often the left rejects this in a puritan search of pacifism. Much of this stems from an inherent distrust of western governments due to colonialism but also the Iraq War which left the impression that all interventions are primed for disaster when simply the west didn't know what to do after getting rid of Saddam Hussein with little local support. And history has with the failure to intervene in Rwanda in 1994 and Syria today, that inaction itself can be equally devastating.
Is this a left being anti-war or anti-west? If they were genuinely committed to human rights and peace then they would condemn all who violate it, and yet when the perpetrator isn't western the left ignore the atrocities. A man called Marcus Papadopoulos, who Corbyn was this week pictured at a dinner with, denied the Srebrenica genocide taking place, just as he denied the Aleppo massacre. Labour's deputy PR chief Steve Howell on Twitter wrote that Assad was the only solution left in Syria. The Morning Star portrayed Assad's victory in Aleppo as "liberation" while Stop the War Coalition have regularly denied voices to Syrian democrats opposed to Assad and instead propped up regime apologists such as Mother Agnes. Corbyn's close ally Seamus Milne has repeatedly watered down the crimes of the Soviet Union while STWC co-founder Andrew Murray previously praised Stalin and North Korea.
What about Corbyn himself? His anti-war principles have not seen him condemn the Russian bombing in Aleppo at all. In 2004 he signed a parliamentary motion that praised an article by John Pilger who slammed the western intervention in Kosovo, Corbyn describing it as "a genocide that never really existed in Kosovo." History shows his beliefs in peace and justice have never extended to victims not oppressed by the west. Alongside denying genocide, he has defended the likes of Gaddafi, Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, Fidel Castro and others.
Why is all of this important? This week marks 22 years since the Srebrenica massacre when thousands of Muslims were murdered during the Bosnian War. Currently, Syria is in the midst of a terrible humanitarian crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced, at the hands of a regime not at all interested in peace.
Genocide happens and parts of the left simply erase it on a consistent basis. I dialled down my criticisms of Corbyn after 8th June but it's immoral to remain silent over something as important as this. The Labour Party is becoming a political home for awful genocide apologists and it runs right through to the leader himself.Suggest a correction