The West has always posed itself as the flag bearer of human rights. Even the ideology of democracy promoted by the West also predicates on these very rights. Most of the wars fought by Western leaders and countries were under the pretense of safeguarding human rights. However, a profound and in-depth study of history unravels some bitter truths about the Western history of wars and the atrocities committed by it during the occupation and colonization of different regions. It has always blamed its opponents for violating human rights. The Western influence over most of the media outlets in the world has enveloped the atrocities committed by Western rulers throughout history.
Currently, the world only recognizes the opponents of the West as cruel leaders. Indeed, some of the opponents of the West, like Adolf Hitler, have committed war crimes. But not all of the opponents of the West were as they were presented by the West. On the other hand, there are many examples of the atrocities and war crimes committed by the Western leaders. The recent paradox of the West on the Ukraine and Palestine issue has unmasked its real face to a great extent. The Western leaders have continuously been supporting Ukraine in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and have labeled the Russian entrance into Ukraine as inhumane. However, the same Western authorities are supporting the genocide being committed by Israel in Gaza. The very West has always portrayed itself as the torch-bearer of women’s rights. Nonetheless, Western leaders have completely turned a blind eye to the killing of thousands of civilian women and children in Gaza by Israel. These double standards of the United States and its Western allies are nothing new. The world has seen the brutal face of the West a host of times in history.
Although Hitler is aptly known to be a cruel leader in history. However, some Western leaders have committed more heinous crimes. However, their crimes are not well known because of the Western dominance over the media agencies. One of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind was committed under the rule of the King of Belgium, Leopold 2, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He colonized the region under the pretense of protecting the native people from Arab invaders. However, his actual intent was to exploit the minerals and resources of the region. As per estimates, by volume, DR Congo was the fourth largest producer of diamonds in the year 2022. Similarly, the country is also home to many other expensive minerals, including gold and cobalt. The Congolese people were used as labor by the Belgian Empire to extract these resources and fill the coffers of the monarch. Leopold 2 is responsible for killing almost 10 million Congolese. The Congolese people were given quotas for the production of rubber and crops. The hands and feet of the people, who failed to meet the required quota, were mutilated by the Belgian soldiers. In some cases, the whole village was burnt or the people of the whole village were forced to death through starvation under the rule of King Leopold 2. However, these atrocities of the Belgian king are the least talked about because the West has nothing to gain from it. Moreover, the dual standards of the global north do not require them to talk about the rights of the poor global south.
Similarly, the British Empire in the subcontinent also inflicted many atrocities on the native people. Historical records demonstrate that the British soldiers blew Muslim scholars and sepoys through canons after the 1857 War of independence. Furthermore, the British scientists tested chemical weapons on Indian soldiers before and during World War 2. Almost 20000 British troops were victims of the use of nerve and mustard gas during this rule which caused severe injuries to them. In addition, almost 12-29 million Indians died of starvation due to the famines, caused by the decline in the cotton and fabric industry of the subcontinent, under British rule. The British soldiers also killed almost 1000 civilians in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre to quell a protest.
The Western history is replete with such incidents. The US has committed numerous war crimes since the World War 2. As per estimates, almost, 800000 to 1.3 million Iraqis died as a result of Bush’s war in Iraq, which was based on the false premise of possession of chemical weapons by Iraqi authorities. On the other hand, the West has always proclaimed itself as the flag bearer of human rights. However, the powerful Western leaders seem to be the accomplices of Israel’s brutalities in Gaza. The United States and many other states have opposed the UN resolution for humanitarian peace in Gaza, let alone condemning the genocide of Palestinian people by Israel. More than 1000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in the recent Israel-Hamas war. It is time for the self-proclaimed champions of human rights to stand with the civilian population of Palestine and stop the genocide being committed by Israel. On the other hand, leaders like President Putin and President Xi Jinping, who are labeled as the violators of human rights by the West, have stood against the Israeli massacre in Gaza and have offered to play a role as mediator between Hamas and Israel for the regional peace and stability of the Middle East.
Abbas Hashemite – is a political observer and research analyst for regional and global geopolitical issues. He is currently working as an independent researcher and journalist, exclusively for “New Eastern Outlook”.