What about the Western warlords?

 
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By Khaled Diab

Cherie Blair’s chastisement of the African Union for not co-operating with the International Criminal Court is pretty rich coming from the wife of a man many believe is a war criminal.

18 July 2009

Cherie Blair's article

Cherie Blair's article

Lightly disguised under her maiden name which she uses for professional purposes, Cherie Booth, the wife of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, took the African Union to task on Saturday in The Guardian over its decision not to co-operate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) – and, by implication, not to assist in executing the indictment of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. She wrote:

 The truly disheartening part of this resolution is that it is backed not just by those countries who have opposed the ICC from the start but also by those – the majority on the African continent – who have signed the Rome treaty [establishing the ICC].

Yes, I too find it a terrible shame that African – and Arab – countries have shown solidarity with a war criminal. I even wrote a column about it for The Guardian in April. I concluded:

There is a widespread belief that, in the ugly balance of reality, African and Arab lives are worth less than Western ones. But by expressing solidarity with a known mass murderer, Arabs and Africans are also cheapening the value of their own lives.

Booth expresses a similar frustration: “It is disheartening to see politicians showing their solidarity with the Bashirs of the world rather than with the victims of mass rapes, murders and mutilations.”

Had this article come from someone else, I would’ve found it easier to swallow. But this person expressing how “depressing” and “disheartening” those benighted Africans are just happens to be the wife of a man widely perceived as a war criminal, one of the worst living warlords in the West (I’ve outlined before the powerful case for indicting both George W Bush and Tony Blair for war crimes and crimes against humanity).

 Well, Cherie, how do you suggest we should feel towards people who not only show “solidarity” but actually share a house with an alleged war criminal? Should we find that equally “depressing” and “disheartening”?

Naturally, no wife is her husband’s keeper nor vice versa; and I don’t hold Cherie responsible for Tony’s war-mongering. But surely a woman of as much conscience as she professes should take a moral stand against injustice wherever it is perpetrated. After all, as a barrister, Cherie Booth QC should be aware that justice is blind.

If she feels unable to speak up for justice at home, then I would advise Ms Booth to keep her opinion on this matter to herself because Africans will undoubtedly find it pretty cheeky that the wife of the co-author of the Afghan and Iraq catastrophes should condemn their inaction.

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  • chronikler

    Periglis: “You don’t believe wives have responsibility for their husband’s action but the whole point of this piece is based on exactly this premise.”
    I don’t believe she bears any legal or political responsibility, and should not be shunned for her husband’s actions if she distances herself from them.

    But once she climbs on her moral high horse and takes African leaders to task over their inaction, then it is legitimate to take her to task over her own inaction over her husband’s crimes.

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  • Periglis

    So you agree with the argument but attack her for making it. You don’t believe wives have responsibility for their husband’s action but the whole point of this piece is based on exactly this premise. And the fact that you have made a “powerful case” for indicting Tony Blair is not quite the same as the ICC agreeing an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, is it?

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  • chronikler

    NGB, just because Blair believed his mission to be righteous does not make it so. Starting a war of aggression is regarded in international law as a war crime. In fact, it is known as the “supreme international crime”. See here http://chronikler.com/europe/usa/justice-the-american-way/

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  • jellyroll

    I would be (pleasantly) surprised if CIF allows comments on Cherie Blair’s article. After all Tony is running his campaign for President of Europe (next, the world) as we write. How can he conduct his presidency from a small cell in the Hague?

    From Guardian’s Comment is Free on 19 July

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  • Kritik

    I agree, Cherie Booth (Blair) should direct those words at her husband too, otherwise get off your moral high horse.

    From Guardian’s Comment is Free on 19 July

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  • Not Gordon Brown

    What a twisted argument, Mr Diab! There is no moral equivalence between Blair and Bashir. The only thing they have in common is there names begin with a B. Blair has many faults but at least he hasn’t commited genocide against his own people. I believe he actually believed he was fighting for freedom and justice.

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