Blair: What about the Western warlords?

By Khaled Diab

Cherie Blair's chastisement of the 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 , 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 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 catastrophes should condemn their inaction.

Author

  • Khaled Diab

    Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual media. Khaled Diab is the author of two books: Islam for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the and the UN, as well as civil society. Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled's life has been divided between the and Europe. He grew up in Egypt and the UK, and has lived in Belgium, on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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6 thoughts on “Blair: What about the Western warlords?

  • 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  • 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

    Reply
  • 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

    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply

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