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Tuesday 24, September 2019



Of regrets and apologies

By: Aisha Aijaz, Uploaded: 6th July 2012

hina rabbani khar and hilary clinton

“We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again”, said Hillary Rodham Clinton to Hina Rabbani Khar on a telephone call, and Pakistan reopens its border to NATO supply convoys into Afghanistan after a seven-month blockade, shut since November, when an American aircraft killed 24 Pakistan soldiers.

The nation went into shock and twitter was bombarded with questions like ‘Was this really an apology’, ‘they said sorry which they say even when they sneeze and did not apologize’ and ‘Is Clinton Camera-shy for a formal apology?’

I sat down and thought for a moment, ‘Would we be happy and satisfied if the word regret and sorry is replaced by an apology, a formal one, with a US official appearing on media?  The civilian and military leadership was so inclined to open the land routes that even a slightest blink of the eye was enough for them?  How was  it different from Cameron Munter’s condolences given immediately after the incident and those too in Urdu for which he must have done an extra effort to sound more convincing to the sheeple he was addressing to. And, hand over heart, would you be satisfied if your wishes or demands of a ‘formal apology’ are met and believe these statements coming from a super power that has a history of war crimes and lies very well acknowledged by internationally accredited activists and impartial commentators. Let us go through just a few of these.

-Just a few months ago, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta apologised to the Afghan people for an incident in which copies of the Quran were burned and said that it wasn’t intentional.

‘These actions do not represent the views of the United States military. We honour and respect the religious practices of the Afghan people, without exception.”

NATO commander John Allen also addressed to the ‘noble Afghans’ and that too with an extra effort of learning to say ‘Assalam Alaikum’ and ‘Manan, Tashakkur’ to ‘calamin-ise’ the blistered sentiments with his amazing Pushto and Persian.

-Shortly after that international media breaks the news, that a course for US military officers has been teaching that America’s enemy is Islam in general and suggesting that the country might ultimately have to obliterate theIslamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina without regard for civilian deaths, following second world war precedents of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima.

“This would leave open the option once again of taking war to a civilian population wherever necessary (the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki being applicable to the Mecca and Medina destruction decision point).”

The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martic Dempsey responded to it as “the material in the course was counter to American appreciation for religious freedom and cultural awareness. It was just totally objectionable, against our values, and it wasn’t academically sound,”

-A few weeks after burning of the Holy Quran incident, comes the horrible news of a US sergeant killing 16 innocent civilians, out of whom 9 were children and later all the bodies were set alight.  As always, the authorities tried to explain, they do not represent anybody. They were just mad (disagrees Robert Fisk).

Remember, US senator John Kerry was “deeply sorry” over the killing of two Pakistanis by a US official, and promised justice if he was handed over the US and absolutely nothing happened? Similarly, there are numerous incidents which have torn apart United States claims of freedom and equality, belief in humanity and justice for all. Illegitimate drone attacks on Pakistani soil and civilian casualties are very frequent. Detainees in the Guantanamo held without charge, Abu Ghuraib’s disturbing pictures where the soldier refuses to apologize for her ‘prisoner on the leash’ and other disturbing treatment, US military officials using Quran as target practice and urinating on corpses,  Aafia Siddiqui’s physical and sexual abuses in the world’s most horrifying jail,  sentenced for allegedly shooting (missing the target) a US soldier while a Marine gets three months in jail for massacring two dozen civilians in Iraq, are just a few. With a war that began with a lie of ‘Weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq, US remains the first and the only country to have used Nuclear weapons and has the biggest manufacturer and supplier of chemical weapons. Let’s also recall heavy usage of white phosphorus on the cities of Fallujah.

A former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says:

“I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it’s known as Willy Pete. Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone, I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for.”

What has the US or the NATO apologised for in the past? And if they have apologised, have the injustices and war crimes stopped? Have they ever apologised for Hiroshima ‘formally’ or for the usage of napalm, bombs and chemical weapons on Vietnam civilians? I must mention, they felt ‘sorry’ for deliberate syphilis infections in Guatemala as a part of medical tests without prior consent.

So my dear countrymen, what is it that we really want? With this history of regrets and condolences of the masters, even a formal apology means nothing. I remember from my childhood what my mum used to say every now and then to my little brother, ‘My son, you say sorry and then repeat the same thing? What kind of an apology is this? Saying ‘sorry’, means you admit your mistake and you would never do that again’. Unfortunately this does not mean anything in the real world and our mums had kept us in a world of fantasy and text bookish philosophy which we only come to find out as almost non-existent as we grow up to the ugliness of the mighty in this world.

A dog is no doubt man’s best friend. But, either we should demand our spineless leadership to come out of this ‘ideal friendship’ and live like a sovereign nation, who is capable enough to deal with its own issues (including terrorism that started after US invasion) or else they’ll keep wagging the tail and make us all a mere joke . The precious 24 soldiers would never come back and nor would the thousands of other military and civilian losses which didn’t get a name. The solution is:  this war MUST end!

I leave with you the words of an American activist, a daughter of a Jewish mother and an Iraqi father demanding the same as I do today. No justice, No peace!

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Story first published: 6th July 2012






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