Obama Administration Boycotts U.N. Conference on Racism, Imperialists Walk Out During Ahmadinejad Speech
On April 20th, the so-called United Nations opened its first World Conference Against Racism in eight years. The United States announced ahead of time that it would boycott the conference; similar announcements were made by Israel, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands. Were it not for the terrible oppression that people around the world face due to imperialism, the fact that a global conference on racism is being boycotted by the Obama administration would merely seem ironic. Malcolm X, a Black nationalist and internationalist, was an early proponent of elevating racism as an international human rights issue.
While “race” is a false paradigm originally imposed by Western oppressor nations to justify their transnational rampage, greater awareness and intolerance for ‘racial’ oppression often makes racism a useful rhetorical device when employed by the oppressed. The only head of state to attend, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, used the occasion to deliver a scathing critique of Western imperialism. Making the speech extraordinary however, delegates from the European Union collectively walked out during his speech. The Obama Administration claims it wouldn’t attend because the event would single-out Israel. (1). Ahmadinejad’s actual speech and the response it garnered highlight the real reasons behind the West’s collective rebuff.
Ahmadinejad used the occasion to question the legitimacy of the U.N. Security Council and its commitment to humanity. “Look at the Security Council which is the legacy of World War I and II. Based on what logic have they been given the right to veto?,” Ahmadinejad asked. “When there is legal discrimination and the law-making centre is a source of bullying and force instead of justice and fairness, how can one expect to achieve justice and peace?”
Ahmadinejad also juxtaposed imperialism’s shallow condemnation of “racial discrimination” with its flagrant oppression of the vast majority of humanity. All of this led up to this statement and prompted the Western delegates to walk out:
“After the Second World War, by exploiting the holocaust and under the pretext of protecting the Jews they made a nation homeless with military expeditions and invasion. They transferred various groups of people from America, Europe and other countries to this land. They established a completely racist government in the occupied Palestinian territories. [delegates walk out] And in fact, under the pretext of making up for damages resulting from racism in Europe, they established the most aggressive, racist country in another territory, i.e. Palestine.”
Ahmadinejad didn’t say anything new or remarkable; he was speaking for the Palestinian masses whose voices are systematically excluded from typical international dialogue, including representation in the U.N. The boycott and walk-out by the West simply demonstrates that imperialism has nothing but contempt, accompanied by arrogance, for the oppressed Palestinian masses.
Barack Obama has made a big show about dialogue and open debate. The U.N. Conference Against Racism was just that, a U.N. sanctioned conference with no authoritative power. In reality, Obama is committed to liberal ideas such as ‘dialogue’ only when it furthers the interests of U.S. imperialism. The recent World Conference Against Racism provided an unusual global platform to speak out against U.S. imperialism, thus the Obama administration went out of its way to wreck it.
Rather than continuing the legacy of Malcolm X, Barack Obama spits on it. Malcolm X sought unity with the world’s people in order to fight oppression globally. Barack Obama on the other hand actively works to strengthen to imperialist system which oppresses the world’s people. Obama and the West’s flagrant anti-Palestine, anti-oppressed, ultra-reactionary posturing should both forever shatter the idea of ‘race’ and racism as central features of global oppression and put the revolutionary attention of the global masses where it should be, fighting the U.S.-led capitalist-imperialist system.
Ahmadinejad speech: full text http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8010747.stm