By Anne Bayefsky
Why does Obama treat the two so differently?
He made no such calls for action by the people of Arab states—despite the fact that not a single Arab country is "free," according to the latest Freedom House global survey.
Before the Muslim world Obama donned the role of apologist-in-chief. Over and over again his examples of shortfalls in the protection of rights and freedoms were American: the "prison at
Christian Africa was to be treated to no such self-flagellation. In a rare tongue-lashing for Africans from any American president, he chastised: "It's easy to point fingers and to pin the blame of these problems on others. Yes, a colonial map that made little sense helped to breed conflict … But the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy … or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants … tribalism and patronage and nepotism … and … corruption."
He might equally have said to the Arab and Muslim world: "It's easy to scapegoat Israel and blame your problems on the presence of Jews—albeit on a fraction of 1% of the territory inhabited by the Arab world—but Israel is not responsible for poverty, illiteracy, torture, trafficking, slavery and oppression rampant across your countries." But he did not.
In a Christian African nation he said, "If we are honest, for far too many Africans, conflict is a part of life, as constant as the sun. There are wars over land and wars over resources. And it is still far too easy for those without conscience to manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes."
To the Arab and Muslim world he could have said: "Since the day of
Instead, he turned on the only democracy in the
For an Arab and Muslim audience he cooed: "
Ghanaians will likely turn the other cheek, secure enough to take it and even be grateful for the spotlight. But Obama's double-standard is not a victimless crime. The disparity between the scolding he gave in
In his lofty, but empty, rhetoric in
These are devastating words for Iranians struggling valiantly to keep the hope of democracy alive but forced to bear witness to the contradiction. Betrayed, they have watched the Obama administration pledge to move forward on negotiations with illegally ensconced Iranian thugs—at the very same time their victims are being rounded up, tortured and readied for show-trials in advance of certain execution.
On Friday, Obama, and the rest of the G-8 with his blessing, announced that thinking about more sanctions on
Iranians standing up for their allegedly "sacred rights" know Obama has it exactly backwards. Speechifying about "our interconnected world" and "common interests" in
Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.
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