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FACING REALITY: Open letter to Blair from Barbados | 18.08.2003 17:38 | Anti-militarism

Dear Mr. Blair, I write to you on behalf of the members of the Clement Payne Movement, and the many other Barbadians who joined with us in taking to the streets to denounce your policy of war and destruction against the nation and people of Iraq.
Over the past three weeks, you have relaxed in the peaceful environment of Barbados, with your wife and children safe and secure, by your side.
I wonder if at any time during that period, you spared a thought for the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi women, children and men whose lives have been permanently devastated by the British bombs which you ordered to be dropped on the nation of Iraq?

Up to now no one in your administration has condescended to inform us as to how many Iraqis were eliminated, maimed and disfigured by the bombardment and invasion of Iraq. Perhaps this is a piece of information you would care to share with us before you leave Barbados.

I guess you must be somewhat bemused by the relative coolness and silence with which the traditionally English – loving Barbadian people have responded to your presence amongst us.

The simple, sad fact, is that many of our people are perturbed by and afraid of you.

They are perturbed that a leader of the once great British Labour Party would lead a campaign to strip his party of its traditional trade-union based, social democratic principles, and would enmesh it in the elitist “Thatcherite” dogma of free markets, privatisation, individualism and neo-imperialism.

They are also afraid of what you and your soul-mate, George Bush, appear to represent in world affairs today!

We now live in a world in which your Britain, and Bush’s America have arrogated to yourselves the right to unilaterally impose your military and economic power on weaker and smaller nations that have “offended” you in some way. Indeed, you have advanced the doctrine that “national sovereignty” is no longer sacrosanct, and that your country possesses the right to determine when gross violations of human rights merit your unilateral intervention.

All of this disturbs and scares us because, as a small Third World nation, we are only too aware that our safety and salvation rests on the preservation of a regime of international law, centred around the United Nations (UN), and based on the principles of respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity and collective security.

We therefore cannot forgive you for the damage that you inflicted on our United Nations Organisation in the weeks and months leading up to your unlawful attack on Iraq. Put simply, you treated the UN and its Security Council with contempt!

Mr Blair, we have also been carefully monitoring the role that you have been playing in the internal affairs of the African nation of Zimbabwe.

We are aware that at the heart of the crisis in Zimbabwe is the failure of the British government to honour its obligation to provide capital to finance a land re-distribution programme in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe government has released the November 5, 1997 letter in which your then secretary for International Development, Claire Short, wrote to Zimbabwe’s Minister of Agriculture, totally repudiating the British government’s obligation to finance the transfer of land back to its rightful African owners.

In spite of this, you have cynically sought to use the Zimbabwe land crisis to bring down the Government of Robert Mugabe. You have attacked the Zimbabwe economy and the welfare of the Zimbabwe people with an unrelenting barrage of sanctions. You have also openly issued economic threats to African leaders who dare to continue to support President Mugabe.

In the meantime, a number of your key advisors and policy shapers have been pushing the notion that the Third Word is mired in chaos, indiscipline and lawlessness, and that so-called “great powers” like Britain must respond by ignoring national sovereignty and re-imposing imperial power and order.

Yes, Mr Blair, we in the Caribbean both fear and repudiate the New World Order that you and Mr Bush seem so intent on establishing.

We can only hope that having spent some time among us, you will have a deeper understanding of our views and will reconsider the tragic path upon which you have embarked.

David A. Comissiong is the President of the Clement Payne Movement and writes this column in that capacity.