By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
19 Aug 2012
A momentous event—a Tsunami of a sort—has occurred on both the eastern and western shores of the Atlantic Ocean, that may reverberate along all countries of the world!
The little David of a South American continent, a puny banana republic country called Republica del Ecuador and its President Rafael Correa has defiantly taken on, in the name of its sovereignty, independence and dignity the might, not only of the Goliath of the North American continent, but in fact the whole of its “satellites and clients states” round the world; to grant asylum to Wikileaks Editor Julian Assange in the name of freedom of speech and even justice.
In the light of its size and strategic unimportance to the Giants of the giants of this world, this example of boldness and courage can only be considered the height of either foolishness or naivety. But whatever transpires in the final act of this drama, it must be appreciated that it is a lesson, particularly to the lap-dog-States of the so called Muslim-world which have individually and collectively far more strategic importance than Ecuador. It is an act of defiance to oppressive powers. Ironically this act is of the equal measure of ‘self-respect (khudi)’ of a Muslims poet’s vision!
Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the case of Assange and the braves of the likes of Bradley Mannings of the US, who is, as we speak already suffering its consequences in disclosing the so called secrets of tyranny perpetrated by their and some other countries too.
Ecuador’s action must be applauded for taking on the arrogant forces of repression.
This courageous culture of the Ecuadorians was perhaps inherited from the forefathers who had struggled for over three centuries of colonial rules and fought for their independence that they are exercising today. Not very different from the history of many of the countries who now are so slavishly subservient to their masters, including Assange’s own home country Australia!
A similar case of the former Hungarian Cardinal Mindszenty, who was granted prolonged refuge in the US embassy in Hungary soon after WWII, comes to mind. The Cardinal was charged with treason against the communist government in Poland. A crime punishable by death in any country!
The US’s own act of giving asylum to such a person pales in comparison to Assange’s ‘chivalry’ of telling the truth to the world about lies, oppression and duplicity, for example in Iraq. Does his services to the world in telling the truth, in publishing them equate to such a crime as treason, or even terrorism?
Yet the custodians of free speech, particularly Britain with an envious record of granting refuge and protection to oppressed people from round the world and to some extent Sweden with its pride in free speech, now so hapless, should stoop to such low depth of hounding a person. This so, on what appears on the face of it as ‘trumped up charges by hired persons’ and then on other’s say so, is amazing to say the least!
Not only the hired individuals but also ‘rent a crowd’ seems to be the easily available commodity to any power with the wherewithal to carry out its missions of oppressions for strategic national interests, with not even a thought for its actions for global consequences, good or evil!
This is a historic moment in time for those who ‘contemplate’ their contribution to consequences of their actions and its influences on human developmental process. Ecuador may be a puny country but in its decision to grant asylum to an otherwise insignificant person such as Julian Assange has taken a giant step to establish the principal that a nation’s self-respect and dignity lies in asserting its sovereignty that the Muslim countries so shamelessly have thrown away. This, for the sake of few crumps and protection that their foreign master(s) provide for their own vested national interests.
It seems it is a waste of time to equate with Ecuadorian Eagles, these flightless nations that have made ‘halal’ for themselves the carrions left over by other hunters:-
اے طأءرے لاہوتی اس رزق سے موت اچھی
جس رزق سے آتی ہے پرواز ميں کوتاہی
[Oh! You the bird with limitless flight capacity,
Prefer death to the sustenance that limits your flight.]
An appropriate message perhaps of another momentous historic event for nations that are celebrating—albeit on different days--the occasion of Eid and the memory of the struggle of defence of their dignity and independence of the 17th Ramadhan some fourteen centuries ago.
Happy Eid to them all.
A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is an Indian-origin Engineer (Retd.) based in Australia for over forty years.