Allison Kilkenney: The Civilians We Care About
The recent outpouring of support from Americans for Iranian citizens ranges from the sincere to the premeditated. For every post of Twitterific solidarity from a well-intentioned American, there is a wily Jonah Goldberg spouting empty platitudes about needing to preserve freedom by _____ (we can only assume invading Iran.) Everyone seems outraged that an authoritarian power would dare to steal an election, though Americans seemed widely unconcerned when this happened in Azerbaijan in 2003 and Egypt in 2006.
There was also little outrage from Americans when police beat citizens in Agri/Kurdistan as they tried to protest election results:In fact, if one searches the database over at Human Rights Watch for “election fraud,” page after page of reportedly stolen elections comes up. But the citizens of Kenya, Nigeria, Thailand, Columbia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Armenia aren’t the citizens exploitive politicians and Americans choose to care about.
Not only are citizens’ rights to free and fair elections being violated in many countries most Americans couldn’t even locate on a map, but the US is also currently killing innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan right this very moment, and Americans aren’t Twittering to stop that injustice.
In Afghanistan, over 3,000 civilians have died from US and NATO airstrikes alone (and Human Rights Watch emphasizes this is an extremely conservative figure.) HRW states, “civilian deaths from US and NATO airstrikes nearly tripled from 2006 to 2007.” The total figure of Afghans killed during the invasion is unknown, but figures range from 7,500 to 20,000 dead (when factoring indirect consequences such as civilians later dying from severe wounds.) Read more.