Written by: Elsadig Elsheikh, Research Associate with the International Program at The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
On Sunday, June 28th, major media news outlets were still occupied with the topic of Iran’s sham election results, while a tedious insult against democracy was taking place in Central America. A small segment of the Honduran army, led by General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, a graduate of the School of the Americas, booted out the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. General Velásquez’s force kidnapped President Zelaya from his presidential palace, dragged him to the airport under gun-point, and flew him to exile in San Jose, Costa Rica: “I was brutally taken out of my house and kidnapped by hooded soldiers who pointed high-caliber rifles at me,” said the ousted elected president.
The event that took place at dawn on Sunday in Tegucigalpa, Honduras evokes scenes of Latin America’s past; for decades the U.S. openly supported many of coup d’etats in Latin America against the will and democratically exercised right of the people across the continent.
Hitherto, few voices have risen to condemn the assassination of democracy in the Honduras.
Several questions come to mind when we evaluate our approach to both episodes: Are we still operating in the Cold War mindset? Does the “dogma” of Samuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations” still thrive in Washington D.C., guiding our selective approach toward global democratic “values”? Do the compromised outcomes of the election in Iran have more value than the attack on democracy in Honduras?
The hypocrisy of the “unbiased” and biased mainstream media is obvious and evident. They backed the earsplitting voices of “experts” who called President Obama to act strongly in criticizing Iran’s ruling-class for its role in the alleged acts of altering the democratic choice of the Iranian people. Those voices failed miserably to do the same for the Hondurans people’s struggle for democracy. Their failure to cover/inform the public about what was taking place in Honduras demonstrates their partiality toward democratic principles.
Edward Said was precise when he reminded us that “…we are all swimming in those waters, Westerners and Muslims and others alike. And since the waters are part of the ocean of history, trying to plow or divide them with barriers is futile. These are tense times, but it is better to think in terms of powerful and powerless communities, the secular politics of reason and ignorance, and universal principles of justice and injustice, than to wander off in search of vast abstractions that may give momentary satisfaction but little self-knowledge or informed analysis.”
The U.S. cannot lead the world unless it stands firmly with the peoples’ choice, no matter how that might seem to contradict our “interests”. Our solidarity with the Iranian people and their plight for democracy is inseparable with our solidarity with the Honduran crisis. At the end, the people of world will judge the U.S. by their solidarity: she must be either with democracy or against it.