Thus it was that I came upon this conversation between two north American atheists, of Pakistani and Iraqi origin. Now I feel a certain extra responsibility and compassion for the people of Iraq—it was, after all, partly my taxes that paid for their country to be royally fucked over in recent years. Getting one's head round the situation there obliges a wider concern with the Middle East more generally. But this is the kind of thing that I'd usually read quickly and move on: sadly, 'middle eastern atheists cop their share of oppression, and there's plenty to go around,' is not such a surprising message. But there was something about their mutual consensus that people in the West "take their rights for granted" while supporting, in the same paragraph, the illegal actions of Western governments towards their former countries, that I thought was maybe worth puncturing.
Comments were apparently open at the foot of the article, but my attempt to post a comment (using my Twitter account) failed, I know I'll get spammed to death if I give them my email, and I don't particularly think my friends will be interested in a HuffPo Facebook app spewing all over their timelines. So I gave up. Someone remains wrong on the internet! But, following the strict artistic rule that it is the comments that are difficult to post in situ that are most worth publishing, here it is:
It is certainly a good point that many in the West take their rights for granted because the political struggle for them took place before they were born; but the invasion of Iraq was a great crime precisely because, in doing so, the US and the UK were thumbing their noses at the authority of the UN's Security Council, and by extension the post-WWII settlement. In his hurry to damn the American left, and roam the world removing dictators he doesn't like, the M. Al-Mutar seems to have forgotten this.