Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
by Suleiman Bulbulia
The statement put out by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 24 titled “Statement by the Government of Barbados on the situation in the Middle East” does absolutely no justice to the Palestinian people, who are today facing the most horrendous, systematic destruction of their lives and properties the world has ever witnessed since the holocaust.
This is the Palestinian holocaust in the 21st century. The barbaric actions of the Israelis are war crimes in every manner. And we are silent. The Barbados Government’s statement called for those responsible for the October 7 attacks to be brought to account.
Where is the same call for those responsible for the tremendous loss of life in Gaza over the last month? The Secretary General of the United Nations said it best: “It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.”
In March 2022, Prime Minister Mia Mottley articulated Barbados’ position on the Russia-Ukraine war. She maintained that Barbados has a voice in the geopolitical instability caused by the war. Mottley also said in the House of Assembly: “The truth is, Sir, how the world responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine determines the status and value of territorial sovereignty the world over to our generation. We only became colonies because somebody invaded us, so the concept of invasion and the offensive principle of incurring breaches, of attacking countries and people on territorial sovereignty is a principle for which Barbadians will always fight.”
My question is where is the same strong voice of condemnation as it relates to the Israeli invasion and horrendous assault on the Palestinian people of Gaza? Isn’t everything stated in 2022 not relevant now? The geopolitical instability is far more reaching, territorial sovereignty has been bombed to virtual non-existence, and the toll on human life has been genocidal.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) verified that between February 2022 and September 2023, a total of 9 614 civilian deaths during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The death toll in Gaza just one month after Israel’s bombardment started, is 11 000 and growing, with over 4 000 children included. Clearly, there is something fundamentally wrong if we cannot vigorously condemn the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by the Zionist state of Israel but can have a voice on the Russia-Ukraine war.
Barbados has gained attention on the world stage as a standard bearer of speaking truth to power. Our Prime Minister has certainly not shied away from that. Our voice now, more than ever, is very much needed in speaking out. What Israel is doing in Gaza and what it has done over the 75 years of its existence are crimes against humanity. Barbados’ silence is deafening.