Friday 9 January 2009

Against 'whataboutery'

Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy is promoting an excellent, modest initiative among the republic of blogs in response to the Gaza crisis, calling for 'an end to whataboutery' to challenge outside voices who often seem to be more interested in exacerbating the conflict, on whatever 'side' of the conflict they might be.

Several of the Liberal Conspiracy bloggers - myself included - have been discussing the issue of the endless circular 'whataboutery' during the week. We hope the statement is one way to show that, even in small ways, we can all either be promoting the mutual empathy on which peace depends, or promoting the polarisation and demonisation which holds that back. So, if you agree, please do sign the thread at Liberal Conspiracy or post the statement on your own blogs, either as it stands or to express the argument in your own words.

Next Left will look at and highlight ways to support and show solidarity for those working in this spririt for peace over the next week, and welcome ideas and examples from readers.

An end to whataboutery

The tragic situation in Gaza is a very serious issue. But there is another place where a cessation of hostilities would do no harm - and could even help too. How about a cessation of ‘whataboutery’ on the internet?

Yes, we mean you. If you can only see the humanity of one side and never the other, one side of the history, and one side of the suffering. If everything you say is to point the finger of blame at the baddies and exonerate the goodies. If you haven’t had a new point to make for five, ten or sixty years.

You are not part of the solution; you are part of the problem.

- if you are ordering pizza for the Israeli Defence Force,
- waving Hamas flags when you think you are demonstrating for peace,
- organising boycotts, blame and ostracism when peace depends on enemies talking to each other
- if you’re mindlessly quoting SWP press releases
- if you think that bombing the hell out of Gaza will bring peace
- if you think Hamas are just a bunch of valiant freedom fighters

Peace is difficult because it will come when Palestinians and Israelis recognise the essential truth - that their peace and security is mutually inter-dependent.

That’s difficult for those at the centre of the conflict. But what’s your excuse?

Ever stop and wonder if you’re making it worse? Well, you are

Why not think before you post? Why not give peace a chance instead of just cheering one side?

Whatabout taking a few weeks off?

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