How the West Makes it Normal to Kill a Palestinian

In the name of peace and prosperity, the most civilized dominators of this globalized capitalist hierarchy have persuaded its subjects, that the weak and poor must be eliminated in pursuit of this utopia. So we saw the massacres of the Indigenous in the Americas, the enslavements of the Africans, and we are witnessing another genocide before our eyes.
May 20, 2024
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The China Academy Picks
Top picks selected by the China Academy's editorial team from Chinese media, translated and edited to provide better insights into contemporary China.
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Yin Zhiguang
Professor in international politics at Fudan University

April 24, 2024 – a lot was happening around the world that day.

The colonialist Israeli government continued the genocide in Palestine; the US police arrested the students and faculty who were peacefully protesting against the genocide; the US Congress passed a bill that provided military aid to Israel and Ukraine; and the British Parliament surreptitiously approved a bill to ‘deport’ refugees to Rwanda.

“It’s a good day for world peace,” signed a US$95.34 billion worth of foreign “aid” bill, the aging US President Joe Biden read the scripted lines in front of the cameras. “It’s going to make the world safer. And it continues America’s leadership in the world,” and the bill would help the US allies “defend themselves against threats.”

The bill that helps “make the world better” includes a US$60.06 billion package of military “aid” to Ukraine, which would order more weapons from domestic arms dealers to replenish the dwindling US arsenal stocks due to the past two years of aid to Ukraine. Well, I wonder whose world would get “better” thanks to this bill.

Besides the “Ukraine aid” that would be spent on the domestic defense industries, the second substantial package amounts to US$14.1 billion worth of “Israel aid.” A portion of this package was diverted from the  funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Israeli allegations claim the involvement of 12 UNRWA staff members in Hamas attacks.

The bill, touted as a means to “make the world better,” also allocated US$4.83 billion to the Indo-Pacific region and assigned US$2.44 billion to the Red Sea to combat the Houthis in Yemen.

While gentlemen in Congress voted to support Israel’s “self-defense,” a mass grave containing over 300 bodies, including women and children, was found in Southern Gaza near Al-Shifa Hospital. Just days ago, the IDF assaulted and took control of the only operational hospital in Gaza City under the pretext of “self-defense.”

While the gentlemen in Congress were purportedly “making the world safer,” US riot police, fully equipped, conducted raids on college campuses across the country, resulting in the arrest of over 550 students. Their only offense was peacefully appealing to the federal government to cease its support for the genocide in Palestine.

Simultaneously, as the gentlemen in Congress were supposedly “making the world better,” across the Atlantic Ocean, the British Parliament surreptitiously approved a bill. Following its enactment, the British government gained the authority to “legitimately” deport refugees from the country to Rwanda. The bill was justified under two pretexts: one labeled as “humanitarian” and the other as “development.”

Similar to the US “aid” bill that claimed to promote world “peace” and “safety,” the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill passed by the British Parliament also aimed to “prevent and deter unlawful migration, and in particular migration by unsafe and illegal routes.”

The bill was derived from the Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP), which was signed by both countries on April 13, 2022. According to the agreement, all deemed “illegal” refugees in the UK would be forcibly deported to Rwanda. In return, the UK committed to providing Rwanda with a “development fund” valued at £370 million. Upon the transfer of the initial batch of 300 refugees to Rwanda, the British government would additionally pay £120 million. Over the course of the subsequent five years, as the agreement takes effect, each refugee would cost the British government up to £171,000. In comparison to the immense sums allocated for US military “aid,” the British-Rwanda deal appears relatively insignificant.

The act of deporting refugees to a third country tramples the principles regarding international human rights and refugee settlement since World War II. Now, refugees are being disposed of at the whim of others, treated no differently than discarded waste, as they are transferred to third countries. The only cost involved seems to be a mere “cleaning fee.”

In a globalist capitalist hierarchical order, affluent Western nations can simply pay a nominal fee to poorer countries, effectively passing on the responsibility of dealing with the problems created by the West themselves. Prior to the British signing their pact, the Israelis had followed a similar path, labeling individuals from Eritrea and Sudan as “infiltrators” and sending them to Rwanda and Uganda.

Capitalist globalization and modernization promised the world a utopia of free movement, prosperity, and peace driven by the free market. However, for the vast majority of people worldwide, this utopia remains an illusion that will never achieve. Instead, it has become a utopia reserved for a privileged few—the gentlemen in Capitol Hill and the Palace of Westminster, the Israelis armed with guns and tanks targeting the Palestinian people, and the wealthy tycoons perched at the top of the global wealth pyramid. This utopia is built upon the blood and suffering of the rest of the world.

There’s another name for this utopia: Imperialism.

The bills passed in the US Congress and the British Parliament epitomize the global hierarchical order that has been shaped by imperialist coercion and intervention. Within this order, individuals are treated as expendable entities devoid of free will, subject to manipulation, arrangement, and displacement at the whims of others. When Israel initiates purges against Palestinians on Palestinian soil, when the US dispatches sophisticated weaponry to its allies, and when Britain “safely” discards unwanted refugees to Rwanda, the true nature of the so-called “free international order” is laid bare—a colonial imperialist global order that traces its roots back to the expansion of capitalism in the 16th century.

This market-driven order regards human beings as dispensable resources and perceives the “redundant” as obstacles. The enforcement of humans takes various forms and extends beyond the mere movement, control, and disposal of lives. Essentially, this enforcement perpetuates and reinforces the existing hierarchy between different groups, between a select few who benefit from the market system and the vast majority who do not, and between certain privileged regions of the world and the rest.

Throughout the history of capitalism, the enforcement against human beings has manifested itself in various forms. It has been evident in the massacres of Indigenous peoples in the Americas and Australia, the enslavement of Africans, and the oppression of Chinese and Indian indentured laborers. This enforcement has continued into the contemporary world through wars, provocations, interventions, the disposal of refugees, and the ongoing genocide of Palestinians.

In the present day, the British repatriation of refugees to Rwanda is justified under the guise of an “economic development” initiative. Similarly, the US “aid” provided to countries like Israel and Ukraine is framed as actions taken to safeguard global peace and economic interests. These hegemonic actions, justified by appeals to economic development, international security, and global stability, bear a striking resemblance to the justifications used by capitalist empires during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The act of “deporting” refugees to Rwanda is not an invention unique to the British. In fact, the desire to “offshore” people of color, immigrants, refugees, and the underprivileged in the lower class reflects a fundamental governing pattern employed by colonial imperialists.

The Atlantic slave trade stands as a powerful reminder of the historical practice of forcibly displacing humans. Enslaved Africans were transported thousands of miles to colonial plantations, where they were subjected to forced labor, constructing the very foundations of the “colonial settlements” for the benefit of white colonialists. Alongside the economic exploitation of slaves, the genocide and displacement of indigenous peoples in the Americas laid the groundwork for the establishment and expansion of what we now know as the United States.

In the British Isles, colonizers from Scotland and England initiated the seizure of land from the Irish people in the early 17th century. From the second half of the 18th century to the mid-19th century, English dominators forcibly evicted Scottish tenant farmers in the Scottish Highlands and islands. The methods employed in these purges ranged from compelling Scottish tenants to migrate to even more impoverished lands due to poverty, to causing deaths and forcibly relocating them to other regions within the empire.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, as navigation technology advanced, the practice of transporting criminals and the underprivileged to overseas colonies became commonplace for European capitalist empires. This approach served as a form of punishment and deterrence, while also functioning as a crucial method for managing social inequality and controlling the significant urban underclass during the process of urbanization and modernization under capitalist imperialism.

One of the most well-known examples of enforcement is the British practice of forcibly transferring local criminals to Australia. This not only served as a form of capitalist “poverty alleviation” but also functioned as a mechanism to mobilize “redundant labor” and aid the expansion of the British Empire’s overseas territories.

Within the framework of this hegemonic order management, various forms of legal arrangements emerged. In 1899, Rwanda was officially incorporated into the German Empire’s colonial territories. After Germany’s defeat in World War I, Rwanda became one of Belgium’s “protectorates” under the supervision of the League of Nations.

During the post-World War I period, Rwanda was subjected to the “indirect rule” of both Germany and Belgium. Indirect rule involved supporting a select group of pro-colonial forces within the existing social order of Rwanda and utilizing them to exert control over the local population. This governance approach viewed social hierarchy as a necessary tool for control. As part of the colonial rule, racial categorization was introduced to serve the needs of governance. The division between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups in Rwanda underwent a transformation from a class relationship to an essentialist racial category within the context of colonialism.

The market-centered imperialist order indeed treats spaces as exploitable objects, transforming them into means of economic gain. Germany and Belgium in the early 20th century viewed Rwanda as a land for cultivating cash crops like coffee and tea. In the 21st century, the UK regarded Rwanda as a destination to offload unwanted refugees. The US sees Ukraine as a market for consuming weapons while undermining Russia. The Indo-Pacific region serves as a frontline for containing China and preserving US global economic dominance. Similarly, Israel seeks to “cleanse” the land of Palestine by purging the Palestinians. In the eyes of imperialists, the people inhabiting these spaces are perceived as obstacles to be moved and eradicated in pursuit of market profits.

In the face of a genocide witnessed by people around the world, who dares to claim that a world that facilitates the delivery of weapons of mass destruction is a “better” world? Who attempts to package the old colonial-imperialist order as a new, free, and universal order that purportedly promotes economic development?

Perhaps the answer was not as evident in the past, as the mask of modernity concealed the rotten truth upheld by these imperialists. However, now, in the bloodshed of Palestinians, in the voices of arrested and protesting students, in the fiery blaze ignited by Aaron Bushnell, in the eyes of refugees forcibly transferred to Rwanda, we, the people yearning for a new order, can clearly see the answer. We will bear witness to the birth of a new world.

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author_image
The China Academy Picks
Top picks selected by the China Academy's editorial team from Chinese media, translated and edited to provide better insights into contemporary China.
author_image
Yin Zhiguang
Professor in international politics at Fudan University
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