As a child I was quite taken up with the idea that I am , or atleast can be, an international citizen. A citizen of the world. It helped that my school used to preach ‘one village the world, one family the mankind’. Also as a fan of Nehru’s politics I was a keen follower of NAM (Non Aligned Movement). NAM ofcourse disintergrated in the 90s but my idea of being an international citizen lived on. It went hand in hand with my ideas of secularism, free speech, free and fair justice, live and let live etc. I hadn’t heard of free sex until too late or that would have also surely been part of my ideas! I looked at the future with starry eyes and couldnt wait to discover this beautiful world where everyone was part of my extended family.

However, as I have grown up and seen the world more I have to unlearn this bit like I have had to unlearn a lot of other things.  It has been particularly difficult to unlearn this because I don’t have another idea that I find compelling enough to replace the idea of being an international citizen. As the world marks the 5th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, I have learnt that there is no such thing as an international law. What is called as ‘international law’, is something that is made along the way by the rich and powerful countries of the world.  I have learnt that while there is talk about trying to save the world, a nation’s priorities always superceede international priorties. So in effect when a nation is purporting to act in the interest of like minded countries, it is actually acting in the interest of its own nation and at best hoping that it is in the interest of other like minded countries. I have learnt that what is correct for some is completely wrong for others. I have come to the conclusion that international law is a modern term for jungle law.

Iraq is a perfect example of jungle law in action. The aggressors were acting in their interest, their actions were sold to the world on the basis of lies, innocent people were killed and continue to be killed and yet the aggressors continue to say this was the right thing and continue to claim victory. Saddam was , rightly, executed for war crimes and yet the man under whose authority Iraq was invaded and tens of thousands of people killed continues to claim victory. No one in the civilised world questions openly the charade that continues to go on in Iraq. But the this becomes more understandable when we see that the war was fought by the US for its domestic interests. This is no international law, this is just domestic law being extrapolated half way across the world. If a single life is lost in the developing world, there is an inquiry to get to the bottom of the matter. Yet so many people killed in Iraq and no inquiry, no inquest.  This is surely no free and fair justice. The only reason because some countries of the world have the right to do this is because they are rich and powerful and get to dictate terms and conditions to those who are not.

So after all the progress made by humanity over the past centuries, is this what we have come to. Nothing has changed at all? What do we tell young kids these days? Read up on your law of the jungle because that will best help you deal with modern conflicts.

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