Friday, December 09, 2005

Hungary to USA : Hypocrites!!!

From the Index (Hungary), an editorial on US hypocrisy and human rights. The US State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices notes that Hungary is not yet a model of respect for civil rights. Police sometimes use excessive force, especially with the minority Roma population. Sounds like Los Angeles. So writer M. Arpad Tota is understandably upset by what he sees as a double standard for human rights--one imposed on the world, and another for the United States.
I'm not saying that police brutality isn't an ugly thing, and a state-assigned lawyer is certainly worse than a well paid one. There's room for error in the building of a democracy. But let's also point out that Hungary does not keep concentration camps on its territory or on that of any other state. It does not build secret torture chambers in which people are kicked around without any charges against them.
Tota doesn't believe in mincing words.

Concentration camps (and lets drop this phony expression "secret prison"; they're secret because they're really concentration camps) are the ultimate in state crookedness. Not only do they beat and kick, but the sadistic personnel there do whatever they want, and it's a not a matter of substandard legal defense, but no legal defense. People can be thrown in there without charge or trial, and there are no footprints leading out. These are neither prisoners of war nor convicts, because if they were, they'd have rights. They are not people but livestock. They can't be innocent, because then they wouldn't be there, so if they're there they're beaten until they admit to being spies or saboteurs.

Like the late Pontiff John Paul II (in his 1987 encyclical Solicitudo Rei Socialis), Tota makes a direct comparison between the United States and the Soviet Union, and sees a moral equivalence.
Placing concentration camps in Europe is a level of brashness that not even the Soviet Union achieved. This matter of outsourcing gulags could be a watershed in European-American relations: do we forgive this, because we've seen concentration camps before, or do we make a worldwide scandal for exactly that reason?
The great (and bombastic) NY journalist Sidney Zion once said of the United Kingdom, "If it weren't for the double standard, Britain would have no standards at all." More and more, I'm afraid, this is becoming true of the United States.
America shouldn't write reports about what horrible things happen in some countries, especially when they're doing them themselves. Do we shit on the doormat, and then get up in arms because the doormat is dirty?

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