The Imperialist West’s Selective Mourning of Atrocities

January 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On Wednesday, January 7, the day the murderous attack on Charlie Hebdo took place, the following atrocities also took place or were revealed. They received very little, if any coverage in the Western imperialist media:

» 10 bodies and 11 severed heads were found in secret graves in the State of Guerrero in southern Mexico. According to ABC News (January 7), “Most of the bodies had their hands tied and showed signs of torture.” Guerrero is where 43 rural teachers college students from Ayotzinapa were disappeared by Mexican police and drug gangs in September 2014. This is part of a pattern of what Human Rights Watch calls “generalized torture” and widespread “extrajudicial executions by security forces” under Mexico’s current government.

Mexico’s rulers are backed and supported by the U.S. “The U.S. government continues to aid, arm and coordinate with the Mexican government after about 100,000 people have been massacred since the previous president launched a ‘war on drugs’ in 2007.” (See “Mexico: government's political crisis persists.”)

» 577 people were killed or found dead in Iraq, including 150 in a U.S. airstrike. According to, on January 7, a mass grave with 320 bodies was discovered and that over 200 more people were killed in widespread fighting across Iraq between the U.S. and the reactionary Iraqi government it backs, and reactionary Islamic fundamentalist forces. Iraq News reported that in one U.S. air assault on ISIS forces, 150 people were reportedly killed. Reuters reports that as of January 7, U.S.-led forces had conducted 1,676 airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria since August 8, using 4,775 bombs, missiles, and other munitions. That day, Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, said the U.S. doesn’t count the number of people it kills: “We’re not getting into an issue of body counts.” In 2014, Iraqi civilian deaths doubled compared to 2013, to 15,538. All this carnage is a direct product of the 2003-2011 U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. (See also Democracy Now!, January 8, 2015)

» At least nine people, including two children, killed in Afghanistan. The children were killed in the Zhari district of the southern province of Kandahar while looking for firewood, probably by a mine or roadside bomb. In the Shahwali Kot district of Kandahar, another 10 children were wounded in a bomb blast, with seven in critical condition. The year 2014 saw 10,000—a record number—killed in the ongoing U.S. war and occupation of Afghanistan.

“‘Our children were there to collect wood to burn when they were hit by this bomb,’ said Bismallah Jan, the father of one of the wounded children. ‘The government should have cleared the area, it their duty to protect us,’” ABC News reported. “Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, and children are often killed or wounded while playing, collecting firewood or tending animals.”

» Freezing winds and snow endanger millions of Syrian refugees in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. “A fierce winter storm that has unleashed barrages of rain and snow on parts of the Middle East this week has compounded the misery of the millions of Syrians displaced by their country’s civil war and left the organizations that seek to help them scrambling to keep up. Frigid winds, driving rains and layers of snow have hit encampments in Syria’s neighboring countries, flooding settlements, collapsing tents and leaving refugees shivering in the cold and increasing the chances for illness.... Three Syrians, including a child, were found dead in southern Lebanon after getting caught in a storm,” the New York Times reported January 7. The enormous suffering caused by what the media calls Syria’s civil war is the product of the toxic clash between global imperialist powers, especially the U.S., oppressive regional powers, including the Assad regime in Syria, and reactionary Islamic fundamentalist forces.

» Around the world, some 17,000 children under the age of five died on January 7, as they do on average every day of the year. According to UNICEF, these deaths are overwhelmingly from preventable causes like starvation, lack of sanitation and clean water, and treatable diseases. These deaths—on average 11 every minute—are a product, first and foremost, of the workings and legacy of global capitalism-imperialism.

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