Dr. Gideon Polya Media With Conscience April 17, 2006
[A tribute to Dr. Dhafir and other humanitarians like him.]

NINETY YEARS AGO the Irish rebelled against the British in the Easter Rising. The rebellion was short-lived and Irish insurgents and leaders were caught and hanged by the British. Notable among these was SIR ROGER CASEMENT, a noble humanitarian who — like E. Morel — had “blown the whistle” on Belgian atrocities in the Congo (where some 10 million had died as a result of appalling Belgian rubber-collection atrocities).

The Easter Rebellion was “unsuccessful” at the time but 6 years later Ireland became independent. Similarly, hanging Sir Roger Casement did not stifle his spirit. The humanitarianism of Sir Roger Casement lives on and periodically decent people everywhere are profoundly moved by courageous individuals who stand up for humanity — true heroes such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Raoul Wallenberg, Hugh Thompson, Dr Rafil Dhafir and, most recently, Australian medical doctor, Dr Malcolm Kendall-Smith.

DR MALCOLM KENDALL-SMITH is an Australian hero and humanitarian. An Australian doctor in the British Royal Air Force (RAF), Dr Kendall-Smith has been decorated for previous tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. However Dr Kendall-Smith has now been jailed for refusing to participate further in the illegal Iraq War. He argued that the UK-US-led invasion of Iraq was illegal and “on a par with Nazi Germany”. The post-invasion under-5 infant mortality and excess mortality in Occupied Iraq now total 0.4 million and 0.5 million, respectively (see MWC News ). International legal experts have indicated that the UK-US-led invasion of Iraq was indeed illegal but the military panel thought otherwise and sentenced Dr Kendall-Smith to 8 months jail and dismissed him from the RAF (see: here and here ).

DR RAFIL DHAFIR, an Iraqi American medical doctor and specialist oncologist, was sentenced in 2005 to 22 years imprisonment as a result of sending food and medical supplies to Iraq during the Sanctions period. It can be readily estimated from the latest UN infant mortality figures that the Iraqi under-5 infant mortality under Sanctions totalled 1.2 million in the period 1990-2003 and have totalled 0.4 million post-invasion. Dr Dhafir is the only Honorary Member of the distinguished Brussells Tribunal humanitarian organization.

HUGH THOMPSON was a US helicopter pilot who heroically intervened to save Vietnamese civilians from being massacred by US soldiers at My Lai, Vietnam, on 16 March 1968. He subsequently reported the My Lai massacre – this eventually lead to public exposure of the atrocity by Seymour Hersh  and the conviction of Lieutenant William Calley for the massacre of 500 unarmed civilians. This decorated war hero (Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross and Soldier’s Medal) died of cancer in January 2006 (see: here ).

RAOUL WALLENBERG was a Swedish diplomat who heroically helped save the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi genocide in 1944. He disappeared after the Soviet Red Army liberated Budapest and is believed to have died in the Soviet Gulag system in Siberia. A bust of Raoul Wallenberg at a very busy intersection in Melbourne, Australia, is a continuing reminder to everyone of our duty to stand up for humanity.

DIETRICH BONHOEFFER was a German Protestant pastor and theologian who stood up to the Nazis. He helped Jews escape to Switzerland and eventually became involved in the Abwehr (Military Intelligence Office) plot to remove Hitler. He was incarcerated in a concentration camp and eventually hung on 9 April 1945, one month before the end of the Second World War in Europe (see: here and here ).

Both Dr Dhafir and Dr Kendall-Smith are still alive. They are both medical doctors who have been imprisoned in Western democracies (the US and the UK, respectively) for standing up against horrendous abuse of humanity by the Anglo-American Coalition in Iraq. The Nazi analogy adduced by Dr Kendall-Smith in his defence is germane. The Nazis killed 1.5 million Jewish children during World War 2. So far, the post-1990 Iraqi infant mortality totals 1.6 million and the post-2003 infant mortality totals 0.4 million – 90% of these deaths have been AVOIDABLE and have occurred through the non-provision by the Occupying Coalition of the life-preserving requisites demanded by the Geneva Conventions. The under-5 infant mortality in Iraq (post-1990) and Afghanistan (post-2001) have been 1.6 million and 1.4 million, respectively, and now total 3.0 million (see MWC News for the latest UN and UNICEF mortality figures ). How many infants have to be murdered before the world cries “enough is enough”?

Decent people around the world should be inspired by these examples. Decent people living in INTERNALLY decent democratic societies with freedom of speech (such as those of the war criminal Coalition countries) are obliged to stand up for humanity – they will not be imprisoned, tortured or killed for simply stating the obvious, that “thou shall not kill” and that mass killing of “enemy infants” is utterly repugnant and unforgivably beyond the Pale. Silence kills and silence is complicity — in the face of horrendous abuses of humanity we are obliged to INFORM everyone and to AVOID (where possible) any personal or business dealings with those responsible. 
Dr Gideon Polya,  MWC News Chief political editor, published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds” (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003), and is currently writing a book on global mortality