By Dr Mahathir Mohamad
1. It was a spectacular show – this closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. It was not just about games. The organisers just could not confine themselves to sports. It was too good an opportunity for gaining political capital from the event. And so in the background, in enormous moving letters, was the word FREEDOM.
2. There was no indication as to whom it was directed and what the purpose was. But I am sure that immediately the thoughts that crossed the minds of the spectators and the millions of TV viewers all over the world was the need for freedom in many of the countries of the third world.
3. But may I suggest that we look also at the lack of freedom of the many independent countries of the world due to Western Hegemony.
4. Some of these countries had fought for independence from colonial rule. They had lost men and suffered much before winning what they believed was the freedom that came with their independence.
5. But are they free? It was Soekarno of Indonesia who quickly realised that the decolonised independent nations were not really free. They were still under the thumb of the former colonial masters – not too obvious of course but the pressure was as real as when they were the colonies of their European masters. They had to do what the ex-masters told them or face economic pressures, or political pressures or pressures by the International media controlled by them. Soekarno called this new form of colonialism – Neo Colonialism.
6. The West laughed at him but they nevertheless engineered his downfall. No one talked about Neo-Colonialism after that. Everyone decided it was a silly idea or maybe they thought it was dangerous to harbour such ideas.
7. But let us scrutinise the present state of the countries of the world in particular those which became independent after the last Great War. If we do, we cannot help but conclude that the so-called independent countries are still having to obey the orders of the former colonial powers headed by the super superpower which won the Cold War. The independent countries are told that the only system of Government they can have is the democratic system. This is not really bad. But the interference in the internal affairs of independent countries does not stop there. There must also be regime changes, so that candidates friendly to the West are installed. The laws of the countries must also be changed in order to serve the interests of the West. The countries should be borderless, should allow inflows and outflows of foreign capital, should allow foreign ownership of business and the acquisition of companies. The financial system must be those of the West.
8. When they change, all the so-called independent countries must follow suit. Naturally a few would not. Then the so-called international press would begin denigrating them. Eventually they would be classified as failed states or rogue states. When there is still no change in attitude, excuses would be found to apply sanctions. A UN agreement would be sought but if that is not forthcoming the sanctions would be applied anyway.
9. Sanction is the modern equivalent of the siege of old except that it is bigger in scope. A country under sanction will not only be deprived of food and medicine but will not be able to trade and may not fly aircrafts. To render sanctions effective the super superpower will force other countries to also apply sanctions. Failure to do so will result in their losing their facilities to finance trade etc.
10. In the so-called war against terrorism the weak countries of the world are forced to legislate against money laundering and terrorism. All financial transactions must be scrutinised ostensibly to prevent money from going to terrorists. Charities have actually to cease their activities because they are all suspected of financing terrorists. Money changers found their business being hampered through these new laws. The governments of most countries are forced to restrict their banks from dealing with the countries under sanctions.
11. If sanctions fail to bring the recalcitrant country to heel, it would be threatened with war. This is no empty threat. Countries have been invaded and occupied, their towns and cities razed to the ground and of course hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians killed and many more wounded and incapacitated.
12. Clearly the super superpower has arrogated itself the right to instruct, direct and command independent countries to legislate and act in accordance with the policies and agenda decided by it. All these countries are dragged into assisting the implementation of policies and actions decided upon by the super superpower which effectively placed them under sanction.
13. They are not free to act on their own or have their own policies. So when one talks about freedom, it should not be confined to the freedom of citizens of the country but also of the freedom of independent countries as well. It is quite clear that the so-called independent countries of the world are not free. They are therefore not really independent. They are actually under the control of the super superpower.
14. The freedom message at the closing of the London Olympics should also be noted by the powers which are denying freedom to the independent countries of the world. Then and only then can they take the moral high ground to preach or castigate the poor third world countries of denying freedom to their people.