International Compassion and Solidarity - Clayton McDonald
The 1971 declaration of Bangladesh independence was given initial widespread radio broadcast by Radio Australia. The Australian international broadcaster later delivered news updates on the war of independence. These broadcasts provided information to people in Bangladesh while the local radio stations were being suppressed.
William A S Ouderland was a Dutch Australian who was working and living in Bangladesh at the time of the lethal suppression of Bangladesh self-determination. Ouderland witnessed and helped publicise the atrocities happening during this suppression. He extended the hand of international compassion and solidarity to the people of Bangladesh by embracing the struggle for justice and liberation and providing significant support to the guerrilla operations.
In stark contrast, the system of international competition and domination led the United States to send some of its navy from Vietnam into the Bay of Bengal to support the Pakistan army’s failing suppression of Bangladesh in the war of independence.
This aggression towards Bangladesh self-determination was a cynical act by the United States to demonstrate its desire for better relations with China. This demonstration was to be achieved by threatening China’s regional rival, India, who was supporting Bangladesh in the war of independence.
The Soviet Union, a rival of the United States and China, sent naval forces after the United States navy which then withdrew from the Bay of Bengal.
These are not the acts of international compassion and solidarity.
What threatens the wellbeing and future of the peoples of Bangladesh and the world today are the accumulating catastrophes produced by the current monopoly capitalist system. These catastrophes involve climate change; pollution, degradation and destruction of the environment on land and sea; extinction of species and loss of biodiversity; food and water insecurity; resource depletion; economic inequality and collapse; and war.
The global monopoly capitalist system dominates the world economically, politically and culturally. This system seeks to avoid human rights and environmental responsibility. It is the method used by powerful and wealthy countries and corporations to generate huge profits while accumulating the environmental, social and economic catastrophes for the peoples of the world.
In this time of accumulating catastrophes, international compassion and solidarity is needed now more than ever before. The powerful and wealthy countries must be made to acknowledge their historic debt to the rest of the world and shoulder the moral and actual responsibility for combating the source and effects of these catastrophes.
This will mean liberating the world from the domination and devastation of the monopoly capitalist system and replacing it with an international system of human and environmental rights.
It will mean transforming international relations from competition, consumerism and domination; to cooperation, compassion and equality.
Ouderland’s courageous and effective resistance to injustice is an example of international compassion and solidarity. This and other examples of international compassion and solidarity need to be multiplied across the world to progress the struggle for justice for all living beings.
The peoples of the world are starting to identify the monopoly capitalist system as the source of the catastrophes and the urgency for changing the system.
“Occupy Wall Street” and “The Arab Spring” are examples of revolutionary waves of demonstrations that are linking people in the international struggle for environmental, social and economic justice.
These are the acts of international compassion and solidarity.