Compare and Contrast: Obama's Reaction to the Deaths of King Abdullah and Hugo Chávez
By Glenn Greenwald / firstlook.org
Jan 24, 2015

Hugo Chávez was elected President of Venezuela four times from 1998 through 2012 and was admired and supported by a large majority of that country’s citizens, largely due to his policies that helped the poor. King Abdullah was the dictator and tyrant who ran one of the most repressive regimes on the planet.

The effusive praise being heaped on the brutal Saudi despot by westernmedia and political figures has been nothing short of nauseating; the UK Government, which arouses itself on a daily basis by issuing self-consciously eloquent lectures to the world about democracy, actually ordered flags flown all day at half-mast to honor this repulsive monarch. My Intercept colleague Murtaza Hussain has an excellent article about this whole spectacle, along with a real obituary, here.

I just want to focus on one aspect: a comparison of the statements President Obama issued about the 2013 death of President Chávez and the one he issued today about the Saudi ruler. Here’s the entire Obama statement about Chávez (h/t Sami Khan):

Now here is the one today about Abdullah:

One obvious difference between the two leaders was that Chávez was elected and Abdullah was not. Another is that Chávez used the nation’s oil resources to attempt to improve the lives of the nation’s most improverished while Abdullah used his to further enrich Saudi oligarchs and western elites. Another is that the severity of Abdullah’s human rights abuses and militarism makes Chávez look in comparison like Gandhi.

But when it comes to western political and media discourse, the only difference that matters is that Chávez was a U.S. adversary while Abdullah was a loyal U.S. ally – which, by itself for purposes of the U.S. and British media, converts the former into an evil villainous monster and the latter into a beloved symbol of peace, reform and progress. As but one of countless examples: last year, British Prime Minister David Cameron – literally the best and most reliable friend to world dictators after Tony Blair – stood in Parliament after being questioned by British MP George Galloway and said: “there is one thing that is certain: wherever there is a brutal Arab dictator in the world, he will have the support of [Galloway]”; last night, the very same David Cameron pronounced himself “deeply saddened” and said the Saudi King would be remembered for his “commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths.”

That’s why there is nobody outside of American cable news, DC think tanks, and the self-loving Oxbridge clique in London which does anything but scoff with scorn and dark amusement when the US and UK prance around as defenders of freedom and democracy. Only in those circles of tribalism, jingoism and propaganda is such tripe taken at all seriously.

4.0 ·
1
Trending Today
87 Deeply Subversive Documentaries That Challenge the Status Quo
Films For Action5,272 views today ·
Joanna Macy on How to Prepare Internally for WHATEVER Comes Next
Joanna Macy2,578 views today ·
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad2,107 views today ·
America’s Trump, Not Trump’s America
Frank Scott1,961 views today ·
The Human Future Depends On All of Us Becoming Designers
Daniel Quinn1,437 views today ·
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga1,327 views today ·
How Modern Imperialism Creates Famine Around the World
Eric Draitser1,277 views today ·
How Swedes and Norwegians Broke the Power of the ‘1 Percent’
George Lakey1,178 views today ·
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain903 views today ·
Load More
What's Next
The Greatest Way to Dishonor Martin Luther King Jr.
Tony Cartalucci
Democracy Needs A None Of The Above Option To Work (2014)
4 min
Statism and the Illusion of Choice
Sebastian A.B.
Like us on Facebook?
Compare and Contrast: Obama's Reaction to the Deaths of King Abdullah and Hugo Chávez