Illustration: Jeffrey Liu

Throughout history, Western civilizations have perceived the East to be in need of their guidance. To this day, Western countries consider it their right to intervene in the politics of other nations. They interfere only to further their own interests, under the façade that they are “helping” the developing world. Be it to increase influence, weaken enemies, or improve reputation, the Western world has installed innumerable puppet governments and reconstructed countless administrations. Under the guise of liberation, these nations have stuck their noses in every nook and cranny.

One of the most outrageous examples of Western interference is the Bengal Famine of 1943 [1], which is, for the most part, a forgotten affair. Although we all remember the eleven million who died during Hitler’s reign in Germany, very few know of the three million who died during Winston Churchill’s reign over the British Empire [2]. In fact, after the Japanese Invasion of Burma in World War II, the Bengal region (present-day Bangladesh and West Bengal) of the Indian Subcontinent suffered severe crop failures that resulted in widespread food shortages. To make matters worse, Churchill stopped any aid from landing in the Indian Subcontinent, claiming that there weren’t enough ships to spare. In reality, Australian shipments were routinely being diverted from the Bay of Bengal [1].

The death toll would have been significantly reduced, had Churchill not stopped Australian shipments of food from docking in India. Instead, he decided that it was more important to stockpile food in Britain to sell at a profit after the war [1]. What kind of hero averts his gaze from his starving people?

What is more, instead of demanding an apology, India and Bangladesh have all but forgotten the millions who died during this famine. History curricula avoid the topic altogether, and as a result, very few are aware of this gruesome affair.

Sadly, this was not an isolated event. In the two centuries that the British reigned over India (1758 – 1948), more than sixty million people died due to famines alone [3]. In fact, the number of famines that plagued the Indian Subcontinent during the British Raj is equivalent to the number of famines that attacked the region in the preceding seven centuries [3].

This sort of compliance with injustice is appalling. When such acts are left uncriticized, they gradually become acceptable. Imagine what could have happened, had we not denounced Adolf Hitler’s notions of world domination and ethnic supremacy. These are things that need to be found deplorable. The more we turn a blind eye to such atrocious acts, the closer we come to a world we do not want.

No one forgets events like the Holocaust and the Great Soviet Famine; we learn of these horrific crimes in school and demand their acknowledgement. However, when the very same are done by countries like the USA or UK, they are all but forgotten.

Even today, Western countries continue to terrorize nations and get away, scot-free. Currently, the US is bombing seven different countries, routinely killing millions of civilians without having to face any real consequences [4]. For instance, the US indirectly aids war crimes in Yemen by selling billions in weapons to Saudi Arabia. These are subsequently used to bomb Yemeni Houthis [5]. Yet, these aggressions gets little to no press coverage, perhaps because they are committed by the US’s allies—not their enemies. Moreover, while Russia is admonished for bombarding Aleppo, the US’s efforts are applauded; few know that the US is largely to blame for escalating the Syrian conflict by arming the rebel factions and turning a peaceful rebellion into a violent one [6]. While millions die as a result of American intervention, the orchestrators of these events rarely experience any backlash [7].

For being on the right side of history, the US seems to have received permission to ceaselessly interfere in the internal affairs of foreign nations. Regardless of casualties and damages, the US acts as though it has the right to dictate the future of every country. Civilian casualties are buried, and democratic governments replaced with mere puppets.

No longer can we afford to turn a blind eye to such atrocities. In the past, the British Empire has committed heinous crimes under the banner of the Monarchy. Of course, present-day UK is not to blame for the deeds committed generations ago. However, the United Kingdom needs to acknowledge its past crimes instead of burying them. And while we recognize the past, we cannot ignore the fact that the strongest nation in the West has become the greatest terrorizing force in the East. We cannot allow another Bengal Famine, and we cannot wait for another tragedy to bring us to our senses.