The concept of what-about-ism is said to have been given prominence through its frequent application by the Soviet Union as a propaganda tool to silence critiques who sort answers for human rights violations and other matters committed by the government of that time. To the Soviets, this seemed a readily effective way of drowning the voices calling for a change. So, in simple words, what-about-ism is an attempt by an individual to reject being tagged the only known sinner. It is a technical way of faulting a legitimate case.
Whenever the concept is put to use the one on the defense seeks to deflect the criticism and thereby portray the one criticizing as being hypocritical since they (the critique) is also guilty of another crime, crimes which may not even be related to the one in focus. But we can’t attribute this phenomenon to the Soviets only. We are all guilty of resorting to it when it’s necessary to safe face. No one truly enjoys it when their can of worms is being opened.
Look through old history and even the present history, and you will realize that governments and rulers are the top haters of criticism. Whenever a piece that criticizes the government makes it to the headlines it is the journalist or media outlet involved in the publication who will always be at the receiving end of the wrath of the outraged ruler.
But even ordinary individuals, too, don’t always take it lightly when their “sins” are shown to them. After all, “no one is perfect (or a saint)”. You must have made the last statement once upon a time, right? That was your use of the “what-about-ism” concept. But isn’t this approach harming and frustrating efforts aimed at achieving some harmony in world policies and governance styles?
Shouldn’t nations and their heads be humble enough to take responsibility for wrongdoings without trying to fault others for sitting in judgment over them? We have watched as the nations of the world come together to establish the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague but some nations have refused to be placed in the dock simply because atrocities committed by them shouldn’t be used to dent their image.
With everyone refusing to be made the scapegoat it then implies that the purpose of having the ICC has been defeated. What will be said concerning the United Nations Security Council? They hardly do have members apologise for the irresponsible use of power locally and internationally. But this mustn’t go on. Individual acceptance of constructive criticism is important.
Yes, the judge may not be a perfect human being but genuine claims mustn’t be dismissed with a counter-accusation. Let’s end the what-about-ism concept so that issues will be properly resolved and victims compensated.