AhlulBayt News Agency

source : Khamenei News

16 November 2020

10:43:37 AM

American Human Rights: The Waco Massacre

The Waco massacre concerned the military siege to the residence belonging to the Davidian sect in Texas, which was ultimately attacked on April 19, 1993, by the US army.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): The Waco massacre and the act of burning the followers of the Davidian sect – a manifestation of American human rights! – received Ayatollah Khamenei’s attention as he stated in his Friday prayer sermons delivered on June 19, 2009: “In the US – one is shocked at hearing this – during the time of a Democratic government, they burned alive around 80 followers of the Davoodi sect. This cannot be denied in any way. It was their excellencies – the Democrats – who did this. The Davoodi sect – they refer to them as the Davidians – provoked the US government’s rage for some reason. They took refuge inside a house. They tried to force them out, but they did not get out. So, they burned the house, thus burning alive 80 men, women and children. Do you Americans understand what human rights mean?” The present Op-Ed tries to study the Waco massacre, committed by the US government, from a human rights point of and therefore, it does not intend to study or approve the Davidian tenets and principles from a religious point of view.

The Waco massacre concerned the military siege to the residence belonging to the Davidian sect in Texas, which was ultimately attacked on April 19, 1993, by the US army. The Davoodi or Davidian sect is one that separated from the Adventist church believing in Saturdays as a holiday and in repenting on that day. Under the leadership of David Koresh, the Davidians resided in an area 14 kilometers away from northeastern Waco in Texas. It is claimed that the followers of David Koresh derived their beliefs from a Bulgarian priest and they believed that Jesus would emerge again to administer justice in the world.

The state of Texas is known for its secessionist history as it has experienced some wars over independence and separation from the United States. During his leadership of the Davidian sect, David Koresh adopted measures that aroused the sensitivity of the central government. As a Christian leader, David Koresh complained about the existence of racial and religious discriminations in the US in his speeches against the White House, describing the unjust and discriminatory conditions at the time against Jesus’s will and so, he challenged them by declaring them in contrast with the Bible’s teachings. Although Kores’s activities did not have secessionist motives, they were regarded by local security politicians as an endeavor to prepare the ground for the formation of civil and social protests in Texas.

In one of the documents on the Davidians’ massacre, it has been mentioned that Mrs. Janet Renaud, the Texan governor at the time, delivered a confidential report to Bill Clinton, asking him to seriously pay attention to security agents’ warnings about Koresh’s dangerous actions. According to the law, civil protests voiced by different groups and sects are free in the US and therefore, the Clinton administration could not stop David Koresh’s religious speeches. As a result, the US’ judiciary system accused that group of violating the laws on arms possession and demanded the arrest of that sect’s members based on that accusation and issuance of a judiciary edict. When the confrontations began to take shape, many judiciary cases were made up against the main promoters of the sect and David Koresh himself. As well as that, they heavily propagandized against the sect and portrayed a terrible image of it among public opinion with the purpose of confronting its members. Subsequently, David Koresh was summoned to the court many times and he was ordered to leave the region. However, Koresh did not leave Waco and finally, security agents moved to arrest him in February of 1993. 

Finally, in a horrible and terrifying operation, the police and security agents laid siege to the area, cutting off the supply of water, electricity and food. They attacked the Davidians’ sanctuary on Sunday morning, February 28, 1993. While the American Ground Force was being backed up by three helicopters, they opened fire on the Davidians’ residence, both on the ground and in the air. That was while the Davidians did not fire any bullet. Due to their religious beliefs, the Davidians were in good spirits and they endured the siege for 50 days, which is a record in itself. Gradually, the sect turned into a symbol of resistance in Texas and it was quite probable for the Texan people to join them because of the sect’s good morale. Ultimately, at the command of Bill Clinton, the 19th of April Operation, also known as the Waco Holocaust, kickstarted. Under the command of Gary Harris, Security agents invaded the residence with their tanks and a barrage of bullets. The operation continued incessantly until noon. At first, the walls were brought down with the aid of one of the tanks and after that, incendiary tear gas substances were sprayed on the building and the surrounding area. The release of gas acted as an incendiary substance and would create a hell of fire with a little spark. The shootings continued, but the Davidians were resisting and there was not any sign that they would surrender. Finally, the order to set the place on fire was issued and by lighting explosive substances, the building was consumed by horrible flames and as a result, approximately 80 people – including women, children and even infants: at least, 25 of them were children and teenagers – would burn about 40 minutes, transforming into a pile of ash on the ground.

This article does not try to defend Davidian beliefs and tents, but it believes that even considering the possibility of danger for the American national security, they should have been confronted within the legal framework and based on human rights principles. The collective burning of a number of hungry and exhausted men, women and children, who had taken sanctuary inside a house and who had been surrendered for about 50 days, was against human rights and therefore, it is a parody of American human rights.

After the end of the operation, security agents did not allow individuals to enter the premises for a long time. For several weeks, no medium was allowed to cover the news of that horrible crime. Therefore, the White House bought enough time to destroy all proofs about the intentional massacre of the sect’s members. They even fabricated a scenario to attribute the burning of the building to the members themselves. The final report on the incident claimed that some armed individuals inside the sect itself set the building on fire, thus murdering their own women and children!

The Clinton administration decided to promote the idea that the Davidians considered burning in the fire as a sign of complete faith according to their religious teachings and for that reason, they preferred self-burning to surrender. After several weeks, the media spoke of a pleasure-seeking group who had committed horrible acts and who had intended to jeopardize the US national security by buying weapons worth millions of dollars. According to that fabricated story, the army had attacked those religious adventurists to protect children and women. In order to justify their anti-human action, the American media introduced the Davidian sect as a group of psychos who were inclined to suicide and to raping women and children in their religious rites. However, independent research showed that the Davidian sect did not suffer from the maladies that American media had tried to attribute to them. Independent sources highlighted the healthy and peaceful nature of the members, describing them as people loyal to their religious leader who promoted a peaceful and collective lifestyle.

The US government has not still authorized anyone to do independent research on this disastrous incident and this crime continues to stain the American liberal democracy. History will not forget that incident and the Waco massacre and the murder of the Davidians will serve as one of the numerous pieces of evidence about the violation of human rights at the hands of the Americans.

The truth is that the leaders of the White House consider human rights as an instrument for justifying their crimes and for ensuring the US national security. Therefore, the role of mass media and independent sources including the radio, television, the press, cyberspace and news agencies is very important for recording human rights violations by the US including burning the Davidians. The media can pose this question: How can the US government, which is a violator of human rights more than every other country, invite other countries to respect human rights? They can also demand that the United Nations and human rights organizations condemn the violation of human rights by the US government. To conclude, we should not allow the burning of the Davidian sect to be consigned to oblivion or to be lost in the annals of history and this issue should be placed at the top of the agenda for writers and authors throughout the world.

The views, opinions and positions expressed on Op-Ed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of Abna24.com.