Weapon Deals and Land Grabs: Justify Yourself!

A few days ago the campaign 25000-euro.de (German) caught my attention. Publishing wanted posters of the owners of the German weapons manufacturer Kraus-Maffei Wegmann and calling for tips that could lead to convictions of the company’s shareholders? That’s quite a bold campaign I thought. But the motivation for it – preventing the delivery of 270 Leopard 2 tanks to Saudi-Arabia – is definitely a noble one.  Does the end justifiy the means?

The organizers of this campaign (The Center for Political Beauty) say that Krauss-Maffei Wegmann’s shareholders (KMW is a family enterprise with just a couple of shareholders) have too long operated in the background. In fact, there are even people who have worked with the owners and who don’t know that these people earn their money through selling tanks and other wepaons.

The German government has already approved the tanks deal with Saudi-Arabia. In such a case the Federal Security Council decides. This decision was made behind closed doors and without consultation of the parliament. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann claims that it’s „merely“ executing the government’s decision. It could be so easy…

Justify Yourself

Photo taken from andeecollard on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

However, I think it’s about time that in such a case decision-makers or those who „merely“ execute these decisions have to justify their actions. The owners of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann should tell the public why they will deliver 270 tanks to Saudi-Arabia, which are appropriate for oppressing protesters. Those tanks could be used to violently oppress protests in Saudi-Arabia or in neighbouring countries like in Bahrain. This has happened before.

Yesterday I stumbled upon an article titled: „Meet the millionaires and billionaires buying land in Africa“. The principle behind it is basically the same like 25000-euro.de. Those people who are making profits in ways that harm others should justify their actions. Transparency could help to avoid actions like these. If the public makes clear that it detests weapons deals with despotic regimes, land deals (landgrabs) at the expense of those who have cultivated the land for a long time or any other deal that bring profits to a minority and that harms a majority of innocent people, some people could think twice about their actions.

Do you know any similar campaigns like 25000-euro.de? I would be happy if you share them! What do you think of campaigns like this one?

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