Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Mohammad Ali Salih’s analysis of what has brought about the USA and the rest of the world to do nothing at all to prevent the splitting of Sudan in two halves, is singularly unimpressive (“My country divided“, IHT, Feb 17, 2011).
What is impressive is Mr Salih’s inability to spell “DARFUR”. Genocide or not, hundreds of thousands have been killed or forced into fleeing from their villages in Darfur, and even those that don’t want to believe in a direct support for those shameful actions against civilians by the Sudanese government, will have to admit it’s hard to win friends when you cannot guarantee the safety of your own citizens.
Compound with that the fact that the Darfur crisis was started just as the Sudanese civil war North vs South was drawing to an end at last.
Note also how the US government had no qualms in trying to help the displaced Darfurians, Muslims driven away from their normal lives by other Muslims. It is therefore apparent that it wasn’t Islamophobia the driver of outside intervention supporting the separation of South Sudan. It was Khartoum’s obviously pernicious policies in “dealing with” internal affairs.
And since even Northern Sudanese people with an international outlook like Mr Salih cannot even mention Darfur, the separation of South Sudan sounds like a very good idea indeed.
Well, it looks like I am a mildly-conservative radical libertarian. How does that translate in the world of now?
- In the UK: I am mildly sympathetic to the positions expressed by the former trotskyites of Spiked, even if I find them excessively meldrewsque at times. BNP aside, I can’t stand the UKIP, the only political party whose leaflet I have given back to its startled distributors at my local station, as I find its very existence offensive to a tax-paying foreigner such as myself. As for Lab, Lib/Dem and Tories, well, the jury is still out in the quest of understanding what exactly they different one another from, once they are in power.
- In Italy: I have voted for both centre-left (Prodi) and centre-right (Berlusconi) coalitions. I have been politically active in both coalitions. Funny thing is, I didn’t have to change my political convictions in order to do that. Right now I am politically active in Berlusconi’s “Popolo della Liberta'” political rassemblement, and can’t see any alternative in the sea of interrupted Italian politicians calling themselves “leaders”.
- As if things weren’t complex enough, I am also a Roman Catholic and I strongly disagree with the Church’s involvement in politics, or its teachings about public attitudes to sex. That’s hardly the opinion of a potential candidate for the Presidency of the European’s People’s Party.
If anybody finds anybody of similar political beliefs as myself please do send me name and address, as it will be the second member of the Party!
I have recently argued that “those who felt there was not enough time to save the world, went on to commit genocide“. Of course that’s not part of an effort to justify anybody or anything, rather a step forward towards recognizing genocidal conditions before the killings happen.
Is genocide a crime for idealistic losers then? Yes it is. Read for example from “Genocide – A Comprehensive Introduction, 2nd ed.” by by Adam Jones, Ph.D., Routledge/Taylor & Francis Publishers, August 2010 (p. 37):
in his 2006 book The Order of Genocide, political scientist Scott Straus [wrote that] “a dynamic of escalation was critical to the hardliners’ choice of genocide. The more the hardliners felt that they were losing power and the more they felt that their armed enemy was not playing by the rules, the more the hardliners radicalized. [In Rwanda they] chose genocide as an extreme, vengeful, and desperate strategy to win a war that they were losing.”
Straus’ book is on Amazon. Interestingly, at page 155 it reports that among the main reasons why they committed genocide, 47.9% of interviewed Hutus mentioned: Insecurity, war, “kill the Tutsis before they kill the Hutus”.
Actually, there is a clear link between the Shoah, the beginning of Nazi Germany’s defeat and a general initial state of panic from Hitler to all, about lack of time and resources. From Wikipedia:
the German defeat in front of Moscow in November–December led to a sharp change of emphasis. Euphoria was replaced by the prospect of a long war, and also by a realisation that food stocks were not sufficient to feed the entire population of German-occupied Europe. It was at this time the decision to proceed from “evacuation” to extermination was made. Speaking with Himmler and Heydrich on 25 October, Hitler said: “Let no one say to me: we cannot send them into the swamp. Who then cares about our own people? It is good when terror precedes us that we are exterminating the Jews. We are writing history anew, from the racial standpoint.”
The point about insecurity has indeed become a historical trait of modern genocide. Writes Malcolm Bull in the London Review of Books (“Ultimate Choice“, Vol. 28 No. 3 · 9 February 2006, pages 3-6 – it’s the original source that inspired my quote above):
Reasoned defences of most genocides can be constructed on the basis of a conjunction of the just war and social exclusion arguments, for if there is an identifiable social group engaged in total war against you, then it has to be neutralised. The Armenian genocide in 1915 was justified on these grounds, for the Armenians were expected to fight with the Russians in the event of an invasion of Anatolia. Stalin’s classicide was an attempt to deal with counter-revolutionary elements who might have sided with the Whites in the event of a renewed civil war or foreign invasion. A defence of the Holocaust might be constructed along the same lines: the attack on Bolshevism was a just war against an outlaw state ‘driven by slavery and the threat of human sacrifice’; it became a total war in which Jews would probably have taken the Soviet side; their pre-emptive internment was therefore a natural precaution, and their execution an unfortunate necessity at a time of ‘supreme emergency’ when the Red Army threatened the Fatherland. If you accept the just war and social exclusion arguments, then these genocides can only be criticised on the basis that they relied on shaky political analysis. They were, in effect, misjudgments, failures of statesmanship, perhaps.
Genocides do not occur in stable, peaceful environments, but at moments of crisis when the state is in danger. So societies only go over the brink when the perpetrators of the genocide are radicalised by war.
Analogously, when the Center on Law & Globalization extracted from the work of historial Mark Levene “Nine Common Features” of genocides. here’s what they chose as feature #3:
3. The government or regime believed it was in extreme danger and that crisis was looming,
Finally, in “State Power and Genocidal Intent: On the Uses of Genocide in the Twentieth Century” (part of “Studies in comparative genocide“, edited by Levon Chorbajian, George Shirinian, Palgrave Macmillan, 1999), Roger W Smith
makes an explicit link between trying to make the world a better place, and genocide (p. 8):
contemporary ideology [of genocide]…aims at transforming society. With us the attempt has been to eradicate whole races, classes and ethnic groups…in order to produce a brave new world free of offensive human material…what Camus called a ‘metaphysical revolt’ against the very conditions of human existence: plurality, mortality, finitude and spontaneity. It is , as it were, an attempt to re-establish the Creation, providing for an order, justice and humanity that are thought to be lacking…often motivated by a profound desire to eliminate all that it perceives as being impure. […] How else explain the constant references in Nazism to purification and the Cambodian references to the cleansing of the people?
And so to go back to the original point…is genocide analysis at all applicable to people so desperate about human-induced climate change / global warming, they might get tempted into exploding a little more than fictional children and football players? Yes, in more than one respect. Unfortunately so.
The EU is now officially headed by an aubergine, and a turnip. It’s actually two people, really, and I am sure they are worthy of all praises, but the fact that their notoriety was strictly limited to local phone directories and the immediate family suggests that 27 European leaders can only agree on names nobody will ever be satisfied with (and never mind they look like Gary Larson’s characters too).
The end result will be two-and-a-half years in which hundreds of millions of European will be represented on the world stage literally by Nobody. Could anybody please tell me who is ever going to listen to “Nobody”?
Expect 30 months of European daze.
Congratulations to all those not selected, as it indicates they were candidates of some importance. And please do keep the President of the EU away from the President of the USA, as in terms of charisma they are the respective antiparticle. If they’ll just shake their hands, they’ll annihilate!
PANEL DISCUSSION IN OXFORD, 21 OCTOBER 5PM
MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY IN ITALY – WHAT FREEDOM? and WHOSE FREEDOM?
Berlusconi and the case of La Repubblica’s ten questions
Taylorian Institute, Room 2
Wednesday 21st October – 5 pm
A panel discussion organised by
Italian Studies at Oxford and the Axess Programme on Journalism and Democracy
In collaboration with the Oxford Italian Society
Chair: John Lloyd
Director of the Axess Programme, Contributing Editor of the Financial
Times and Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
London Correspondent and London Bureau Chief, La Repubblica
Dr. Daniele Albertazzi
Senior Lecturer in European Media, University of Birmingham
Press Secretary, Freedom Party (PdL), London Circle
Prof. Andrea Biondi
Secretary, Democratic Party (PD) London Circle
for more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eye-opening article by William Ward in Newsweek (of all places!) explaining the “miracle” called Silvio Berlusconi:
[…] As strange as this preference seems to outsiders, there are several very Italian reasons for Berlusconi’s ongoing hold on politics at home […]
Italian voters have, in three general elections, chosen the devil they know over his dull and plodding opponents on the left. It’s not just for his showmanship; Italians also appreciate his hard work as a retail politician and electoral strategist […]
he attempts to muzzle his opponents and highlight his achievements through the media […] But in this he is merely following a well-trodden Italian tradition […]
his frequent complaints that Italy’s magistrates (a highly politicized and overwhelmingly leftist bunch) have it in for him are not entirely unreasonable […]
Who could have thought…
The bars were sponsored by liquor companies, the kitchen by Lufthansa. One room had marble walls, another, cashmere. Hundreds of guests plucked hors d’oeuvres from Plexiglas trays, but when I reached for a passing tray of pigs in blankets, the waitress tried to stop me. “These are for Michael,” she said.
That would be Michael Moore, filmmaker, who was enthroned nearby on a crowded sofa nibbling from a skewer, which did seem less in harmony with his everyman sneakers and populist persona than a sausage wrapped in fried bread. The Monday night party in Manhattan, which spread over two luxurious penthouse suites, was sponsored by Esquire and tricked out with the magazine’s advertisers’ products. The guests were there to celebrate Moore’s latest movie [Capitalism, A Love Story], which had just had its New York premier uptown.