February 19, 2001
Ed. Note: This material was found on an Internet Newsgroup Forum early February 2001. It is reproduced unedited. Only the names have been changed to respect privacy.
Read Micha's Open Letter to Richard
A half-century ago, the free world essentially chose to ignore the
persecution and killing of Jews by Nazis. The major religious and
political powers at the time justified their choice primarily on three
First, the principle of sovereignty dictated that a country be free to deal with internal problems as it wished -- even if that meant condoning mass murder.
Second, people could accept denials of atrocities put out by Nazi propagandists. There were picture perfect ghettos and camps where the Red Cross and others were led in and shown happy interned Jews who didn't complain. With this, they could deny the eyewitness and other accounts that leaked out of occupied territories.
Third,of course, was basic racism. They were Jews, after all. But more than that, there was the overweaning idea that racial and cultural purity was fundamentally a good thing. We *should* keep our cultures and races clean from the taint of other, lesser races and cultures.
When the concentration camps were made public, most folk had to face those choices. And these same choices are put before us in regards to Bosnia and Kosovo.
First, there is the plea to sovereignty. Micha's pleas to sovereignty state that a nation should be free to commit wholescale murder without interference from abroad. Greg [another participant to the forum] has explicitly stated this -- the Allied war against Germany was justified because of Perl Harbor. It would not have been justified had we done it merely to save six million Jews.
Second is the plea to denial. To Micha, the eyewitnesses are all liars. The investigator who find evidence of atrocities are part of a grand conspiracy. The documents are all falsified. The siren song begging us to ignore the atrocity and death is very appealing.
Third is the plea to cultural purity. The laws and policies that Serbia put in place prior to the beginning of the murders of moslems in Bosnia and Albanians in Kosovo plead to the same emotions and dark fears that lead to all racial laws. "Ethnic cleansing," a term chosen and used by the Serbians, is justified as a matter of cultural and racial self-defense. It's the same plea used by the Nazis in occupied Europe, y the Klan as it terrorized blacks in the South, and by racial separatists here in the US -- from black racist separatists to white racist separatists to Indian racist separatists to hispanic racist separatists. The cry to a pure culture and a pure blood can justify anything.
And, so, no. Some folk, including myself, think that sovereignty should not protect a nation as it commits genocide. Some folk, such as me, think that the cry for racial and cultural purity and ethnic cleansing is not a justification for it.
But, of course, the key here is denial. Apologists for genocide attempts know that their arguments start to look week when their pulpits are covered with blood. So, apologists for the Serbian policies in Bosnia and Kosovo must deny what clearly happened -- just as pro-Nazi holocaust deniers must deny what clearly happened 50 years ago. This does not mean that they are insincere. But, sincere or not, they are still wrong.
Micha makes much that I don't confront people who deny the retaliation killings by the KLA. I don't have to. The KLA doesn't have a Micha to run around claiming that the killings didn't occur. The killings *are* reported, roundly condemned, and make part of the criticism of ineffectual UN/NATO actions on the ground.
But that is the difference. Micha would have you believe that the atrocities which brought about those retaliation killings never occurred. Micha would have you believe that NATO and Clinton really didn't have anything better to do than pick Serbia at random and just bomb the hell out of it for no reason at all. Sorry. There are lots of things both NATO and Clinton would have preferred to deal with.
But westerners, particularly in Europe, have that nasty little legacy of knowing what ignoring what people like Milosevich will do given free reign. And denial, false excuses, and cries for racial and cultural cleansing and purity are not justifications for letting it happen again.
Oh, sure, those of use who oppose genocide are not completely consistent. It takes a consensus to intervene, and we are more concerned with Europe than Africa. We did not intervene in Rwanda, opponents cry. No we did not. We should have. The fact that we failed to intervene in time there is not a reason to fail always.
Richard is a Netizen of American heritage. This material was found on an Internet Newsgroup Forum early February 2001. It is reproduced unedited. Only the names have been changed to respect privacy.
Related Internal Links
TO KILL A NATION, The Attack on Yugoslavia - by Michael Parenti: BOOK REVIEW by Gilles d'Aymery
Open Letter to Richard - by Micha
Kosovo - The "Banality of Evil" - by Gilles d'Aymery
Explaining Nukes to a Martian - By Deck Deckert
The Media and their Atrocities - by Michael Parenti
Resources on the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath
Articles Published on Swans Regarding the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath