Sunday, February 24, 2013

An Unsurprising Silence

My good friend Walt Richmond has noted that the only article in English he could find on the Internet regarding the 69th anniversary of the deportation of the Chechens and Ingush was the one I posted on this blog. There was nothing else by anybody. None of the "anti-racist" blogs by "liberals", "progressives", or "radicals" had anything to say about the racially motivated forced removal of half a million people to desolate wastelands where a quarter of them died. This goes back to a theme that I have noted before. The US liberal media and academics despite all their claims to support diversity and champion the disadvantaged are in fact extremely parochial and in fact outright racist in their worldviews. Steven Salaita nails it regarding the "radicals", "progressives" and liberals that dominate academia and the media. They are largely posers when it comes to their supposed anti-racist positions. Or as he more articulately puts it, "We should therefore do away with the notion that liberalism automatically equates to tolerance or that liberals are dedicated anti-racists. Liberals are, and long have been, part of the same system that created the racism under discussion in this essay." (p. 19). Sure they like to condemn the alleged racism of their domestic opponents in the US. But, at the same time you have big name tenured professors like Francine Hirsch adamantly denying that the deportation of the Chechens and Ingush in 1944 constituted an act of racial discrimination. The assorted "radicals" and "progressives" with blogs like Claire Potter, Ann Little, Timothy Burke, the socialists at Crooked Timber, and others never blog about politically incorrect people like the Chechens and Ingush. Their plight does not concern them. The "anti-racist" stance of American academic "radicals" is purely a show to demonstrate their supposed moral superiority to registered Republicans in the US. It does not now and has not for a very long time had any real connection with the vast majority of people in the world. The people that Frantz Fanon called the "Wretched of the Earth" do not exist as real humans for academic liberals. At least the old colonial style racism had the honesty of its convictions. There is nothing redeeming about the far more prevalent liberal racism that dominates US academia.

Source: Steven Salaita, The Uncultured Wars: Arab, Muslims, and the Poverty of Liberal Thought - New Essays, (London: Zed Books, 2008).


Anonymous said...

Irrespective of its sources, racism is racism. Ignorance is no excuse.
Insecurity is not justification… racism in all its forms should be
uncompromisingly condemned.

Leo Tolstoy said...

Yesterday I made the admittedly foolish decision to read a thread on the Chronicle of Higher Education's discussion board about imperialism. The majority of "scholars" really bent over backwards to explain how cultural genocide was a really good thing because, after all, those indigenous peoples the west destroys aren't exactly "noble savages" (yes, one actually said that). Disgusting.

J. Otto Pohl said...

Walt do you have an address for the thread? I am collecting names on these things.

Withywindle said...

I urge you to distinguish. Most people have never even heard of the Chechen and the Ingush; it's a bit much to say they're racist when they don't even know they exist. And obviously the lapse of time makes all this less urgent. I could say you're racist because you don't blog about 1) Valeriano Weyler in Cuba; 2) the late nineteenth century colonial wars from Argentina to Mexico whereby the central governments finished off the remnant Indian tribes, often by extermination; 3) the Chinese crushing of Tibet, ongoing; 4) Javanese colonization in the outlying islands of Indonesia; 5) Indian colonization of the Andaman Islands; 6) the crushing of the Kurds by all concerned; 6) the Kurds crushing the Turkmen, Arabs, etc., when they get the chance; 7) the Ukrainian ethnic cleansing of the Poles in 1944; 8) the extermination of the Prussians by the Teutonic Knights; 9) Basil the Bulgar Slayer; 10) the Mongol destruction of Khwarezm; 11) the Rape of Nanking; 12) etc., etc., etc. But that would be just as silly as you calling somebody racist when they're simply the normal brain-dead youf (which includes the odd tenured professor) who think "Chechen" is a new Mexican chicken joint down the street.

You have your bugaboos; so do the PC left. No one is the Eye of God; we all have our predilections.

Beyond this, I also urge you to take in another aspect of the lapse of time: the USSR fell in 1991. Yes, it's obnoxious that Putin et al continue to obscure the truth, but the actual murderous regime has gone. So the moral imperative to Bear Witness inevitably dwindles. Now, the lefties through 1991 who turned their eyes away were deserving of opprobrium--but the lefties now in essence were mistaught by their elders about something that is no longer of current relevance. This is a venial sin.

I would suggest that the proper comparison is about attention to current problems. For example, I do agree that the PC left should bear greater witness to Muslim persecution of gays and women, the holocaust of abortion of female babies in the Muslim, Indian, and Chinese worlds, the laogai, the North Korean camps, the massive and endless internecine slaughters of the Muslim world, the continuing oppression and colonization of Tibet, Sinqiang, Inner Mongolia, and Manchuria by China, the endless internecine slaughters of the African world, the treatment of Gypsies throughout Europe, and, by the by, the rising tide of pogromist Jew-hatred throughout the world. (I will assume the last is not high on your priorities.) All this, I think, is higher on the to-do list than memorializing the Chechen and the Ingush. But there is no end of barbarism & inhumanity in this world; & quite a long list of the subsection of barbarism & inhumanity one can define as "racism." At some point, the condemnation becomes so universal as to become morally trivial.

Leo Tolstoy said...

No, I looked for it before I posted here and again just now. The title of the thread is not about imperialism, so it's hard to find. But just go to the forums page at and browse through the threads in "Discuss Chronicle Articles" or "Meet and Greet" and you'll quickly find something that will make you sick.

In case you're thinking about posting there, most of the posters have been there for years and years, and when someone new comes on and criticizes one of them, they gang up on that person and harass him incessantly. I've never been called such insulting things so quickly as I have on that particular discussion board.

J. Otto Pohl said...

Well Withywindle unlike liberal academics I am only one man without any resources. Whereas they are legion and have much greater material assets than me. But, I have written about some of the things you mention recently.

On 1 November 2012 I blogged on North Korean labor camps.

On 12 October 2012 I blogged about human rights in Togo.

On 1 and 7 December 2012 I blogged about the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.

On 28 November 2012 I blogged about human rights in Congo.

There are other posts on the Western Sahara, Congo, Rwanda, and Togo as well. So I do write about human rights abuses by African regimes including Arab African regimes such as Morocco. It is true I only have one post on North Korean labor camps and not much recent on China. But, I am an historian so far more of what I read and write is on the past than the present.

Withywindle said...

The larger point is that you might use more charitable language.