A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘genocide

[LINK] “Reporting Srebrenica: Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil”

Transitions Online hosts an article by one Antonela Riha looking at how the Serbian mass media chose not to cover the massacres following the fall of Srebrenica, and why.

[B]y merely browsing the most influential dailies and weeklies, such as Politika, Vecernje Novosti, Politika Ekspres, Nasa Borba, NIN, Vreme, Duga, and Intervju, as well as news programs (Dnevnik) produced by TV Belgrade, it becomes clear that the majority of media in Serbia did not pose any questions or investigate the events in the war regions. For them, Srebrenica was merely another episode of the war in which victims were taken for granted and were no longer counted.

Serbian public broadcaster RTS took literally what Milosevic said about being interested only in achieving a “just peace” and having nothing to do with the Serbs across the Drina River. The most popular TV show of the most powerful media house, TV Belgrade Evening News at 7:30 (Dnevnik), did not include a single video from Srebrenica or any other war zone until 30 July.

On 11 July 11, TV Belgrade commenced its news program with a report on the visit of Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic to some harvesters. It was only on the following day that TV Belgrade viewers would learn that something was going on some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Serbian border: in the 11th minute of the news they could hear Yasushi Akashi, special UN envoy to Bosnia and Herzegovina, saying the UN was not going to intervene in Srebrenica, and UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali saying UN peacekeepers were not going to retreat from Bosnia.

For days, several minute-long packages were broadcast in the middle of the news, with international officials announcing various peace solutions and a conference of the major outside powers leading the negotiations, with images of EU envoy Carl Bildt, Akashi, and another UN envoy, Thorvald Stoltenberg, sharing the settee with Milosevic. There were no sound bites from any of the players, with only statements being read to viewers.

Nor was there a single statement from or footage of a Bosnian Serb official, either soldier or civilian. The only frame showing Srebrenica that was broadcast during those 20 days was a video playing in the background of a TV comment by Tatjana Lenard on 23 July that featured the landscape of the town and UN vehicles, which could have been filmed at any time.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 24, 2015 at 9:50 pm

[LINK] “Germany set to recognize genocide in colonial Namibia”

Al Jazeera reports on the noteworthy impending recognition by Germany of the campaign waged againdt the Herero of then-German Southwest Africa as genocide.

German authorities are set to officially recognize as “genocide” the colonial-era crackdown in Namibia by German troops more than a century ago in which over 65,000 ethnic Hereros were killed.

Talks with Namibia on a joint declaration about the events of the early 20th century are ongoing, and it isn’t clear when they will be concluded, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Friday.

The basis for the German government’s approach is a parliamentary motion signed three years ago by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, stating that “the war of destruction in Namibia from 1904 to 1908 was a war crime and genocide,” Schaefer said. Steinmeier was an opposition leader at the time, and the motion didn’t pass.

German Gen. Lothar von Trotha — who was sent to what was then South West Africa to put down an uprising by the Hereros against their German rulers in 1904 — instructed his troops to wipe out the entire tribe in what is widely seen as the 20th century’s first genocide, historians say.

On Oct. 2, 1904, Trotha issued a proclamation: “Within the German boundaries, every Herero, whether found armed or unarmed, with or without cattle will be shot. I shall not accept more women and children. … I shall order shots to be fired at them.”

Rounded up in prison camps, captured Hereros and as well as members of the Nama tribe died from malnutrition and severe weather. Dozens were beheaded after their deaths and their skulls sent to German researchers in Berlin for “scientific” experiments.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 15, 2015 at 6:57 pm

[BLOG] Some history links

  • Anthropology.net looked at the impact of megafloods on the downfal of pre-Columbian Cahokia.
  • The Big Picture contrasted pictures of Berlin in 1945 with photos of the same scenes now.
  • Patrick Cain mapped geology onto politics, drawing inspiration from one map showing Labour strength in old coal-mining areas in the United Kingdom to display another map showing how cotton-growing areas with their large black populations are pro-Democratic.
  • Crooked Timber hosted Chris Bertram’s memories of left-wing Paris in the 1970s and John Holbo’s exploration of how Nazis were conservative revolutionaries.
  • The Dragon’s Tales wondered if there could be remnants of Theia in asteroidal debris, looks at human evolution, and notes the distinctive Neanderthal inner ear.
  • Far Outliers examined at great length Comanche empire-building.
  • Language Hat considers the imperial culture common to Romans, looks at conflicts over characters in written Japanese, considers Korean etymology starting with Arirang, and looks at the relationship between ethnogenesis and language.
  • Languages of the World examined the dialects of northern England, claimed that Moroccan Arabic had a Roman heritage, and looked at the old Israeli-Iranian alliance.
  • The Map Room’s Jonathan Crowe linked to historical highway maps of Manitoba.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog examined natural population change in England over a vast stretch of time.
  • Spacing Toronto looked at the great Toronto fire of 1904 and examined the city’s role in the birth of personal computers.

  • Torontoist examined how Toronto comemmorated the Armenian genocide.
  • Understanding Society looked at philosophy in the French left after 1945.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO shares some wacky and unusual maps of the Toronto subway system.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly describes her reason why she did not want to have children.
  • Gerry Canavan has another post of links.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at Earth-like planets with circumbinary orbits and considers a new model of gas giant formation that explains Jupiter.
  • Crooked Timber examines the ongoing controversy over the Hugo awards for science fiction, as captured by American right-wing authors.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the habitability of water worlds.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the delay of China’s Mars exploration program.
  • Far Outliers looks at different systems for representing vowels with consonant symbols in the languages of the Pacific Islands.
  • Geocurrents has some posts–1, 2, 3–looking at ways in which the state system does not reflect the reality of the Middle East.
  • Language Hat looks at the revival of Manx.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the United States’ Endangered Species Act is important for saving not just individual species but entire ecosystems.
  • Marginal Revolution tells readers how to find good Iranian food.
  • Steve Munro is dubious about the economics of the Union-Pearson Express.
  • pollotenchegg looks at changing industrial production in Ukraine in 2013, finding that the east was doing poorly.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at the military situation in eastern Ukraine.
  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands shares beautiful pictures of Bermuda.
  • Peter Rukavina continues mapping airplanes flying above Prince Edward Island.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog reports on the results of the famine in 1930s Ukraine.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that the Belarusian language is still endangered, quotes a Putin confidant on eastern Ukraine’s separation, looks at the impact of the Internet on Karelia, and looks at ethnogenesis as two small nations of the North Caucasus merge.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • io9 notes that kale, cauliflower, and collards all are product of the same species.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze speculates on the detection of Earth analogues late in their lifespan and notes the failure to discover a predicted circumbinary brown dwarf at V471 Tauri.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares Lockheed’s suggestion that it is on the verge of developing a 300-kilowatt laser weapon.
  • Far Outliers considers the question of who is to blame for the Khmer Rouge.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that One Million Moms is hostile to the free WiFi of McDonald’s.
  • Spacing Toronto notes an 1855 circus riot sparked by a visit of clowns to the wrong brothel.
  • Torontoist notes how demographic changes in different Toronto neighbourhoods means some schools are closing while others are straining.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes a California court ruling not recognizing the competence of the Iranian judicial system in a civil case on the grounds of its discrimination against religious minorities and women.
  • Window on Eurasia considers the implications of peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine, notes the steady integration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia into Russia, and notes Russian fascism.

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

  • Al Jazeera captures the mood of Tunisia on the eve of elections, looks at the sufferings of ISIS’ sex slaves, reports on Kenya’s harsh response to American criticism of anti-terrorism legislation, and notes that Florida surpasses New York as the United States’ third most populous state.
  • Bloomberg reports on the absence of well-heeled Russian customers visiting Dubai, North Korea having been found guilty of the kidnapping of a Korean-American pastor, describes a European Union response on Ukraine’s financial needs, examines the entanglement of BP with Russia’s sanctions-hit oil and gas industry, outlines Chinese interest in helping Russia for a price, describes geopolitical rivalries of companies bidding for a South African nuclear program, notes Lithuanian interest in the Euro as a way to protect that Baltic state from Russia, shares listings of wonderful Detroit homes on sale at low prices, suggests the low price of oil means economic retrenchment in the Gulf states, and describes how a globalized Filipino village came to specialize in child porn.
  • Bloomberg View suggests Russia’s economic future is parlous despite the recent stabilization of the ruble, criticizes Russian military aircraft confrontations with civilian aircraft, suggests Russia wants a deal, argues the collapse of Vermont’s single-payer healthcare program shows the path-dependency of America’s medical industry, argues Japan should surpass China as a lender to the US, and describes North Korea’s high price for its apparent Sony hack.
  • The Inter Press Service notes a high dropout rate from school for Afghan refugees, suggests political turmoil in Spain might lead to a moral regeneration, describes the negative impact of falling oil prices on fragile African economies, comments on Pakistan’s renewed use of the death penalty, and argues Cuban-American detente will help stabilize the Americas.
  • MacLean’s wonders why the National Archives are being made inaccessible to visitors, describes the toxic CBC environment that enabled Jian Ghomeshi, and visits Yazidis returning to liberated territories to find mass graves of their people.
  • Open Democracy looks at Russian support of Central Asian governments which kidnap their dissidents on Russian territory, examines official misogyny in Chechnya, looks at constitutional turmoil in the United Kingdom, and studies the nature of Russian support for European far-right groups.
  • Universe Today describes how a newly-discovered dwarf galaxy satellite of the Milky Way can help explain the universe, looks at evidence for a subsurface reservoir of water on Mars, and examines the idea of airship-borne exploration of Venus.
  • Wired thinks the withdrawal of Google News from Spain will do nothing to change the underlying dynamics of the mass media industry, and examines the fascinating dynamics of volcanism in history on Mars.

[BRIEF NOTE] On the meaninglessness of a supposed Jewish right of return

Palestinian author Ghada Karmi‘s Al Jazeera opinion piece “The Jewish Right of Return” evokes for me Philip Roth’s novel Operation Shylock. This is not a good thing.

Anti-Arab slogans and graffiti are widespread in Israel, and Adalah, the legal centre for Arab minority rights in Israel, estimates that there are more than 50 Israeli discriminatory laws against Arabs. A new law making Israel the “nation-state of the Jewish people” that clearly discriminates against Arab citizens has already been passed by Israel’s cabinet. Dozens of Knesset members also support it.

This violent and irrational Israeli hatred and maltreatment of Arabs needs an explanation. In my view, it derives largely from the destruction of European Jewry during World War II. [. . .] To atone for this crime Europe encouraged the settlement of Holocaust survivors and other persecuted Jews in a faraway Middle Eastern country they did not know and whose people and culture were alien to them.

It was not the answer. In Palestine, the Jews were forced to acclimatise to an unfamiliar place and required to accept a new identity as “Israelis”. A Zionist history was created for them with the religious scriptures as a reference point. Their own past, despised by Zionism as assimilationist or passive in the face of Christian persecution, was to be discarded, and their mother tongues had to give way to a new language, Hebrew. Above all, they had to learn to be a majority when they had always been a minority. And all this in a short period of time as Israel was being rapidly established to defend against a hostile Arab environment that rejected it. That hostility was another challenge the Jewish immigrants had to face and that made all their other difficulties worse.

The solution?

The solution to this tortured situation lies in what may be called the Jewish right of return. Under this right, Europe would welcome back its previous Jewish citizens, at least those still alive, and their descendants, offer them compensation, fund their resettlement and provide jobs and housing. These costs could be defrayed against the EU’s current massive bilateral trade with Israel worth $36bn (with many trade agreements favouring the latter) and its generous grants to its scientists.

Germany is the model for this Jewish return. After reunification in 1990, it welcomed Jews to its towns and cities, with the result that an estimated 15,000 Israelis are now living in Berlin alone, which is experiencing a Jewish renaissance, and many more are applying for German citizenship. Other European states should follow suit, as should Arab countries with Jewish communities who had resettled in Israel.

Where can I begin?

Most of the countries of origin of Israel’s Jewish population–in central and eastern Europe, in the Middle East and North Africa, and beyond–are substantially less economically developed than Israel. Even in fast-developing central Europe, living standards still lag behind Israel’s, to say nothing of poorer countries like Romania, or Ukraine, or Yemen. There really is no economic incentive for Jewish immigration specifically targeted to ancestral countries of origin. Germany has attracted many tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants since reunification, but most of these Jews are migrants from the former Soviet Union and Germany is still much richer than even Poland or Hungary.

Are there non-economic incentives? I am very skeptical of this. In the case of central and southeastern European countries which belong to the European Union, getting an EU passport might well be an incentive for many Israelis. That is it. The old Jewish-Christian communities of central Europe have been almost entirely destroyed, and negative associations understandable remain strong. There is very little alive for potential Jewish immigrants to cling to.

Perhaps most importantly, the majority of Jews in Israel were born in Israel. Ancestral countries of origin are increasingly irrelevant in a mixed population, perhaps almost as irrelevant as they are in another country of recent mass immigration like Canada. Why should they leave their homeland for lands that offer very little that is attractive to them, and does so only at significant cost? A Jewish exodus from Israel may actually aggravate existential issues and Israel-Palestinian conflict: Would a Jewish population weakened by mass emigration and reduced to a hard core of isolated people be more tractable to the Palestinians, or less?

I may get what Karmi is saying. It would have been very nice of these genocides and forced migrations had not happened. They did though, changing things irrevocably and beyond hope of reconstitution. All we can do is live realistically within the world that the past has created.

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