A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘genocide

[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.

[LINK] “Czech Roma Under the Swastika”

Sylvie Lauder’s article describing the near-complete genocide of the Roma of what is now the Czech Republic, published at Transitions Online, makes for chilling reading.

Seventy years ago Czech and Slovak Roma embarked on a grim path to nearly complete annihilation. In the spring and summer of 1943, 4,500 Roma were shipped off to the so-called Gypsy camp in Auschwitz: one-third were from camps in Lety and Hodonin, in the south and southwest of the country, and two-thirds were taken from their homes. The fates of local Roma remain one of the least investigated chapters of the war, and one part of this story is completely unknown – that some Roma survived the Nazi attempt at extermination thanks to the help of “white people.”

Even after decades 87-year-old Emilie Machalkova’s voice shakes and tears fill her eyes when she recalls those scenes. The spring sun was not yet very warm when one Monday afternoon she stood, a 16-year-old girl, at the railway station in Nesovice, a village 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Brno. She, her parents, two brothers, grandmother, and 3-year-old cousin were waiting for a train to take them to the stables of the protectorate police in Masna Street in Brno, where they had been told to report. Nearly all their neighbors accompanied them to the station, Machalkova recalls: all her childhood friends and family friends came. Someone brought a traditional Czech pork dish, others bread. “All of us were crying a lot because we thought that we wouldn’t come back.”

They were right to be afraid. A few weeks earlier much of Machalkova’s extended family in Moravia had been summoned to Masna Street. Lugging a suitcase, her grandfather Pavel had left, along with three of her uncles, some cousins, and other relatives – all together 33 members of the large Holomek family, a known clan of Moravian Roma. Even though it was not until after the war that they found out the whole truth, at the time everyone suspected that Roma, just like Jews, were being sent to their deaths. “In ’42 they took away the entire Jewish Fischer family, who had an estate and a restaurant in Nesovice. We knew our time was coming too,” Machalkova says.

Last year Machalkova and her husband, Jan, celebrated their 50th anniversary in a comfortable apartment in Brno. On the walls and shelves is a flood of smiling photographs of their three daughters, son, grandchildren, and great grandchildren – reminders that thanks to the bravery of some, they were among the few protectorate Roma who escaped the extermination machine.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • The Big Picture shares photos from the Asian Games.
  • blogTO notes that Loblaws in Toronto will pioneer drive-through grocery sales.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly describes her issues with being an adjunct professor.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the ongoing disputes within the European Space Agency behind the creation of the next generation of Ariane rockets.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas notes some good recent criticism of Arendt and her Eichmann in Jerusalem.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money and the New APPS Blog both note the expanding controversy surrounding philosopher Brian Leiter.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the beginning of drone delivery in Germany.
  • pollotenchegg notes the scale of demographic collapse and rapid aging in Ukraine’s Donetsk.
  • Torontoist notes that a Toronto policeman has been acquitted on charges of assaulting a former Torontoist contributor at the G20 protests.
  • Towleroad notes the Serbian Orthodox Church’s opposition to Belgrade Pride and observes that France has streamlined the adoption process for lesbian mothers.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Crimean Tatars should prepare for another deportation and notes that Russia’s economic travails are weakening its influence in Central Asia at China’s expense.
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