Sunday, September 15, 2002

Race in Rwanda

There is in Sunday's New York Times (Registration Required) an eye-opening article concerning the attempted genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda. You have to love the Times: while the Tutsi women were being subjected to mass rape and Tutsi men to mass murder, the Times had little to say, now that the situation is over, Liberal guilt drives them to wallow in what happened.

I must say that I have never understood this bleeding heart thing. My mother was one, and I never could understand why one would feel so much for the downtrodden while respecting them so little. My mother's Upper East Side Manhattan Democrats of the 1950s and 1960s were some piece of work. One of my memories of these paragons of virtue was the day when they were organizing a rally for the presidential candidate, Jack Kennedy, and I listened in amazement when my mother's fellow district leader female from a district a little uptown of us said to her: "you bring the food, I'll bring the niggers." That's democrat egalitarianism at work. Thank God that my mother's soul was saved by her attendance at the Chicago democrat convention of 1968. She realized that she was on the wrong side, and she transformed herself from a Stevenson Democrat into a Reagan Republican. This week one could tune in the United Nations speech given by Bush and see the top national security officials this Republican white guy from Texas appointed flanking our Ambassador, and both of them are Black. That's Republican egalitarianism at work.

But, while our republicans and democrats were arguing about weighty issues like whether to raise taxes or lower them, and Clinton's blow jobs, and the Hutus were slaughtering the Tutsis using methods that would have shocked Dr. Mengele, they, WE, sat on our butts and did nothing. The article goes into details, the queasy stomach crowd better pass on it but a little context is provided by the following:
Around the turn of the 20th century, however, German and Belgian colonists used dubious racialist logic -- namely, that Tutsis had a more "Caucasian" appearance -- to designate the minority Tutsi the ruling class, empowering them as their social and governing proxy.

In the 1930's, the Belgians, deciding to limit administrative posts and higher education to the Tutsi, needed to decide exactly who was who in Rwanda. The most efficient procedure was simply to register everyone and require them to carry cards identifying them as one or the other. Eighty-four percent of the population declared themselves Hutu and 15 percent Tutsi. Considering the degree of intermarriage in Rwandan history, this accounting was hardly scientific. What's more, Rwandans sometimes switched ethnic identities, the wealthy relabeling themselves as Tutsis and the poor as Hutus.

"Identity became based on what you could get away with," said Alison Des Forges, a senior adviser to the African Division of Human Rights Watch who has studied Rwanda for 30 years. "Half of the people are not clearly distinguishable. There was significant intermarriage. Women who fit the Tutsi stereotype -- taller, lighter, with more Caucasian-like features -- became desirable. But it didn't necessarily mean that the women were one or the other."

With desire comes its emotional alter ego, resentment. A revolution in 1959 brought the majority Hutus to power. As tensions increased around 1990, politicians began disseminating propaganda denouncing Tutsi females as temptresses, whores and sexual deviants. Before the 1994 genocide began, Hutu newspapers ran cartoon after cartoon depicting Tutsi women as lascivious seducers.

Unlike the Nazis, who were fueled by myths of Aryan superiority, the Hutus were driven by an accumulated rage over their lower status and by resentment of supposed Tutsi beauty and arrogance. "The propaganda made Tutsi women powerful, desirable -- and therefore something to be destroyed."
and then this
''This behavior lies just under the surface of any of us,'' Des Forges said. "The simplified accounts of genocide allow distance between us and the perpetrators of genocide. They are so evil we couldn't ever see ourselves doing the same thing. But if you consider the terrible pressure under which people were operating, then you automatically reassert their humanity -- and that becomes alarming. You are forced to look at these situations and say, 'What would I have done?' Sometimes the answer is not encouraging."
So, it's our fault, and we would have done the same. And not a word in the piece about our lack of interest or involvement, in an eight page article! This is moral relativism at its worst. Since we would have done the same thing, there was no reason for us to interfere. Especially since the million who died were Black.

And now the current attempted genocide. The only difference is that this time the intended victim is us. And the Times wants us to stand by again while a racially defined group is murdered. And after the Arabs push the Jews into the sea, the Jihadis want to convert the rest of Christendom into lighter colored versions of themselves. At some points in human events, action is required. Not weeping from the sidelines. Muslim voices have declared the women of Israel the property of Islam. The Arab states, most of which supported Hitler, want to finish the job he started.

Why does the left hide from this fight? We are all on the front lines now. A historic clash of civilizations is taking place right now. We can wait, and suffer "the death of a thousand cuts" (another great tradition from the Middle East) or we can move on those who would do us harm. There is no third choice. In the military, it has been shown over and over that you must assault an ambush, or die. Attackers lose fewer men than cringing cowards. Once you know that, you can rush the guns. Putting one's head in the sand makes one a better target. Shame on those who would disarm us or impede us. They are our enemies, irrespective of their nation of origin. Or, even worse, they are cringing cowards who, if we listen to them, will bring our whole civilization down.