Sunday, September 14, 2003

Thank You Ian Buruma

For dissecting brain-dead anti-Americanism so well. And thanks to Norman Geras via Harry for the pointer.

It's only human to admire someone who reinforces a point you've made. Even better when he does it in language you can only aspire to.

"When Indians kill Muslims, or Africans kill Africans, or Arabs kill Arabs, western pundits pretend not to notice, or find historical explanations, or blame the scars of colonialism. But if white men, whether they are Americans, Europeans, South Africans or Israelis harm people of colour, hell is raised."

"As long as white people aren't spilling it, ANY amount of Iraqi blood can be spilled and you won't give a damn, let alone pick up a pen to write about it. "

"Democracy, to conservative realists, was fine for us but not for strange people with exotic names. It was the left that wanted to change the world, no matter where. Left-wing internationalism did not wish to recognise cultural or national barriers. To them, liberation was a universal project. Yet now that the "Bush-Cheney junta" talks about a democratic revolution, regardless of culture, colour or creed, Gore Vidal claims it is not our business, and others cry "racism"."

"In politics there always seem to be two views of 'the Other' - the Other in this case being the people of Iraq. One side says 'they're just people like us - they want the things we want', the other says 'these people are not at all like us - beware'. Historically the former view was held by the Left - think of the idealism with which the African colonies were liberated (or abandoned), or the argument that asylum-seekers will in no time be helping with the PTA and sending the kids to medical school, compared with the traditional 'right' view of peoples 'half devil and half child' or (circa African independence) 'they're just not ready for it'.

But these days its a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world. The repentant Trotskyites who make up America's neocons seem confident that the whole Middle East can be 'liberated' from feudalism or theocracy, and it's the Left who are suddenly saying 'don't kid yourself - these guys are very different to you and me. "

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