“˜Genocide Industry’ has Hidden Agenda
“˜Attempts at equalising historical wrongs are often aimed at Holocaust obfuscation’
Lessons for Darfur from an unfortunately not-enough-known Nazi versus Stalinist crimes debate in Europe.
The “˜genocide’ activists who cried the expected howls following the Washington Post‘s “˜Sudan’s “˜coordinated’ genocide in Darfur is over’ (18 June) report and the ABC news story (broadcast 17 June), “˜US envoy: Sudan experiencing “˜remnants’ of genocide’, in the recent resurgence of efforts of linking the terminology of genocide to the ongoing tragic situation in Darfur, could do nothing better than to read carefully articles published in the Irish Times of Dublin in May about the “˜Red (Soviet Stalinism) equals Brown (German Nazism)’ debate in the so-called “˜New Europe’, see the subtitle above.
Revisionism of the role and impact of the German Nazi occupation during WWII and of the role and impact of the Soviet Union, particular under Stalin, in defeating the Third Reich and the subsequent establishment of the Soviet hegemony in eastern Europe splitting Europe in the middle, is rampant in many newly established countries that were part of the former Soviet Union, such as the Baltic states or its satellites in the former Warsaw Pact, such as Poland, sometimes referred to in sections of the British and American media as the “˜New Europe’.
The hidden agenda of this revisionism is “˜Holocaust obfuscation’, according to Professor David Katz, Director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute in Lithuania, in his article under the same title as above published in the Irish Times of 30 May, responding to an earlier article, “˜History holds key to mutual understanding’, published on 16 May.
This has led in turn amongst other to “˜bogus redefinitions of the word “genocide”,’ according to Professor Katz, with the aim to replace the history of the Shoah with a “˜theory of equal genocides with where everybody was killing everybody’, resulting in the equalisation of the crimes of the Nazis with the crimes committed by the Soviet Union, in particular under Stalin, such as for instance comparing the victims of Auschwitz with those of the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s.
While Professor Katz is absolutely not minimising the crimes committed by the Soviet Union, in particular under Stalin from the 1930’s to his death in 1953, his warnings about the danger of the misuse and sloppy definitions of the word “˜genocide’ for political motives should be equally a warning to the Darfur activists who continue to demand that western, in particular US, policy towards Sudan should be based on the assumption of the “˜ongoing genocide’ in Darfur, despite the fact that the concept of the “˜Darfur genocide’ in the first place, even during the bloody period of 2003-04, remains justifiable heavily contested and controversial.
Whatever was meant by the US special envoy, retired Air Force Major General Scott Grattion, when he spoke of “˜remnants of genocide’ in Darfur and that it was no longer “˜coordinated’, as if one could have an uncoordinated genocide or a little bit of genocide, the activists predictably howled, even tough they themselves have offered not one credible definition or description of what constitutes “˜genocide’ in Darfur.
But the result is the same, an amorphous and ill defined terminology for atrocity or atrocities that is applied for political convenience of the day replacing a definition and terminology based on historical facts and precedent, with as the result that the victims of the Shoah themselves are loosing that quality which has made the crimes against the European Jewish and Roma communities so unique and grotesque.
That something of this nature was happening in Nazi German occupied Europe had dawned on the Allies by 1944, but instead of diverting the war effort to disrupt the genocide infrastructure, as some scholars and commentators argued afterwards should have been done, implying, wrongly, that by default the Allied leadership was somehow complicit in the genocide of European Jewry, the Allies concentrated on defeating Nazi Germany.
The flipside is that the Nazi German High Command refused to divert its resources from the completion of the “˜final solution’ of the “˜Jewish question’ to the defence of the fatherland as defeat and destruction of the fatherland was considered to be preferable if the Nazi world vision could not be implemented and the final solution should be implemented as much as possible to the very dead end.
Whatever one may want to accuse the Sudanese government of, that kind psycho- or sociopathic approach and motivation is absent in Darfur, but “˜genocide’ itself has already become in fact so meaningless in Africa as when Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni the other day felt obliged to describe the indeed enormous and basically manmade humanitarian crisis in Somalia as “˜genocide’ to draw attention to it.
In other words every man-made humanitarian crisis is potentially a “˜genocide’, but whether it will be actually defined as such seems to depend, especially in Africa, on the political convenience of the day whether some victims deserve to be labelled as victims of “˜genocide’, such as those who have been described as “˜African’ Darfuri in Sudan, or just “˜victims’ of a man-made humanitarian crisis, such as in Somalia, or despite even obvious ethnic connotations relating to the conflict that victimised them, as for instance in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Professor Katz has called on the European Parliament to reject the “˜Red equals Brown’ concept pushed by certain ultra-nationalist interests from the “˜New Europe’ to become the accepted narrative of the history of 20th century Europe to hide the complicity of their ultra nationalist predecessors in the Shoah during WWII, and to deal with the crimes of Stalinism and the Soviet Union in their own right and context instead.
Equally so the European Parliament, European national parliaments and last but not least the US Congress should reject “˜Darfur genocide’ narrative as pushed by the activists despite their populist appeal with the backing of celebrities such as Mia Farrow and reject their hidden agenda of a war on Khartoum as part of the by now discredited “˜war on terror’.
Instead they have to start concentrating seriously and constructively on how to assist efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Darfur, which has to include Chad and the Central African Republic against the vested interests of France, and to preserve the CPA and prevent the north-south civil war to re-ignite for a third time in Sudan.