On Chechnya, Chad, and “Chinese walls in the mind”

March 09, 2006

CONTENTS

1. Chechnya: and the world does nothing
2. The role of the BBC
3. Arab ethnic cleansing extends from Darfur into Chad
4. Not naming the perpetrators
5. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Darfur and Israel
6. “Babies win wars”
7. Chancellor Kohl and Iranian anti-Semitism
8. Three more attacks on Jews in Paris
9. “End the silence over Chechnya” (By Vaclav Havel & others, Jerusalem Post, March 1, 2006)
10. “Arson, rape, massacres... and the strange silence of the archbishop” (By Nick Cohen, Observer, March 5, 2006)
11. “Babies Win Wars” (By Gunnar Heinsohn, Wall Street Journal Europe, March 6, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

This is another in an occasional series of dispatches on human rights and the failings and double standards of the so-called International community. Two of the world’s worst human rights crimes are being committed against Muslims (by Russians in Chechnya, and by Arabs against non-Arab Muslims and Christians in Darfur and now in Chad) and the world is uninterested. In the case of Darfur and Chad, this is because the Arab League has helped persuade the UN to do nothing. This dispatch examines the incredible hypocrisy and failings of bodies such as the Church of England and BBC.

CHECHNYA: AND THE WORLD DOES NOTHING

In an article titled “End the silence over Chechnya” that appeared in several newspapers, including the Jerusalem Post, Vaclav Havel and others speak of “the closed doors that separate Chechnya from the rest of the world.” Up to 300,000 civilians (one out of four of Chechnya’s civilian population) has died there in the last ten years.

Havel points out that “Under the world’s very eyes, a capital Grozny, with 400,000 inhabitants was razed for the first time since Hitler’s 1944 punishment of Warsaw. Such inhumanity cannot plausibly be described as ‘anti-terrorism,’ as Russian President Vladimir Putin insists.”

Yet the world remains silent as this crime continues. “Are Chechen women, children and all Chechen civilians less entitled to respect than the rest of mankind? Are they still considered human? Nothing can excuse the seeming indifference displayed by our worldwide silence.”

THE ROLE OF THE BBC

One of the reasons, I believe, for such silence is the astonishing lack of media coverage. While the world’s biggest broadcast network, the BBC, for example, has sent literally dozens of reporters to Israel in recent years to produce a seemingly endless stream of reports (often greatly exaggerated) about Palestinian suffering on its various 24-hour TV and radio networks, they have sent virtually no one to Chechnya. Nor have they adequately interviewed Chechen exile leaders based in London and elsewhere.

Only yesterday, yet again, BBC news was censured by the BBC’s board of governors for bias against Israel this time in a report on their online news service. The governors found that the BBC had provided a false time-line of historical events in the region, falsely suggesting that after the 1967 war a United Nations resolution had called for Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from territories occupied during the war.

The BBC governors’ report concluded: “The committee considered that by selecting only references to Israel, the online article did not accurately reflect this balance and gave a biased impression. It therefore breached editorial standards on both accuracy and impartiality”.

Last October, the BBC board of governors appointed an independent panel to examine the corporation’s reporting of Israel. Its findings are to be published in the coming weeks, according to a BBC spokeswoman.

ARAB ETHNIC CLEANSING EXTENDS FROM DARFUR INTO CHAD

Also barley mentioned by the world media in recent weeks is that the Arab militias carrying out genocidal policies against non-Arabs in the Darfur region of western Sudan have crossed the border into Chad, where they are carrying out rape, murder and ethnic cleansing.

One of the very few exceptions, to their credit, is the New York Times, which reported last week: “Arab gunmen from Darfur are now in Chad, stealing cattle, burning crops and killing anyone who resists. The lawlessness has driven at least 20,000 Chadians from their homes in the last month. There are also 200,000 refugees from Sudan who fled to Chad for safety.”

The NY Times also reports on a number of Black Chadian children who have been shot in their homes by Arab militia, and others who have been raped.

More than 200,000 civilians have already been murdered in Darfur, and 2 million villagers made homeless. The Sudanese government is continuing to arm these militias, yet the 22-member Arab League summit starts on March 28 in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. The Arab League has done its best to ensure nothing is done to stop the genocide of non-Arabs in Darfur and beyond.

The United Nations tried to suppress a report that named the alleged war criminals of Darfur. Almost the only government to speak out on behalf of the victims is the American one. The Bush administration has accused these militias of genocide in Darfur. Last week President Bush urged NATO to send a peacekeeping mission there to stop the violence. European leaders, though, have been so preoccupied on how to keep funneling huge amounts of money to the Palestinian Authority following its take-over by Hamas, that they have had little time to even notice what is going on to the south of their continent.

NOT NAMING THE PERPETARTORS

While most of the world media continues to report in relentless detail (and often completely out of context) about supposed Israeli human rights violations, reporting on the situation on Chad has been very, very limited.

Furthermore, those media that have mentioned Chad have gone out of their way to avoid saying the perpetrators are Arabs and the victims non-Arab. As I point out in my essay Living in a Bubble: The BBC’s very own Mideast foreign policy it would be virtually unthinkable to report on “setters” in the West Bank without mentioning that they were “Jewish” or “Israeli” which is, of course, relevant to the story. But apparently many journalists do not think that ethnicity is relevant when it comes to real ethnic cleansing in Darfur and Chad.

The only other major news organization apart from The New York Times to mention the Arab raids on Chad appears to be Reuters. However, Reuters did not mention that the perpetrators were Arab. See, for example, these two reports:
www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/UNHCR/83235d76264d48f04c063fb0a669a99b.htm
http://za.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2006-02-28T134600Z_01_ALL849497_RTRIDST_0_OZATP-CHAD-REFUGEES-20060228.XML

Following private complaints I made to senior staff at Reuters a few days ago, the Reuters report yesterday did mention that the perpetrators were Arab: www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L08663643.htm (“In the Darfur region, feared Arab militia known as Janjaweed have conducted a campaign of rape, killing and looting which the United States has called genocide.”)

The official UN News Center, however, still fails to mention the perpetrators were Arab in their report this week: www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=17695&Cr=sudan&Cr1=)

Among previous dispatches on Darfur, please see Sudan genocide 1: Israel to blame, says Sudanese foreign minister and Sudan genocide 2: Where’s Sean Penn when you need him? Where’s the ISM?

THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, DARFUR AND ISRAEL

One the few British journalists who occasionally manages to publish something against the prevailing liberal norms in the media is Nick Cohen. Last Sunday, in a piece titled “Arson, rape, massacres ... and the strange silence of the archbishop,” Cohen wrote of “a Chinese wall in the mind” that meant negative actions by states other than the US, Israel and occasionally Britain are just ignored.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury [the leader of the Anglican Church], Rowan Williams, made my point for me in Sudan last week. Anyone who had heard the Church of England’s censure of Israel might have expected to see a primate filled with righteous wrath. Consider his opportunities. While he was there, the genocide was continuing in Darfur. The victims were black Muslims, but strangely, the Muslim world has not revolted against the Islamist murderers and torched Sudanese embassies.

“In the name of inter-faith solidarity, Dr Williams might have found the words of reproach they lacked. If he didn’t want to talk about Darfur, there was the decades-long civil war, which has seen the enslavement of the Christian Dinka tribe in the south and two million dead, more than in Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo combined.”

But he didn’t. Recently Archbishop Williams voted in favor of an Anglican church boycott of companies investing in Israel. (Williams’ predecessor as head of the Church of England, Lord George Carey, said after the vote singling out Israel, that he was “ashamed to be an Anglican” and criticized the vote for a “one-eyed” response that “only rebukes one side.”)

Before Archbishop Williams escaped to Africa, he couldn’t say why he wanted sanctions against Israel but not against countries that committed far worse crimes China, Syria, Iran, North Korea and, indeed, Sudan or give any indication that he was morally obliged to provide an answer.

“BABIES WIN WARS”

The German writer Gunnar Heinsohn recently wrote a lengthy article in Die Zeit. A shorter version was commissioned and published by the Wall Street Journal Europe earlier this week and is attached below.

While the demography argument is not new, the historical context he provides is unique: “Dying nations are usually defined as those with fertility rates of 1.5 or lower. By that measure, 30 European countries are either dying today or seeing their cultures and populations transformed by growing ethnic and religious minorities. Europe is shrinking just as the population in Islamic, African and Asian countries is exploding. In 2020, there will be one billion “fighting-age” men (ages 15-29) worldwide; only 65 million will be Europeans. At the same time, the Muslim world will have 300 million males, often with limited opportunities at home. In the last century, the Muslim population skyrocketed to 1.4 billion from 140 million.

“This isn’t the first time Europe has found itself tottering on the edge of extinction. Throughout the 1400s, outbreaks of bubonic plague and pressure from conquering Muslim armies reduced Europe’s population to 40 million from 70 million. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII responded to the crisis by decreeing the death penalty for [Europeans who carried out] birth control and abortion. The results were immediate, producing fertility rates as high as in Gaza or Niger today.”

Heinsohn, a professor of sociology at Bremen University, adds: “In some ways, the faster Europe collapses the better it will be for the U.S., whose chances of defeating global terrorism would improve by a panic-driven influx of the Old World’s best, brightest and bravest ready to strengthen it economically and militarily.”

CHANCELLOR KOHL AND IRANIAN ANTI-SEMITISM

In Tuesday’s dispatch (“How Iran duped the west”; Iranian Holocaust (denial) conference “begins today”), I noted that the claims by Iranian media that the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl told Iranian businessman in Germany that he “heartily agreed” with comments made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust was a “myth,” was almost certainly a lie, given Dr. Kohl’s support for Israel and the Jewish Community throughout his political life.

Two reliable and senior sources in Germany (one in government, one in the German Jewish community) have now confirmed to me that this is indeed a complete lie. However, the fact other media continue to parrot Iranian propaganda and disinformation is disturbing.

THREE MORE ATTACKS ON JEWS IN PARIS

Following the torture and killing of Ilan Halimi, three more attacks against French Jews took place last weekend. The police said two young Jews, aged 17 and 18 and wearing skullcaps, were attacked late Friday by black and Arab youths in the northern Paris suburb of Sarcelles, home to a large number of Jewish families. The attackers broke the nose of one victim, a rabbi‘s son, and stole the possessions of the other.

On Saturday, a 28-year-old Jewish man was beaten in the same suburb outside by a kosher restaurant by youths who were lying in wait and made anti-Semitic remarks as they assaulted him. The man‘s shoulder was broken. French police have increased patrols around synagogues in recent days.

A number of Israeli civilians have also been killed and injured in unprovoked Palestinian attacks so far this month, but these have been barely reported on by foreign media.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“THIS DREADFUL AND ENDLESS WAR NEEDS TO BE DISCUSSED OPENLY IF IT IS TO END PEACEFULLY”

End the silence over Chechnya
By Vaclav Havel and others
The Jerusalem Post
March 1, 2006

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1139395509191&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

It is extremely difficult for an honest observer to break through the closed doors that separate Chechnya from the rest of the world. Indeed, no one even knows how many civilian casualties there have been in 10 years of war.

According to estimates by non-governmental organizations, the figure is between 100,000 (that is, one civilian out of 10) and 300,000 (one out of four).

How many voters participated in the November 2005 elections? Between 60 percent and 80%, according to Russian authorities; around 20%, independent observers reckon. The blackout imposed on Chechnya prevents any precise assessment of the devastating effects of a ruthless conflict.

But censorship cannot completely hide the horror. Under the world’s very eyes, a capital Grozny, with 400,000 inhabitants was razed for the first time since Hitler’s 1944 punishment of Warsaw. Such inhumanity cannot plausibly be described as “anti-terrorism,” as Russian President Vladimir Putin insists.

The Russian military leadership claims to be fighting against a party of 700-2,000 combatants. What would the reaction have been had the British government bombed Belfast or the Spanish government Bilbao on the pretext of quelling the IRA or the ETA?

Yet the world remains silent in the face of the looting of Grozny and other Chechen towns and villages. Are Chechen women, children and all Chechen civilians less entitled to respect than the rest of mankind? Are they still considered human? Nothing can excuse the seeming indifference displayed by our worldwide silence.

In Chechnya our basic morality is at stake. Must the world accept the rape of girls kidnapped by the occupying forces or their militias? Should we tolerate the murder of children and the abduction of boys to be tortured, broken and sold back to their families, alive or dead?

What about “filtration” camps, or “human firewood”? What about the villages exterminated to set an example? A few NGOs and some brave Russian and Western reporters have witnessed countless crimes. So we cannot say, “We did not know.”

Indeed, the fundamental principle of democracies and civilized states is at issue in Chechnya: civilians’ right to life, including the protection of innocents, widows and orphans.

International agreements and the United Nations Charter are as binding in Chechnya as anywhere else. The right of nations to self-determination does not imply the right of rulers to dispose of their people.

The fight against terrorism is also at stake. Who has not yet realized that the Russian army is behaving like a group of pyromaniac firefighters, fanning the fires of terrorism through its behavior? After 10 years of largescale repression, the fire far from going out is spreading, crossing borders, setting Northern Caucasus ablaze and making combatants even more fierce. How much longer can we ignore the fact that, in raising the bogeyman of “Chechen terrorism,” the Russian government is suppressing the liberties gained when the Soviet empire collapsed?

The Chechen war both masks and motivates the reestablishment of centralized power in Russia bringing the media back under state control, passing laws against NGOs and reinforcing the “vertical line of power” leaving no institutions and authorities able to challenge or limit the Kremlin. War, it seems, is hiding a return to autocracy.

Sadly, wars in Chechnya have been going on for 300 years. They were savage colonial conflicts under the Czar and almost genocidal under Stalin, who deported the whole Chechen population, a third of which perished during transfer to the Gulag.

Because we reject colonial and exterminating ventures, because we love Russian culture and believe that Russia can bloom in a democratic future, and because we believe that terrorism whether by stateless groups or state armies should be condemned, we demand an end to the world’s blackout on the Chechen issue. We must help Russia’s authorities escape from the trap they set for themselves and into which they fell, putting not only Chechens and Russians, but the world at risk.

It would be tragic if, during the G8 summit scheduled for St. Petersburg, Russia, in June 2006, the Chechen issue were pushed to the side. This dreadful and endless war needs to be discussed openly if it is to end peacefully.

(The writers are former Czech president and Nobel Prize winner Vaclav Havel, Andre Glucksmann, Prince Hassan bin Talal, Frederik Willem de Klerk, Mary Robinson, Yohei Sasakawa, Karel Schwarzenberg, George Soros, and Desmond Tutu.)

 

“BECAUSE GENOCIDE IS OUT OF FASHION, DEAR”

Arson, rape, massacres ... and the strange silence of the archbishop
By Nick Cohen
The Observer
March 5, 2006

www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1723793,00.html

Like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic, the Islamists of Sudan claim monstrous liars are libelling them. ‘You are terrorists,’ Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein, the regime’s defence minister, screamed at journalists in Khartoum on Thursday. ‘Any foreign correspondent from any foreign agency, get out we don’t want you in here.’ His goons duly expelled reporters from his press conference for inventing the incredible lie that Hussein and his friends were responsible for the murder of around 200,000 in Darfur, the ethnic cleansing of two million, the arson, the rapes ... well, you know the story.

Or maybe you don’t. After all, it has not been in the news recently, and not only because Hussein is shutting out the journalists. Fashion matters and today the fashion is to ignore genocide. Quite rightly, the crimes of American, British, European and Israeli democracy are dissected and denounced. But an intellectual blockage a Chinese wall in the mind prevents the critics applying universal principles to far greater outrages.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, made my point for me in Sudan last week. Anyone who had heard the Church of England’s censure of Israel might have expected to see a primate filled with righteous wrath. Consider his opportunities. While he was there, the genocide was continuing in Darfur. The victims were black Muslims, but strangely, the Muslim world has not revolted against the Islamist murderers and torched Sudanese embassies.

In the name of inter-faith solidarity, Dr Williams might have found the words of reproach they lacked. If he didn’t want to talk about Darfur, there was the decades-long civil war, which has seen the enslavement of the Christian Dinka tribe in the south and two million dead, more than in Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo combined.

On a visit to a church in Khartoum, the fearless archbishop told the congregation: ‘It will be a joy to share with fellow Christians in Britain what... I have learnt from you.’ What he had learnt was a history of massacre, slavery and second-class citizenship, but he didn’t mention it.

The next stop was the Sudan Inter-Religious Council in Khartoum. This might have been the place to lay into the dictatorship’s murder and persecution of Sudanese Christians. Instead, he confined himself to saying: ‘We are at peace with God when we face our failings with honesty.’ And so it went on. He travelled through a country torn by religious mania and genocide without mentioning religious mania and genocide.

His office said he was picking his words with the care of a diplomat because his main concern wasn’t the genocide in Darfur in the west of Sudan but the faint hope of a peace deal in the equally gruesome civil war between the Muslim north and Christian south, which he didn’t want to jeopardise. In any case, his lecture to his Islamist hosts on facing ‘our failings with honesty’ was strong stuff by inter-faith standards.

It may be tough talk if Anglicans are talking to Catholic bishops, but I doubt very much if it would have reduced the psychopaths of Khartoum to trembling penitents. To me, the failure of the archbishop to speak plainly was not a sign of his diplomacy, but flowed from his row with the Jews. Before he escaped to Africa, he couldn’t say why he wanted sanctions against Israel but not against countries that committed far worse crimes China, Syria, Iran, North Korea and, indeed, Sudan or give any indication that he was morally obliged to provide an answer.

A few of his critics just wanted to protect Israel come what may. Others were concerned about the retreat from universal principle into relativism. If you say there must be higher standards for democracies, you inevitably betray the victims of dictatorships by blocking your mind from thinking clearly and shouting loudly about their suffering.

The confusion isn’t confined to the General Synod of the Church of England. The United Nations tried to suppress a report that named the alleged war criminals of Darfur, in a way that it would never have suppressed the names of alleged torturers at Guantanamo. On the blacklist was that friend of freedom, Mr Hussein. While he was ranting at the journalists, he said that if the UN sent troops to protect the people of Darfur, al-Qaeda would flood the country. ‘Darfur will become the graveyard for the United Nations,’ he promised with what sounded like inside knowledge.

Isn’t that an extraordinary threat for a UN member to make? Why isn’t every liberal newspaper and liberal party fulminating? Because genocide is out of fashion, dear. It may make a retro return in 2008, say, or 2009. Books called We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed will win literary prizes. Lachrymose documentaries will appear on BBC2, probably narrated by Fergal Keane. The Church of England will apologise, as it invariably does. They will all cry: ‘Never again!’ And at that precise moment, it will be happening again.

 

“TERROR IS MERELY CONQUEST’S LITTLE BROTHER”

Babies Win Wars
By Gunnar Heinsohn
The Wall Street Journal Europe
March 6, 2006

Dying nations are usually defined as those with fertility rates of 1.5 or lower. By that measure, 30 European countries are either dying today or like France seeing their cultures and populations transformed by growing ethnic and religious minorities.

Europe is shrinking just as the population in Islamic, African and Asian countries is exploding. In 2020, there will be one billion “fighting-age” men (ages 15-29) world-wide; only 65 million will be Europeans. At the same time, the Muslim world will have 300 million males, often with limited opportunities at home.

Little can be done to reverse Europe’s demographic fate. Germany’s 80 million inhabitants would need 750,000 skilled immigrants every year up to 2050 to offset the declining fertility rate that started in 1975. Even if such an unrealistic immigration level could somehow be achieved (only 10,000 skilled immigrants a year are arriving now), Germany’s median age would still jump to 52 from 42 while ethnic Germans would become a minority in their own country.

This isn’t the first time Europe has found itself tottering on the edge of extinction. Throughout the 1400s, outbreaks of bubonic plague and pressure from conquering Muslim armies reduced Europe’s population to 40 million from 70 million. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII responded to the crisis by decreeing the death penalty for “persons of both sexes who by accursed charms and crafts, enormities and horrid offenses, slay infants yet in the mother’s womb (or who) hinder women from conceiving.” Midwives, who were also experts in birth control and abortion, were prosecuted and killed.

The results were immediate, producing fertility rates as high as in Gaza or Niger today. By 1510, the number of male births in England had almost doubled. After 1500 and right up to 1914, West European women raised on average about six children, twice as many as during the Middle Ages.

The European economy couldn’t keep up. Because a father’s land went to his oldest son, the younger brothers were often left to fend for themselves. They quickly found an outlet. In the 16th century, Spain called its young conquistadors “Secundones,” second sons, those who don’t inherit. Starting with Columbus’ second voyage (1493), Europe’s surplus males (representing about 10% of the world’s fighting-age males at the time) began the conquest of the world. And despite their wars around the globe and the 80 million who died in Europe’s domestic wars and genocides, their population rose tenfold to 400 million. The original population bomb was a weapon made in Europe. Over the next few centuries, Europeans took control of 90% of the globe.

Who was to be master in Europe? In the early 1800s, France, West Europe’s most populous nation for 800 years, made its last bid. At the time of Waterloo, France was able to draw on 5% of the world’s males of fighting age. It took an alliance of Great Britain (10 million people) and Prussia (also 10 million) to prevail over France’s 27 million. After 1861, Germany passed France’s population and shortly afterwards defeated its neighbor across the Rhine. At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe’s share of fighting age males had grown to 35%, with 10% belonging to the empires of Berlin and Vienna alone. In 1914 these two behemoths used their population advantage to make a bid for world supremacy. But their campaign to capture Eurasia’s land mass failed to take account of a newcomer to the world stage. Though separated by an ocean, the U.S. commanded about the same demographic and industrial potential.

Japan, Italy and Germany became the last great powers that tried and failed to take territories away from other leading powers. After 1945 Europe lost every war it fought, from Indochina, to Algeria to Timor. Euphemisms such as “emancipation of the colonies” hide the true causes behind this chain of defeats. If Europeans had continued to multiply like in its imperialistic prime, the world would still tremble before their armies. In just 100 years, Muslim countries have duplicated the tenfold growth that Europe experienced between 1500-1900. In the last century, the Muslim population skyrocketed to 1.4 billion from 140 million.

If Europe had merely matched the fourfold increase of the United States (to 300 million from 75 million between 1900-2006), the continent’s 1.6 billion would still dwarf China (1.3 billion) and India (1.1 billion). Yet, Europe’s share of the world’s fighting-age males, which stood at 27% in 1914, is lower today (9%) than it was in 1500 (11%). Thus, the new clothes of European “pacifism” and “soft power” conceal its naked weakness.

With a fertility rate at the 2.1 replacement level, the U.S. is still defendable. But how many times can America send out their only sons to prevent all those second, third or fourth sons from engaging in acts of violence abroad? In some ways, the faster Europe collapses the better it will be for the U.S., whose chances of defeating global terrorism would improve by a panic-driven influx of the Old World’s best, brightest and bravest ready to strengthen it economically and militarily.

The alternative to the terrorism of the Islamist secundones will not be peace but as it was for their “Christianist” predecessors in Peru, Mexico and India conquest. Terror is merely conquest’s little brother.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.