Monday, December 15, 2008

Doing Something Right

An irate Iraqi fellow yesterday threw his shoes (both of them, one after the other) at the President of the United States, during a press conference he held with the Iraqi Prime Minister. Much to the glee of the media, of course. Saddam, interestingly, never held open press conferences, so we can't say what would have happened had someone tried such an antic in his day, but I think it's a safe bet that prior to the American invasion of Iraq, had anyone ever dared to throw even one shoe in the general direction of a poster with Saddam's picture, he would have been tortured to death. In the best case scenario everyone would then have shunned his family for fear of any taint of association.

Andrew Sullivan, predictably, sees this differently than I do. Very differently.


andrew r said...

I thought about giving you my full name if I ever posted again, but this isn't about Palestine and anyway, it's not like I can look up anyone else here in the white pages.

Onto the comment: that irate fellow has a name - Muntazer al-Zaydi, and he is still in custody, has several broken ribs, a broken arm, and cuts to the eye (search 'shoe thrower broken rib', it gives some articles)

Of course, the people oppressed by Saddam did a bit more than throw shoes while we were arming him for war with Iran. Some people tried to assassinate him. And the USA was no help back then. Let's keep this in mind as we self-righteously pontificate the good 'we' have done for Iraq.

Yaacov said...

Hi Andrew -

It's always a pleasure to host you here. You consistently manage to make such a compelling case for the proposition that Bolshies are barking.


andrew r said...

Dr. Lozowick,

Although it would make me proud to have overthrown the provisional government and fought against the pogromist White Army, I was several decades off from being born.

If I had been a Bolshie back in the 20's, I would in all likelihood have been on Stalin's quota list as opposed to joining him.

Yaacov said...

The astonishing thing is that even today, when the factual parts of the story have long since been agreed upon, you can still hide from yourself the eagerness of people like Lenin Trotzky and their ilk to engage in mass murder of innocents, long before anyone was even noticing Stalin. This policy of murder was a centerpiece of what they were all about, of course, not some aberration.

And of course, your insistence on speaking evil of Israel, in the context of who you are and what you profess in, is breathtaking.

Well, actually it's not. It's mundane, worn, and boring.

andrew r said...

The Bolshie label was your innovation, remember. I professed to be a socialist. Not the same thing as a Leninist. If I thought socialists hid Lenin's own atrocities from themselves, I never would have found it attractive. However, in the age of genocide in the Congo, India, and Southwest Africa by European empires, he tried to build an anti-imperialist movement that led to an actual worker's rebellion. He's someone to learn from if not emulate. And it's not like his opposition was any less eager to murder innocents. Like you said, sometimes it's a matter of growing up and realizing the world isn't simple.

I have to speak on the evil of Israel because by virtue of my ethnicity, I have an open invitation to take part in it (and US taxpayers fund it even if they aren't Jewish). Some Jews ain't buying.

Ah the heck with it, my last name is Rennard. I owe you that much.

Yaacov said...

The genocides in the Congo were more than 50 years earlier, if I'm not mistaken. I doubt what the British did in Kenya was a genocide by most definitions, not that it wasn't ugly. As for India, the last time I did some reading about India (quite recently, actually), there were two major events of mass murder. One by the Indians and Pakistanis on each other in 1947, the second by the (West) Pakistanis on the (East) Pakistanis when they had the temerity to want to become Bangladeshis, in 1970. In the sheer number of the dead, the second case may well have been worse than the first. Neither were committed by Europeans, imperialists or otherwise. And all happened after the Bolsheviks had long since done their worst.

As I wrote once about Juan Cole, the insistence to see history in ideological categories is mostly not helpful.

So, thanx for the identity. I think I see you on LinkedIn. Funny, isn't it, how often (not always, mind you) people fit into predictable groups. A pink-diaper British fellow, distant Jew or otherwise, whose social world mostly imbibes the BBC and reads the Guardian for its news, rather than for the gags as one ought to, will end up understanding the world in the terms thrust upon him by fate, by and large. Bit of a pity, isn't it.