June 8, 2008

We taught them to act that way...

Glenn posted this quote by Norm Geras...

...You couldn't ask for a clearer symbol of the double-edged character of [African] nationalism. At one time a powerful force in the fight for liberation from colonial rule and in the long struggle against apartheid, African nationalism has, in the hands of Mbeki and other African leaders rallying round Mugabe, been transmuted into an apologia and defence of the most blatant criminality and oppression. The US ambassador, representing a country widely derided in liberal circles for its role in international affairs, bears witness to the crimes of the Mugabe regime; the man standing at the head of a nation that won the world's admiration for getting rid of an odious racist system disgraces that legacy.

What is missed here is that the defense of "the most blatant criminality and oppression" was always a part of the Western fight against apartheid. (And also against colonialism.) At least among liberals. Why?

Remember how we heard over and over that South Africa did not have majority rule? I sure do. But the fact is, at that time NO African nation had majority rule. All African countries other than South Africa were ruled by dictators or very small elite groups. None of the anti-apartheid activist types found this objectionable. They implicitly defined brutal tyranny as "majority rule," so long as the Head of State had dark skin! An evil lesson.

The fact that South Africa had an illegal immigrant problem, with black people fleeing to SA from much worse places, did not matter to them at all. Few or no Western "activists" announced that South Africa was just the first problem, and that after it was solved they would turn their efforts to bringing majority rule to other African nations. They didn't care.

So the West has in fact "taught" Africans that dictatorship or one party rule are acceptable. And we are still teaching the same lesson. Those who are upset about Mugabe's oppression are few, and tend not to be the same people who were outraged by the lack of "majority rule" in SA.

The activists never really cared about Africans at all, not as people like us. Their fun was in attacking white conservatives. One those were gone they dropped the whole subject.

* Update: Western leftists have "taught" the same lesson in the Middle East. They "care" about the Palestinians only to the extant that they are injured by Israel. Arab regimes have treated the Palestinians far worse than Israel has, without any protest from the sort of Westerners who wear kaffiyas. (For instance, in 1992 Kuwait booted 30,000 Palestinians out of their homes and out of the country. And protests came there none!)

* One more Update: And right here in the USA. The Civil Rights Movement was, and is, only interesting to leftists to the extant that it can be used to bash conservative whites. Once the "rednecks" were gone, the fun was mostly over. Festering problems within black communities, such as corrupt politicians, crime, poor work and study habits, and anti-white racism are not priorities. If the choice is between fixing inner-city schools, and placating the teachers' unions who bankroll the Democrat Party, the pickininnies get tossed to the sharks every time.

Posted by John Weidner at June 8, 2008 7:33 AM
Weblog by John Weidner