Friday, April 4, 2008

Is it Genocide?

Interesting developments out of Russia.

The lower house of the Russian parliament voted—in a landslide—that the Ukrainian Terror Famine was not genocide.

"There is no historical proof that the famine was organized along ethnic lines. Its victims were million of citizens of the Soviet Union, representing different peoples and nationalities living largely in agricultural areas of the country," the Russian State Duma resolution said…
Some are convinced the famine targeted Ukrainians as an ethnic group. Others argue authorities set out to eradicate private landowners as a social class and say the Soviet Union sought to pay for its rapid industrialization with grain exports at the expense of starving millions of its own people.

For the historically ignorant, the terror famine was a manmade famine engineered by Stalin to wipe out the Ukrainian kulaks, an economic class of wealthy landowners, through forced collectivization in order to sell Ukrainian grain on the world market to fund the Soviet Union’s industrialization and modernization.

Some may even know about New York Times reporter Walter Duranty’s false reporting on the terror famine, reporting that stated there was no famine. Duranty and the Times won a Pulitzer for his reporting on the Ukraine. The Pulitzer board has not revoked, nor has the Times returned the prize. This wouldn’t be the first time a New York Times reporter would shill for a murderous dictator. Herbert Matthews did much the same for Fidel Castro as Duranty did for Stalin.

The interesting thing about this issue is the implied notion that wiping out a class of people for their ethnicity is evil and is (rightly) considered genocide however; to commit the same crime against an economic class of people—in the name of holy name of progress—doesn’t quite rise to the same level.

In Russia and Eastern Europe, the argument is a political scrum between Russia and its former Soviet republic the Ukraine and its close ties to the west and its desire to join NATO. Indeed no less a figure than Alexander Solzhenitsyn is supporting the resolution, which may strike some as odd, but Solzhenitsyn has never hidden his own Russian nationalism.

In the West however, and the United States in particular leftists intellectuals and historians have a long sordid history of glorifying, denying/apologizing for communist dictators, who murdered landowners and other so-called “reactionaries” because they stood in the way of progress. In fact, this phenomenon has seeped its way into the popular culture with the cult of Ché Guevara. Putting aside the Motorcycle Diaries, smug campus know-it-alls, and the cosmopolitan Hollywood set believe it is chic to parade around in gear idolizing Castro’s chief executioner of Cubans who had the temerity to own land or a business.

If it is cool to ignorantly wear Ché, then I don’t hold out much hope, in our shallow politically correct “multicultural” society, for a true recognition of Stalin’s genocide against the kulaks.

1 comment:

Greg Kline said...

"The interesting thing about this issue is the implied notion that wiping out a class of people for their ethnicity is evil and is (rightly) considered genocide however"

If you have ever read the UN documents defining genocide you will see that this dichotomy is not implied at all. Economic grouping is not enough to get to genocide. Genocide therefore becomes a term of art rather than a term simply meaning mass killing.

Of course, your overall point is spot on as ususal. It is no less of a horrendous crime and the left is more than content to cover it up.