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Friday, March 13, 2009


The UN Durban Review Conference, billed as a ‘World Conference against Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance’, due to begin in Geneva on 20 April, is shaping up to be one that exposes who exactly the worlds most racist nations actually are – by them being conspicuous by their absence.

Naturally, Israel will not be there. Nor will the US be there. Nor Canada. And now it looks like Australia may not be there either. As one Ha’aretz reader points out; “What do the U.S., Canada, Australia and Israel all have in common? All were created through ethnic cleansing and apartheid. No wonder they all stick together.”

It will come as no surprise to learn that other countries that have threatened to also boycott the conference include the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, France and, with the irony noted, Germany; all nations that over the past few centuries have demonstrated their own propensity to establish racially orientated empires. And, of course, all of them are now supporters of the racist Jews-only apartheid state of Zionist Israel.


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Anonymous said...

This is sad. I am from Australia and let me me tell you that the majority of Australians do not support such a measure. In fact the majority do not support the US and (it's War on Terror) nor the recent conflict in Gaza.

Australia is not racist, unfortunately like most countries, our supposed leaders make occassional decisions that are not in the best interests of it's people or views held world wide.

Anonymous said...

what ELSE do these nations have in common?


Look up who the British crown think they really are - google British Israelism

between them and the Pope , they honestly believe it will be their god-king sitting on the world throne in future Jerusalem

but the masons lies/secrets will go down with them

and after all the ugliness, MANKIND WILL NEVER AGAIN TRUST MURDEROUS RULERS like the pope or the bitch queen ever again

Anti-ZOG said...

Just the usual list of ZOG countries.

Anonymous said...

Please get your facts straight. Just because our current goverments do not support this does not mean the people of each country agrees. Our politions have been Hijacked and do not represent the interests of our peoples. I do not see a problem in participating in this conference to discuss racism I do have a problem in laws that target people for their views wrong or right becuase this can increase racism in other countries. Also in Canada we are multicultural a mix of nations. And though canada's Native people were delt a harsh blow when europe came and took there lands. It does not mean that we would of agreed to such a venture now.

People should be more tolerant of everyones culture but also other peoples culture should not be forced on others.

Greg Bacon said...

When the USA was engaging in its own ethnic cleansing campaign against the indigenous Native Americans, we made around 400 treaties with the Indians in which we promised a variety of things, like peace and land and food and....

Of those 400 treaties, NONE were honored by the USA.

No wonder Americans love that nation of racists and mass murderers so much, they're just like the USA.

Anonymous said...

Errrrr ... hyperbole and superlatives can undermine your message.

"Most racist" is a pretty tough accusation. No doubt the countries named have histories of violent ethnic conflict. But so do many of the countries that will be attending. Everyone's got history that can be thrown in their face, so this is moot.

And there is also no doubt that ethnic issues continue to this day. But the Western countries that are (threatening) to boycott are years ahead of places like the Gulf countries, where racism is a part of official social order. For example, responsibility for traffic accidents has a clear pecking order -- (citizen) Arab first, then Westerner, then South Asian, then African. In other words, a Westerner is always at fault when in an acccident with an Arab, but never at fault with a South Asian. An African better never get into an accident. (Don't believe me? Go live in Kuwait and the UAE for a while.)

The Zimbabwean government, as well as several Latin American governments, has used racial pretexts for taking control of private enterprises, with disastrous consequences for their own people. No Western government would ever dare such an action.

Not to mention Chinese ethnic discrimination policies. Or Turkish anti-Kurdish legislation. Or the ethnically-structured government of Lebanon. Or the sanctioned marginalisation of ethnic Malays in Malaysia by the Chinese elite. I'm not talking about social habits/attitudes (which is a messy topic that should ideally be free of legislation), but the official laws of the land.

This is not to say that the US and other Westerners don't have their own problems. But focusing on their relatively minor transgressions (Canada is one of the most racist countries???) distracts and belittles the much more relevant racial challenges elsewhere in the world. No matter how aggressive the US may be today, the racially-motivated Darfur conflict has disrupted and/or ended far more lives, just to pick one example.

Use your powers of reason to turn outrage into points of true relevance, instead of hysterical hyperbole. No one will ever take the opinion seriously otherwise. This is especially true now that the US has its first non-white President, making it possible for someone - accurately or not - to demonstrate progress on racial issues.

This article would have been stronger if the reasons given by the countries for boycotting were challenged/investigated.

Damian Lataan said...

The reasons why these countries have chosen to boycott the Durban conference is quite simple; the Israel lobby in their respective countries have wielded enough influence over their respective governments for them to decide to boycott.

While the nations I refer to have largely moved on from their original modes of racism, that of blood and biology which was the main tool used as these countries forged their nations originally by ethnic cleansing, the racism of blood and biology has been largely, but not entirely, replaced by the relatively new phenomenon of racism of religion and culture, in this case very broadly, the West and Islam. And, yes, it does cut both ways, but the bottom line is that the most racist state on the planet at this time is the Jews-only state of Israel and the fact is; Israel is being supported by nations that have historically been some of the most racist (blood and biology) states on the planet in the past.

Having a black president in the US does not detract from the new racism of religion and culture.

The only hyperbole and superlatives here the ones you have used to push the notion that the racism of ‘blood and biology’ no longer plays a part among Western nations while ignoring entirely the racism of ‘religion and culture’ that now prevails among Western societies and is reflected in their boycotting of the Durban conference.

Anonymous said...

Simply saying that the Israeli lobby in the respective countries has prevented them from attending is weak. None of the listed governments will ever come right out and say that, even if that is the exclusive reason. (Multi-party politics on the continent means that the Israel lobby doesn't have quite the same consolidation of power that it has in the US anyhow)

My point is that you missed an opportunity to highlight their hypocrisy by challenging the STATED reason by highlighting the REAL reason. What levers were pulled *this time* to pressure so many governments to stay away? What is it that Western governments are so afraid of?

Indeed, a black president does not detract from the challenges of religious and cultural racism. It simply means that arguments accusing US behaviour need to be updated to avoid stale rhetoric. Challenge the "Change we can believe in" message.

The "Jews-only" state of Israel ain't no playground, but it stacks up favourably compared to other theocracies. Islam, Christianity and others are indeed marginalised, but still are present in the society. If you have a beef with Western governments supporting societies with religious and cultural racism, you would be academically dishonest to ignore the support given to the Saudis, for example.

Or do you place the systemic curtailing of the freedoms of women, the expression of faith of millions of Catholics (Filipino guest workers) and countless other religiously-motivated discriminatory actions on a lower level? Even against fellow Muslims? You must have heard the recent story of a 75-yo Muslim woman who will receive 40 lashes simply for having bread delivered by a man? "Because she said she doesn't have a husband and because she is not a Saudi [she is Syrian], conviction of the defendants of illegal mingling has been confirmed," the court verdict read.

Much like in Israel, it is the support of the West that preserves the status quo. What's the difference (except for channels used for support, and perhaps the scale)?

Let me be clear: I am no apologist for Israel or the West. My point is simply that your very valid argument would be even stronger if you avoid selective arguments and absolute, hyperbolic statements and instead point out the grander hypocrisy with words that "say what they mean and mean what they say".

At this point your post is nothing more than another knee-jerk anti-Israel rant.

To respond to your statement:
"The only hyperbole and superlatives here the ones you have used to push the notion that the racism of ‘blood and biology’ no longer plays a part among Western nations while ignoring entirely the racism of ‘religion and culture’ that now prevails among Western societies and is reflected in their boycotting of the Durban conference."

Try again. I specifically stated that the West still has problems with blood and biology racism. It just needs to be viewed in a larger context. Truly abhorrent regimes have used relatively minor (and/or outdated) episodes from the West to rationalise their own behaviour.

You are also a bit sloppy when you put societies and governments in the same box. A critical mind like your own surely understands the distinction. As a libertarian, I shudder to think that a larger power will control how I think -- including whether or not I hold racist beliefs (blood/biology/culture/whatever). So societies are always going to be messy places filled with the whole spectrum of tolerance and racism. Fact of life. I mention this clearly in my post (that societal attitudes should not be legislated).

I return to the example of Darfur/Sudan. Not to ignore the suffering of the Palestinians, but the carnage and destruction has been greater and more widespread in Sudan than in the occupied territories. And it is also motivated by "cultural and religious" racism, both in society and in the power structure (the regime has just been indicted for war crimes, remember?). There is the added wrinkle of oil politics which should make it particularly relevant to anyone questioning the current world order.

For what it's worth, economic "racism" is stronger than any other ... rich people of any colour, creed or religion will always stick together to preserve their station. This fits with your assertion of "cultural racism", if one takes the view of an elite culture (which can be extended to view OECD countries as one cultural block). Ask the Swiss: money truly does make the world go 'round. Economic development, after all, is how the Israelis leverage power over the occupied territories.

And so, after a rambling digression, I return to my original point. A superlative like "most" weakens your argument. It places a lot of democratic Western nations along with theocratic Israel at the top of the racist heap, which is a strong and arguably inaccurate statement. This superlative insults the millions of other people around the world who, just like the Palestinians, have lost their lives, livelihoods and dignity at the hands of reprehensible racist regimes who are barely accountable to anyone.

Or have you also fallen prey to the media trick that the greatest conflict in the world right now revolves around a patch of sand the size of New Jersey, with no resources and a population smaller than Belgium?

Anonymous said...

australias not being at the racism conference is because Australian govt( both labor and libeal) is a supporter of both Israel and western neocolonialism (as witness its sanctions against Zimbabwe).
Ironically, the democratic govt of australia hasnt asked us, the people of Australia, if we want australia represented! They left that decision to Israel!


Anonymous said...

anonymous says:
'This is sad. I am from Australia and let me me tell you that the majority of Australians do not support such a measure'

Thats right, Anon...the govt which boasts australia is a democracy decided not to ask us! Note the media (4th estate?)has not made this observation...And if you write to them about it, you will be ignored.


Damian Lataan said...

Long-winded (and I mean that in a light-hearted non-derogatory sense so don’t be too offended) anonymous above, thanks for your input.

As much as I’d love to go through your comments and fully answer each issue you raise, I’m afraid I can not spare the time.

You infer that I should be addressing all manner of problems that are akin to those that I actually do. You mention Sudan and Saudi Arabia for example and the problems that, as you cite as a clear individual example, one Saudi woman is experiencing simply because she delivered bread to a man.

If I and others of my (our?) ilk were to stop and address every single outrage that humankind commits against humankind then nothing would ever be achieved because it would simply be too overwhelming.

I prefer to leave the problems that this unfortunate woman is experiencing for others to raise issue with while I raise issue with stuff that I am better qualified to talk about and, therefore, can feel I’m being more effective with – though that, of course, is difficult enough in itself.

The bottom line is; there are lots of us around but, rather than all of us trying to take on everything, it is far better that each of us all put in as much effort as possible on just a small range of problems that each of us feel comfortable about.

I’m quite happy to carry on about Israeli influence on US foreign policy; it’s something I know a fair bit about, and if you feel you can be more effective in helping this poor woman in Saudi Arabia out of her troubles then go for it.

The point is, I’ll confine myself to doing what I think I can do best because I think that is the way I can be most effective – even though I wholeheartedly agree with you that there are a million other problems that need sorting out on this planet – and I would suggest that you, if you feel so inclined, might do the same.

Don’t try and take everything on at once because you’ll get absolutely nowhere. Pedantically arguing with me about stuff that we basically agree on is simply a waste of time. Get out there and do something for that woman that is about to be thrashed. Don’t waste your time telling me about it; as you suggest, I’ve already heard about it.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. I grant you that everyone needs to focus on their particular areas of specialism.

And the body of work for Israeli influence on US foreign policy is substantial, yet still with plenty of room for more discussion. No argument there.

For what it's worth, I *am* helping out that woman in Saudi ... having actually lived/worked in the Gulf for a while (Kuwait and UAE), I contribute time and money to two programmes that aim to liberalise conservative societies, particularly focusing on the role of women.

And indeed I generally agree with you -- which is why I reacted in the first place. This whole thing started when you hit on one of my personal peeves: using absolute/overblown language that can ultimately undermine your main point. Pedantic, perhaps, but one of the first lessons of journalism/debating.

Damian Lataan said...

Anon above, I wish you well in your endeavours to help out the woman in Saudi Arabia and, indeed, others that may find or actually are in the same position.

There are many many injustices in our world and we must each do what we can to rectify this. It’s a never ending task but it might well be made slightly easier if we each do as we can within our limitations rather than trying to take on the whole world.

I understand that some of what I say seems absolutist, it doesn’t mean to be; I just like to think that others understand that there is little time to stop and explain everything, it wouldn’t seem quite so absolutist if I were able to do that.

Best wishes and please keep in touch.