It's true that the deaths of tens of thousands of blacks in inaccessible regions of the world create far less urgency than one missing white girl in England or America. But a different kind of race-based relativism is also at work in the near-silence over Darfur. Dark-skinned victims count for less than whites, yes, but they count for less still if they are the victims of other dark-skinned people. It is often said that the reason we bombed Serbia but not Rwanda was because the victims in the Balkans were white, while the victims in Rwanda were black. But it is important to remember that the main perpetrators in the Balkans were also white (and, unlike their victims, Christian) and that the perpetrators in Rwanda were also black. You can be sure that if the Belgians or the Australians, or certainly the Americans or Israelis, were murdering, mutilating, and mass-raping tens of thousands of Africans, you wouldn't have the non-response we hear now over Darfur. Call it the "soft bigotry of low expectations."I hate to give TNR ideas, but if they ever stop giving away the Greene column for free online, I'll renew my subscription.
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
More TNR: As usual, after shooting my mouth off I'm forced to qualify my remarks. TNR Online contributor Robert Lane Greene is one of the smartest analysts of international politics and policy, and he has a column on the current crisis in west Sudan, which has all the signs of being another Rwanda, about which all the "thoughtful" international leaders will sit around 10 years from now wondering earnestly why the world did nothing. (Of course, 10 years from now, those leaders will be pointing the finger over Darfur while some equal atrocity happens on thier watch. Nothing new under the sun.) Here's his kicker graf: