Day: April 15, 2018

Bertrand Russell’s “The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed”

Tom Talks Politics

I’ve been reading a book by Bertrand Russell off and on called Unpopular Essays. I read an interesting and on the whole convincing essay in the book today called “The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed,” in which he condemns the tendency among writers and moralists to “think ill of their neighbors and acquaintances, and therefore…think well of the sections of mankind to which they themselves do not belong.” A “rather curious form” of this elitism, he contends, is “the belief in the superior virtue of the oppressed…the eighteenth century, while conquering America from the Indians, reducing the peasantry to the condition of pauper laborers, and introducing the cruelties of early industrialism, loved to the sentimentalize about the ‘noble savage’ and the ‘simple annals of the poor.'” “The belief in their ‘spiritual’ superiority was part and parcel of the determination to keep them inferior economically and politically,” he contends.


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April 15, 1945: Edward R. Murrow Reports on Buchenwald

Almost Chosen People

I have reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it, I have no words.

Edward R. Murrow at Buchenwald, April 15, 1945

When Buchenwald death camp was liberated, General Patton was so outraged that he ordered military police to go to Weimar, the nearest town, and bring 1000 German civilians back to tour the camp to see what their leaders had done.  The MPs were just as outraged, and brought back 2000.  Edward R. Murrow did a radio broadcast from Buchenwald on April 15, 1945 that is absolutely unforgettable.  Evil can grow so strong in this world that it has to be stopped, no matter the cost.  Here is the transcript of Murrow’s broadcast:

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BBC reporting on Gaza border rioting continues to avoid core issue

BBC Watch

On April 6th the BBC News website published a report originally titled “Gaza-Israel border clashes erupt as protests begin” which was subsequently updated several times and now appears under the headline “Deadly unrest on Gaza-Israel border as Palestinians resume protests“.

The background to the story as presented to readers included a description of Israel as “ancestral lands” of Palestinian refugees:

“The protesters are demanding that refugees be allowed to return to ancestral lands that are now in Israel. […]

“Israel took everything from us, the homeland, freedom, our future,” 27-year-old protester Samer told Reuters news agency. “I have two kids – a boy and a girl – and if I die, God will take care of them.” […]

Hamas and other groups organising the six-week protest campaign, dubbed the Great March of Return, say they are peacefully calling for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to…

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Amnesty and Political Violence: The Case of Nelson Mandela

John Greenwell's Blog

This post is a sequel to my response to Christopher Hitchens’ recent criticisms of Amnesty International.

Amnesty inevitably faces difficult choices about whom it associates with. During the Cold War, campaigns for the release of political prisoners held by right-wing governments in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Chile could, almost inevitably, involve Amnesty sharing a platform with Communists. Care needed to be taken. If an Amnesty representative were just one among numerous extreme left wing politicians, Amnesty would lose its claim of political neutrality: if, though, it eschewed association with political groups or bodies altogether, it would be ineffectual.

A more serious question arose when Amnesty International refused to act on behalf of a prisoner of conscience because they had engaged in or advocated violence.

The case of Nelson Mandela at the time of the Rivonia trial (1964) was a great test for Amnesty.

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The ‘anti-imperialism’ of idiots

Leila's blog

DavOd8fWkAA2loL Cartoon criticizing selective outrage which only applies to chemical attacks, by Yaser

Once more the western ‘anti-war’ movement has awoken to mobilise around Syria. This is the third time since 2011. The first was when Obama contemplated striking the Syrian regime’s military capability (but didn’t) following chemical attacks on the Ghouta in 2013, considered a ‘red line’. The second time was when Donald Trump ordered a strike which hit an empty regime military base in response to chemical attacks on Khan Sheikhoun in 2017. And today, as the US, UK and France take limited military action (targeted strikes on regime military assets and chemical weapons facilities) following a chemical weapons attack in Douma which killed at least 34 people, including many children who were sheltering in basements from bombing.

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Research grant awarded to discover men overly fancy their chances