Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Ukraine and Genocide.

The Ukrainians want to call the organized murder of Ukrainians "genocide." The Russians don't. One of the things I find particularly interesting is how this disagreement cuts across the whole "Which Was Worse: Communism or Nazism" argument, which as some can imagine I've spent a lot of time thinking about while working on my book.

The Russians defend themselves by arguing that they were merely trying to slaughter an economic class of people, not an ethnicity. I understand why, as a technical matter, this might be a defense against the charge of "genocide" which, after all, is about killing a type of people....

Now, part of what fascinates me is why anyone would think murdering people because of their economic status is somehow any less evil than murdering people because of their ethnicity. I know what many of the whys are, and I think they reveal something profound about how different people see the world. In America and the West generally, vast numbers of leftist intellectuals forgave Stalin, Mao and others for murdering people who stood in the way of Progress — and historians continue to do so today. Indeed, "modernization" was one of the great excuses and rationalizations for murder, theft and, yes, genocide in the 20th century and, I fear, people will be going back to this intellectual well for a good long time.

1 comment:

Jeff Mowatt said...

These things generate a lot of discussion and you'll find my veiws close to yours. Little comfort to those who suffered that they were a class rather than an an ethnicity.

You may be interested in a site I sponsor at holodomor.org.uk or this discussion group: