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Roger Moorhouse dominance by Atlantic Council rhetoric and an historian with a bias?

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 17th, 2022 at 03:37:14 PM EST
"In a free society, it is not always important that individuals
reason well, it is sufficient that they reason; from their individual
thought, freedom is born."
[French philosopher Montesquieu]

Exactly two centuries later, in his futuristic novel ''1984,'' the English political novelist George Orwell gave a tragic illustration of what the world would be without the freedom to think. Orwell had the intention to call his book ''The Last Man in Europe,'' as a tribute to the essential quality that distinguished man from the world around him, namely his ability to think for himself.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 17th, 2022 at 03:40:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Devils' Alliance: Hitler's Pact with Stalin, 1939-1941 - review | The Guardian - Aug. 6, 2014 |

Was Stalinism really worse than nazism? Richard J Evans takes issue with Roger Moorhouse's worryingly one-sided account of the consequences of the non-aggression pact

These events are hardly "largely unknown", as Roger Moorhouse claims in his new book, nor are they "dismissed as a dubious anomaly" in the standard histories of the second world war. They were a crucial feature of the runup to the outbreak of the war, and they entered literature as part of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, where a sudden switch of alliances causes the hero Winston Smith to work overtime as he carries out the task assigned to him of rewriting the newspapers to make it look as if the new alliance had always been in existence.

Shockingly, Stalin also handed back a substantial number of German communists who had taken refuge in the Soviet Union after the Nazi seizure of power; some of them, arrested during the purges, were taken directly from the Soviet Gulag to a German concentration camp.

Moorhouse tells a good story and, though it has been told before, notably in Anthony Read and David Fisher's The Deadly Embrace (1988), he is able to add interesting new details. His account of the negotiation and signing of the pact, finalised by Ribbentrop and Molotov, two men who had become foreign ministers of their respective countries through fawning sycophancy towards their respective leaders, is masterly.

Yet for all its virtues this is a deeply problematic book. Page after page is devoted to a detailed description of the horrors inflicted by Stalin and his minions on the territories the pact allowed him to occupy, with mass arrests and deportatations, shootings, torture and expropriation. The shooting of thousands of Polish army officers by the Soviet secret police in Katyn Forest and elsewhere has been well known for decades, like the brutal deportation of over a million Poles to Siberia and Central Asia, but much of the material provided by Moorhouse on the Baltic states is relatively new and makes sobering reading.

None of this, however, is balanced by any comparable treatment of the atrocities committed by the Nazis in Poland following their occupation of the western part of the country: the expropriation of Polish farms and businesses, the mass confiscation and looting of private property, the deportation of more than a million young Poles to work as slaves in Germany, the brutal displacement of Polish populations, the massacres of Poles carried out by the Germans, and the confinement of the majority of Poland's 3 million Jews in overcrowded, insanitary and deadly ghettoes in the major cities in the Nazi zone, where they were dying in large numbers within a few months.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 17th, 2022 at 03:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Montesquieu, Rousseau, Diderot : du genre humain au bois d'ébène

Slavery and the slave trade were declared crimes against humanity  by the French Parliament in May 2000 and by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Durban declaration (August-September 2001). These two historical decisions are based on the materiality of the tragedy of slavery and the slave trade.

Recognition of the crime against humanity constitutes not only an ethical reparation, the foundation of all other reparations, but also the universal sanction of what the French historian Jean-Michel Deveau called, in his work La France aux temps des négriers ( Éditions France Empire), "the greatest tragedy in human history in terms of its duration and magnitude". In the universal history of slavery, the transatlantic slave trade and slavery have several singularities: centuries --, the racial specificity of their victims -- the child, the woman, the black African man --, their ideological legitimization -- the cultural denigration of Africa and of the Black --, in a word, the intellectual construction of anti-Black racism and its legal organization, the Black Code.

The major material data that justify the recognition of the crime are beginning to emerge, particularly under the impetus of the UNESCO Slave Route project: the organization, with the slave trade, of the first system of globalization in history; the demographic and human drain on the African continent (several tens of millions of men, women and children); the deep and lasting economic, social and cultural breakdown of the African continent; the total violence of a legal repressive apparatus; the criminalization of all forms of resistance, etc.

The image that is beginning to take shape and substance, the visible part of an immense iceberg of violence and exploitation, is that of a system whose material and formal structure (commercial circuits, state licenses, large companies, slave ships, forts and parking places, sea crossing conditions, the Middle Passage, working and operating conditions in mines and fields, etc.) only takes on meaning, significance and efficiency through the existence of an ideological system of intellectual and moral legitimization.

Rights of minorities and failure to address the rights of Palestinians in an apartheid state Israel, in search of its independence. In 2009 a failed review conference was held.

2009 United Nations World Conference Against Racism or Durban II

Related reading ...

Gap Between Dutch Rightwing Cabinet and Human Rights

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 17th, 2022 at 03:46:39 PM EST
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