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The Forum > Article Comments > Another Balkans unfolding in Africa? > Comments

Another Balkans unfolding in Africa? : Comments

By Jed Lea-Henry, published 28/4/2014

The crisis in the Central African Republic is a slow moving genocide. Thousands have been killed across the country.

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Thanks for a thought-provoking piece. I think your conclusions are largely correct – while we can recognise that, objectively, the life of a citizen of the CAR is worth no more or less than the life of an Australian, subjectively we feel very differently.

There may perhaps be some differences in terms of obligation to help, though – a person who lets their own child starve to death is more culpable than one who fails to give to Oxfam when there is a famine.

I also wonder, realistically, if there is much we can do to prevent the unfolding disaster. The recent history of Western or multinational interventions in failed or failing states is not a happy one. Often, the people sent ostensibly to help become part of the problem (Iraq, Afghanistan), or are so constrained by their rules of engagement they can do little to help (Kosovo, Rwanda). Where Western intervention has been successful, it has usually worked in concert with a coherent political network and infrastructure capable of making an indigenous contribution to reconstructing society once conflict is over (East Timor?). The instinct to “do something” can be as damaging as the instinct to turn a blind eye, unless there is a clear and coherent path to make that “something” work.
Posted by Rhian, Monday, 28 April 2014 3:20:14 PM
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Yes, the rules of engagement are clearly part of the problem. Just as they were in the Balkans, when in fact we should have taken sides, and used all our considerable might, to put the aggressors to the hypothetical sword.
Ditto Rwanda, which we just stood and watched, as millions were slain in one of the worst examples of genocide, in recorded history.
An intensely evil example, we the so-called free world should never ever watch again, from the sidelines!
England and the free world did not have to declare war on Nazi Germany! But chose to do so, given no other ethical conscience driven response, was possible.
We stayed the course and stayed on until we had successfully imposed democracy on all axis powers!
Something we might have actually achieved in the Balkans, by breaking it up, into communities, who could coexist, as free but separate democratic societies, inside traditional borders!?
A ongoing problem in the M.E., which has ethnic minorities, forced to live under the thumbs of ethnically different majorities, due to borders drawn by some very ignorant wartime leaders, or their principle agents?
Posted by Rhrosty, Monday, 28 April 2014 4:24:09 PM
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"Genocide" was a term invented by Raphael Lemkin to formalise the international community's attitude to the events of 1941-44 in Europe, as you've demonstrated in your post the end of the war has now been flipped around to justify the start and sealed off from any inquiry or scrutiny.

Now you wonder that an organisation like the U.N whose policy on ethnic conflict is wholly built around the rumours, false assumptions and outright lies generated in the 1945-47 show trial era and on an interpretation of WW2 where the history was re written to fit an ideological positiion should fail so miserably in the Balkans and in Central Africa?
How can an organisation which has such a distorted view of what provokes and fuels ethnic conflict be capable of responding to a Rwandan or Balkan emergency? Would they even recognise serious ethnic strife when they saw it? It appears that they did not in those cases because they immediately tried to re write Srebrenica and Sarajevo into the false "holocaust" narrative, which obscured the truth of the matter.
Maybe "we" might have screamed a bit louder if we'd known the truth and weren't fed a tale of what we'd been conditioned to regard as the "banality of evil"?

Conflating the CAR, Rwanda or Bosnia with the "Holocaust" narrative allows people to look away because they can lay the blame at the feet of "Madmen" and justifiably refuse to again plunge the world into mayhem on account of some "Evil" at the heart of men.
Would you send your son off to fight against "Evil"?
Posted by Jay Of Melbourne, Monday, 28 April 2014 5:55:55 PM
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We sorted the Balkans out, because we didn't wait for the U.N.
The U.N. is a house divided, with a couple of principle players owning a veto!
I wouldn't send my son anywhere, but rely entirely on his own moral value judgement, to make that call for him!
My only reaction as a former soldier, is that nobody wins in any war!
Yet we have them, and like Germany or Rwanda, or the killing Fields of Cambodia. All you need to start mass murder, and or ethnic cleansing, was a single madman, with his hands on the levers of power.
For mine, we would do far less harm, by sending in a special team, all volunteers, to eliminate or assassinate that single individual, and perhaps just a few of his top lieutenants.
We could probably stop a war in the Ukraine, by just eliminating the madman, making it a very real possibility.
One mans life, measured against possible millions and or, WW111?
We made a mistake in the first gulf war, of not finishing it and the butcher of Baghdad?
Had we done that there, there would have been no second gulf war, and we wouldn't have needed to pull troops out of Afghanistan, just when we had the Taliban in full headlong retreat.
We baled out there as well, and had to return, to finish the job, when the Taliban had not only reestablished, but had turned much of Afghanistan, into killer poppy fields.
The real problem is, the job will never ever be finished until all the warring factions have set aside their arms, and endless war.
I would assist that end, by legalizing the less harmful drugs, which in the first instant, would deprive the Taliban of most of their campaign funds! Or war chest!
I do know, that for evil to prevail, good men only need stand and do nothing!
Cheers, Rhrosty.
Posted by Rhrosty, Tuesday, 29 April 2014 12:12:06 AM
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This is a very funny article.

Jed begins by telling us how bad things are in some African, multicultural cesspit. OK, Jed, we already know that things are bad in every multicultural, African cesspit. As a matter of fact, they are bad in every multicultural cesspit, African or not. Usually, the best way to solve the problems which multiculturalism has wrought, is for the separate ethnicities to form their own countries. A bit of monoculturalism looks the best thing to me. As the poet Frost wrote, "good fences make good neighbours."

Just like they did in the Sudan.

But even the separation of Sudan did not stop the killings. The people in the Southern half of Sudan kept killing each other, because the Eastern Southern Sudanese hate the Western Southern Sudanese. So, the fun continued.

Now, Jed does not accept that the west can not do anything to stop this carnage. Well, we used to, Jed. it was called "imperial colonialism" and it worked a treat. The advanced societies went into the lands of the primitive savages and put an end to millennia of tribal warfare. They exploited the wealth of the regions which the locals were too dumb to even know existed, and they used the profits to enrich themselves and to built roads, bridges, trains, hospitals, clinics, law courts, and they created effective administrations, which benefitted the natives. Peace always benefits people.

But some dummies thought that was awful, and so colonialism ended. So, now the savages have gone back to being savages.

Now, Jed thinks that we should do something about all of the massacres, ethnic cleansing, and general mayhem that is now reality in our former well run colonies. He waxes long and lyrical about this. We must do something. It is our duty to do something. We are reneging on our right to call ourselves civilised if we don't do something. We are just like Neville Chamberlain if we don't do something.

There is just one thing which Jed forgot to tell us. He forgot to tell us what that "something" is.
Posted by LEGO, Wednesday, 30 April 2014 5:16:39 AM
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