Slobbo, Rwanda and the Surreal

LeoCasey at LeoCasey at
Sat Oct 7 19:49:09 PDT 2000

The Heartfield-Yoshie tag team:

Yoshie: << Ideology defines the terms of debate, and anyone who offers an alternative explanation (e.g., alternative to the idea that the dominant Hutus tried to exterminate the Tutsi minority in genocide motivated by ethnic hatred in 1994) as Heartfield has gets accused of "denial" of genocide. >>

Heartfield: << There is no rational defence to be made of the tinpot nationalist Slobodan Milosovic, nor for ethnic slaughter in Rwanda. In fact, nobody that I am aware of has made any such case. I certainly haven't.

It is only Leo's poisonous caricature that anyone who dissents from the view that the West must intervene across the globe is, therefore, necessarily a supporter of repressive regimes in the third world. >>

Hey, guys: let's get your stories straight.

I know that the rhetorical technique is to have a moving target, and to always move it when an opponent responds to a specific point, but this is the digital world of cut and paste, and somebody might actually put the two positions side by side.

Now I thought that the latest incarnation of Heartfield's thesis was that yes a million people -- mostly Tutsis with a smattering of non-racist Hutus -- were killed in 1994, but that, well, it wasn't really the racist Hutus fault, what with the Tutsi RPF waging a guerrilla war and shooting down the plane of Habyarimana. (And anyway, look at that dictatorial Kagame government keeping all those people in jail while they organize trials for genocide.) You know, just like the German conservative historians that Habermas took on: the Holocaust wasn't really the fault of the Nazi German state, it was forced upon them by the Stalinists to the East. But Yoshie, well, she seems to have Heartfield back where we started on this topic, where we're not even sure that it all happened.

So are we crude Rwandan genocide deniers of the David Irving variety, or are we the more sophisticated German historians?

When you are alibi-ing, you have to get your stories together.

Leo Casey United Federation of Teachers 260 Park Avenue South New York, New York 10010-7272 (212-598-6869)

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. -- Frederick Douglass --

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