Drowned Refugees, Globalization, Saudis.(BOOKS)(NEW WORLD ORDER)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 8, 2002 | Go to article overview

Drowned Refugees, Globalization, Saudis.(BOOKS)(NEW WORLD ORDER)


Byline: Arnold Beichman, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

What turns normal human beings living in a democracy into moral monsters? The question arises after reading Death on the Black Sea by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins (HarperCollins, $26.95, 368 pages), one of the most awful exposes of World War II inhumanity and this time by democratic Britain.

Desperate to escape Nazi invaders in Romania in late 1941, 800 Jewish refugees boarded at a Romanian port city a ship destined for Palestine. They and their ship were quarantined in Istanbul for two months. Then the ship, its engine disabled and useless, was towed into the middle of the Black Sea and 24 hours later sunk by a Soviet submarine with all aboard in freezing waters. One passenger survived to tell the tale.

What the authors reveal is how the British government, which had it in its power to do something, did nothing while the refugee ship was docked in Istanbul. Worse, British authorities on the scene also refused even to allow the children aboard the stricken vessel to disembark and proceed to Palestine. Archives show that Britain was fearful of disrupting oil exports from Arab countries if the refugees were allowed to go to Palestine. As for the Soviet submarine, Joseph Stalin had issued a secret order that all transport ships leaving neutral Turkey in the direction of Germany were to be sunk lest the Nazis obtain Turkish chromium.

Among the countless books about the Holocaust, I found "Death on the Black Sea" particularly important. Perhaps because of the book's small compass, one begins to understand why and how Auschwitz happened.

* * *

The Scapegoat of the Decade is a word which has only recently been endowed with the magical power of total evil. Whatever goes wrong in the Asia, Africa, the Balkans it's all the fault of grrrrrrr, GLOBALIZATION.

This is the theme of Yale Law School professor Amy Chua in her book, World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability (Doubleday, $26, 304 pages). In her catalogue of sins, what happened in Serbian concentration camps in the 1990s, in Rwanda where Hutus hacked Tutsis by the hundreds of thousands, or the Javanese slaughter of Chinese in Indonesia in 1998, the World Trade Center on September 11, whatever and wherever, don't blame the killers, the genocidists. Blame a process: Globalization. (Note to slow thinkers: It used to be called ugh! - capitalism.)

Globalization subsumes three ingredients: markets, democracy and ethnic hatred, which to Ms. Chua is a lethal brew. As she lists all these genocidal horrors, I asked myself: But there was no globalization process at work back in 1965 when, with the overthrow of Achmad Sukarno, millions of local Chinese were killed by rampaging Javanese mobs. Between 1975 and 1978 B.G. (Before Globalization), the Indonesian army killed 200,000 of 600,000 East Timorese to stop an independence drive in the onetime Portuguese colony.

Until globalization came along, life in the Balkans had been idyllic, no? Serbs, Croats, Slovenians, Montenegrins, Bosnians, Moslems, Christians were full of brotherly love, yes? And of course, the Hutus were so overwhelmed by globalization that they lashed out at the Tutsis, yes? And until globalization came along, the Palestinians and the Israelis were living happily side by side, yes? And did globalization transform Iran from an authoritarian monarchy into a theocratic tyranny?

So what's the solution? The solution: Corporate philanthropy and more government foreign aid. And still more foreign aid. And then human nature will lose that primeval homicidal streak . . . Oh, come on, professor.

* * *

I turn now to a book which I commend to Ms. Chua: Will Genocide Ever End? edited by Carol Rittner, John K. Roth and James M. Smith. (Paragon House, $18.95, 272 pages).

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