Friday, January 05, 2007

"Hopelessly Sectarian."

Charles Krauthammer makes the following point:

The whole sorry affair [of Saddam's execution] illustrates not just incompetence but also the ingrained intolerance and sectarianism of the Maliki government. It stands for Shiite unity and Shiite dominance above all else.

Duh. DUH. Lord, why do politicians not talk to historians. Of course Iraq and its government is hopelessly sectarian.

Human history is the story of oppression. Given the chance, one group (generally the majority) will always oppress another. It's the universal constant of humanity. Tutsis will oppress/kill Hutus (or vice versa). Serbs will oppress Bosnians. Germans will oppress Jews. Americans enslaved blacks for centuries. In almost every modern state and certainly in almost every state until the 20th century, the majority ethnic, religious, linguistic, whatever group has beaten up, oppressed, granted fewer rights to, or otherwise beat up on the minority and denied them access to civic life.

The natural human state is not to empower the minority. For all Dubya's "let freedom bloom" the natural human state is not for different ethnic groups to get along and function happily in a wonderful bi-partisan polyglot happy state. It takes only a cursory reading of history to know that. I mean, the US isn't even there: look at the constant efforts to make foreigners assimilate, the "english only" movement, the "don't let mexicans become citizens." Can I remind everyone when segregation ended?

In the ONE place I can think of where the minority participates fully in civic life and is given the tools to do so, it's still a struggle and many people are against it. Lord Durham was prescient. Canada makes it work, and the Quebecois do participate: 1/3 of the Supreme Court and House of Commons, 1/4 of the Senate. Quebecois can thrive in government, in the armed forces.

And look how much people hate that (ladies and gentlemen, I present the Reform party.) how often do you hear about people (from Alberta, generally) who talk about how they hate the French, how French is rammed down their throats, how we shouldn't give them special status, etc. It is to our eternal credit that we hold fast against them.

So, my point: People of different races/languages/religions don't naturally get along. The like to oppress each other. Given the chance, and the civic tools, they will.

If Dubya--or anyone--thought that Iraq would turn into a wonderful multicultural bi-religious federation where everyone gets along and shares power, he was nuts. Because, other than Canada (happy to hear of others--maybe Belgium?), no such federation exists or has ever existed.

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