Three violators of human rights in one embrace: white racism, zionism and hindu racism.
The issues rejected by the three cowards:
Reparations for slavery and colonialism
Zionism is Racism, Freedom for Palestine
Caste system is Racism, Freedom for India’s Dalits
On these three issues, the following cowards are afraid of any open discussion:
USA’s conservative white establishment, led by George W Bush
Israel’s Zionist establishment and its various racist defenders, led by Ariel Sharon, the veteran “butcher”
India’s Hindu fascist government, led by AB Vajpayee, life long member of fascist RSS [* See editor’s note below]
Therefore we have three forces: western white supremacy, Zionist racism and Hindu caste-racism on one side. Interestingly enough we have today a political component to this alliance of reactionary forces: the US, Israel and India’s Hindu fascist regime are working hand in hand; the affinity of like minded ideologies is not a coincidence.
It translates into billion dollar deals on arms, weapons, colonizing projects, and the subjugation of millions of human beings. The bottom line is the cruel marginalization of the most pressing democratic, human rights issues facing the world in these three important regions of the world:
1) the rights of the millions of Blacks in America, to demand reparations for more than three hundred years of slavery and subsequent oppression for generations;
2) the rights of Indigenous Palestinians to self determination beginning with the complete end of Israel’s illegal military occupation, which is fueled by US dollars and weapons, as well as an insidious settler-colonialist ideology and an apartheid system that is intrinsically racist;
3) the fundamental human rights of hundreds of millions of India’s “untouchables,” the Dalits of India, whose lives are crushed by the ugly Hindu institution of caste, something made even worse by the rise of Hindu fascism, and its open hatred towards Muslims, Christians and other minorities of India.
Racists are being allowed to determine the agenda of the conference against race! Therefore the conference devoid of these three most pressing issues pertaining to racism in the world today, is nothing but a cocktail party for the rich and powerful, to cavort among racists blind to the most blatant cases of racism on the planet today. As all gatherings of the stone hearted imperialists and their weak-kneed supplicants, this conference will be a sham even before it begins. Another nail in the coffin of the United Nations, in its life as a betrayer of the rights of the masses of humanity on behalf of the greed and bloodlust of champion violators of human rights.
None of these three cowards have any counter argument to dispute the allegations of their victims; they are simply afraid to debate the issues.
Reparations for Slavery long overdue
White America refuses to acknowledge the fact that for over three hundred years Black slave labor built America with bloody fingers and brutally devastated lives. It is the bones of millions of African slaves that made America, and not the genius of its slave owning founding fathers. Today, Blacks in the US face the worst discrimination among all groups, and live in conditions of poverty and destitution comparable to many third world countries, prompting many activists to label Black America, the “third world within.” Even in the middle of New York city, the capital of world capitalism, archaeologists have recently discovered an 18th century burial ground for African slaves who built the city. The very bones of Africans underlie the tall towers of wealth that rise above them in a nation that refuses to acknowledge in its blind arrogance, its culpability in the worst crime in modern history. The debt to Africa that America owes cannot be truly measured in terms of money; yet, even the refusal to listen to the demands of reparations, implies that America is not ready to confront its sordid past.
American racists feel outraged that Black people would even bring up the issue of reparations, with the pathetic outcome that spokespersons for the white establishment like Colin Powell, himself the descendent of African slaves, reduced now to demanding that the reparations issue be a non-issue on behalf of the younger Bush. Incredulously, “liberal” alternatives being promoted include issuing formal apologies, which the US dismissed as if this whisper of an alternative was equally outrageous to the sentiments of the self-proclaimed leader of the “free world.” Other alternatives being touted include building ‘monuments’ to remember slavery, as if the actual monuments to slavery don’t exist: in the walls of the very buildings that are symbols of the white establishment, built as they were by African slave labor. The ‘Mall’ in Washington DC was a slave auctioning block; do they need another monument, or is reparations the just demand of the descendants of those treated worse than cattle for centuries? Why should the richest country in the world not see it fit to humble itself for once in front of those whose lives it rapaciously devoured for centuries?
Perhaps the most insulting aspect to this refusal to come to terms with the terrible history of slavery, is the fact that this conference is to be held on the African continent, the continent which Europe most heinously terrorized for over 400 years, robbing it of untold numbers of its people, and wealth. It need not even be argued that the enormous wealth and prosperity of Europe and America, owes no small debt to the pillaged, looted wealth of Africa, in addition to the millions of Africans who built their very countries for free! The bones of millions of Africans traverse the paths of the slave ships in the bottom of the Atlantic, and yet, America can do no better than treat the descendants of these terribly wronged people with contempt and derision. Racism is alive and well and George W’s arrogance in the face of this issue only confirms that America is still inherently and overtly racist.
Zionism = Racism
Israel, in its current war of occupation of Palestine, refuses to acknowledge the historical crime of dispossession and genocide that it contuse to pursue under a morass of lies and illusions efficiently churned out by its wealthy corporate media friends and allies in the US. The justification scheme of this colonization, is racist, though with a religious bent. The religious claims center on the notion that there was an ancient “Israel” present in Palestine, which the Jews of Europe are merely “returning” to after a couple of thousand years. If this logic were pursued anywhere else, smart bombs and sanctions would inevitably follow, but Zionism as an ideology is a counterpart of the white supremacist colonizing venture, and thus commands great adherence among westerners enraptured by mythological narratives having little to do with real history, but grand claims quite contrary to real evidence. Ancient Palestine was not the homeland of most European Jews, as Alfred Lilienthal, an anti-Zionist Jew, points out. Khazaria, a state established in Ukraine and Russia was the homeland of most Jewish people of Europe. The Khazar people converted to Judaism in the 8th century, and established a great civilization, but were in turn displaced by Russians moving westward into Europe.
The Zionist claim to Palestine is based on the implicitly racist notion that Palestinian people have no history. Like European colonizers of the last century, the Zionist project is one of denying the history of the people being colonized, so as to deny them political rights. Lilienthal even argues that it could be more likely that Palestinians of today have more genealogical relationship to the ancient people of Palestine than acknowledged by the west. The idea that Jesus was a Palestinian is not merely a slogan.
The Zionist claim to “ancient Israel” is also driven by mythology as Keith Whitelam points out in his book “The invention of ancient Israel and the silencing of Palestinian history”.(Routledge, 1997). The silencing of Palestinian history is part of the project of creating the myth of “ancient Israel,” quite comparable to the Hindutva project of creating a mythical “Hindu” past. Both are averse to historical, archaeological, or ethnographic evidence unless it confirms or supports some aspect of their body of presuppositions. The basic nationalist narrative of Zionism contends that the occupation of Palestine mirrors the conquest of Canaan in the biblical narrative. This is based on no evidence except the Bible and anything that lends support to selective ethnocentric interpretations of the Bible. There is a growing body of evidence that the narrow Bible-based interpretation with its pre-configured creation, “ancient Israel,” is only a nationalistic project and not a real historically based study. In the context of Zionism’s racism, this is then nothing less than a racial nationalistic project, seeking to justify and legitimate the colonization and oppression of a people. Many Israeli scholars are themselves questioning the myths of ancient “Israel,” as more material evidence comes in from archaeology, and history. [ed.’s note: see for example Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts (Free Press, 2001)]
Israeli racists and their Zionist friends around the world are terrified at the prospects of being identified with racism, even though they practice it with a fervor reminiscent of the Belgians in 19th century Congo, or British in 18th century India; mythical racial-religious narratives, ideas of racial purity, racial chauvinism, racial hatred towards the indigenous inhabitants of the land, terror inflicted on the “conquered” people, creating race based institutions, stealing more land by invoking the exclusive myths of one faith, as if that is enough to legitimize the invasion and usurpation of another peoples’ lands, dishing out justice to Jews only and injustice to Palestinians only, requiring Palestinians to carry markers of identity just as the Nazis required Jews to carry markers of identity; these are only some of the features of the self-proclaimed “Jewish state,” a racist conception in itself since, 20 percent of the citizens of Israel are actually non Jewish Palestinians.
The racialization of Jewish identity is an outcome of European fascism and Zionism played a central role in assisting Nazism to change the Jewish minority of Germany into a “racial” minority, keeping with Hitler’s assertion that the Jews constituted a separate “nation” which he of course defined in terms of a “race.” There is ample evidence that Zionism was not interested in saving the lives of Jews in Europe as much as it was in usurping Palestine and establishing a “racial” state in Palestine, something accomplished with considerable support and encouragement from the Nazi regime itself. [ed.’s note: see Leni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators (Lawrence Hill, 1993); Yehuda Bauer, American Jewry and the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press, 1981); The Holocaust Victims Accuse:
Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, edited by the Neturei Karta, an organization of anti-Zionist Jews who support the goal of a secular democracy rather than a Jewish state.] These are facts that are terribly inconvenient to the Zionist establishment, because they underline the fundamentally racist character of the ideology of Zionism. To the present day, Zionists are unapologetic in their racism and many statements from leading “lights” of Israel attest to the fact that Israeli Zionism is first and foremost a racist ideology. More evidently, the practice of racism permeates everything including the colonization of Palestinian land, the brutal treatment of Palestinians, including children, and the unapologetic arrogance displayed to critics, reminiscent of the worst racists from Hitler to Botha.
In addition to the racist roots of Zionism, it is also clear that Zionist Israel’s claim to Palestinian land is not at all substantiated by history; the Jewish people of Europe are not descended from the ancient people of Palestine, therefore they are not “returning” to an ancient “homeland.” On the other hand, Palestinians whose lands are being appropriated by the descendants of Khazar Jews of Europe are more likely to be the descendants of the ancient people of the Bible. Secondly, there is a far more complex history involving the ancient Palestinian people, who built a civilization and innovated great religious systems for the world, and whose people at one time spread the faith of their lands all over the world, including Khazaria. It seems far more plausible that ancient Palestinians were the originators of the Jewish religion, then converted to Christianity after the teachings of the Palestinian prophet Jesus, who was executed by the pro imperial clergy on behalf of Rome, and centuries later became some of the first proponents of Islam. The history of these people is being silenced to make way for the silly racist narrative of Zionism which is nothing but a white supremacist narrative belying the long standing European desire to lay claim to Palestine. Palestinian history should not and will not remain silenced. To this end, the intifada must spread into the historical narratives too and myths like that of “ancient Israel” challenged by Palestinian history.
Hindu racism is so encoded within the so-called Hindu dharma (‘law’) that most Hindus tend to feel outraged even though they know that the practices and ideologies of caste and race intertwine and overlap like strands of the same fiber. More than 300 million (yes 300 million!) human beings in India live lives as bonded laborers. This is modern day slavery. A vast majority of them are Dalits and people of the lowest castes in the caste hierarchy. For them life under Hindu “dharma” is one of always serving Brahmins and upper castes, and doing the most menial tasks in society, a degrading condition justified in Hinduism as one appropriate to their caste! There is no economic, political or cultural emancipation for these oppressed millions under the regime of Hindu dharma, and with the rise of the Hindu fascist movement represented by the BJP government, they along with hundreds of millions of Muslims and Christians are being targeted and attacked.
Hindu ‘dharma’ is caste based; Hinduism is casteism; to be Hindu means to belong to a caste, and not as it is in most religions, to merely subscribe to a set body of beliefs. Hinduism has no universal religious requirements; therefore it is sufficiently open to interpretation along lines that are outrageously oppressive. Therefore untouchability cannot be addressed without bringing down the edifice of Hindu caste system, and its cruel racial system of economic and social privilege, but since the interests and wealth of the self-proclaimed rulers of India is at stake, Hindu “dharma” will continue to oppress hundreds of millions of Dalits. Meanwhile, the governments of the US and Israel see an ‘ally’ in such a despicable fascist movement as Hindutva! The call of the Dalits to bring attention to Hindu racism is a call coming from hundreds of millions of people denied their basic human rights by a regime that is hypocritical in its self righteous adherence to vague notions of ‘democracy’, and yet openly fascist in its contempt for the vast majority of Indians. To mask these realities they engage in flights of fancy with the full help of western myth makers by extolling the alleged ‘greatness’ of ‘Hindu civilization,’ a historical myth making project lock stock and barrel tied to imperialism and the subjugation of the subcontinent’s masses.
The problem with the notion of Hindu “supremacy” is the revealing fact that the world Hindu used exclusively a a religious identifier gained greatest currency when the British colonizers wanted to differentiate those great numbers of Indians who were neither Muslim or Christian; they lumped them all into the category “Hindu,” and decided that the upper caste Brahmin elites’ religious system was the standard for the “Hindu” society. This made the Brahmin elites quite contented and hence the nationalist movement particularly around the Congress, fashioned themselves as a “moderate” managerial stop-gap measure for the British.
The modern day Hindu fascists are the arrogant upper caste elites who subscribe to a mythical narrative of a “great Hindu past,” something not substantiated by history. In fact, there is more than ample evidence of a great Buddhist, Jain and Muslim past in Indian history, and the empires of Vaishnava or Shaiva (two major sects in the Brahminical religion) kings throughout Indian history are not comparable in terms of duration and continuity as are the Buddhist and Muslim periods. The period of Indian history that can be easily classified as the classical period is overwhelmingly Buddhist: from about the 6th century BCE to about the 10th century CE. The majority of the adherents of Buddhism and Jainism were from the oppressed castes, and these two movements particularly Buddhism was a major force in checking the power of Brahminism throughout India.
Between about the 8th century CE to the 10th century there was a period of Brahminical resurgence, accompanied by widespread persecution and genocide of Buddhists and Jains. States collapsed by warfare and internecine conflicts generated by petty squabbles and saw the resurgence of oppressive social norms and practices. Vaishnava and Shaiva kings oversaw the slaughter of thousands of Buddhists throughout India, and many great Buddhist institutions were laid waste while Vaishnava and Shaiva shrines took their place. It was in this context that the first Arab and Turkish invasions took place in the 10th century, culminating the establishment of the Turkish sultanate in Delhi by the 11th century.
To the Turkish and Afghan rulers, the religious systems of the indigenous people baffled them and they often resorted to religious persecution and massacres. However the history of the Turkish sultanate is not merely one of an oppressive “foreign” rule; the establishment of a stable state brought much needed stability to northern India after the tumult of the last two centuries. Many people from central Asia came to India and became Indianized in their ways, while many indigenous people adopted Islam and the ways of the Turks and Afghans. To millions of Indians Islam provided an egalitarian alternative to the terrible oppression of Hinduism. There was a creative synthesis that developed what we know today as the mix of Indian culture; for instance the languages Hindi and Urdu are living evidence to the intermixing of indigenous and foreign cultures. In short there is little historical grounds for any notion of a unified historical “Hindu” past, as India’s ancient history is a complex that has a greater Buddhist basis than modern Brahmanical Hinduism acknowledges.
Present day Hindu fascists see themselves as the inheritors of a mythical “ancient glory” that never was. They recreate it and to that extent have to fabricate a mythical Hindu past, by appropriating everything within the concept “Hindu.” Thus they claim that Buddhism is nothing but a “branch of Hinduism,” while totally ignoring the historical fact that Buddhism arose in opposition to what they perceive as Hinduism, the Brahmanical religion with caste as its foundation stone. In this context, the Dalits who are oppressed by the tyrannical caste system have strongly identified with Buddhism and its emphasis on universal humanity and moral ethical codes rather than elaborate rituals and caste purity, the essence of Brahminical Hinduism. Even today the idea that a Dalit is “polluting” to the upper castes holds sway even among the western educated elites.
This is disgusting racism and cannot be allowed to flourish under the guise of Hinduism. By opposing the discussion of this issue, the caste elites of India’s Hindu fascist government only signal their unwillingness to confront Hinduism’s inherent and pervasive racist oppression of Dalits. Taken together with their attitude towards India’s Buddhist and Muslim past, these self-proclaimed spokespersons for Hindus continue to pursue the dream of a Hindu fascist India in which Muslims, Christians, and largely Dalit Buddhists will be suppressed as second class citizens ghettoized and sufficiently terrorized into the lowest rungs of the social and political ladder. This is the struggle facing Indians intent on challenging the fallacies of Hindutva and asserting the human rights of all Indians, especially Dalits, Muslims and Christians who face the onslaught of widespread Hindu fascism.
In summary, the three major violators of human rights, who are so outraged by their victims’ calling on them to address long standing violations of basic human rights in the discussions at Durban, are allied criminals. The need to expose their nefarious criminality is more urgent than ever. White supremacy, Zionism and Hindu racism are part of the same project to deny hundreds of millions of people the right to be free, and ought to be fought vigorously and defeated by their victims. Towards this struggle ahead, this short essay is a contribution. Palestinians, Black Americans and India’s Dalits and oppressed masses have to see that their struggle is one struggle against the forces of global fascism, three of whose stellar representatives excel in the grotesque practice of human subjugation and racist tyranny. It is necessary to expose these three villains and build solidarity among the victims. Solidarity is not wishful thinking but a much need survival strategy, and the only road to defeating the oppressors of the global fascist axis.
Reparations and freedom for Black Americans, Palestinian self determination, and India’s liberation from the shackles of Hindu fascism are part of a great historical movement; those opposed to them are on the wrong side of history, and will be thoroughly defeated. Their present arrogance is no indicator of their true strength. Ultimately freedom will always prevail over tyranny, and ideas that pursue truth and liberation for all human beings are infinitely more powerful than the Jim Crows, the Ariel Sharons and the Brahmin fascists of the world.
I close with the lines of the legendary Peter Tosh’s “Equal Rights”
Every one is crying out for peace,
none is crying out for justice,
but there will be no peace,
till man gets Equal Rights, and Justice,
Palestinians are fighting for..Equal Rights, and Justice,
Africans are fighting for ..Equal Rights, and Justice, yeah!
Tosh, the cofounder of Bob Marley’s Wailers band, refused to play in Israel on account of Israel’s arming of racist South Africa, and its inhuman treatment of Palestinians. He often sported a Kaffiyeh in concerts. Compare this with the spineless, worms, called the “Red Hot Chili Peppers” whose eunuch like squeaking is like the sound of mice, compared to Tosh’s thundering lions’ roar.