Ray Hanania’s Column
Mohandas Gandhi didn’t go to London to fight what was then the worst form of racial discrimination in the world, the colonialist nihilism of the British Empire. Instead, Gandhi launched his fight from a farm in Durban, South Africa, where the practices of British beliefs in racial enslavement took form as Apartheid.
British racial arrogance spread through the world. It’s colonies in the Americas inspired a system of family-owned concentration camps called plantations where the most egregious acts of inhumanity against Blacks and other inferior races took place. Their European cousins in Germany merely took the British and American systems of enslavement to its ultimate form during World War II.
This system of slavery became the ideological engine that drove the economic rise of the United States through the middle of the so-called “civilized” 20th Century. Most of these acts of brutality occurred behind closed doors. For every lynching that was witnessed, thousands more went unrecorded.
Nelson Mandela did not defeat Apartheid by embracing it’s perpetrators as partners in peace. Mandela held to his principles his entire life, including during a quarter century of time spent in a South African prison.
So why should the delegates at the World Conference on Racism pander to the robber barons of the racism industry, and encourage them to stay?
Let the United States walk out at Durban and not return. Let Britain, Canada and even Israel, the giant of bigotry based on religion, flee the shadow of guilt that this Conference must cast upon those guilty of racial superiority.
These Western perpetrators of racism seek to preserve and protect the narrow definition of racism as being discrimination based on race. In fact, racism is a much broader mortal sin founded on the concept of superiority that includes religion, national origin and skin color.
How do you explain that nations like Britain and the United States have protested because the conference seeks, among dozens of intentions, to expose the racism of Israel’s government?
Does anyone really expect that these historic purveyors of racism will suddenly surrender if we would only remove the “abusive language” against Israel from the conference?
And how dare the United States hide behind Israel as the excuse why they will not accept their responsibilities to pay reparations to African Americans and African nations for their centuries long exploitation of slavery?
The racism of the past which was so crude and open is today a more sophisticated, cleverly disguised practice that continues today in Britain, the United States and in their client countries like Israel.
Slavery has not ended in the United States. It has merely been adapted to preserve a more subtle form of superiority. Israel’s Zionism is founded on a form of racism that elevates one religion far above the others, resulting in a discrimination that justifies a brutal military occupation and separation in Israeli society itself.
Only in South Africa, where Western inspired racism was branded as Apartheid, has it been uprooted and expelled.
The fight against racism is not just a battle against a practice, it is a fight against the practitioners. Until you pressure those countries that practice racism in its many forms can you force those countries to change.
Unless the World Conference of Racism is ready to take a tough stand on principle and brand Britain, the United States and Israel nations of racism who must change, the efforts of the delegates will serve only to reinforce racial practices that have evolved into “acceptable” forms.
(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American writer based in Chicago and a regular contributor to MMN. His columns are archived on the web at www.hanania.com)