This is an alarming quote from an article by James Kirchick, of The Daily Beast, writing about three men who had been found guilty for arson charges after they were accused of firebombing a synagogue in Germany. The court said they only intended to bring attention to the Gaza conflict. Mr Kirchick claims the German judge let them off too easily so he starts his essay:
Imagine the following scenario:
A group of skinheads torch a black church somewhere in the Deep South. Upon being apprehended by the police, they cite the injustices that Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe has visited upon the white farmers of his country as justification for their arson. Mugabe is black, he rules on behalf of “the black race,” and therefore black people everywhere must be made to feel responsible for his crimes.
Anyone making such a ridiculous argument would rightly be labeled a racist. But change the victims from black people to Jews, and the perpetrators from pale neo-Nazis to dark-skinned Muslims, and a great many people will claim that what is obviously a crime motivated by blatant bigotry is in fact a politically-inspired protest.
I had to read James Kirchick’s piece several times in order to understand why he made the false equivalence. Is he pitching for an Israeli solidarity amongst us?
But let us track back a few steps. The ‘imagined scenario’ proposed in Mr Kirchick’s essay to justify Israeli actions against Palestinians in Gaza ought to be put in its rightful context. To compare white inhumanity to African Americans during Slavery to a court ruling in Germany strikes an unpleasant chord, not only of crying wolf, but in addition, of being implicitly racist.
Who are pale neo-Nazis? You mean white people? Who are dark skinned Muslims? You mean Arabs or do you again want to invoke the famous American racist media narrative – America’s most wanted, most chased – dark-skinned? You mean Arabs or do you mean Black people?
So within two paragraphs alone African Americans, Black people, Africans are so demonized already that you forget that the article was supposed to be about Jews, Synagogues and Germans – nothing to do with African Americans, or Black people, let alone Africans!
Let me explain. If indeed there was ever the ‘imagined situation’ in the Deep South, yes it will be racist. That is clear.
Because, the correct analogy to what happened in Germany would look like this: Africans are angry with the recent white cop murders of African Americans in the US and the ongoing mass incarceration of Black people in the US. White homes and churches in Africa are being burned down in protest to the murders.
That is rather the fitting analogy – if and only if Mr Kirchick wants to make a sensible one – of the Gaza conflict and protests around the world about Israel’s political reluctance to recognize the equal humanity of the Palestinian State.
However, that African equivalence is not happening. Why not? Perhaps, is it because Africans have been civilized for more than 7,000 years? Or is it because they are law abiding?
If a court of law in Germany rules that an act in a German town, Wuppertal, was an act of protest about what Israel is doing in Gaza then it is an act of protest. Is it not?
I am very surprised that James Kirchick has conveniently forgotten all about his Western Values – the rule of law!
Like when Eric Garner was choked to death by white cops in Staten Island and the white officer walked Scott free because a majority white jury let him off. That was the rule of law. Was it not?
Like when Trayvon Martin was murdered in front of his own home, and the murderer, who the media now insist is not white, walked free, even richer; was that not the rule of law?
Like when Michael Brown was murdered in the streets of his own neighborhood and the white cop who killed him walked away richer than he ever thought? Was that not the rule of law? According to Western Values?
African Americans and their experiences in America has no equivalence whatsoever. It cannot be compared with the African experience in Africa.
But to even compare over 300 years of slavery – death and oppression – to the experiences of whites in Zimbabwe is disingenuous if not at all an attempt to disfigure history entirely.
Let’s first remember what really happened in the 15 million strong Zimbabwe. From 1888 until about 2000, Zimbabwe’s 1 percent white population, controlled more than 90 percent of Zimbabwe’s farm land in the name of ‘we provide 30 percent of Zimbabweans work and account for 40 percent of Zimbabwe’s exports’.
When you exploit everyone for your prosperity, it seems to you that your economic theories sound ‘smart’. When in fact they are not; whites exploited African lands and human resources at every turn in Zimbabwe for more than a century.
So, if you believe that patronizing nonsense about Zimbabwe, I have to jog your memory with this other fact – the ethnic composition of Zimbabwe breaks down as follows – 82 percent Shona, 14 percent Ndebele, 2 percent other African ethnic groups, 1 percent white, 1 percent coloured and Indian.
Whites have always been the meager minority in Zimbabwe while African Americans have accounted for more than a sizable 12 percent of the American population for a long time. And what do they have to show for it? Land? Freedom? A chance to ‘provide 30 percent of whites, jobs, and a chance to account for 40 percent of American exports?’
African Americans were never allowed to own land, never allowed to rent land, and never allowed to vote even after slavery was abolished.
But it seems perfectly fine for Mr Kirchick to accept how a 1 percent white community of any population would own more than 90 percent of the land, vote and control the political atmosphere of a nation like Zimbabwe? And you call President Robert Mugabe who restored the dignity of Zimbabwe, a dictator? You are out of your goddamned mind!
When in America, the African American minority experience has been the exact opposite of what whites in Africa have enjoyed for more than 4 centuries and counting.
Which is which Mr Kirchick? Your thinking and logic are obviously odious.
President Robert Mugabe, who is also the Chairman of the African Union, like any sane human being, saw the savagery of injustice in Zimbabwe and was ready, unlike all US Presidents with African American oppression, to confront it. That is who you call a dictator?
Plus, since 1965, after Zimbabwe’s independence, President Mugabe has single handedly sought for justice for the African families whose farm lands had been illegally seized by white colonial imperialists.
So how on earth do you compare President Mugabe’s fight for justice in Zimbabwe to white supremacist slavery in America?
Perhaps, the comparison Mr Kirchick wishes to attempt in his essay is the false equivalence of the Trans-Atlantic-Slave Trade and the holocaust. There is a problem with comparing slavery and the holocaust.
For the sake of political discourse I would rather not talk about the holocaust. I know little of it.
And I think Mr Kirchick would do well to spare us the nonsense of talking and writing about subjects like the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, American Slavery, Racism, Segregation, African Independence Movements and Jim Crow as if he knows what it feels like to be African American, or African.
Mr Kirchick should further spare us the childish lesson in African history and the conflation of African experiences in America and Africa, unless of course like Brian Douglas Williams before him – his compatriot – he finds interest in telling lies as well!
A German story that concerns Jews, Israel, Gaza and Palestinians, has no moral or political comparison or equivalence in America or in Africa. That is a fact, and a child in grade school could have seen that much.