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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

One man's genocide is another man's holocaust

We are used to this semantic conjecture - it seems almost timeless now - but viewed through a British lense it has gained some more tread. The headline: "Academic sparks outcry for comparing Britain's colonisation of New Zealand to Holocaust".

Language lecturer Keri Opai claimed that New Zealand's native indigenous Maori were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following the 'holocaust' of British rule.

But last night the President of the New Zealand Jewish Council slammed the Maori academic for 'trivialising state sponsored genocide'.


Well firstly he didn't exactly say what was reported (see comments section.), but whatever, it breaks down to: when is a genocide a holocaust? And is the word 'holocaust' an exclusive term that should only be applied to the genocide of the Jews in Europe by the Nazis and their supporters? Is the use of the term otherwise a dimunition of the severity of it - a form of 'holocaust denial' by way of trivialisation?

At this point it ought to be noted that the President of the NZ Jewish Council - a Zionist organisation - that was ritualistically upset on behalf of the Jewish world is a right wing, establishment politician. So in keeping with his class and politics it is perhaps little wonder that his offence-taking is itself couched in offensive and ignorant assertions:

This is not the first time that Maori have trivialised the Holocaust by trying to associate it with their own perceived grievances. There is absolutely no valid comparison between the settlement of the country and the organised, state sponsored, genocide that was the Holocaust. As a language lecturer Mr Opai is obviously totally ignorant of world history; as an “academic” he should know better.

Those pesky Maori eh? "Perceived" as opposed to real grievances being the most obvious offence - as if the killing of 40% (or whatever it is) of the Maori population is nothing compared to the killing of 60% of Jews?

Is it just numbers? Surely the fact that Maori are confined to Aotearoa made their subjection more acute in some respects to the dispersed Jewish population?

As for organised and state-sponsored genocide - any observer would note the NZ government's policies over many generations has been to control the Maori population, strip them of status, and attempt to "assimilate" them - a cultural genocide (at the very least) that would be difficult to deny. Anyone who has read the 'Encircled Lands' account of Tuhoe and the Urewera will see the quotes from NZ government officials threatening "extermination" unless they surrender. The original plan - the final solution as it were - was to depopulate the entire interior and herd Tuhoe into a Gaza-style concentration camp in sand dunes near Whakatane so they could be destoyed at will should any rebellion take place. There were Einsatzgruppen-style raids - many comparable acts of genocide - against various tribes.

The destruction of one tribe (by other tribes in the pay of the government as well as European soldiers) is no less a genocidal act.

3 Comments:

At 8/2/12 10:38 pm, Blogger Ovicula said...

It makes me sick when Zionists insist the word holocaust is their private property, and while they do it, actual holocaust survivors are often sickened by Israeli state actions. If they're God's chosen people, they should just stick to praying and he'll fix it all for them.

 
At 9/2/12 7:56 am, Blogger jane said...

I have recently been reading about the internment in concentrtion camps, murder and starvation of africaans by direct orders from (Lord) Kitchener, the mass murder of the city of Kiev's population at Babi Yar and the systematic murder, hunting and persecution of Roma gypsies throughout Europe and England which decimated them throught out the war to an extent that there was no-one there to recieve compensation when it actually was to be given. To insist on "the holocaust" as referring simply to Hitler killing the Jews completely negates the tragedies of the Africaans, Roma, Poland, Palestine, Indonesia, the list goes on as do the atrocities.

 
At 9/2/12 1:30 pm, Blogger Andrzej said...

The word holocaust is defined from ancient Greek: holos, “whole”; kaustos, “burnt”. The word appeared since the fifth century B.C.E referring to sacrifice by fire when used to describe pagan ritual sacrifices (by fire). In secular writings it refers to wholesale or complete destruction (especially by fire).

It’s ignorant to regard the use of the word as exclusively referring to the Holocaust (Second World War Jewish genocide).

Considering that during first European contact the Maori population is estimated to be up to 100,000 in 1769 with the biggest lull in numbers during 1896 with 42,113. Disregarding the causes of the decline, British colonisation indeed resulted in a calamity for Maori in which the word holocaust would be apt.

This story is prevalent throughout the colonisation of the New World by the Old World European colonial powers, where in the Americas up to 95% of Amerindian peoples had perished by disease alone disregarding the enslavement, warfare, massacres, etc.

Regarding the colonisation of the New World, genocide often seems to be conveniently ruled out due to the population decline by Old World diseases. However the intent of destroying the population is evident through the systematic exploitation of the resources inhabited by these people when exploitation is hampered by them. If Old World diseases had not been as deadly no doubt history would have shown the open genocidal intent of the colonial powers.

Regarding the Holocaust, its roots arguably stem from the colonial legacy if one considers the Herero and Namaqua Genocide in Namibia by German colonial rule. Where concentration camps were established with hundreds dying from deprivation and exhaustion and where sadistic medical experiments were also conducted. This was later reflected and “improved” by the Nazis.

Concentration camps are usually associated with the Holocaust, however many seemingly overlook the fact that masses of gentiles perished there. Auschwitz concentration camp was originally established to exterminate the Poles from the region, Dachau for German political prisoners. Hitler was inspired by the expulsion of many Indian nations to reservations and concentration camps such as those of the Cherokee removal. During the course of the Second World War millions of many nationalities were killed according to a racially driven dogma. Much of the 12 – 14 million Russian and 7 – 16 million Chinese civilian deaths were as a result of atrocities, with them respectively viewed as racial inferiors.

In summary one can argue that the methods of the atrocities of the colonial era culminated in the Holocaust and indeed the holocaust that was the Second World War, as the Germans pursued the colonisation of Europe, especially Eastern Europe, where the Slavs, Gypsies and largest population of Jews were hampering their exploitation of the land and were hence denigrated as sub-humans.

 

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