SV: SV: SV: ICHR controversey

Narayan S. Raja raja at IFA.HAWAII.EDU
Thu Mar 2 21:06:56 UTC 2000

While I agree with most of what Dr. Fosse says,
I perceive (perhaps mistakenly), in this
particular posting from him, a European
"holier than thou" attitude which is not
justified by the facts:

On Thu, 2 Mar 2000, Lars Martin Fosse wrote:

> strike me as a sound policy. Please have a look at Europe: our history is
> littered with tragedies and atrocities of all sorts: countries and ethnic
> groups clashing, different brands of Christianity trying to stamp each other
> out, Protestant iconoclasm etc. (The Middle East would of course complain about
> our crusades). We are able to discuss these things freely because (with the
> exceptoin of the former Yugoslavia) we do not base our modern policies and
> attitudes on the idea that we can make right was done wrong decades or
> centuries ago by maltreating the descendants of the ones that wronged our
> forefathers.

I presume you refer only to "official"
policies and attitudes, as opposed
to individuals' prejudices, which
are alive and well in Europe as elsewhere.

And even when it comes to "official"
policies and attitudes, your observation
is not quite correct:  for example,
I vividly remember how, when I was
travelling in Europe some years ago,
even I (a brown-skinned third-worlder,
i.e., a leper to most European consulates)
was granted a Greek visa on the spot,
while the Turk behind me in the line
was told to come back in 1 month.
Apparently, the Greeks still hadn't
realized that it was un-European to
seek petty bureaucratic revenge from
the Turks.   :-)

Other problem areas such as Northern Ireland,
Cyprus, and the Basque region of Spain come
to mind.  Then one hears of official harassment
of Gypsies in various European countries.

I won't even go into details of the
problems Europeans have with third-world
immigrants, because they are not "traditional"
chronic problems of your societies.

> After Germany had been beaten in WWII, Europe reached the
> conclusion that we all needed to be friends because being enemies was so
> costly.

This is not quite analogous to the
situation in India.  The European Union
was not achieved by suppressing
discussion of Nazi atrocities.

In India, the BJP et al represent a section
of Hindu society which can be described
as a "majority group with a minority complex",
i.e., a majority group with an acute sense
of insecurity, paranoia, and grievance.  Rather
similar to politicized Francophones in Quebec,
Jews in Israel, Pakistanis in Pakistan, or
White Nationalists in the U.S.A.  All these
come from linguistic/religious/ethnic groups
which are actually majorities in their respective
homelands, but display the insecurity, paranoia,
and belligerence characteristic of oppressed
minority groups.

> But we [ Europe...] can also study Catholic cruelties against
> Protestants (and vice versa) without anybody rushing into the street to take
> revenge on the former "opposition".

This is no longer a live issue for most
Europeans (well, except Northern Ireland).
But how about a live issue -- can one study the
modus operandi of illegal Turkish immigrants
into Germany without Neo-Nazis "rushing into
the street to take revenge"?

I don't mean to gloat at the many social
problems of Europe.  I just want to point
out that a "holier-than-thou" attitude
about "European" tolerance vs. BJP fanaticism
is not justified by the facts.

With best wishes to Dr. Fosse, whose writings
I always respect and enjoy,


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