O, praeclarum custodem, ovium lupum! — Cicero
Notice that the Western media has obsessed over the Western walk out during Ahmadinejad’s speech at Durban II. In the first place, the conference’s overall irrelevance must be noted, as those countries with the most serious issues are not by and large represented by credible representatives (this includes in particular those African and Asian states with the most tortured histories of colonial occupation and attempted extermination, many of whom today practice heavy discrimination against their own citizens and residents) and the Western countries that bothered to show up have demonstrated their indifference to the problems of racial discrimination and oppression previously in the conduct of their foreign policy, and in many cases even their domestic policy (one need look no further than the place of the Roma in southern and eastern Europe, for instance; let us see what will be done for these at Durban; we should not even raise Australia’s indigenous peoples). This considered, the Walk Out is irrelevant.
But aside from this, the pompous walk out has reinforced the ability of despots to block out their own misdeeds and excesses by using the Palestinian or whatever other issue to misdirect international attention from, say, a glimmering example of why Libya cannot be trusted with institutional leadership at any level of the international system, save for bureaucratic grunt work, where its incompetence and subterfuge would not be of great consequence to the already sluggish pace of progress there. Witness the conduct (some might call it arrogance) of Libya’s chair at the conference when confronted by a victim of that regime’s crimes. What is truly sad is that there is no strong representation for Libya’s Berbers, whose troubles have been all but ignored by anyone peeping into Libya’s chauvinistic and dictatorial recent past, from Khadduri to Bush. As much is the case elsewhere. The French will attend, but never take responsibility for the brutal nature of France’s presence in Africa and Asia, this as a “human rights activist” represents a government that still widens the bellies of bigmen in Francafrique. The conference should not be taken as unserious because of its love for thundering at Israel, but for its mere premise!
What was so hypocritical as to make one’s mouth dry was to see the the Czech delegation pullout. Is this not a country where Roma are disallowed from bars, restaurants and public pools and where government and the public indulge in the crudest racialism and xenophobia? They are for sure at the head of the EU, but if anything their more important neighbors should have forced them to sit through to learn something about the problem. Thus is the conference’s malevolence: The unscrupulousness of the Iranians allows for every order of offender to creep and slither by without ever addressing its actual mission. There is no problem with boycotting the conference, though the boycott’s motivations say much of the nature of its supporters’ cynical world view. Surely the Israelis deserve some finger wagging and admonishment for their behavior. The boycotters’ self-righteousness the behavior of those pitiful governments still in attendance is what is truly troubling. The very idea that the troubles of lambs can ever be addressed sincerely by a council of wolves is evidence that Durban II is without even the “best of intentions.”
The bottom line at Durban II: Durban is a platform on which despotic majorities and dictators may stand on the backs of those whom they pretend to represent and agitate on behalf of.