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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Selective moral outrage

In Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens rips the mask off the selective moral outrage that the World in general - and the Muslim world in particular - applies to 'Palestinian' deaths and injuries. He does so by comparing the 'Palestinians' and the reaction to their situation to the Chechens and the reaction to their situation. Stephens could as easily have compared the 'Palestinians' to the Darfuris or to Muslims in Thailand (for example) and gotten similar results. But he chose the Chechens, and the comparison makes for interesting reading. And he's dead on with his explanation. Can you guess it before you start reading?
Here's a contrast to ponder. Since the beginning of the second intifada in the autumn of 2000, roughly 6,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire. That figure includes combatants, as well as those killed in January's fighting in Gaza.

As for Chechnya, there are no solid figures for the number of civilians killed since the second war began in late 1999; estimates range anywhere between 25,000 and 200,000. Chechnya's population, at a little over one million, is about one-third or one-fourth that of the Palestinians. That works out to between 25 to 200 Chechen deaths per 1,000, as against 1.5 to 2 Palestinian deaths per 1,000.

Now type the words "Palestine" and "genocide" into Google. When I did so Monday, I got 1,630,000 results. Next, substitute "Chechnya" for "Palestine." The number is 245,000. Taking the Google results as a crude measure of global outrage, that means the outrage over the Palestinian situation was 6.6 times greater than over the Chechen one. Yet Chechen fatalities were anywhere between 13 to 133 times greater.

Final calculation: With an "outrage" ratio of 6.6 to one, but a proportional kill ratio of one to 13 (at the very low end), it turns out that every Palestinian death receives somewhere in the order of 28 times the attention of every Chechen death. Remember that in both cases we're mainly talking about Muslims being killed by non-Muslims.

I'll admit this math exercise is a bit of a gimmick. But it raises a worthwhile question: Why is Palestinian life so dear in the eyes of the world -- and Chechen life so cheap?
Last chance: Can you guess the answer to Stephens' question without reading it? Here's Stephens' answer, with which I agree totally:
I have a hypothesis. Maybe the world attends to Palestinian grievances but not Chechen ones for the sole reason that Palestinians are, uniquely, the perceived victims of the Jewish state. That is, when they are not being victimized by other Palestinians. Or being expelled en masse from Kuwait. Or being excluded from the labor force in Lebanon. Things you probably didn't know about, either. As for the Chechens, too bad for their cause that no Jew will ever likely become president of Russia.
And why is it that perceived victims of the Jewish state benefit from greater 'moral outrage' than victims of other states? The answer is in Geneva this week.

Read the whole thing. And then ask President Obama what happened to his special envoy to bring peace to Chechnya.



At 6:01 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its the Jews, stupid. The Palestinians are the luckiest people on the planet. If they had any one else for a foe, they wouldn't rate top billing in Google. The world's outrage has nothing to with them but everything to do with the Jews.


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