Friday, August 19, 2005

You Have to Live Like a Refugee

 
The inimitable James Lileks, in his most recent Screedblog, discusses the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip:
     Perhaps it was a waste of resources to defend 8500 settlers living next to 1.5 million Muslim refugees; unfortunately you can’t give up the land without the sweet lads at Hamas claiming victory and wishing to press their momentum. [emphasis added]
In a sign of how entrenched the Leftist “narrative” of the Palestinian conflict has become, Mr. Lileks uses the word “refugees” to describe the non-Jewish residents of the Gaza Strip. One presumes his use of the word is careless; after all, his position on the Palestinian issue is well-known, and very clear in this particular essay.

How did the children and grandchildren of the Arab residents of the British Mandate of Palestine come to be called refugees? Their ancestors were residents of the Mandate before 1949, and then residents of Egypt or Jordan until 1967. Since that war of Arab aggression, they and their descendants have been residents of the “occupied territories”, left in a limbo created by the intransigence of the Palestinian Authority and the cynical refusal of their Arab neighbors to accept them as residents and citizens.

So now they are all “refugees”, as will be their descendants in perpetuity, until, presumably, they become the joyous citizens of a new Palestine when the Zionist colonizers are finally driven into the sea...?

 The Death of Wolfe by Benjamin West, 1770 (National Gallery of Canada at Ottawa)Given this definition of “refugee”, as concocted by Islamist irredentists and their usefully idiotic Leftist fellow travelers in the West, it is high time to recognize other groups which deserve the same rights as the suffering Palestinians. We will begin with the Acadians of Louisiana, commonly known as “Cajuns”. Their French ancestors were forced out of Nova Scotia and parts of New Brunswick by the British after the end of the Seven Years’ War (known in North America as the French and Indian War, a war of French aggression). A number of them migrated south and settled in Louisiana, which was still French territory at that time. When Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States in 1803, they were once again subjected to the brutal rule of the Anglo-Saxons.

I call for the right of return for the Cajuns, that they might re-occupy their ancestral homes in Moncton and St. John and Halifax and Prince Edward Island, and drive the hated English colonizers into the sea!

Then there are the Tories who fled the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution, grabbing anything that could be piled onto a wagon and hurrying to Ontario or Quebec to escape the oppression of their Yankee overlords. When will their great-great-great-great grandchildren gain the right to return to Manhattan and claim their rightful properties?

Or how about the Germans who, after the War of Nazi Aggression, were deported from their homes in Königsburg in 1945 by the Red Army and resettled in the rump state of Germany? Now that the Soviet Union has attained its well-earned place in the trash compactor of history, the rightful heirs of the East Prussia should be able to return to Kaliningrad, drive their Slavic oppressors into the Baltic, and resume their status as Junker landowners.

The list goes on and on — Lapps, Finns, Basques, Welsh, Poles, Irish… Forget the Irish, what about the Fir Bolg who preceded the Celts in Ireland? When will they gain the right to evict their vicious oppressors? The Etruscans. The Minoans. The Assyrians. The Paleolithic inhabitants of North America who were driven off their land by the “Native Americans” who arrived from Siberia.

The case can be made that we are all refugees, and have the right to return to the places from which we were wrongfully ejected.

As a matter of fact, my great-great grandfather fought for the Confederacy during the War of Northern Aggression. He returned in 1865 to his plantation between Richmond and Petersburg to find that it had been burned out by Union troops, and his family had fled to Richmond. Forced into penury as a result, he and his wife were reduced to the position of running a boarding house.

I claim for myself and the future Baron the right of return to that idyllic and hallowed ground in Colonial Heights, and I look forward to the day when we drive the evil Yankee occupiers into the James River.

12 comments:

Dave Schuler said...

My own Swiss ancestors, fortunately, occupied land that no right-thinking person wouldd have any interest in whatsoever and have zealously guarded it ever since.

Baron Bodissey said...

I think the same can be said for the Navajo, at least since Anasazi times. Maybe the Inuit, too...

Promethea said...

Nope, the Navajo are intruders on my Anasazi land. The Navajo reservation is 4 x bigger than Israel, and I want it back! Now!

Cutler said...

Just about everything concerning the "Palestinian issue" is nuts.

cathyf said...

Well what about the Jews' Right of Return to Medina? Seems to me like this is an opportunity for some horse trading... All those Paleos with keys to houses in Jerusalem, give them a trade for land in Medina, and let them duke it out with the oil ticks.

cathy :-)

Baron Bodissey said...

Actually, the Jews have a right to return to Yemen, Baghdad, Kabul, Tehran, Amman, Cairo, etc...

cathyf said...

Actually, the Jews have a right to return to Yemen, Baghdad, Kabul, Tehran, Amman, Cairo, etc...

I've had this idea for awhile... Make a giant database of all of the property that Jews were ejected from in the Middle East. Invite Palestinians to make their claims on Israeli property. Do a giant match of like properties. Any Palestinians who agree to trade their claim on Israeli property for a claim elsewhere in the Middle East get a substantial cash payment for moving expenses -- say $10,000. (If it worked, I'd sure be willing to pay taxes to fund it!) I bet most of the grandchildren of the arab Christians who fled ME at the beginning of the 20th century would be willing to throw their ancestral lands into the pot, too.

All of the halfway normal Palestinians would be focused on the great land rush and high-tail it out of their "refugee" camps, leaving behind the nutcases who could be quickly finished off because they no longer have civilians to hide behind.

cathy :-)

airforcewife said...

I will now forever use the term "War of Arab Agression."

So simple. So succinct. So inarguable...

To a rational person, that is.

Redneck Texan said...

Excellent post baron.

I think one aspect that separates the Arabs today from past cultures that were displaced by superior ones is that all Arabs living today know nothing but defeat, but they have never personally experienced TOTAL defeat like many of the vanquished societies you mentioned. Everytime they have attacked Israel Israel has been forced by the world community to reply with a measured response. Only one side is waging a war of annihilation and until that changes there will be no conflict resolution like there was in the instances you mentioned.

Similar situation in Saudi Arabia. They are the only nation in the middle east that have never lived under the occupation of a superior western or Mongolian army. They are too stupid to recognize that that is because until the last century they had nothing of any value to make it worth a foreign army tolerating the stench. This has given the wahabi mindset a false sense of relevance that should be corrected at our first opportunity.

Same can be said for the insurgency in Iraq. Why should we expect the Sunnis give up hope for a return to omnipotence when history has proven to them that we will eventually abandon our noble cause and let nature equalize itself there. They feel its their birthright to rule Iraq, and the B-52s that permanently alter their sense of superiority are gathering dust at Dyess AFB.



On a personal note, I was a resident of Midlothian Virginia for a couple of years while working on the twin 20 story towers on the James, my office overlooked the James and the Tredegar Iron Works, and a quick glance out my window at my 106 degree thermometer makes me long for the beauty of your backyard.

If only it had been home....

unaha-closp said...

One differance is that unlike the other examples the Palestinians are acquiring sufficient expertise with rockets to severely damage the cut-off pockets of colonialism that have strayed into their territory. If the enemy has a sufficiently powerful rocketary attack then it is neccessary to ensure your frontline is as straight as possible. This can be done by either advancing or retreating.

georgesdelatour said...

Steady on. Surely most people posting here accept that ethnic cleansing is generally a bad thing. If you don't think it matters at all, in Darfur, or the former Yugoslavia or anywhere, well, I think you're lacking in moral imagination. Even in Iraq, the US government has gone to a lot of trouble to explain that it wants the Iraqi people ultimately to run their own lives. Some posters here give the impression that they'd see noting wrong if the US army started driving all the Iraqis out of Iraq and replacing them with Texan settlers.

It's true that past injustices often can't be rectified without creating new ones. Undoing the population transfers of Eastern Europe at the end of WWII would be highly destabilizing, for instance. As for the Palestinians driven out of Jaffa, it's not practical to let them all return. But any final peace treaty would have to include compensation and some kind of an apology.

Maybe a future Israel, which finally feels secure and at peace with its neighbors and itself, will be confident enough to admit that events like Deir Yassin and Jaffa were criminal acts which went beyond reasonable Israeli self-defense.

Baron Bodissey said...

georgesdelatour --

I think you may be missing some of the irony here. We're so used to being sarcastic with each other that we're not always careful to indicate when we're not serious.

The idea is this: the claim that Palestinian teenagers in Gaza or the West Bank or the camps in Lebanon are "refugees" is as ludicrous as the claim that the descendents of Germans thrown out of the Sudetenland by the Czechoslovak communists in 1946 are "refugees", and have a "right of return". That's it.

Every time a case is made for the right to redress the inherited grievances of designated groups, more injustice is guaranteed to ensue. It's just like the "reparations" movement for American blacks. It's not justice; it will be divisive; and no good will come of it.

The Palestinians need to wake up and get a life, right where they are now. But I'm not holding my breath.