Sunday, May 06, 2007


abusinan, I appreciate what you’re telling me: that all Arabs have to do is trash somebody’s reputation and then they can ignore whatever he or she was trying to communicate. Good moral repute comes first, a quality that must be judged by the recipient of the message, not the sender.

That reminds me of a story about Khrushchev’s speech to Communists denouncing Stalin in 1956. While listing Stalin’s terror campaigns against the Communist Party, somebody in the chamber yelled out, “And where were you when all this was going on, comrade?”

“WHO SAID THAT?” Khrushchev shot back. The entire hall fell silent.

“That’s where I was.” concluded Khrushchev.

Khrushchev, who was very active during the period of the deadly purges of the Ukraine in the thirties, was nonetheless instrumental in dismantling many of the worst elements of the Soviet terror state. I suppose, by your reasoning, if his audience had been Arabs rather than Russians Khrushchev would have been hounded into silence and out of power entirely.

In fact, since almost everyone in the Party shared in these crimes, they would feel obliged to cover things up and keep everything going pretty much as it was before. Which is exactly what Khrushchev’s successors did after booting him out of office. Political reform stagnated until Gorbachev - the first Soviet General Secretary who had not participated in murderous purges - came to power.

Can there ever be an Arab Khrushchev?

No comments: