Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January 17th, 2020

Recently, someone asked me why I care about Beijing’s campaign to exterminate the Uighurs, stating that he had little symmpathy for them; he appeared to believe the Communist Party’s designation of them as “terrorists”, a word calculated to shut down cognition in anyone predisposed to believe that governments, even oppressive governments, are generally trustworthy in their statements.  Presumably, this person was just intelligent enough to grasp that if he questions the Chinese government’s right to oppress a Muslim minority, the right of his own government to do the same is suspect.  I quickly dismissed him as an odious clod, but was irresistibly reminded of the words of John Donne:

No man is an island, entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

These words are not merely true in a philosophical and moral sense, but in a practical one as well; for every time we allow tyranny and oppression to go unchallenged, we participate in normalizing and excusing the behavior, and establishing it as international precedent.  Then one day soon the victims may not be a strange people in a distant land, but familiar people in our own country.  Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Read Full Post »