Monday, November 23, 2015

Relative Equality

One of Orwell’s most quoted lines, from Animal Farm, refers to the fact that while everybody is created equal, some are more equal than others. The context of this criticism was so-called egalitarian societies, i.e. the Soviet Union but, unfortunately, this relative equality applies in all its ugliness to Western perception of modern events.

To demonstrate, Wikipedia (,_2015) presents a long list of terrorist attacks that have occurred this year.  Some of them have truly been horrendous and barbaric.  The attacks in Kenya and Mali can only be described as barbaric. Yet, in terms of world coverage, the attacks in Paris received more press lines than all the others combined.  Ideally, every human life is equally precious. In practice, a European (or French or Australian, et al) life is much more highly prized in terms of its loss. In simple terms, 3rd world people can die like flies. Yet, the fight against barbarism, Islamic style, is a universal fight with any victim, regardless of their country of residence, regretted. May all their memories be blessed.

Likewise, the US Anthropological Association just overwhelmingly passed a motion calling on the academic boycott of Israel.  As an Israeli, I would be the last to claim that Palestinians have equal footing to Jews in Israel.  In fact, I would have no problem understanding such a motion if said association also decided to boycott Jordan, which refuses to give Palestinians any citizenship rights and has massacred them in the past, Lebanon, which keeps them in refugee camps, Egypt, which has closed its border with Gaza and flooded the tunnels with sea water, and Syria, which merely kills them. In fact, the only country where Palestinians have some legal rights and political autonomy, not to mention economic stability, is Israel. So, if an organization feels that human rights are the highest priority, such a policy should be applied equally.  Otherwise, an observer might believe that the decision was not based on high principles but instead on low-level anti-Antisemitism.

Applying  the Serenity Prayer, the one about the courage to change, serenity to accept and wisdom to know which situation applies, the question arises regarding what a person that is less equal needs, courage or serenity. Personally, I would like the knowledge of how to change so we can have a world where everybody is created equal, period.

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