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News Minorities right to self determination

  1. Yes, these minorities have a right to self determination, but only within their current country. We

    6 vote(s)
  2. What a country does with their own populace is not our business.

    2 vote(s)
  3. We should actively support these minorities right to self determination and assist in their autonomy

    4 vote(s)
  1. Sep 21, 2003 #1


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    I'm curious what others veiws are on this. Do those who are minorities, many of which are ancient races with a long history in the middle east region (Copts, Assyrians, kurds etc.), do these people have a right to self determination? Do you think minorities that have been oppressed, slaughtered and/or denied basic human rights (as outlined by the U.N. resolution on human rights). Do these minorities, in situations where it is unlikely that there will be a recognition of equality and a support for their basic human rights as outlined by the U.N., Do you support allowing autonomy in order to grant them self determination(a basic human right)? Or should we just stick with the current status quo and hope for the best? Occasionally condemning it but not taking any pro-active measures to insure it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2003 #2
    I'm gonna go "pro-Iraq" on this one(and this is a first, in truth)

    I wonder how much of Saddam's human rights violations were responsible for the greater freedom that some Iraqis had, since Iraq was a secular country? I'm wondering if it didn't seem necessary to rule with an iron fist in order to keep the ethnic and religious factions from blowing up the country? And, of course, I wonder if these questions shouldn't have been answered before we blew up Iraq's infrastructure?
  4. Sep 21, 2003 #3
    Ahhh, something along the lines of what I had been thinking for some time now, Saddams regime was imposing freedom. (doesn't mean that that was either, good, or right, just that it seemed to be working, apart from the economic hardship, that followed with his name after Gulf war #1)
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2003
  5. Sep 21, 2003 #4
    I dunno...a slow phasing out of Saddam, along with keeping the peace, could have been the way to go. Then again, Bush doesn't want self-determination in Iraq...he wants them to give him oil, NOW.
  6. Sep 21, 2003 #5


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    I really hoped to go beyond Iraq, and wanted to focus on the minorities rights, freedoms....
  7. Sep 21, 2003 #6
    Hmmm...how are minorities different from anyone else, then? Shouldn't they all be free citizens wherever they live, and given all the rights of any other group? Or are you suggesting segregation? I'll admit I'm not following you on this one.
  8. Sep 21, 2003 #7


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    I'll try to explain myself..(Paraphrasing Bat Yeor on her study of Islam and Dhimmitude) Although the middle east seems to be (accepting for Israel) one large homogenous muslim-arab continent. This appearance of uniform nationality is only "appearance" there are still vast minorities who are remnants of the colonized nations erased, crushed and dispossessed by imperialism. These peoples -
    Kurds, Alawites, Copts, and others - have withstood jihad, genocides,
    persecutions, and continual sociopolitical repression. Yet they still hope for, fight for and are inspired by the hope of freedom and survival. I'm speaking of numerous and diverse ethnic groups, with unique historical experiences.
    Each of these peoples have preserved a collective identity and culture that spans thousands of years.
    They have been suppressed by cultural and religious Arab-Islamic imperialism, the fact that the identity and cohesion of the different races survive is in itself testimony to their indigenous uniqueness.
    Anyone deeply familiar with the middle east will discover that beneath the uniformity of Arabism a substructure of living, resistant, minority peoples cultivating their pre-Arab and pre-Islamic native languages, cultures, and religions. I'm speaking of islamized races who resisted Arab/Muslim colonialism and kept their own culture and languages, like the Kurds (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Turkey), the Berbers (Algeria, Morocco), and the Baluch (Pakistan) I'm speaking of the "unorthodox" Muslim minorities who were Arabized but resisted Islamization by keeping their own ancestral beliefs and customs under a Muslim pretense, like the Druzes (area of levant) and the Alawites (Syria,) I'm also speaking of the Christian minorities, the Armenians, Assyrians, Copts, Maronites, and Sudanese.
    After World War I there was some hope for freedom, particularly for the Christian minorities, It was however quickly sqaushed by France and Britain in their eagerness to appease Muslim hostility in their Arab colonial dominions. This political jousting sacrificed the legitimate aspirations of the Armenians, Kurds, Assyrians, and Copts.
    Their ancestral homelands were seemingly, arbitrarily lumped into enormous Arab-Islamic entities, while concessions to Islamic demands violated their rights. Some, like the Armenians and Assyrians were simply abandoned to bloody reprisals, while the promises they had been given were broken. Only the Maronites and the Jews were given a chance (I'm not delving into the Jews,as I don't want this to be sidetracked into a israel debate..plenty of room for that elsewhere, please!) For the Maronites it was a delusion, perhaps even a death trap. Although it took 20 years the Maronites experienced world abandonment and the betrayal of their friends. Among all the dhimmi peoples, only Israel survived the lethal Euro-Arab alliance against the indigenous Middle Eastern minorities. This history of blood, hope, and massacres is far from over. The genocide perpetrated on the Lebanese Christians by the Palestinians and their Muslim allies, generalized jihad, the slavery and butchery inflicted on the rebellious non-Muslim Sudanese populations, the oppression of the Copts and the Assyrians, the massacres of the Kurds, the negation of the Berber's cultural rights, all are either ignored or worse, explained away by European/Western governments and the media.
    So the question is should these ancient people, now minorities have a chance to deliver themselves from the oppression of dhimmitude and attempts to exterminate them? Do we have an obigation to help them? or should we be satisfied with the status quo, gestures that amount to little more then hot air?
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2003
  9. Sep 21, 2003 #8
    Thanks for the clarification, kat.
    Hell, I'm not sure what we should do, and it looks like Iraq is going to be a test case for the region. We like to say things like "let's give them democracy", but we know from America's history that minorities have an uphill battle to get anywhere in a situation of majority rule. Add to that the fact that some of these struggles have been going on well over 1000 years, and I can say this: no solution is going to materialize easily, or quickly. Yes, everyone should have some sort of control over their lives, but I'm not sure that splintering things up more is an answer.
  10. Sep 22, 2003 #9
    Really nice answer Kat, just last week the Supreme Court of Canada upheld "Native Rights" for Metis people, in Canada, this apparently stemming from back in the Days of One Louis Riel, Canadian Historical figure from the 1800hundreds.

    Apparently 'Justice' can be found, just the amount of time it takes seems rather extreme, and the pursuit of it requires excessive amounts of time, sometimes.

    It should, I suppose, be noted that that is done "within this country" for people's "within this country", and by people's "within this country", Canada. (but you probably don't want to hear my opinin about the politicians in this country, against the "rules of words")
  11. Sep 26, 2003 #10
    Well, the reality is there are big fish and little fish. The little fish get ****ty deals often because of the grander picture. If the Kurds in Turkey and the Kurds in Iraq try to form a sovereign nation what will happen?! Turkey could go into a civil war and that would affect the whole middle east. If it didn't drag all the other nations into it or affect them in some way it might not be a problem.

    In the ideal world, everybody should have rights.

    On a seperate note, being part of a statistical minority shouldn't be a big problem. In the west, being a minority isn't as big a deal because the west is tolerant. However, the east is all mostly prejudice. However, we don't live in a perfect world :(

    Well, paper economics and paper politics don't generally work out as planned. That is of course, you accept the reality of humanity.

    Winston Churchill did want a Kurdish state. I believe his words were something to the effect of "To prevent some future tyrant from opressing them". As you know, Saddam was responsible for gassing tens of thousands of Kurds. And some Iraqis would tell you that he's responsible for killing 2 million people. Per Capita, is he as bad as Hitler or worse?

    On a more domestic scale, I think everybody should be treated the same. I mean, Indians shouldn't be allowed to start casinos if every other ethnic group in a certain state can't. There shouldn't be any double standards. People should all get with the program. For that matter, I don't think the government should gather ethnic data. It's none of their f'ing business and it can only serve politicians.

    Politics, a branch of philosophy tarred by the avarice of human beings.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2003
  12. Sep 27, 2003 #11
    If you're talking only race, then in America you can call muslims of the several indigenous races minorities. But in the state of Israel, Palestinians outnumber Jews. It's not right to call Muslims a minority with respect to the Middle East.
  13. Sep 27, 2003 #12


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    Again, kat's question is a good one, and her (his?) amplification with a 'middle east' example good too.

    I suspect a serious study of this would spend years just refining the terms to be operationally useful - minority? What about Myanmar/Burma (>50 ethnic groups, no single one anywhere near comprising 50% of the total population)? geography? (relatively well-defined areas with clear majorities of one ethnic group, but in the nation as a whole they are minorities, e.g. Iraq, Russia, China, Indonesia)
    minority by what criteria? Aristocrats and royalty are minorities; men may be a minority; christians a minority in many western democracies (according to surveys which show the majority has, effectively, no religion); tribes (e.g. >600 in Papua New Guinea)?

    An admirable sentiment, but how to implement it? Think of head-scarves in French (state) schools; of genital mutilation (male and female); of school prayer in 'secular' USA; of which day(s) should be the weekend; of 'right of return' (not just Jews/Israel, Germany, Hungary at least have such); of gay marriage; ...
  14. Sep 27, 2003 #13
    The only people that can make a change are individuals. Thankfully, we live in a welcoming nation with rights, laurels and the rule of law. I can't account for the rest of the world but I know the U.S. has great potential in the area of positive progress. However, the first thing we have to focus on is education. A piss poor job we're doing of it.

    Let's not forget to avoid trampling on the rule of law. It happens every day and no one would admit they do it.

    Um, can I have my rights respected with those freedom fries?
  15. Sep 29, 2003 #14


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    Only if you let a cheese eating surrender monkey live next door!:wink:
  16. Jun 9, 2004 #15
    Democracy? or Powercracy?

    We can't talk about Freedom and Democracy if there are still Nations over 40 000 000 without their own state! Why the UN agrees some states as member which are less than 100 000 people? And why doesn't agree the right of self-determination of nation over 40 000 000?
    I believe that it's a shame for everyone who consider her/his self as human and won't see an indeppendent Kurdistan!
  17. Jun 9, 2004 #16


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    I don't believe self determination of minorities is a right. We have many minorities in the US and they don't have self-determination. Rather they are expected to participate in the overll society, and will be given help (welfare reform) if they have trouble doing so.

    Self determination of minorities, as an absolute right, led to the Sudetenland and the Austrian Anschluss, and has led to tragedy and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda-Burindi.
  18. Jun 9, 2004 #17

    Self determination is a right, and it is practiced in the USA as well.
    A black guy who tries hard, becomes educated, and enters the work force will leave the ghetto and join the rest of society.
    He will be rewarded with a greater lifestyle and acceptance by others.
    However, as a price, many in the black community will label him an "uncle tom", and some pundits will state that he has "sold out".

    If a minority populous of the USA decides to shun the rest of the country and develop their own subculture, they can and will do that. The consequences of such will occur, however they will have chosen that path because they see the costs vs gain to be too much for another option.

    Self determinatoin exists for everyone, but there is a cost for all actions. For some those costs vs. gain are too much. Others don't think that way.
  19. Jun 9, 2004 #18


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    In the US, we demonstrated via the Civil War that a minority population does not have the right to autonomy.
    That isn't self-determination. Self-determination is a group deciding how they are to be governed.
  20. Jun 10, 2004 #19
    Well then I digress :)
  21. Jun 10, 2004 #20
    Why limit the inquiry to Middle East minorities?
    I’d argue what applies to one should apply to all. I look to the American Declaration of Independence to answer this question.
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