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For the other articles see > SPECIAL ARCHIVE UKRAINE

The great Satan is no longer Amer­i­can but Russ­ian, and he bears a num­ber: II.

We had anoth­er appear­ance by Godot in the East; he streaked across the sky faster than light­ning and arrived with a new threat in case  any­one had missed the pre­vi­ous ones: “We have the means to blow you up.”

It won’t land over here yet; not this time.

But let’s get back to the word Geno­cide since so many peo­ple are talk­ing about it.

From the Greek genos, “race” and the latin cide, “to kill” the term “geno­cide” des­ig­nates the inten­tion­al , sys­tem­at­ic and pre­med­i­tat­ed  phys­i­cal exter­mi­na­tion of a group of humans or of a   part of that group because of its origins.

The term was used for the first time in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, a Jew­ish refugee of Pol­ish ori­gin and a pro­fes­sor of inter­na­tion­al law. Per­son­al­ly affect­ed by the mass mur­ders in Arme­nia, for which he want­ed to estab­lish a judi­cia­ry sta­tus, Lemkin want­ed just as strong­ly a new word to char­ac­ter­ize the nature of the Nazi crimes. Yet the Nurem­berg tri­al did not use this word. It only entered the vocab­u­lary of Inter­na­tion­al Law in 1948 with the approval of the Unit­ed Nations’ Gen­er­al Assem­bly in a text enti­tled “Pre­ven­tion and Repres­sion of the Crime of Geno­cide”. It now fea­tures at the cen­ter of Arti­cle 6 of the Statutes of the Inter­na­tion­al Penal Court.

Yet the UN has only offi­cial­ly rec­og­nized three geno­cides: that of the Arme­ni­ans in 1915–1916, per­pe­trat­ed by the Ottoman Empire and still not acknowl­edged by Turkey, the geno­cide of Jews by the Nazis; the geno­cide of the Tut­sis, com­mit­ted by the Hutus in pow­er in Rwan­da in 1994.

This does not mean that all mem­ber States rec­og­nize them in their legislation.

What then about the mas­sacres and the elim­i­na­tion of the native Amer­i­can peo­ples? What about the Roms? And what min­i­mal def­i­n­i­tion should apply to the bloody episodes of col­o­niza­tion, the destruc­tion of Peo­ples, of their envi­ron­ment and cul­tures, in Africa, in Asia? How do we char­ac­ter­ize cur­rent crimes and per­se­cu­tions per­pe­trat­ed agains the Uigours in China?

His­to­ri­ans and politi­cians — but not most jurists — cry out “halt to triv­i­al­iza­tion” as soon as the word is mentioned.

When deal­ing for exam­ple with the French politi­cian, a cer­tain “Social­ist Hubert” a French politi­cian, who was in office at the time of the geno­cide in Rwan­da, and who is still around these days dish­ing out his judi­cious coun­sel,  one can doubt the sin­cer­i­ty of many of those of his ilk and see which inter­ests they are pro­tect­ing. Jus­tice, even at the high­est inter­na­tion­al lev­els, does not ben­e­fit from the inde­pen­dence it requires, and a num­ber of States stand in oppo­si­tion to it, either by refus­ing to ackn­nowl­edge it, or by exert­ing pres­sure against it.

In no way is the judi­cial mean­ing of a word weak­ened by using it often, if the facts demon­strat­ing a crime was com­mit­ted are averred. What is trou­bling for all of human­i­ty is the fact that geno­cides are mul­ti­ply­ing and becom­ing triv­i­al­ized.  And while politi­cians bat the issue of using this term back and forth, use it in a hyp­o­crit­i­cal way as polit­i­cal games­man­ship, or refer instead to the need for “inves­ti­ga­tions” in order to arrive at “future judg­ment” mas­sacres, killings, wars of con­quest and exter­mi­na­tion areo ngo­ing and par­tic­i­pate just as much, if not more, to the “triv­i­al­iza­tion” of crimes against humanity.
This with­out even men­tion­ing the “eco­cides” that accom­pa­ny con­quests today as they did in the past.

Because, if impe­ri­al­ism has criss­crossed the plan­et, if glob­al­ized finan­cial cap­i­tal­ism man­ages it, if this finan­cial glob­al­iza­tion har­vests the prof­its, those resist­ing human soci­eties have not merged into cap­i­tal­ist uni­for­mi­ty, even if they use the same smart­phones. And just as they did before, they still both­er polit­i­cal and finan­cial pow­ers and their appetites.

When the appetite isn’t for fos­sil fuels, rare or rar­i­fied min­er­als, it is for water. The most obvi­ous instances being the Ama­zon or the Mid­dle East. To which we add Ukraine, since we will get back to it.

What sends impe­ri­alisms rac­ing for colo­nial suprema­cy these days — as it did yes­ter­day and will do tomor­row —  as soon as a region in the world offers exploitable wealth? What sets a mil­i­tary and finan­cial oli­garchy such as the one in Brazil to destroy­ing the planet’s lung while stomp­ing over the bod­ies of native peo­ples in order to enrich itself even more, and along with it, to feed the finan­cial and cap­i­tal­ist glob­al­iza­tion else­where in the world? What rela­tion­ship is there between expro­pri­a­tion of lands, defor­esta­tion, trans­genic soya, and the Euro­pean mod­els of cul­ti­va­tion, along with the inten­sive rais­ing of cat­tle with the geno­cide of the peo­ple liv­ing in those areas? Which nour­ish­ing waters in rivers are pol­lut­ed by the min­ing indus­try,  pes­ti­cides and fer­til­iz­ers before also being divert­ed for uses as hydraulic ener­gy drown­ing all the con­fis­cat­ed lands?

Among the agri­cul­tur­al investor groups over there or in Ukraine, do we not find the names of the same banks and finan­cial fig­ures who spec­u­late just as much on  water as they do on grain?

These big names in wheat, in soya, or else­where in palm oil all con­verge toward the same finan­cial groups and those of agrobusiness.

Fos­sil ener­gies have known their hey­day and the 21st cen­tu­ry will prob­a­bly see their total decline. Thus, the wars rel­a­tive to them are noth­ing more than habit, through the pow­er of con­ser­vatism, the will to con­trol every­thing down to the last crumb. In the Mid­dle East, con­trol over water has already tak­en a pre­dom­i­nant place in ter­ri­to­r­i­al aspi­ra­tions, for exam­ple. And the “Kur­dish prob­lem” recur­ring for over a cen­tu­ry, is hence­forth linked to it behind the mil­i­taro-nation­al­ism dis­played by Turci­ty. And even if an Erdo­gan were to lose his posi­tion, all of that would car­ry on.

This is not to say that geno­ci­dal ide­ol­o­gy does not have its own autonomy.

The cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem does not pro­ceed through con­spir­a­cy, but rather, it aggre­gates inter­ests, coali­tions of inter­ests, cal­cu­la­tions of prof­its or of sim­ple oppor­tunis­tic pil­lag­ing, and only makes war against humans when it encoun­ters resis­tance to its accu­mu­la­tion of prof­its. It always finds an inter­est­ed relay through which to pro­ceed. In the case of colo­nial con­quests, geno­ci­dal ide­ol­o­gy and its racist corol­lary have pre­ced­ed, accom­pa­nied and jus­ti­fied pil­lag­ing, mur­ders, cul­tur­al destruc­tion and dom­i­na­tion. This ide­ol­o­gy was that of white suprema­cy and marked his­to­ry with a 500 year imprint (On ARTE  in French). How then can we tal­ly up the genocides?

Get­ting back to Ukraine, one only needs to look at the sta­tis­tics of exports on the grain mar­ket to also under­stand how a neo-impe­ri­al­ism rest­ing on a his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive can rewrite a war of con­quests and its more triv­ial-sound­ing polit­i­cal and finan­cial inter­ests. Added to this obser­va­tion,  we must add spec­u­la­tion on arable lands as well as on nat­ur­al resources. We then then see what place Ukraine occu­pies. A deal in order to do busi­ness with it was thus as attrac­tive for the Euro­pean Union as well as for the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment based on a cleptocracy.
And when one real­izes that the war will plunge coun­tries in the African con­ti­nent into food dis­tress, one can also judge the prof­its gen­er­at­ed on that glob­al­ized mar­ket, as much as the polit­i­cal influ­ences gen­er­at­ed by eco­nom­ic dependencies.

One can even won­der over the delays in the EU pri­or to inte­grat­ing into its mar­ket the finan­cial man­na rep­re­sent­ed by Ukraine.   It was because of “cor­rup­tion” we are told, or because of  a “less sup­ple atti­tude” in accept­ing “free and uncon­strained com­pe­ti­tion”? Because of the Russ­ian threats con­cern­ing gas sup­plies? Or did the oppo­si­tion from the EU  grain agrobusi­ness itself come into play, because of the fight­ing over the African mar­kets from North to South? Agri­cul­tur­al investors, includ­ing some Euro­pean groups oper­at­ing from Brazil to Ukraine, for exam­ple, who did not give a fig about the EU and its “norms” may also have weighed on delay­ing this admit­tance. A con­tra­dic­tion that played into Putin’s hand and allowed him to seize his opportunity.

And all our supe­ri­or souls the­o­riz­ing the “endan­ger­ment” of Rus­sia by NATO would be well advised to quit the geopo­lit­i­cal ter­rain from time to time in order to observe the real­i­ty that was Ukraine in the Sovi­et lap, and the finan­cial loss it rep­re­sent­ed in the 1990s.

No, all geopo­lit­i­cal issues in the region do not involved the aims of Amer­i­can impe­ri­al­ism — which are more of a strate­gic nature over Europe itself than over its Russ­ian neighbour

But since the left-lean­ing Putin­ists have already acquired the his­tor­i­cal habit of dis­r­gard­ing the great famine, led by Stal­in, the Holodomor in 1932 and 1933 that was respon­si­ble for betwen 2,61 and 5 mil­lion deaths accord­ing to his­to­ri­ans, it becomes hard to argue in a field of orga­nized confusion.
No, the resis­tance to the forced col­lec­tiviza­tion imposed by the Sovi­et Union in the 1930s was not counter-rev­o­lu­tion­ary; and still con­fus­ing today the peri­od of the civ­il war, decades ear­li­er, with this geno­ci­dal and most def­i­nite­ly counter-rev­o­lu­tion­ary pol­i­cy applied by tri­umphant Stal­in­ism, is a way of com­fort­ing Putin’s revi­sion­ist dis­course. This leads to a fail­ure in under­stand­ing the impor­tance wheat rep­re­sent­ed already and this ongo­ing urge Rus­sia has of grab­bing a part of Ukraine and con­trol­ling its economy.

So, if some still require that “inter­na­tion­al jus­tice fol­low its course”, could we at least acknowl­edge that this geno­ci­dal pol­i­cy is not new, com­ing from a Krem­lin auto­crat deal­ing with Ukraine. And for the same rea­sons as the pre­vi­ous one.

This pho­ny debate around “geno­cide” in response to the mas­sacres serves in real­i­ty to mask the polit­i­cal cracks between the EU and the Unit­ed States and, with­in the EU itself, the quib­bling around Rus­sia gas and sanc­tions that would affect inter­min­gled interests.

Thus, from one sanc­tion pack­age to anoth­er, the States approach a moment when deliv­er­ing weapons will no longer suf­fice, and the sum­mits and talks will no longer absorb the spilled blood.

As a reminder, on this April 24, as they do every year, Arme­ni­ans will com­mem­o­rate the 1915 geno­cide. And in Turkey itself, the evi­dence will be denied, as usu­al or, even worse, one cen­tu­ry lat­er, there will be a call to a “nec­es­sary con­tra­dic­to­ry investigation”.

Above all, no trivialization! 

ESTRAGON : You say we must come back tomorrow?


ESTRAGON: We’ll bring a good rope then.

VLADIMIR: That’s right.


ESTRAGON: At noon.


ESTRAGON: I can’t go on like this.

VLADIMIR: Peo­ple say that.

ESTRAGON: What if we sep­a­rat­ed? Maybe things would be better.

VLADIMIR: We’ll hang our­selves tomor­row. (Pause) Unless Godot shows up.

For the other articles see > SPECIAL ARCHIVE UKRAINE

Translation from French by Renée Lucie Bourges

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Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…