Europe's view on the Middle East is shaped by history—and the Holocaust
AS A TEENAGER GROWING UP IN BRITAIN, I REMEMBER
saying prayers at our church for the safety of Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. For my friends and me, Israel's great Defense Minister, the one-eyed Moshe Dayan, was an authentic hero. One night, I remember, the bbc aired a tribute to Dayan using as a soundtrack the Who's I Can See for Miles, which we thought was pretty cool. In the late '60s, spending time on a kibbutz was a fashionable way for European teens to bridge the gap between school and university. As far as I could judge as a young man, widespread European sympathy for Israel—the sense that Israelis were the good guys in the Middle East—extended through the horrors of the Munich massacre in 1972 and the Yom KippurWarofl973.
Yet now the streets of Europe are full of rallies that support the Palestinians and condemn Israel. Listening to a radio broadcast on bbc World last week, I was struck by an anchor's
air of incomprehension at a demonstration in Washington in support of Israel: Weren't the Americans, she asked a correspondent, really rather "simple" when it came to the realities of the Middle East? Many American Jews, not surprisingly, are furious at the European response. For nations responsible for the Holocaust to ignore the horrors of suicide attacks on Israeli targets, to shut their ears to the hate for Jews that spews from the Arab media, is unforgivable. American Jews ask why European peace activists go to Ramallah and Nablus, rather than Netanya and Jerusalem. In a recent essay in the New York Observer, Ron Rosenbaum wrote wrenchingly of a "dynamic" which "suggests that Europeans are willing ... to be complicit in the murder of Jews again."
Why do Americans and Europeans see the tragedy of the Middle East in such different ways? In one view, the root cause lies in reactions to the attacks of Sept. 11; Americans have developed a deep hatred of terrorism and identify the
Palestinian suicid&lltenber as a species of the same genus as an al-Qaeda mass-murderer. But this tale is deeper and darK'er than that; in any event, all of the five largest West European countries—Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain—have good reasons of their own to detest terrorism.
One explanation for European support of the Palestinian cause is that the local media have long been better than their U.S. counterparts at covering the misery of Palestinians. But I'd date the growth of European sympathy for the Palestinian cause to Israel's 1982 incursion into Lebanon, and especially to the massacre by Israel's Lebanese allies of Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Chatila—an outrage for which an official Israeli inquiry held Ariel Sharon indirectly responsible. Sharon, ever since, has been a hate-figure for the European left. Europeans who grew up after 1945 have developed a loathing for those who seek to prosecute political ends by military means. Sharon's willingness these past weeks to send tanks into refugee camps —whatever the provocation—touches too many raw nerves.
There's more. To an extent that few Americans understand, modem Europeans have a deep sense of guilt about their colonial adventures. (Indeed, they have much to be guilty about.) Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, a chilling catalogue of French atrocities in Algeria and a cry to listen to those denied a voice, is one of the post-1945 era's most influential European books. All of this has had an effect. It was easy for Europeans to be on Israel's side when, as in 1967 and 1973, it seemed to be fighting a defensive war against those who wished to eliminate the Jewish state. But as the Jewish settlements grew in the West Bank, Europeans became uneasy. Israel seemed to be adopting a policy of colonization that, to modern European eyes, was not just morally reprehensible but it was also bound to end in tears.
Plainly, for some Jews these rationalizations are beside the point. Europeans, they argue, are just plain anti-Semitic. They naturally "portray Jews as the real villains," says Rosenbaum; they always have, always will. Well, I just don't believe this about the post-1945 generations of Europeans, though I suspect that's because I don't want to. But undeniably, past European anti-Semitism has had a bitter effect on present European attitudes. Put at is crudest, most Europeans know very few Jews; they killed too many of them. In America, there is a thriving community for whom the survival of Israel is a passionate commitment; in Europe, there isn't. No number of school lessons or church sermons about the Holocaust can overcome that humdrum truth.
So: Why do Europeans and Americans see the Middle East in such different ways? Above all, because the shadow and the shame of the Holocaust reaches out of the past and lays a cold hand on our present understanding. All the prayers in the world won't make that grim truth go away. •
Historian ALEXANDER YANOV and AKRAM KHUZAM, chief of the Moscow bureau of the al-Jazeera television channel, weigh the likelihood of a war breaking out in Iraq
Khuzarn: I don't think it will take all that much to prevent this war. Iraq has agreed to allow UN inspectors into its ter-rirory. All we have to do is let the inspectors do their work. Period.
Yanov: A comma, rather. Recall that UN inspectors worked in Iraq in the five years between 1991 and 1995, and found nothing there. Saddam said then, and is saying now, that he has no weapons of mass destruction. But later on Saddam's son-in-law fled to Jordan and pointed out to Western experts the hiding places where those weapons were concealed on Iraqi territory. Only then did the inspectors find
and destroy what they had searched for in vain.
It means they wouldn't have found the weapons but for the son-in-law. Saddam somehow lured him back and executed him. There isn't a second son-in-law to help us now. Which means that there is not much point in sending inspectors to Iraq with the same mandate they had in 1991-1995. So the inspectors must be given another mandate, and this would require another UN resolution — one that allows the use of force should Baghdad refuse to meet all of the inspectors' demands.
Kh.: Oh, we all know, don't we now, what son of people those inspectors were. One of them officially admitted that he had been pressured by U.S. secret services, which dictated to him what to write in his report.
The main thing is, there must be no doubt about Iraq's willingness to cooperate with the United Nations nor about the inspectors' objectivity, and they must be appointed solely by the United Nations. I wouldn't venture to surmise whether or not Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. That's for the inspectors to find out If they prove that such wepons do exist in Iraq, then let Iraq be bombed and occupied by forces from all countries, not just from the United States.
Ya.: But Saddam undertook to disarm, didn't he? It's not the inspectors but Sad-" dam himself who must prove that he has no weapons of mass destruction. If he really cared for the Iraqi people, he would have resigned a long time ago. But he seems to value personal power considerably more than he does his people. He
is defending no one but himself. I can't imagine why you are condemning the United States so vehemently, and not the Saddam regime, which has brought Muslims so much suffering.
Kh.: I have no illusions regarding the Saddam regime. The Arab world has many regimes that have outlived their time and must go. But who will the judges be? Who will decide which must go and which can stay? My belief is that the United States has no right to decide such matters. I would listen to the U.S. if it denounced all dictatorships on the planet. But it fights only those distatorships that had the misfortune to defy it.
I reject Bush's criticisms of Saddam. He alleges that Saddam wanted to kill his father, and that "the Iraqi regime violates women." This is shoddy propaganda to me. This is the language of young toughs fighting in the street; it has nothing to do with statemanship.
Ya.: You are right on one point' If the
only question is that Saddam really tried to kill Bush Senior, then let Bush Junior challenge him to a duel. But the thing at issue is something else. It is not up to the Americans to decide whether there willbe war or not That's for the Iraqis to decide. If Iraq proves that it has no nuclear bombs and poison gases. Bush's main argument — that he is forcing Saddam to disarm in order to save humanity — will hold no water. So prove that Bush is wrong.
What Kind of War Will It Be?
Kh.: Note that when the West talks about a possible war in Iraq, it avoids the word "war." It mentions "use of force," "removing the regime," etc. Yet it will be a full-blown war, a tragedy for lots of people that will bring misery, death and destruction.
Ya.: War is always a horrible ordeal, a medieval way of solving problems. But there are cases when only war can pull a country out of the Dark Ages. Iraq under Saddam, Yugoslavia under Milosevic, Afghanistan under the Taliban — these medieval forces representing an historical cul-de-sac.
Kh.: So you think Bush's election campaign and Iraqi oil are totally irrelevant?
Ya.: America is a selfish country like all the rest. Yes, the U.S. needs Iraqi oil. Yes, to win the upcoming presidential race. Bush must remove Saddam from power. But this will not justify a war in the Americans' eyes. They will not let Bush unleash a war, unless a war is needed to eliminate a lethal threat to America.
Still, if a war does break out — and this will happen only if Saddam refuses to disarm — it will end in the liberation of the
Iraqi people from a brutal regime, with the country pulled out of a blind alley.
Kh.: You are scaring me. I believe no war can solve any problems. Iraq's regime is the business of its people.
In this matter, I pin great hopes on Europe. Why is Germany against a war in Iraq? Because the Germans are fed up with this pattern: Americans unleash yet another war with the ensuing wholesale destruction, but it is the Europeans who have to pay for the broken pottery. That was the case in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. The same thing will happen in Iraq.
Ya.: You needn't feel sorry for Europe — no one will force it to work for free. Iraq is not Afghanistan. It can produce up to nine million barrels of oil a day. So the question of who will pay for pulling Iraq out of the deadlock does not arise. Iraq will.
Where Does Russia's Interest Lie?
Ya.: Still, disarming Saddam is the main objective of both the U.S. and Europe. Also of Russia, if it considers itself part of the international community.
Russia has oil interests in Iraq. When Tony Blair came to Moscow, he evidently did his best to give President Putin guarantees that Russia's interests will be taken into consideration if it agrees to cooperate with the West on the Iraq issue.
Kh.: But hasn't the Iraqi opposition in exile declared that it would not be bound by contracts signed between Saddam and Russia? Where is the guarantee that on coming to power these people will still listen to Bush and Blair?
Ya.: It's quite simple really. In the event of war, it is America that will risk the lives of its soldiers. So in the case of a U.S. victory, it is America that will decide Iraq's future. Whatever Iraqi emigrants in London may say, it is not they who will have the last word. So Russia should join the anti-Saddam coalition, especially as it will not have to take upon itself any risks or losses. For Washington and London, diplomatic support from Russia will suffice.
Kh.: So you reduce Russia's role to that of an obedient litde boy, who will get a piece of the lord's cake for being good? Since the Soviet Union's collapse, I haven't seen a single example when America's "good boy" prospered. In some cases, the elite grew rich; the people, never.
The policy of the Russian Foreign Ministry seems more promising to me. It is trying to have the new UN resolution specify that if the UN inspectors fail to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, then the sanctions must be lifted. Russia will then be able to realize the lucrative contracts that it has signed with Iraq.
Ya.: Russia should secure guaranteed protection of its interests by the West, not by the fickle Saddam.
Kh.: You keep talking of Saddam's tyranny. But isn't it Bush who is being die real tyrant by imposing war on the whole world and intimidating entire nations?
Ya.: Bush is not a tyrant of the Saddam kind, if only because the UN Commission of Inspectors included Scott Rit-ter, who confessed that American secret services had been pressuring the UN mission. Saddam does not have — and cannot have — a Scott Ritter.
Nevertheless, I agree with you on one point: War is an instrument of Rcalpoli-tik, at one time imported to the United States from Europe. But today Europe is groping with difficulty for another way of settling conflicts — through looking for a consensus, not through warfare. And here I, like you, pin my hopes on Europe. •
1. They defeated some of the deadliest diseases known to man. Now they are helping defend us against bioterrorism. And soon, inoculations may
protect us from killers like AIDS, Ebola, heart disease and even cancer
By MICHAEL D. LEMONICK and ALICE PARK
YOU SELDOM SEE THEM ON THE COVER OF PREVENTION
magazine, but vaccines are the great prevention success story of modem medicine. They are not perceived as new or sexy; they have been around since the days of George Washington, when Edward Jenner first scraped the scabs from milkmaids infected with cow-pox to inoculate people against smallpox. By the end of the 20th century, vaccines had conquered many of man's most dreaded plagues, eliminating smallpox and all but wiping out mumps, measles, rubella, whooping cough, diphtheria and
polio, at least in the developed world. Vaccines had done their work so well, in fact, that in the context of 21st century medicine, with its smart drugs and high-tech interventions, they seemed almost quaint and out of date, a kind ofbiomedical backwater.
That perception changed dramatically after Sept. 11 and the anthrax attacks. Suddenly, vaccines were back in the headlines. The U.S. government was scrambling to build up its supplies of smallpox inoculations, and an anthrax vaccine that had been stuck in a legal and scientific morass for years was thrust back on the fast track.
Yet defense against bioterrorism is only part of the vaccine renaissance. Over the past few years, dramatic advances in the fields of immunology, virology and genetics have jump-started this long-stalled field of medicine. All the easy things that vaccines can do had been done, and researchers were ready to move on to far tougher challenges—using vaccines to fight off cancer, for example, or attack the protein deposits that clog the brains of Alzheimer's patients or even as a potential treatment for heart disease. "We are in a new era of vaccine research," says Dr. Gary
Nabel, director of the Vaccine Reseeirch Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (niaid). "It'sj an amazingly exciting time to be in this field."
An important trigger for this turnaround, surprisingly enough, was vaccine research's most notable failure. In Ithe 1980s, as the aids epidemic began^ to spread, scientists tried to fight it as they had polio and chickenpox—by crippling the virus and using it to train a patient's jim-mune system to ward off the real infection. Nobody really understood how the process worked at the molecular level, but Until aids came along, that didn't matter mifch.
hiv, however, proved too sophisticated for such crude tactics. The virus managed to take advantage of loopholes that even experts hadn't expected, such as hiding within immune-system cells to avoid detection and mutating so rapidly that roe body's defenses couldn't keep up. Imn|iu-nologists' only hope of closing those loopholes was to delve more deeply into the fex-quisite complexity of the immune system in an effort to understand its secrets. ' *"
That effort has paid off. After more than a decade of research, scientists now know that the immune system dodsp't
("as-. 1 ' .^.a'••^W»;WMW^fil*aW•tet*•l•
By CHRISTINE GORMAN
IT'S THE SORT OF THING ANY GOOD .
poultry farmer notices right away: a few of the birds in a so-called grow-out building have started snickering— the chicken equivalent of coughing. A respiratory infection, if that's what they have, could spread to the 20,000 other birds in the chicken house in a matter of days. The vet recommends the antibiotic enrofloxacin— the animal version of Cipro. Since it's not practical to treat the birds individually, the farmer pours a 5-gal. jug of the drug into the Hock's drinking water. Five days later the birds are doing fine. Disaster has been averted.
Or has it? While enrofloxacin kills the type of bacteria that sickened the chickens, it doesn't quite eliminate a different strain, called Campylobacter, that lives in the intestine. The surviving germs, which don't cause any poultry diseases, quickly multiply and spread the genes that helped them fend off the antibiotic. Six weeks later, when the broilers are carved up at the slaughterhouse, resistant bacteria __ spill out tf^^ everywhere. ^^^^ Even with v^ the best san- ^^k. itary con- ^^^ trols, some i campylobacter is
shrink-wrapped along wim me aligns,, breasts and drumsticks that are delivered to your kitchen counter. ;
That's where the real trouble begins. Campylobacter is a major cause of food, poisoning in humans. Less than diligent, hand washing or improperly cooked meat could park you on the toilet for the next few days. And if you're sick enough to need medical treatment, you might be out of luck. Chicken Cipro is so closely related; to human Cipro that any germ that has j , become resistant to the animal drug can I shrug off the human one just as easily, j Before 1996, when enrofloxacin was 1 approved in the U.S. for use in poultry, the number of Campylobacter infections inj people that were resistant to Cipro and ts chemical cousins was negligible. By 199 9, it had jumped to 18%—a clear sign, mar y researchers argue, that at least part oftte increase is directly tied to the use of antibiotics on poultry farms.
Welcome to the harrowing world c f antibiotic resistance, where drugs that once conquered everything from pneu monia to tuberculosis are rapidly losin ;
their punch. Chicken Cipro is only the latest example of how humans are bun (-ing their pharmacological bridges. Fe^ 1-lot operators are dosing their livestock I with antibiotics to keep them healthy i n-der stressful growing conditions. Parei ts are demanding the most powerful broi c spectrum agents—often by brand nam< -for their children's upper-respiratory i infections. Consumers are snapping u] cutting boards, dishwashing soap and baby toys laced with antibacterial compounds, hoping to make their hon es perfectly sterile and safe.
Writers' Protest What prompted the Moscow mayor to toy with the idea of restoring the monument to a' Communist executioner
By Natalya Davydova
This past weekend Union of Right Forces leader Boris Nemtsov looked completely nonplussed on the TV screen, wondering when Mayor Luzhkov had found the time to announce Iron Felix's "reinstatement."
A few days ago Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov publicly announced his intention to resurrect a statue of Dzerzhinsky on Moscow's Lubyanka Square. Members of the Russian PEN-Center see this plan as running counter to the democratic gains achieved in the past few years
Remember that the monument to the founder of the Cheka/KGB was toppled in the August days of 1991, and it was a spontaneous act of popular protest against the Communist policy of terror, state security agencies being its main instrument. Ignoring for a moment the rather moot question about Dzerzhin-sky's historical role (in any event, he was hardly worthy of a monument on one of Russia's central squares), we would like to stress that the restoration of the monument will without a doubt be seen in Russia and the world at large only as a sign of justifying political reprisals against the people, and as a mark of historical oblivion with regard to crimes committed by the Communist regime that created the bloody Gulag system in the country. Should the mon
ument be re-erected, this would be an outright humiliation of the memory of millions of victims and would be perceived as a cynical spit into a vast corn-:
Hardly had the rightists, together with Yuri Luzhkov, approved a design of an Alexander II monument by sculptor Rukavishnikov, when, later in the evening of the same day, news agencies reported that the Moscow mayor was going to return the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky to its original place (incidentally, Mr. Luzhkov personally supervised its toppling in 1991). 'What about this dramatic turnaround demonstrated by the city boss within the space of just a few hours? And where exactly did he make public his intention to re-erect the controversial monument?
mon grave where, among other martyrs, rest people whose names have always been the pride of Russia.
There is no doubt that, if it materializes, this political act would draw a sharply negative reaction from the democratically minded part of Russian sod-, ety, at the same time providing a fresh 'impetus to forces that are nostalgic for • the time of Communist terrqr. All of this could jeopardize public stability that has recently evolved in the country.
Concerned about the fate of the still fragile Russian democracy as well as the fate of Russia herself, we would like to ask the mayor of Moscow to abandon his plan to restore a monument that was one of the most menacing icons of the most bloody era in our country's history.
AndreiBitov Fazil Iskander Lyudmila Ulitskaya Yunna Merits LevThnofeev Anatoly Pristavkin Alexander Tkachenko Arkady Vaksber^ Valery Popov Boris Nemsfov may niirf-khow that Yuri Luzhkov oftentimes closes a working week at a session of the pubfic urban, development council, attached to the dty hall. Last Friday the council met for its regular session.
This reporter was brought to the session by rumors that it intended to discuss a design of a monument'to the Emperor Alexander II, approved by an action group under the auspices of the Union of Right Forces. Therefore, someone was bound to stand up and tell the city mayor in public what was thus far being discussed only in private: That placing a. future monument to the liber-':
ator monarch in what specialists described as the Kremlin backyard was extremely inappropriate.
It turned out, however, that Alexander II was not on the agenda. Instead it featured a monument to General de Gaulle whose monument the prolific Zurab Tsereteli promised to give the city. The sculptor had three bronze de Gaulle statues delivered from his work-;
shop for the discussion — one in mufti, one in a military service jacket, and one in an overcoat. Computer-photos on the walls showed how the monument would look on the square in front of the Kosmos hotel, on different pedestals. One of the pedestals Strikingly... recalled the column on which Iron Fe-';
lix had once. stood on -Lu'byarika.v;
Square. Moreover, on that pedestal, de Gaulle himself — the one in the overcoat — bore a strong ^resemblance to the Soviet secret police chief. "Looks like Dzerzhinsky, does he?" Luzhkov, turning around to a whisper from the house, asked in what appeared to be a , happy voice (incidentally, he favored the de Gaulle in military uniform on a high pedestal). That smoothly brought him from the subject of the French general to Dzerzhinsky.
"I have a proposal," Luzhkov said. "Let us discuss at our next urban development council session the question of returning the statue of Dzerzhinsky to its former place. It is a great monument, a high point on Lubyanka Square. Some associate Dzerzhinsky with the KGB and
him with solving the problem of home', less children, rebuilding ravaged railroads, and effldendy managing, dte.Su-preme-Council. of the NadonaT Economy at .a tnne'when.the aTOntry^etJono-. my was in ruins. And this should remain in our memory."; :
Neither did^ the mayor forget the author of the monument'
"We should be thankful to the memory of such an oustanding monumental sculptor as yuchetich. It will soon be Vuchcdch's centennial, and we should
• When Dzerzhinsky was toppled, Yuri Luzhkov said in conclusion, he issued express orders not to destroy the monument but have it placed in a park that was later called the Park of Bronze Figures (featuring numerous sculptures of Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev, Sverdlov, etc. - Ed.]. Of course, the mayor said, he did not propose re-erecting everything from the park.
For some reason the mayor's monologue lacked his trademark impromptu