Saturday, April 12, 2008

Free Xinjiang

It's a big joke when some foreigner thinks that Chicago is a state somewhere south of Texas. How could they be so unaware? But how many Americans know where New Brunswick is? We've got fifty states. Canada has only ten provinces. My point is not about how ignorant Americans are. We all know that anyway, what with the leftists always telling us so. But there is some potassium in their manure pile, from which we may profit. Geography is an interesting subject. It tells us about how the world is. Much more interesting than opinions about theories, for all that geography changes as frequently as maps -- witness this new thing upon the earth, the autonomous and independent sovereign Republic of Kosovo.

Within Kosovo, now, there is another separatist movement, of Serbs to reunite with, uh, Serbia. After all, "Only Unity Saves the Serbs." Is there no end to it, this contra-Occamian multiplying of entities? There's talk of Belgium breaking into Wallonia and Flanders. The Kurds and Kosovars could do with some independence. The Basques, and the Catalonians, and Corsica and Brittany might use a little. South Ossetia and Abkhazia and Transdniestria and Republika Srpska all think they have a case. What good can come of it all?

I don't know. There has to be some limit to all this separatism. I must think so, as an American. We separated from Mother England, but refused that privilege to the Confederacy. What it boils down to, obviously, isn't rights, but powers. Nations do what they can do. Which brings us, again, to Red China.

Third largest country by area, and of course largest by population. The two go hand in hand. If it weren't for all those extra chinamen, the country wouldn't be so, uh, big. On the map there, those two blobs off to the left, canary and tangerine? Tibet and Xinjiang. Not actually part of what should be considered China proper. Just a couple of backwards countries that got invaded and absorbed, starting in 1949. So what? No big deal. They're all the same people anyways, right?

No, actually. The ethnicity of China proper is Han. We need not concern ourselves overly with issues of ethnology, however, since here in America the more enlightened of us understand that we are defined not by some outworking of genetics, but by a shared culture and an allegiance to certain institutions. In Red China, however, allegiance is an irrelevance, save allegiance to the vestigial Party hierarchy, now more fascist than Communist. And this sad fact somehow justifies the invasion of weaker neighbors that they may be exploited and otherwise assimilated with Borgian dispatch. Integrity? This is a government that says the Dalai Lama is "a wolf in a monk's robe, a monster with a human face but the heart of a beast." Who are we gonna believe, the Reds or our lying ears, eyes and sensibilities?

The Tibetan case is too well known to need discussion. As for Xinjiang, it is better called East Turkmenistan. Mostly Moslem. Ethnically Uighur -- "WEE-grr". What they do not look like is Chinese. But what the Red Chinese have done, along the Assyrian model, is simply import millions of Han to the region, as they've done in Tibet, to overwhelm the native populations. You can do that sort of thing when you have hundreds of millions of extra people. It's how the Albanians took over Kosovo, formerly ethnically Serbian. It's what the Moslems are doing in Sweden. And there's this little open-borders thing we have in the USA, so that 40% of all births here are Hispanic ... nothing wrong with that, per se, but it's this illegal thing, know what I'm saying?

None of this racial stuff matters, except insofar as it represents the destruction of one culture by being overwhelmed by the genetic carriers of another. Not only do I not have a problem with interbreeding to spread genetic diversity -- I actually think the offspring of such unions are more beautiful. Softens out the harsh extremes of pure racial types. Hybrids tend to be hardier. I don't think the same can be said for mongrel cultures -- they tend to the lowest common denominator. Witness Hollywood. And any pop culture. My case is weak, though, and I won't pursue it. My greater point is that whatever the merits of a national culture, it is neither lawful nor ethically justifiable for a larger neighbor to invade and destroy simply because it can.

Will East Turkmenistan -- "Zinjiang" -- ever be free? It's hardly possible. Does it matter? Not to us. But I think the death of a culture is like the extinction of a unique species (as opposed to a mere breed). These things happen. The world is poorer for it. Generally. Not poorer for the extermination of the smallpox virus. Not poorer for the end of the blood-drenched Aztec empire. But generally.

If you look at the map, Red China without these two stolen provinces would be only two-thirds the size. Even as things stand, if disputed areas (with India) were excluded, the USA would be larger than China. Minus its stolen west, Red China would be smaller than the USA, Brazil and Australia. Only number six, rather than number three. Talk about losing face. Does such cartographical score-keeping really matter? No, not really. Does the death by suffocation of a culture matter? Only insofar as opinions matter. But by that reckoning, nothing matters.

We care about what we care about, and there's hardly anything to be done about that. But such is the difference between freedom and oppression. We have the right to care, or not to care. In fascist China, the similitude of concern is compelled. You will stand in the square and cheer and wave little flags. You will do so because you will otherwise be beaten, imprisoned and/or killed.

That's why Tibet and East Turkmenistan, and Taiwan and Hong Kong, and Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram and Arunachal Pradesh, matter. Because freedom matters, and the possibility to attain freedom.

I don't embarrass myself with these obvious and naive pronouncements. Does that make me a joke? Go ahead and laugh. You have that right. Here.


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