Wednesday, March 09, 2011
I wonder as I write this what dwindling percentage of the population knows the name of Kitty Genovese. For we graying boomers who were just teens when she was murdered in 1964, the story and the somewhat embroidered myths of neighbourly indifference are never to be forgotten. As it was told back then, Ms. Genovese, a late shift bartender was attacked close to her New York City apartment and allegedly within the earshot of a famous 38 uncaring neighbours. As the story goes, they could hear her screams but simply closed their windows and pretended nothing was happening.
Also iconic when one is speaking of violent death is the number, 6 million. But I am not referring to the victims of the Holocaust except that many of them too could have been saved had indifference and prejudice not kept their refugee vessels offshore. No, I am building an analogy based on, Kitty lying bleeding and dying on the street, her assailant initially scared off but, emboldened by neighbourhood apathy, coming back to finish her off. And the analogue is the vast majority of Libyans (2010 pop. est. at 6.42 million) who have been willing to struggle against horrid odds and actions, while the richest most militarily capable nations on earth - ones who've partnered shamelessly with the Libyan madman, stand by and wring their hands. Like Kitty's attacker, Winston Moseley, Qaddafi seemed initially hesitant to mount a full deadly force assault. What would all these countries, recently chummed up by well-paid Western PR consultants, do if there was a counter-revolutionary slaughter? But he soon realized how toothless were these tigers, that the West would pontificate but be secretly relived in having to do nothing knowing that, inevitably, the far greater tyrannies of China and Russia would nix forthright UN Security Council action. These pompous bloviators are like one of Kitty's neighbours who, it is said, raised his window on that March night 47 years ago, and said "Hey, stop that!" then closed the window and probably went back to the TV wrestling matches.
Each day hundreds of brave freedom fighters die and Qaddafi's henchmen, using the modern materiel that our western development and markets for Libya's oil have financed, draw closer to a major massacre. And now we get limp "hey-stop-thats" from, among others, a Nobel Peace laureate who used to proclaim "Yes, we can!"