One Not So True Thing

Mo Husseini’s list of ‘50 Completely True Things‘ is an admirable attempt to bring some perspective (and humour?) to discussions of the current conflict in the Middle East.

But leaving aside the question of whether 13th century Syria counts as part of Palestine for the purpose of claiming to have invented Hummus, there is one of the more seriously intended “True Things” that I have to take issue with.

FACT No. 40.

Any people have a right to group together and self-identify as whatever-the-fuck-they-want-to-self-identify as. When they get large enough as a group, those people have the right to self-determination and self-respect and a state where they can control their own destinies.

The first sentence is of course fine. But even with the “large enough” qualifier the right of any group to define itself (and take control of territory) as a state is just not something that can reasonably be supported.

One might think that it would be morally appropriate for Turkey, Iraq, and Iran to voluntarily give up portions of their territory for the construction of a Kurdish state. At least the members of that group already live on the territory they would like to claim. But if the proposal were to have them all move to some area in rural Canada and hive off a state there, then we might reasonably object – even if they were to start by purchasing large tracts of land in complete accordance with our current legal system.  Indeed we already have regions where identifiable groups form a majority of the local population and own a majority of the land (such as Dukhobors in SouthEastern BC or Menonites in areas of Ontario and Manitoba) but would give no credence to the claim that they have the “right” to declare independence. And for that matter what about the Rajnishi’s “right”, by virtue of land purchase and population import, to take over the Oregon counties of Wasco and Jefferson?

This is not to deny Fact#39’s assertion that what’s done is done. And indeed in a way the claim made in Fact#40 runs counter to the advice in #39 to “Stop with the fucking history lessons” and their associated arguments about whether people had the “right” to do things in the past that by now cannot in way be humanely reversed.


Source: 50 Completely True Things. This is a repost of a list of posts I… | by mo husseini | May, 2024 | Medium

This entry was posted in uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *