- The Washington Times - Monday, August 27, 2001

This week, victims of every color, religion, sexual orientation and race will converge on Durban, South Africa to hash out their grievances at the United Nations' "World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance." With over half a year of emotionally charged agenda debates marked by muscle-flexing over unwanted half-phrases, it is a wonder that anyone is showing up at all. It is even harder to imagine that any of the participants will be prepared to listen to each other's grievances.

The problem is not so much in the good intentions of the conference to fight racism on a global scale as it is with the fact that the content of the conference has been hijacked by special interests that fall under the vague category of "and related intolerance."

Homosexuals from the world's richer nations are frustrated with the developing nations for trying to bar them from adding the term "sexual orientation" to a U.N. declaration against racism. Homosexual activists want the aim of the conference to be to eliminate "sexism, racism, xenophobia, lesbophobia and homophobia." The term "sexual orientation," according to Robert Knight, the Director of the Culture and Family Institute, who attended a preparatory conference, describes 23 orientations including prostitution, exhibitionism, pedophilia and other unmentionables. The terms in the U.N.'s declaration open the door for such "rights," and needless to say many nations are not thrilled at all.

Africans want a formal apology for slavery, despite the fact that several African nations such as the Sudan still enslave their own people. Poorer countries are charging richer countries with practicing "environmental racism" by having dangerous chemicals dumped on them. Zionism is denounced in the declaration as a form of racism and with it the entire nation of Israel. In solidarity with Israel, President Bush has suggested that his administration might boycott the conference. The way it is shaping up, Mr. Bush should follow through on that threat.

Victimhood is limitless. But what of those for whom the conference was created? Like the 260 million Dalits, or Untouchables, India's lowest of the low, who are daily forced to clean toilets and do other menial labor simply because of the Indian caste they were born into? Their voice, unheard for centuries in India, may be squelched by the determination of groups still bitter but long since empowered by today's politically correct society.

Types of racism cannot be rated. Conference attendees owe it to themselves to check their tempers at the door and search for those more persecuted than themselves. They won't have to look far.


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