Groups of genocide protestors cash in on 'hype' in hypocrisy

Columnist questions motives of certain University of Houston ethnic group's motives in candle vigil

Kevin Pennell

A recent letter to the Cougar accused me of being "irresponsible" because I had the gall, the nerve, the audacity to criticize certain ethnic groups on campus, such as the Latina Coalition, the Pan African People for Progressive Action and MEChA.

You see, in my last column, I wrote that these groups claim to care very deeply about genocide. Last year, they even had a Candlelight Vigil for all victims of genocide. In other words, they care so much about those, regardless of race, who have been massacred that they stood outside holding candles to show how much they care.

However, when asked about a particular genocide that does not involve members of their ethnic groups, they have little, if anything, to say.

My point in my last column was not, however, to disparage these groups.

It was, however, to show that Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge (a Cambodian guerrilla army) and the man responsible for one of the most unspeakable acts of genocide of the 20th century, is going to get off scot free because there is hardly any interest in whether he is brought to justice.

I'm not a difficult person to get along with. All I ask is that you be consistent.

I did not call the Republican Party to get its members' views on Pol Pot's show trial because they don't care about the poor or downtrodden. Nor do they claim to.

I did not ask Operation Rescue how they felt about the current events in Cambodia because they don't care about those who are already born. Nor do they profess to.

I did not call GLOBAL to get their views on the former Khmer Rouge leader because they don't care about anything not related to homosexuality. Nor do they say they do.

But, if you're a member of the Latina Coalition, MEChA, or PAPPA, you profess to care about all victims of genocide, be they black, white, brown, purple, green or Cambodian.

But you don't. Because you're a bunch of racists.

If Cambodians were black, those African-American groups who participated in the "Candle-light Vigil" on campus would have something to say about their destruction.

If they spoke Spanish, then some at UH, including a few at this paper, would never shut up about them.

"Oh, but we caaaare!" you say. Please. If you cared, if you really cared, you wouldn't say, "Who?" when I asked you about the world's most prolific mass murderer.

Those who claim to care about genocide ought to know about Cambodia, just as those who care about the dangers of nuclear power know about Chernobyl.

If you cared, you wouldn't tell me, "Oh, we advocate a 'Think global, act local' approach." What kind of excuse is that?

Since when is genocide an issue of geography, as if the fact that a madman killed millions is somehow mitigated by the fact that he did so in a land far, far away? Germany's pretty far away, too. But that doesn't make the Holocaust any less real.

If, next year, you want to protest the genocide of those of your own ethnic group, fine. Go for it. Be my guest. I might even join you.

But it's beyond "irresponsible" to wrap yourselves in the deaths of people you know or care nothing about for the sake of a little publicity.

Pennell is a senior English major.

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