nuclear arms should be taboo? what's a taboo? 12.10.2005

As seen on Little Green Footballs: ElBaradei says nuclear arms should be taboo as slavery
The world should work to make nuclear weapons as universally condemned as slavery or genocide, UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Saturday after receiving the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the world had 27,000 nuclear warheads and "to me, that is 27,000 warheads too many."

"The hard part is how do we create an environment in which nuclear weapons -- like slavery or genocide -- are regarded as a taboo and a historical anomaly?" ElBaradei, an Egyptian, said in his acceptance speech.

Nice theory, making nuclear weapons as taboo for civilized people as slavery.

Too bad slavery itself is not as taboo as slavery. For example, iAbolish has a fact sheet which outlines instances where debt bondage, forced labor and underground sex slavery exists, making people essentially slaves forced to work against their will for specific people doing things they wouldn't want to do. The United Arab Emirates has a healthy sex slave trade, as does Syria, Iran, and a few other countries. Worse, many Arab countries, by essentially having three classes of citizenship: Muslem, Dhimmi and Women, creates a legal atmosphere where, while ownership of human beings is illegal, effective enslavement of human beings is natural and hard to detect.

And that doesn't go into other forms of human intimidation which promote slavery, including honor killings.

The problem with taboo is that essentially, something that is taboo is something we are ashamed of and something we do not discuss. But making something taboo doesn't prevent people from engaging in that activity--anyone who wants can find images on the internet of just about any sort of taboo sexual perversion without much effort. And just because some activities are taboo doesn't mean that they aren't done by many people around the world.

Including enslaving young teenage girls as sex slaves here in the United States.

It's clear that ElBaradei, an Egyptian national who should be quite aware of the opportunities to purchase someone's debt in order to transfer an "endebted worker" to his own home in Egypt, is playing to a Western audience. After all, the taboo of Slavery is strongest felt here in the United States, where we fought a civil war over the issue. It cannot be how he personally feels, given that he comes from a culture where it is acceptable to force women to dress in a burka and act subsurvent towards men, where honor killings are an accepted, though seldom discussed norm, and where non-muslims are essentially second class citizens without the same full freedoms enjoyed by muslim men (but not women). The idea of classes of citizenship (where slaves are essentially at the bottom) is not exactly a foreign one to ElBaradei.

And I won't even bother to address the genocide component of his speech, given the large number of times that genocide effectively happened in the world in the past two decades--and was ignored by the United Nations Security Council, largly due to the campaigning efforts of the Arabic voting block.

If nuclear weapons are taboo, then only countries who only pay lip service to taboo topics will have nuclear weapons--greatly tipping the advantage to those countries who are less stable or which are ruled by outlaw regimes.

posted by William Woody at 10:10 AM

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A moderate conservative living in the left coast, surrounded by the sureal, wonders if there is a sane life living amongst those who have lost touch with reality.

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