Friday, June 01, 2012

Begin Reading

Menachem Begin's White Nights. Have read this book now and found it an easy read as it is non fiction and broadly intellectual. I don't really have much to say in regards to Zionism or antisemitism, but the morality of the prison camps of The USSR compared to those of the Nazis was an interesting take. I have come to the view that whether it be talking about the "humane" treatment of prisoners or animals, it is the cold-blooded killing of them which is has primacy in the moral debate. Towards the end of the book, Begin compares the Siberian prison camps to the Nazi death camps, and surmises that even though arguably the Stalinist camps resulted in a similar scale of deaths, which were slow, painful and tortuous in comparison to the nazi extermination camps. The longer internment, and the usage of labour allowed a window of hope that one can make a difference.

To compare it with the morality or otherwise of humane butchering of cattle - The humanity is for the benefit of the humans and our sensitivities. When cattle perceive that they are going to be harmed, their hope of escape keeps them going. Is it any more cruel if the animal is fighting for its freedom right until the last minute?

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