He only stole a poster, but he was white and so he was murdered for it

Some liberals blamed Warmbier for the barbaric North Korean punishment for his taking a poster, mocking "white privilege." Does that excuse the murders of Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, Margaret Hassan and all the others?

Contact Editor
Prof. Phyllis Chesler,

Prof. Phyllis  Chesler
Prof. Phyllis Chesler
TV

And so, poor Otto Warmbier has died of severe brain damage. To be specific, the North Korean regime imprisoned, tortured, and murdered him.

May this young man Rest In Peace and may his family be consoled.

Many people have asked: What was he thinking? How could he travel to North Korea, a country famously run by an evil madman, a concentration camp of a country? 

North Korea was Warmbier's pit-stop on his way to China, where he was planning to study in Hong Kong. 

China—where they harvest prisoner’s organs for sale; China a totalitarian regime; China—possibly the future greatest country on earth whose language so many Westerners are now studying.

Still, Western Presidents and elected officials have all insisted that we “engage” with the enemy, dialogue, understand, meet the people, refuse to judge the people by their leaders. Network.

These same kind of people now dare accuse Warmbier of “frat boy behavior” (for reportedly tearing down a state propaganda poster), and "white skin privilege," which alone foolishly emboldened him to venture far outside: Of his hometown in Ohio? His country of origin America? The West?

Perhaps he was too optimistic--and therefore misguided. However, I am very uncomfortable dividing people up on the basis of their skin color, gender, class, religion, or sexual persuasion. Does this make me a conservative or a radical?

I am, above all, absolutely unwilling to relish the murder of an innocent because….others are suffering too, women, people of color. Yes, even in America.

Are the writers at Huffington Post  (click to read the article "North Korea Proves Your White Male Privilege Is Not Universal" and Salon (which has removed the article "This might be America's Biggest Idiot Frat Boy") saying that Warmbier deserved his awful fate because he was a white man? An educated white man—a future "Master of the Universe"? Are they actually envisioning or  justifying "no-go" zones in America? Globally?

Is travel no longer possible for any of us? Certainly, it is no longer pleasant.

The Islamic terrorists have taken it all away from us. Even though Muslims fly too; even though infidels of all skin-colors fly everywhere--in these times, it is no longer exactly safe. The world has changed.

Travel was always dangerous. One died or was kidnapped. One came down with malaria, dysentery, and all manner of infectious diseases. Still, people traveled.

Brits Sir Richard Burton and after him, Gertrude Bell and Rosita Forbes, acted as if they knew no fear when they traveled through Muslim lands in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. According to Christopher North, in those days, the "sun never set on his Majesty (King George the 4th's) dominion." 

Times change. But wealthy and/or educated Westerners still viewed the world, if not as their oyster, then still, as a safe enough place for them to do business, journalism, and tourism.

Daniel Pearl either had no sense of real danger or was willing to risk danger for the sake of an important story. Indeed, his ghastly, haunting be-heading, early in 2002, introduced the civilized world to Muslim barbarism. He became the important story.

In 2004, Nicholas Berg, a radio tower repairman, traveled to Iraq in the hope that he could do business there. Iraqi forces detained him--and he, too, was be-headed.

In 1998, Irish CARE health care activist, Margaret Hassan, brought leukemia medication to Iraq.

In 2004, Al-Qaeda  kidnapped and murdered her. by Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

In 2009, three Americans, Joshua Fattal, Sarah Shourd, and Shane Bauer went hiking--in Iraqi Kurdistan. They wandered across an invisible border right into Iran and were accused of being American spies. Fattal and Bauer were convicted of "espionage" and were sentenced to eight years. Sarah was released after 14 months. Her health had declined in solitary; ostensibly, the Sultan of Oman paid a half million dollars for her freedom. 

In this century alone, through 2016, countless Western health care activists, who attempted to administer anti-polio shots to children in Pakistan and Afghanistan have been murdered by mobs who saw them as Christian missionaries

Must we all lead blinkered lives, close to home? Burqa-like lives?

Or, do we defy the odds and carry on as if we eat danger for breakfast?

Otto Warmbier was returned home without any brain function, in an irreversible coma. I have always thought that be-heading is a way of violently abolishing Thought itself, all possibility of witnessing, remembering, telling.  Loss of brain function does that too.








top