On The Political Rehabilitation of Ian Buruma, @TheEconomist & @FT.

Political Observer comments.

The doubtful Reader should consult The Economist, here:

Headline: Three stories of collusion during the second world war

Sub-headline: Ian Buruma examines the motive s and results of betrayal in “The Collaborators”


The Reader confronts this benign sentence:

That, broadly, is the theme that holds together these three stories of the second world war, told in intricate but fascinating detail by Ian Buruma, a prolific Dutch-born chronicler of modern times.

The New York Times of Sept. 19, 2018 offers this:

Headline: New York Review of Books Editor Is Out Amid Uproar Over #MeToo Essay

From reading Cara Buckley’s reporting Buruma seems removed from anything like responsibility-perhaps he was not used to dealing with criticism, for what appears to be, in sum, his laziness or just disinterest? Might this be key to reading his latest book as ‘chronicler of modern times.’ ? Could this be the place holder for ‘History’ , of a kind? The New York Review ‘scandal’ never appears in The Economist essay! Buruma as a victim of #MeToo, makes him very attractive to The Economist?

The Financial Times offer a review of Mr. Buruma’s book here:

Headline: The Collaborators — case studies in survival and betrayal

Sub-headline: Ian Buruma profiles three figures whose wartime actions remained mired in accusations of treachery — and delusion


Again there is no mention of Mr. Buruma being fired from The New York Review of Books! The concluding paragraphs of Rana Mitter’s essay, a professor of the history and politics of modern China, University of Oxford, offers Buruma’s book as reflective of: ‘We are living through another era when resistance and collaboration are real, and Buruma’s powerful book is also a warning for our own times.’ In sum Buruma writes a History, and Rana Mitter maladroitly attaches America’s Proxy War in Ukraine, to ‘a warning for our own times.’

Weinreb’s hometown is now known as Lviv, in western Ukraine. Today, resistance is the most visible Ukrainian reaction to the horror of the Russian assault. But the Ukrainian authorities are investigating some 450 cases of collaboration in areas liberated from Russia late last year. Many of those accused will have faced choices similar to those of Kersten or Weinreb: should they try their luck by profiting from new masters, or just try to survive in dangerous and turbulent circumstances?

Still other Ukrainians are wrestling with dilemmas of identity; just as being Chinese or Japanese became a sharp binary choice for Kawashima in the war of the 1930s, so speaking Ukrainian or Russian now becomes a signifier of identity too. We are living through another era when resistance and collaboration are real, and Buruma’s powerful book is also a warning for our own times.

Political Observer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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