We don’t think of ourselves as killers, as having carried out one or more genocides since our founding, although what happened that Columbus’s “discovery” of America. meant the deaths, genocide?, of millions of native Americans. Now genocide in our experience refers to events long gone and far away, such as the Nazi Holocaust, 1938-1945, Stalin’s Forced Famine, 1932-1933. Pol Pot’s killing fields in Cambodia, 1975-79, each of these man-made events accounting for millions of deaths. Are we without having taken part in these terrible events without guilt of our own? Well yes in the sense that we’ve never had ourown Stalin, Hitler, or Pol Pot.
It’s probably true that our “gneocides” have not been led and directed by evil men, but what are we to call, how are we to describe our first displacing from and then stealing the lands of millions of native Americans, shoving them out of our path, as we did the buffalo and the carrier pigeons? What are we to call our holding millions of African Americans in slavery and later, following a murderous civil war of liberation, our depriving them of their natural human and civil rights while too often hanging without trial the now freed slaves in the Jim Crow South? It’s true that these and others, the very worst of our actions, are now well in the past. But more in the present what would you call our instigating and waging endless wars bringing on suffering and death to millions, first in Indo China, and then in the Middle East?
My conclusion is that we have to be careful, careful to do things differently than we have up until now. Americans always seemed to take what they wanted regardless of the consequences on those from whom they took. Do they still do so, or we are doing better in this regard? Our history, as much as the displacement and death of millions, also includes the growth and protection of human and civil rights. And that’s a good thing, probably of greatest value, greatest good of everything we have done.
A few words about Habeas corpus, which may be the most important Act ever enacted by a parliamentary body. The Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 required a court to examine the lawfulness of a prisoner’s detention and thus prevent unlawful or arbitrary imprisonment, and still does. How important can one Act be? Well this Act if adhered to would have prevented all the genocides that have ever been known to take place. A person’s body is his or her own, whereas the kidnappers and killers never have never accepted this. Why is habeus corpus so hard to understand and accept?
But all of this is just a preface to my principal question, Is there a genocide happening right now.? And if so where is it taking place and who is responsible? Well genocide, like everything else is evolving. Genocide, the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people is now taking on a different form. The Stalin, HItler, Pol Pot type of genocide does seem to be gone. What we have instead is almost (almost because there do seem to be countries that protect their peoples) a universal failure, particularly pronounced in our own country, to protect all people’s lives, not to mention their physical and mental health and property. Too many are being left on their own. Too many are being cut off from the human and civil and natural rights they ought to have been shown.
Well yes there is, a genocide (s?) going on right now. And it’s being led by our president, although so far he has avoided being seen like one of the three, Stalin, Hitler, and PolPot. And who are the peoples most subject to this president’s genocidal wishes, well they are the “others.” In ancient Greece they were called the barbarians, now they’re called immigrants, especially those from the countries the president calls the “shitholes” of the world, from Central America, the Middle East, and Africa.
And to bring it all right up to date,, just this morning in the Times: “Two mass shootings in less than a day leave at least 29 dead and 53 injured.” Last year nearly 40,000 People Died From Guns in U.S., the highest number in 50 Years. Genocide going on?
What brought this sort of thing all about? What started it goes beyond my capacity to do the necessary research right now on Google. But there is no doubt that the President by his thoughtless and hateful language is bringing this about almost by himself.
From the New York Times, August 4, 2019.
The El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language
By Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear
“At campaign rallies before last year’s midterm elections, President Trump repeatedly warned that America was under attack by immigrants heading for the border. “You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” he declared at one rally. “That is an invasion!”
Nine months later, a 21-year-old white man is accused of opening fire in a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more after writing a manifesto railing against immigration and announcing that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
The suspect wrote that his views “predate Trump,” as if anticipating the political debate that would follow the blood bath. But if Mr. Trump did not originally inspire the gunman, he has brought into the mainstream polarizing ideas and people once consigned to the fringes of American society.”
While other leaders have expressed concern about border security and the costs of illegal immigration, Mr. Trump has filled his public speeches and Twitter feed with sometimes false, fear-stoking language even as he welcomed to the White House a corps of hard-liners, demonizers and conspiracy theorists shunned by past presidents of both parties. Because of this, Mr. Trump is ill equipped to provide the kind of unifying, healing force that other presidents projected in times of national tragedy.”
From The History Place
The term ‘Genocide’ was coined by Polish writer and attorney, Raphael Lemkin, in 1941 by combining the Greek word ‘genos’ (race) with the Latin word ‘cide’ (killing). Genocide as defined by the United Nations in 1948 means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, including: (a) killing members of the group (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Adolf Hitler to his Army commanders, August 22, 1939:
“Thus for the time being I have sent to the East only my ‘Death’s Head Units’ with the orders to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish race or language. Only in such a way will we win the vital space that we need. Who still talks nowadays about the Armenians?”
Genocide in the 20th. Century
- Bosnia-Herzegovina: 1992-1995 – 200,000 Deaths
- Rwanda: 1994 – 800,000 Deaths
- Pol Pot in Cambodia: 1975-1979 – 2,000,000 Deaths
- Nazi Holocaust: 1938-1945 – 6,000,000 Deaths
- Rape of Nanking: 1937-1938 – 300,000 Deaths
- Stalin’s Forced Famine: 1932-1933 – 7,000,000 Deaths
- Armenians in Turkey: 1915-1918 – 1,500,000 Deaths