Never again... never was.
Tolerance of genocide has grown as fast as progress has declined.
Happy beginning of the week to all,
I am a strong proponent of the old adage, “somethings must be said out loud.” It is also my own personal mantra as a truth-teller, when there is all too often, a shortage of truth being told.
Today’s TAT is about the seemingly incurable human capacity, to destroy whole peoples and their culture for selfish purposes. On a related tangent for another day, this extends to our willingness to impose a genocide-like sentence on our environment and planet for the same reasons. Today though, it is about people.
Here’s the premise of today’s article: it has been roughly 77 years since the end of the Nuremburg trials, held at the end of WW II. Those trials were for those, most responsible for a global war that had as one of its primary objectives, genocide. Since the end of those WW II trials, nothing has changed regarding the phrase, “Never Again.”
While that the precise term of genocide has a relatively narrow definition, today’s piece will also relate to some terms I acquired from one of the most acclaimed researchers on the subject, T. J. Rummel. His research can be found on the University of Hawaii website, and I recommend a strong stomach before doing your research. The numbers, perpetrators and other data are, just that difficult to fathom.
The real question that I would implore readers to consider is: “why do we still tolerate genocide, democide, mass murder and politicide?
As is typical here at TAT, I will begin with a personal story to give you an idea about my exposure to multiple forms of “Death by Government.”
My first wife and mother of my children was born in Israel. I married her while that we both served in the US Army, decades ago. After ending our enlistment in the army and while living and working as a custom builder in the Los Angeles area, many of her parents’ friends were Holocaust survivors. Her parents were first generation Israeli citizens and had fought in both the underground for independence from Britain, and again in the war of independence against all of the regional Arab states wishing their own genocide against the fledgling Jewish State. These Holocaust survivors’ children, mostly our age, were our friends and later, our children became friends, my son even marrying one of these children who is closely related to one of those survivors. His story, never told publicly until his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah, is still seared into my being, bringing tears to my eyes as I write. For reasons of privacy and to honor this man, I won’t share more.
Those survivors with the tattoos, still on their forearms and with unfathomable pain in their eyes, for those who looked closely enough, were my teachers and mentors regarding today’s topic. Through my personal experience with these traumatized souls and years of combat zones while in uniform, I have seen and experienced a far wider array of similar lessons. Sharing a love of history and government like my father, brought me into a whole new level of looking at these mass murder events, both physical and/ or cultural. For this reason, I emphatically say that, Never Again, never was but must be achieved for the safety of our own collective souls as human beings.
R. J. Rummel, Leon Uris, Elie Wiesel, Lucy Dawidowicz, Viktor Frankl, Anne Frank, Herman Wouk, and so many others have drawn me far deeper into this ongoing tragedy. If we say, “never again,” why don’t we mean it?
Few nations on earth can utter the phrase, “J’accuse’ without also being honest about their own history. Yes, for Americans who don’t read history or are submissive to a political ideology that says American history is exemplary, we must also show that we admit our history accurately in order to have standing to point fingers. We no longer commit genocide like some of our forefathers, escapees from colonial Europe and other regions of the world, but we still haven’t conquered the ideology that made their genocidal activities possible.
European colonizers, the forefathers who settled our nation, brought with them much of the ideology and theology that enabled genocide against indigenous Americans, who still suffer the repercussions. We also must see modern genocide through eyes of a nation who boldly embraced slavery, with 13 states fighting to retain it during our own Civil War. That ideology lives on and so, we must make a conscious effort to not replicate the sins of our fathers. The answer is to teach, not hide history from our children as my own state of Texas advocates. In fact, a now infamous case from a mostly white, wealthy, Dallas school district took this to mean that they must teach “both sides of the Holocaust.” They were forced to apologize after one of the school’s officials was recorded saying so. Like Florida and many so-called Red states, the current trend of historical revisionism is a plague, that will claim the historical education of millions of Texas school children. There is little difference between such historical dishonesty in the US as with the Soviet Union, Communist China, Iran, the Taliban, India etc.
As we continue to recover from an era of an administration best described as ignorant, inhumane and espousing un-American values, we are duty bound to fight against all crimes against humanity, including domestically. It is the only way that we regain the trust of other democracies. Our global role implies that if we believe in America’s stated values, we have a moral responsibility to act on them too. We did so post WW II with President Truman appointing a US Associate Justice of our Supreme Court as the lead prosecutor to the Nuremburg trials. Justice Robert Jackson (proudly an Ohioan) our last SCOTUS AJ who did not have a law degree, distinguished himself and our nation by being instrumental in the success against Nazi war criminals.
AJ/ Associate Justice Jackson is rolling in his grave that so many of the MAGA movement emulate Nazi’s and openly defend them while embracing their racist, evil ideology. These Americans can never represent the nation. This point is elemental to the notion that they must also, never represent the US government abroad. These individuals may have first amendment rights but should never represent other Americans in elected office. By default, such ideology is automatically disqualifying in regard to the sworn oath, all elected politicians are required to swear.
The bottom line to this section is that any politician whose believes in anything but their sworn oath, is incapable of positively impacting global genocide or any of the other “cides” cited in RJ Rummel’s archived work. Every representative of the US government overseas should be disqualified if incapable of representing true US values, military, diplomatically or via any other official position. I have witnessed on occasion, deep racism within certain military communities and other parts of the national security community. There is currently a lengthy review of extremists within the military that prefer MAGA ideology over their obligations to their sworn oath. Anti-American values overseas, undermine US opportunities to influence away from any type of democide.
This is the American piece of the puzzle, but what about globally?
The UN, in 2005, adopted the principle of RtoP or “Responsibility to Protect.” This principle says:
At the 2005 World Summit, all Heads of State and Government affirmed the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The responsibility to protect (commonly referred to as ‘RtoP’) rests upon three pillars of equal standing: the responsibility of each State to protect its populations (pillar I); the responsibility of the international community to assist States in protecting their populations (pillar II); and the responsibility of the international community to protect when a State is manifestly failing to protect its populations (pillar III). The adoption of the principle in 2005 constituted a solemn commitment, which included much expectation of a future free of these crimes. - The Responsibility to Protect - Ivan Šimonović - Ivan Šimonović is Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect.
Something extremely disconcerting though, regarding the UN’s affirmation of this principle is that 1. There are no teeth to enforce such a principle and more importantly, some of the members of the current rotating council are nations like China who is actively committing genocide against millions of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang province, while turning a blind eye to others along Xi’s core effort, the BRI/ Belt and Road Initiative. As an example, Xi enables the ruling Junta of Myanmar to employ all manner of horrendous genocidal tactics, in exchange for them granting him access to critical corridors of his BRI through Myanmar. Rohingya Muslims and others of the some 57 distinct minority ethnicities in Myanmar suffer the consequences.
Then there’s the Security Council member Russia who is actively engaged in a brutal war of genocide in Ukraine, both physical and cultural. The list is endless and many of the nations do business and enjoy certain cooperative status benefits from the US, like the Saudi regime. India is another example where the Modi governments’ ruling party, the BJP, is the driving force behind Hindutva, the Hindu version of violent, extremist racism. The list of democidal events since 1900 alone, are bewildering at best, soul-searing evil at worst.
Take a quick glance at the graphic below, the numbers, along with the primary bad actors are more than a little disturbing.
The 20th century is often referred to as the century of genocide. With the advent of modern weapons and transportation, it has become easier by far, to support state sponsored genocide or democide. Genocide hasn’t taken a break since the end of the Nuremburg trials. If anything, it’s grown in numbers and in creative ways to employ it. Nations that legislate who can marry whom, or who can or cannot adopt orphans or intentionally displaced children as Russia does with thousands of kidnapped Ukrainian children, achieve the same result as murdering human beings. It just takes longer.
They intentionally dilute populations that will eventually end up with few if any of a group. Genocide by rape is as common as mass murder in many genocidal campaigns. Depleting the gene-pool of targeted peoples achieves a similar effect. As we can see with Putin’s blood lust for Ukrainian genocide, starvation, like Stalin in the 1930’s is a very cost-effective genocidal tactic. The strategy, tools and imaginations of genocidal leaders and governments may have changed but not the resistance against them. The globe itself is relatively feckless in opposition to any genocide or other type of democide.
Summary and the question, where do we go from here?
As I have briefly meandered through this painful topic, I hope that readers will come to understand just how much pain is experienced by races, ethnicities, or any other grouping, that governments and movements wish to remove from the human race. I encourage all to peruse as many of the embedded links as possible. Solutions begin with ethical human beings, first understanding and then, demanding action on the topic of genocide or democide.
People all over the world believe in “Never Again,” but rarely realize that we have not put the words into action. Even in Israel, whose support, the phrase has come to be associated with, is now in the hands of a far-right coalition government, whose policies towards the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza, are extremist to the point of having government representatives call for genocide. The same occurs from the MAGA Republicans in Congress in a variety of ways that serve only, WCN, White Christian Nationalism. After all, it’s their ideology at the heart of so many hate crimes, including regular mass murders like the one in Florida this past weekend.
We live in a world now where we can simply log on or tune into powerful oration and inspiring speeches, declaring never again, but to what end? As I am fond of saying, “nations, like people are what they do, not what they say.” In this case and for most nations in the world, words are the precise opposite of actions. Nations like Saudi Arabia, China, India, Brazil, Russia etc. are the proverbial “foxes in the henhouse.” They not only impede progress but are the world’s leaders in democide and racist, eliminationist ideology. The far-right global movement that peaked a year or so ago, still carries a great deal of weight in geo-political affairs. To a country, they are the posterchildren of genocidal movements and activities.
All change begins at home. If you cannot stomach genocide, then you have a role to play, called voting. If your elected representative won’t support calling out and acting against any type of democide, they are not worth your vote. After elected, they fail to work towards solutions, they probably should not get another election victory. Those voters today that support Putin, Russia or wish to deny Ukraine all the support it needs, need to both check their patriot card at the door and give up on considering themselves moral. If someone supports any type of racist ideology, they truly are not religious. Hate speech is always oriented around an ideology that if carried to its logical extension, ends in some form of genocide. Yes, this rule is ironclad. If you recognize the United States in the chart below, it means that you are seeing things clearly. My professional opinion is that the US, in our current state of hyper-partisanship, we are at stage 6.
Never again may sound great on the lips of politicians and on the banners of great institutions claiming to fight genocide but, if they cannot show what precisely they are doing to end this travesty of human nature, they just don’t mean what they say. When it comes to the human race, there are no religions, ethnicities, nationalities, etc. that deserve to be extinguished as a whole. That should go without saying, but in today’s world, it must be said out loud.
For those who know survivors of genocide, the understanding is deeply embedded in our souls. I feel like my soul is rocked on its foundation, just at the thoughts I heard firsthand, from those family friends bearing tattoos. Regardless of where people learn about how cruel the world can be, they are never too far from doing something about it. The famous quote below should be your guide as to whether you should act or not. Hopefully, your faith or belief system already has a built in motivation to act on these crimes against humanity. If not, maybe the famous quote below may be of assistence.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. —Martin Niemöller
I wish everyone well for the week. I hope you find today’s article motivating rather than depressing. Service to our fellow man is the equivalent to service to ourselves. I believe that far more people are good and less selfish than the opposite. There is always hope, unless you are one experiencing what today’s TAT is about. Godspeed our better angels.