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Mass crimes against humanity and genocides

Precursors that can lead to genocide.
Estimating the probability of genocide.

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Stages leading to genocide:

Listed elsewhere in this web site are brief accounts of mass crimes against humanity. Many of these atrocities followed a well defined sequence :

  • Stage 1: Identification of a group to be victimized on the basis of their:
    • religion,
    • race,
    • gender,
    • ethnicity,
    • language,
    • sexual orientation,
    • gender identity,
    • etc.

All or essentially all countries in the world have one or more groups whose victimization is being promoted.

  • Stage 2: Dissemination of propaganda aimed at convincing the public that the group:
    • Should be considered as having a sub-human status.
    • Is a threat to society.
    • Should not be allowed full human rights.
    • Ultimately, should not be tolerated. 

    Surprisingly, expertly crafted hate propaganda can often convince part of the public that a small minority represents a major threat to society: Hitler was able to victimiz the Jews in this way; Rwanda did it to the Tutsis; Bosnian Serbs victimized the Muslims; Indonesian Muslims did it to the Christians in East Timor. This has even happened in North America where many social and religious conservatives continue to convince a significant percentage of the public that lesbians, gays, and to a lesser degree transgender individuals and transsexuals are a threat to society and that same-sex marriage represents an extreme danger to the institution of marriage. Fortunately, only a miniscule percentage of Christian faith groups go so far as to advocate extermination of these sexual minorities.

  • Stage 3: Extermination plans are proposed.

  • Stage 4: Extermination of the group is carried out. Fortunately, only a minority of cases of hate propaganda reach this stage. During the past generation, high levels of hate propaganda and programs of extermination have been seen in Burma, Bosnia Herzegovina, East Timor, and South Sudan.

In our opinion, the best technique to prevent atrocities is to make certain that the first step never happens. Unfortunately, there are already victimized groups in North America and elsewhere who are already at this stage, or beyond. They are being identified and discriminated against on the basis of:

In the field of religion, for example:

  • Most born-again Christians in America view Islam and Buddhism as having a negative impact on society. 3

  • Only about half of American adults would vote for an otherwise well-qualified candidate for President, if she/he happened to be an Atheist. Atheists are the most discriminated-against religious group in the area of politics. 3

  • During 2000-MAY, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., decided to prohibit future ordinations of women. They appear to be the only faith group in North America to go from a position of acceptance to rejection of female ordination. 4

  • George W. Bush, during his race for the presidency, stated that Wiccan soldiers should be deprived of religious freedoms that are routinely enjoyed by Christians and Jews. 5 

  • During the year 2000, a Baptist minister in Kileen, TX, allegedly said that the U.S. army should napalm all Wiccans.

We recommend that members of all religious groups carefully scan their denomination's or tradition's policies to see which groups are being actively discriminated against. Then actively work to erase this discrimination. support groups that are working for change, or leave the group.

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A statistical tool to estimate the probability of genocide in a specific country.

Researchers at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH have developed a method of predicting whether mass killings or a genocide will occurr in the near future in any given country. Using the statistical method, they have correctly predicted past mass killings during the recent past in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

In mid-2014, they predicted that the probability of a new genocide in the second half of 2014 is:

  • 87% in South Sudan;
  • 52% in Burma/Myanmar;
  • 30% in Iraq.

Nathan Guttman, writing for the Jewish magazine "Forward" said:

"Part of the terrifying nature of many outbreaks of genocide is their suddenness, when years of tension peak abruptly in mass waves of slaughter. Meanwhile, in other societies, simmering tensions merely continue to simmer."

"... the research group, with support from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, is developing ... methodology to forecast outbreaks of mass atrocities and genocide before they are even seen on the horizon.

The power of endless data now available in the Internet era, and the growing field of crowd sourcing, these researchers say, can provide decision-makers with early warnings for such outbreaks. And advance knowledge of these signs, they hope, could put conflict areas on the radar screen of decision-makers before events on the ground deteriorate beyond all remedy."

The researchers used their mathematical model to go back five decades. If the model had been available in 1993, it could have predicted the Rwanda genocide a year in advance with 95% certainty.

Cameron Hudson, director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocidesaid:

"Looking back, we’ve seen that every case of mass violence from the 1960s was listed as being in the highest risk."

The program is headed by political scientist Jay Ulfelder. He notes that:

"... individual experts are not very good at predicting rare and complex events, but we also know that groups are pretty good at predicting. ... each individual expert has his own bias, but when you aggregate them, the biases tend to cancel out."

They define a "mass killing" as an event of sustained violence in which 1,000 or more noncombatant civilians from a specific group are killed.

Their program has been running since very late 2013. Results have been encouraging.

  • It predicted that the probability of a mass killing in South Sudan and the Central African Republic was 75% or more. These actually occurred.

  • It predicted that the probability of such an event in Ethiopia, Iraq or Pakistan was less than 50%. A mass killing did not happen in any of these countries.

Hopefully, world leaders will pay attention to this model and be proactive to avoid mass killings.

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References:

  1. "Genocide," at: http://www.encyclopedia.com/
  2. "20th Century Democide," at: http://www.hawaii.edu/
  3. "Prejudice of Americans towards those of various faiths." On-site essay.
  4. "Women clergy in Orthodox and Protestant Christianity, and other religions," On-site essay.
  5. "Rolling cyber-debate on religious freedom," Web White & Blue 2000, 2000-OCT-15, at http://www.webwhiteblue.org/
  6. Nathan Guttman, "Can New Number Crunchers Predict Upcoming Genocides? Pulling a Nate Silver May Prevent 'Next Auschwitz'," Forward magazine, 2014-JUN-09, at: http://forward.com/
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Site navigation: Home page > Laws & religionGenocide > here

or: Home page > Religious violence > Genocide > here


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Copyright © 2001 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-JAN-1
Latest update: 2014-JUN-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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