Part 1 of two parts:
Two currently active genocides,
and one near genocide:
||"And they utterly
destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and
ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword." from the Holy Bible, Joshua 6:21 1
||"So Joshua smote all
the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the
springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly
destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. And
Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the country
of Goshen, even unto Gibeon." From the Holy Bible, Joshua 10:40-41 1
||"To kill the big rats, you have to kill the little rats." A
statement justifying the mass murder of innocent Tutsi children, infants,
and newborns in Rwanda. It was
made by a political commentator on Radio Mille Collines in Rwanda,
just before the start of 1994 genocide, in which many Hutus slaughtered almost a million people at random from another tribe, the Tutsis. The slaughter lasted 100 days. 2
||"Only by understanding the genocides of the past, can we hope to prevent others from occurring in our lifetime." 3
Meaning of the term "genocide":
According to the Article II of the United Nation's Genocide
Convention of 1948 (UNGC), the term "genocide" means a major action:
"... committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical,
racial or religious group, as such: ...Killing members of the group ..."
is one action which qualifies as genocide under the Convention. 4
From time to time, a extremely small group of conservative Christians have called for the U.S. government to
mount a genocidal campaign against minority groups. They have primarily targeted homosexuals, Wiccans, or Satanists. However, the vast majority of people in North Americans find it
difficult to conceive of an activity that is more horrific and reprehensible
The latest genocide:
ISIS (a.k.a. ISIL, Daesh, the Islamic State) has been accused as committing genocide against Christians, Shiite Muslims, and Yazidis in the Middle East:
Accusing a group of genocide is a very serious charge. But various individuals and groups have come to the conclusion that the abuses of ISIS in the Middle East have definitely reached the level of genocide:
- During 2014, when the United States first engaged against ISIS fighters in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry justified his Country's action by saying that activities by ISIS in the region bore:
"... all the warning signs of genocide." 5
- On 2015-MAR-19, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report stating that abuses by ISIS may have the reached the level of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and/or genocide. The High Commissioner had sent investigators to Iraq where they studied human rights violations including killings, torture, rape, sexual slavery, forced religious conversions, and the conscription of children as combatants. They concluded that ISIS' attacks on the Yazidis:
"... pointed to the intent of ISIL to destroy the Yazidi as a group ... [which] strongly suggests ...”
that ISIS may have perpetrated genocide.
The report also refers to mistreatment of Christians, Kaka’e, Kurds, Sabea-Mandeans, Shi’a and Turkmen. The Shi'a are a major group within Islam to which about 15% of all Muslims belong. ISIS members follow the other main group, Sunni Muslims which form the majority. During 2014-JUN, thousands of Christians were uprooted from their homes. ISIS gave them limited options: conversion to Sunni Islam, taxation, displacement, or death. Six hundred mostly Shi’a prisoners were massacred. 6 This treatment of religious minorities continues today.
- On 2015-NOV-12, the U.S. Holocaust Museum, a non-governmental agency centered in the U.S., released a report. It concluded that the ISIS' invasion of Nenewa province in Northern Iraq during the summer of 2014 constituted genocide. More than 1,500 Yazidis were murdered, and thousands of women were kidnapped, enslaved, and forced to convert to Sunni Islam. Foreign Policy describes Yazidism as:
"... a 4,000-year-old religion that includes elements of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and which has roughly 500,000 adherents in northern Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan." 7
Yazidi's recognize the Peacock Angel as one of seven Angels created by their Supreme God -- one during each of the seven days of Creation. The angel is visualized in the form of a peacock. 8 Unfortunately, many Muslims equate the Peacock Angel with Satan, and have concluded that the Yazidis are thus Satanists. The ISIS movement regards Yazidis as not worthy of life.
- On 2016-FEB-04, the European Parliament unanimously passed a resolution stating that ISIS' systematic killing and persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East had reached the level of genocide. This was the first time that this body had declared an ongoing activity to be a genocide. 9
- During the week of 2016-MAR-13, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of a non-binding resolution stating that ISIS' crimes constituted genocide.
- A few days later, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the his department had found ISIS responsible for genocide in those areas that it controls. He said:
"My purpose here today is to assert in my judgment, Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims."
The other current Genocide, in Darfur:
This was the first genocide of the 21st century. It started in Darfur, the area at the extreme west of Sudan during 2003 and has continued to the present time. Sudan itself is located in Africa, south of Egypt and East of Chad. The World Without Genocide web site stated in 2015:
"The genocide is being carried out by a group of government-armed and funded Arab militias known as the Janjaweed (which loosely translates to ‘devils on horseback’). The Janjaweed systematically destroy Darfurians by burning villages, looting economic resources, polluting water sources, and murdering, raping, and torturing civilians. ... As of today, over 480,000 people have been killed, and over 2.8 million people are displaced." 10
During 2008, the United Nations created the United Nations-African Union Mission In Darfur (UNAMID). They sent 9,000 troops to maintain peace. However, the soldiers were insufficient in number and under equipped. They were unable to perform the task. The state-sponsored murders continue.
During 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar Bashir. They charged him with crimes against humanity. However, the government of Sudan and the Arab League refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the warrant. Bashir is free to travel with impunity within Sudan and to many other predominately Muslim countries. China and Russia, who have major investments in Sudan oil, have successfully blocked all attempts by the UN to suppress the genocide. 10
The United Nations is powerless to take any action unless all of the five permanent members of the Security Council decide to withhold their veto power. These members are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Obtaining unanimous consent on almost any action is essentially impossible. And so, the genocide continues, and the export of cheap oil is sustained.
One program of human extermination that has not yet risen to the level of genocide:
According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association, ILGA, there are at least seven countries today which still retain capital punishment for those convicted of homosexual behavior. All are predominately Muslim countries. However, the numbers of judicial murders in these countries of sexually active lesbians and gays -- and some sexually active bisexuals -- do not rise to the level where the loss of life would be considered genocide. Also the UN Genocide Convention (UNGC) defines genocide as involving a national, ethnical,
racial and/or religious group. Strictly speaking, it does not include a group defined by their sexual orientation.
Related menu on this web site:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- King James Version of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).
- "Children in war," Unicef, at: http://www.unicef.org/
- "HOLODOMOR: The famine-genocide of Ukraine, 1932-1933," at: http://www.holodomorct.org/
- "Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of
Genocide," University of the West of England, at: http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/
- Adam Chandler, "The Long, Thorny Path to Calling ISIS 'Genocidal'," The Atlantic, 2016-MAR-17, at: http://www.theatlantic.com/
- "ISIL may have committed genocide, war crimes in Iraq, says UN human rights report," UN News Centre, 2015-MAR-19, at: http://www.un.org/
- Henry Johnson, "U.S. Holocaust Museum: The Islamic State’s War On Yazidis Is Genocide," Foreign Policy, 2015-NOV-12, at: http://foreignpolicy.com/
- "What is the Peacock Angel?, YezidiTruth.org, 2011, at: http://www.yeziditruth.org/
- Jack Moore, "European Parliament Recognizes ISIS Killing of Religious Minorities as Genocide." Newsweek, 2016-FEB-04, at: http://www.newsweek.com/
- "Darfur Genocide,"World Without Genocide, 2015, at: http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/
Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2016-APR-30
Latest update: 2016-MAY-01
Author: B.A. Robinson