Genocide is a term coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin to describe the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. It is defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) of 1948 as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the groups conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Here are eight of the worst of these atrocities in recent history.
Perpetrated By: Joseph Kony
The Atrocity: Since 1987, the LRA Insurgency has been a relentless guerrilla campaign that has perpetrated countless human rights violations, including mutilation, murder, kidnapping, and forced conscription into their ranks over the years. The Kony 2012 movement merely brought to light this horrific reality of a warlord who uses religion to wage war on the government in hopes to establish a theocracy.
The Number: Estimated at 100,000 casualties, and 20,000 abducted children who were then forced to join the LRA.
Perpetrated By: Mengistu Haile Mariam
The Atrocity: In 1977, Mengistu managed to gain control of the Derg, the Ethiopian military junta, that was ruling the country with an iron fist, after a protracted internal power struggle within the junta itself. From that moment on, with Mengistu at the reins, he used the junta to eliminate counterrevolutionaries, focusing on the Ethiopian People’s Republic Party. Any suspected members were arrested and summarily executed.
The Number: Estimates vary from as low as 30,000 to as high as 500,000.
Perpetrated By: Jean Kambanda
The Atrocity: The only head of government to plead guilty of genocide, Kambanda was the prime minister during the infamous Rwanda genocide, as the Hutus all but wiped out the Tutsis in 1994, resulting in the loss of about 20% of the country’s population at the time.
The Number: Estimated between 500,000 to 1,000,000.
Perpetrated By: Leonid Brezhnev
The Atrocity: If you read or watched The Kite Runner, you would have seen snippets of this horrific event. From December 1979 to February 1989, the Soviets went to war in Afghanistan, and the Afghan insurgency proved largely ineffective despite backing from the likes of Pakistan, China, the US, and the UK. The departure of the Soviets only gave way to even worse times for Afghanistan, as the Taliban rose to power in the aftermath of this war. We all know what happened after that.
The Number: Estimated at 900,000, with 3,300,000 refugees from Afghanistan in the middle of all this.
Perpetrated By: Pol Pot
The Atrocity: From 1975 to 1979, Pol Pot’s political party, the Khmer Rouge, took over Cambodia and proceeded to kill people via execution, forced labor, and starvation. The Killing Fields, a 1984 film, would give you a good idea how horrible it was.
The Number: An estimated 1,700,000 perished under Pol Pot’s regime.
Perpetrated By: Adolf Hitler
The Atrocity: This is an atrocity that needs almost no retelling. In the history of ideas, fewer things engender the notion of man’s inhumanity to man than the Holocaust. From 1933 to 1945, the systematic murder of Jews, Romani, and other targeted groups via gassing and worse is a tale so blood-curdling that it feels unimaginable how efficiently the perpetrators did it.
The Number: 6,000,000 Jews, 3,000,000 Soviet prisoners of war, 2,000,000 ethnic Poles, 1,500,000 million Romani, 250,000 disabled people, 200,000 Freemasons, 25,000 Slovenes, 15,000 homosexuals, and 5,000 Jehovah’s witnesses were among the high estimates. If you added the 6,000,000 civilian Russians killed in this time as well, you reach a stunning total of 17,000,000 casualties.
Perpetrated By: Josef Stalin
The Atrocity: Josef Stalin may have been on the side of the Allies during World War II, but everyone needed to turn a blind eye to what he was doing during his time when his political party committed the Great Purge. From 1936 to 1939, in an attempt to establish complete political control, Stalin sent political enemies into forced labor in the Gulags or had them “disappear.”
Even before that, in 1932 to 1933, Stalin’s government engineered a chilling famine in Ukraine, often called the Holodomor. Arguably one of the worst ways to go, countless Ukrainians perished in hunger, all in the aid of weeding out Stalin’s political enemies in the state.
These unspeakable travesties makes one wonder why Hitler gets all the flak to the point that we willingly worked with someone arguably worse than Hitler was.
The Number: Estimates range from 3,000,000 to a staggering 60,000,000.
Perpetrated By: Mao Tse-Tung
The Atrocity: From 1966 to 1976, the Communist Party of China attempted to enforce communism upon China, which was an attempt by Chairman Mao to restore China after the failed “Great Leap Forward” movement in 1958. The Cultural Revolution ended up doing even worse, as it all but destroyed China socially, economically, and politically.
This was merely the third act of a decades-long reign of terror perpetrated by Chairman Mao, as both the Great Leap Forward and even the oppression of Tibet added to his jaw-dropping list of atrocities. With starvation, forced labor, summary execution, and so many others to his name, Mao Tse-Tung’s name will forever live on in infamy, no matter how many people may have believed in his cause.
The Number: An inconceivable 40,000,000 to 70,000,000 people.
We can’t make light of a high estimate of 151.2 million deaths between eight terrible excuses for human beings. The atrocities they committed are chilling, depressing, and in many ways, terrifying, as it shows that evil knows no boundaries—whether racial, political, religious, or geographic.
Earlier today, former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad compared the RH Law to genocide. The former Senator, who was also the former Minister of Public Information under the Marcos regime, had the temerity to liken unto genocide a law that gives people the option to choose whether or not to have birth control; a law that gives people the option to choose when they would rather have children than to have one when they are least prepared for it.
In his speech, he cited the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court document, particularly Article 6, section d, which also defines “imposing measure to prevent births within a group” as genocide, and then pointed out that “state-mandated birth control is one such measure.” Aside from the fact that these measures are also in place in other countries (with little incident) who also signed the same treaty against genocide, what he conveniently leaves out is the fact that the RH Law does not seek to punish anyone who chooses not to avail of contraception.
If anyone wishes to question that, they are free to read the actual text of the law, which they probably should have done before trying to debate against it, in the first place.
Since the RH Law does not penalize people for choosing not to use contraceptives, it completely invalidates his argument that the RH Law forces people to choose a method of contraception or else. This is precisely why Senator Pia Cayetano pretty much laughed off the assertion that the RH Law is genocide.
Let’s have a little perspective here. It doesn’t even matter if you want the Supreme Court to #UpholdRHLaw or #JunkRHLaw: you never, ever compare these eight unspeakable acts of man’s inhumanity to man to a man putting on a condom or a woman taking the pill. To say it’s not even close would be the understatement of the century.
Debate if you must. But please don’t insult the memory of the 151.2 million people who perished under oppressive regimes in other countries, or the 9,500 souls tormented during our country’s own oppressive regime.
Especially not just for the sake of an overdramatic soundbyte.
8 fatherjoe.wordpress.com, npr.org
7 Photo of Mengistu Haile Mariam: © Alain Keler/Sygma/Corbis, sites.tufts.edu
6 malct32.blogspot.com, alliemcampbell.wordpress.com, rwanda-genocide.wikispaces.com
5 answers.com, arrrrshia.tumblr.com, nytimes.com
4 time.com, rnw.nl, trendsupdates.com, 59609308.nhd.weebly.com
3 unitedhumanrights.org, darkmoon.me, newjewishcongregation.org
2 en.wikipedia.org, egopendium.co.uk, tentangnazi.wordpress.com, dispatchnewsdesk.com
1 time.com, lens.blogs.nytimes.com, toptenz.net, redroom.com