Madhan Tirumalai" />
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Monday, September 25, 2023


Guest Commentary: Genocide awareness crucial for prevention

Our history is replete with instances of unspeakable genocide by man against man.

Since the 1900s, starting with the death of approximately 1.5 million Armenians during World War I, the world has seen the Ukrainian famine, orchestrated by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, that caused as many as 7 million deaths; the Nanking massacre of 300,000 people; more than 10 million killed in the Holocaust; 2 million in the hands of the Khmer Rouge dictator Pol Pot in Cambodia; 750,000 slaughtered in Rwanda; and tens of thousands killed in Bosnia.

And now, the dark, hideous clouds of genocide are looming large over the skies of Darfur in Sudan, with more than 250,000 dead civilians since 2003 and the death count increasing by the day.

But the wails of the thousands fleeing death, rape and mutilation in the hands of the Sudanese government-sponsored militia, the Janjaweed, are repeatedly drowned in the cacophony of world leaders busy wondering if the Darfur situation "merits" being called genocide.

Even as reports on the appalling spate of killings in Darfur continue to pour in from various sources, lip service rhetoric on Darfur by a body like the United Nations makes one seriously question its credibility.

The conservative estimates of the United States Agency for International Development that 350,000 people or more could die in the coming months only appears to be a harbinger that foretells the perishing of as many as 1 million people.

Wisdom in hindsight reveals that the Holocaust, perpetrated by Nazi Germany during World War II, might not have happened to such an extent if the Hellenic genocide that began before World War I in the 1890s (and lasted in some ways until the 1950s) had already been acknowledged.

The genocide perpetrated against the Greeks, Armenians and others in Istanbul, Eastern Thrace, Imvros, Tenedos, Macedonia, Cappadocia and Pontos between the beginning of the 1890s and the end of the 1950s by the Ottoman Empire and later Turkey encouraged and facilitated the ones who perpetrated during the Holocaust.

One should never forget Adolf Hitler’s 1939 remark: "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

And today the rest of the world stands mutely, allowing genocide to take place in Darfur right in front of its eyes. This is a disgusting testimony to the grand desensitization of all of us, safely cocooned in our self-aggrandizing ways.

The signs are ominous even at the risk of sounding paranoid. Such back-to-back genocides, if left unchecked, could lead to a spate of regimes with genocidal intents. The muter we stand, the more likely that the approximately 6 million poor inhabitants of Darfur, most of whom are dependent on subsistence farming and nomadic herding, might not have a future.

It appears that the whole world is resigned to sing requiems as preludes for the mass murders still waiting to happen in Darfur.

Just less than 100 years ago, Oskar Schindler, an ordinary man, saved the lives of more than 1,000 Polish Jews during Hitler’s "final solution."

Do we just wait and watch genocide unfold before us? Doing so will only set a dangerous example for future perpetrators.

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