July 10, 2008

Genocide not so bad?

As a typical example of America's exceptional values, we continue to do next to nothing about the ethnic cleansing in Sudan. It's the same moral indifference that let most Americans stand by while Indians were being killed or imprisoned.

First, the Bush/Group of 8 position:

The Pain of the G-8’s Big ShrugGenocide is regrettable, but don’t lose perspective. It is simply one of many tragedies in the world today—and a fairly modest one in terms of lives lost.

All the genocides of the last 100 years have cost only 10 million to 12 million lives. In contrast, every year we lose almost 10 million children under the age of 5 from diseases and malnutrition attributable to poverty. Make that the priority, not Darfur.
Then the counterargument:Yet in truth, genocide has always evoked a transcendent horror, and it has little to do with the numbers of victims. The Holocaust resonates not because six million Jews were killed but because a government picked people on the basis of their religious heritage and tried to exterminate them. What is horrifying about Anne Frank’s diary is not so much the death of a girl as the crime of a state.

There are also practical arguments, for genocide can create cycles of revenge and displacement that make it far more destabilizing than any famine or epidemic. The Darfur genocide may well lead all Sudan to fragment into civil war, interrupting Sudanese oil exports and raising oil prices.

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Something remains to be said, as well, about those who value whales above human lives...
All Best
Russ Bates