“Erasing Existence: The Ultimate Crime of Genocide & Collective Punishment and the Shadow Over 21st-Century Morality”

By Jaseem Pasha, MD
Monday, March 11, 2024

In the annals of human history, Genocide stands as the most heinous manifestation of humanity’s capacity for evil. It represents not merely the extermination of lives but the deliberate erasure of existence, targeting the very essence of cultural and human identity.

The progression into the 21st century, marked by rapid technological advancements, has paradoxically not distanced humanity from the abyss of such atrocities. Instead, it has sometimes furnished more efficient means to the same tragic ends. Technological advancements without ethical grounding merely amplify our capacity for destruction.

It is a stark reminder that the use of technological sophistication for collective punishment does neither equate to civilizational progress nor does it measure its moral advancement or respect for human life. Furthermore, the prevailing absence of respect for inherent human dignity underscores a disturbing trend toward a political culture of psychopathic Machiavellian morality in the contemporary era.

Failure of the West to intervene in the ongoing Gaza mayhem is an unequivocal tragedy and represents one of the most severe moral failings of humanity. It reminds me of the same kind of hesitation of the U.S. government to intervene when the Western Allied armies landed in Normandy, France, on D-Day (June 6, 1944). More than five million Jews had been murdered, and only two killing centers—Majdanek and Auschwitz—were still operating. Soviet troops liberated both. U.S. military forces never encountered the Nazi killing centers.1

Genocide, as a form of collective punishment, represents one of the most severe moral failures of humanity. The concept itself is deeply rooted in the deliberate and systematic attempt to annihilate an entire group based on ethnicity, religion, nationality, or race. It’s an act that transcends mere punishment and ventures into the realms of moral and ethical depravity.

Ethnic cleansing and apartheid are deeply tragic manifestations of systemic hatred and discrimination. From the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar to the destruction of Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and now Gaza reflects a broader societal and political shift towards what can be described as a culture of psychopathic morality—a system of values that coldly calculates human life in terms of utility, threat, or irrelevance.

Here are some insights into the nature of Genocide as collective punishment:

  1. Jewish Holocaust (1933-1945) This Holocaust
  2. The Bangladesh Genocide (1971): During the Bangladesh Liberation War, it’s estimated that hundreds of thousands to millions of Bengalis were killed by the Pakistani military.
  3. The Cambodian Genocide (1975-1979): The Khmer Rouge regime, led by Pol Pot, was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 to 2 million people in Cambodia.
  4. The Guatemalan Genocide (1981-1983): During the Guatemalan Civil War, the government conducted a campaign of mass murder and displacement of Maya populations, recognized as Genocide by the courts in Guatemala.
  5. The Bosnian Genocide (1995): The massacre of more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys in Srebrenica during the Bosnian War was ruled as Genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
  6. The Rwandan Genocide (1994): In approximately 100 days, an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists.
  7. The Darfur Genocide (Early 2000s-present): The conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan has resulted in the deaths and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Darfuris, with the U.S. government and others labeling it a genocide.
  8. The Yazidi Genocide (2014): The attack on the Yazidi population in Sinjar, Iraq, by ISIS, has been recognized as Genocide by various international bodies, including the United Nations.
  9. The Rohingya Genocide (2017-present): The military crackdown on the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (Burma) has led to accusations of Genocide, with significant evidence of mass killings, sexual violence, and forced displacement.

Dehumanization and Othering

 Genocide often begins with the dehumanization of the target group. The victims are stripped of their individuality and humanity, reduced to a homogenous, vilified “other.” This process of “othering” makes it easier for perpetrators to justify their actions, as it distances them from the humanity of their victims. Dehumanization is a critical step that allows for the conceptual leap from punishing individuals for crimes to punishing entire groups for real or imagined offenses against the state, another group, or an ideology — The U.S. Government learned about the systematic killing of Jews almost as soon as it began in the Soviet Union in 1941. Throughout the War, however, the Allied governments prioritized defeating Nazism, not saving Jews.

The Fallacy of Collective Guilt

At the heart of using Genocide as collective punishment is the deeply flawed notion of collective guilt. It’s the idea that an entire group can be held responsible for the actions of a few individuals. This notion disregards the principles of individual accountability and justice.

Collective guilt is often exploited by those seeking to incite violence or justify genocidal policies, relying on broad stereotypes and scapegoating rather than seeking justice through lawful and ethical means.

The Impact on Humanity

 The impact of Genocide extends far beyond the immediate loss of life. It leaves deep scars on the fabric of society, affecting generations through psychological trauma, loss of culture, and the breaking of familial and community bonds. Moreover, Genocide erodes the moral foundations of the international community. It challenges human rights and dignity principles that form the cornerstone of a just and ethical society.

The Role of the International Community

 The international community has a responsibility to prevent Genocide and to hold perpetrators accountable. The Genocide Convention (1948) established Genocide as a crime under international law, whether committed in times of peace or in times of War. Despite this, the international response to impending or ongoing genocides has often been criticized for being too slow or ineffectual. This failure highlights the need for a robust and proactive approach to prevent Genocide and protect vulnerable populations.

Moral and Ethical Imperatives

 The use of Genocide as collective punishment is a stark reminder of the capacity for human cruelty when empathy, compassion, and justice are abandoned. It underscores the imperative for moral and ethical vigilance. Educating future generations about the horrors of Genocide, promoting tolerance, and fostering an international culture of respect for human rights are crucial steps in ensuring that such atrocities are never repeated.

The New Norm of Psychopathic Morality

 The concept of psychopathic morality emerges from the application of psychopathic traits—lack of empathy, remorselessness, and egotistical superiority—to political and social governance. It manifests in policies disregarding human suffering for perceived political or ideological gains.

This new norm does not arise in a vacuum; it is nurtured by societal apathy and an environment where sensationalism often overshadows substantive discourse on human rights. The danger lies not only in the acts of Genocide themselves but in the creeping normalization of such attitudes in public and political discourse.

Reclaiming Humanity: A Call to Action

Confronting this dark landscape requires a collective moral awakening. It necessitates reaffirming the primacy of human dignity and the intrinsic value of every individual, independent of technological advancements or political ideologies. Education, open dialogue, and international cooperation are pivotal in cultivating a global culture that prioritizes empathy, respects diversity, and values human life above all.

Technology, for its part, must be harnessed not as an instrument of oppression but as a tool for promoting understanding, safeguarding human rights, and fostering a more inclusive and empathetic global community. The ultimate challenge of the 21st century is to ensure that technological advances are matched by moral progress, steering humanity away from the precipice of psychopathic morality and towards a future where respect for inherent human dignity is an unassailable norm.

Let emotions not make us heedless of a very crucial principle neglected in understanding the dynamics of the Gaza Genocide

Muslims, Jews, and Christians must not lose sight of the fact that peace cannot be achieved without integrating the principle of respect for inherent human dignity. This principle is non- violable and non-derogable.

“Non-derogable” refers to rights that cannot be suspended or diminished under any circumstances, including in times of War, public emergency, or other crises. The term is legal and is used explicitly in international human rights law.

“Non-violable” refers to rights or principles that must not be violated or infringed upon. While similar to “non-derogable” in emphasizing the inviolability of certain rights, it is a broader term that can apply to ethical, philosophical, or legal contexts.

Jews, especially the Zionists, as well as Muslims with their demand to be relieved of their endless apartheid status, must understand that the bilateral violence affecting innocent families on both sides, regardless of the vast differences in the magnitude of force used, are jointly guilty of grossly violating the “non-derogable” nature of the principle of respect for inherent human dignity which supersedes every claim that is made in the name of Islamic State of Palestine or Zionist State of Israel. What good are these tribalized ideological extremes that violate the very principles that define civility, befitting human beings who are supposed to be the vicegerent on earth? Both groups cannot preach and claim what they have failed in practice. This is the time to be humble and reflect. There will be more rewards if all affected parties treat each other as human beings. There is more to gain. The hubris on both sides is a guaranteed recipe of nemesis.

Conclusion

“Erasing Existence: The Ultimate Crime of Genocide” is not merely a reflection on the darkest capabilities of humanity; it is a clarion call to resist the slide into a dystopian norm where technology empowers atrocity and disrespect for human dignity defines our moral compass.

The measure of a genuinely civilized society lies in its steadfast commitment to uphold the sanctity of human life and dignity, irrespective of the challenges posed by technological evolution or the complexities of 21st-century geopolitics.

Cherry-picking genocides and holocausts by classifying and recognizing them based on psychopathic complex legal and political definitions is a disrespect of inherent human dignity. It is tantamount to committing crimes against humanity twice.

There are no “natural causes” of Genocide. The origins of Genocide foundationally lie in motives such as greed, a desire for power, and apathy towards the suffering of others. Initially, Genocide is NEVER triggered based on issues related to religion or specific diversity, though they can be deceitfully used as an excuse to start the conflict. Later, it may take various shapes depending on the geopolitical circumstances.

Holocausts, genocides, and apartheids are never about being Muslims, Jews, Christians, or Hindus or about a particular tribe, ethnicity, or nationality.

Genocides are usually driven by the desire to seize a particular group’s land, resources, wealth, or glory.

The quest for political power can lead to targeting specific groups to eliminate threats to authority or to unify the majority against a common “enemy,” consolidating control over a population.

Apathy nurtured by greed allows individuals and societies to ignore the suffering of others, facilitating the process of dehumanization necessary for Genocide. Moral disengagement mechanisms enable perpetrators to rationalize or justify their actions.

Once the groundwork of greed and apathy is laid, readily identifiable characteristics such as religion, ethnicity, or national identity can be exploited. Propaganda can amplify historical grievances, stereotypes, and prejudices to foster division and hate.

Genocidal regimes often construct narratives that frame violence as a defensive necessity or as a means of achieving a “greater good” for society, masking the underlying greed and corruption. This psychopathic strategy helps the racist regimes to mobilize the majority against a minority.

Those Palestinian Jews, Muslims, and Christians who lived together for centuries as Palestinians until after Second World War II and who now seek to overcome the British curse of the carefully laid foundation of deep-seated, intractable, bloody conflict created by them will have first to get rid of puerile tribal mentality instilled into them by British occupiers. They all must realize that

their conflict has nothing to do with religion. By viewing oneself as part of a mature, sophisticated, ethical, civilized society, each citizen must know that respect for inherent human dignity precedes every religion, diversity, or religious belief.

Quotes on Genocide, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid

Nelson Mandela

“To deny people their human rights is challenging their humanity. To impose on them a wretched life of hunger and deprivation is to dehumanize them.”

George Santayana

George Santayana was a Spanish-American philosopher regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of the first half of the 20th century and one of the most prominent champions of critical realism. He was also a critic, dramatist, educator, essayist, novelist, and poet.

He said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Lemkin Raphael

Lemkin Raphael coined the term genocide.

“Genocide is not War! It is more dangerous than War!”

“By Genocide, we mean the destruction of a nation or an ethnic group.

“Why is the killing of a million a lesser crime than the killing of an individual?”

Martin Luther King Jr.:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Elie Wiesel

“No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.”

Desmond Tutu

Nobel Peace Prize laureate: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

“Apartheid is the policy of a government; it’s a policy of which I am not prepared to be a part. My struggle and commitment are not to the government but to the people.”

Romeo Dallaire

Romeo Dallaire was a Canadian General and U.N. peacekeeper during the Rwandan Genocide: “Are all humans human? Or are some more human than others?”

ISEEK:

Nations whose national ethical and moral standards and their citizens’ worldview are incompatible with respect for inherent human dignity are on the irreversible course of their nemesis.


1 AMERICANS AND THE HOLOCAUST [ https://exhibitions.ushmm.org/americans-and-the- holocaust/main/could-the-allies-have-stopped-the-killing-1 ]

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