Tag Archives: genocide

End Our Slow Motion Genocide!

Genocide can take place in slow motion, just like weapons of mass destruction.

When I learned that people were calling land mines “weapons of mass destruction, in slow motion,” it became obvious that we can practice social/cultural/human genocide in slow motion too.

Understanding racism and genocide is no simpler than this,
from Zianna Oliphant:

Considering the people we have colonized, enslaved and oppressed in North America the last 500 years, there have been times when the genocide was more rapid, urgent and hurried.

There have also been times when it has been slow. Like entropy.

First Nations in Canada, American Indians and African Americans are among the groups that white supremacists have been trying to eradicate.

And by white supremacists, I’m not talking about the Klan and Skinheads. I’m talking about the Canadian and American settler governments who have overt, covert, active and passive policies to eradicate those they deem inferior.

For, if we white settlers actually felt these oppressed groups were equal to us, we would actually stop the policies and practices that eliminate them from our world.

We would address homicides and summary executions by police, missing and murdered indigenous women, the reserve/reservation townships, the prison industrial complex, and all other policies and practices that have been clearly demonstrated to pursue our slow motion genocide agenda.

There aren’t enough hashtags to encompass all who have been recently or historically slaughtered in this slow motion genocide.

Here’s just the latest, this week: #AlfredOlango, executed by police in the slow motion genocide charge of “Having A Seizure While Black”:


But I have a solution for you, my fellow white people governed by white supremacist North American governments. Scroll back up and watch, again, the wise and stunning statement from Zianna Oliphant in Charlotte who can so clearly see what kind of racist culture we are perpetuating. Honestly, if it is that clear to a child, but not Mike Ditka [an ignorant racist], you need to decide if you side with the wise child, or the racist former football coach.

“Part of white privilege has been the ability to not know that your privilege exists. If you benefit from racism, do you really want to know that?” Do you? Then read this, and act accordingly:

Is Harper’s Canada a “Genocide”-Free Zone?

The CMHR: a genocide-free zone.
The CMHR: a “genocide”-free zone.

Genocide is a pretty serious word. It invokes the Holocaust, Pol Pot, Rwanda and some other high profile human eradication attempts.

But Canada, being Canada these days, is loathe to admit that it had any part in any kind of genocide. No. Not us. We’re so nice.

But the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will not be using the word when it comes to our historical “treatment” of the first peoples. Since the museum is part of the federal government’s propaganda wing, I can understand why it is avoiding the word. While a museum spokesperson said the Harper-appointed board did not make that call, staff did, this would not be the first instance of federal civil servants engaging in self-censorship during the Harper regime.

A number of commenters at the article make some interesting points.

  1. One notes that if our definition of genocide is too broad (like presumably the UN’s), then we will have to acknowledge too many genocides which will make the word meaningless. The last part is a non sequitur. What if there actually have been dozens or hundreds of genocides attempted? That wouldn’t make any one genocide attempt less significant, but more broadly indict our race as genocidal, thereby more likely leading to more awareness of why we are so sick as a species. We don’t have to have merely a few genocides for them to be important. We don’t need to preclude others from being genocides out of fear that those affected by the Holocaust, for instance, would be offended.
  2. Another person suggested that it isn’t genocide if there are no death camps. If this were a reasonable standard, genocidal maniacs would merely need to skip actual death camps in their mass slaughter.

One thing I keep in mind when people argue that Canada’s treatment of the first peoples is not genocidal is to consider how much people could be using separate arguments to avoid having to deal with the extent of destruction our nation visited upon people. If it’s uncomfortable to our self-concept that we tried to eradicate a people/culture/etc., we can sometimes come up with other arguments, like the semantic ones above.

It’s hard to know what’s in people’s hearts, but it’s easy to check to see if they appreciate the gravity of the issues they sometimes dance around.

“What matters in genocide is not that it’s a lot of killing,” said University of Manitoba sociology Prof. Andrew Woolford. “What matters is that it’s an assault against a group, on their ability to persist as a group.”

Underlying the genocide question are persistent allegations — some made by former museum staff — the CMHR’s federally appointed board routinely interferes in content decisions in an effort to tell more “positive,” politically palatable stories.

[Spokeswoman Maureen] Fitzhenry said the decision to avoid the word “genocide” was made by senior staff, not the board.

She said the museum will not shy away from exploring Canada’s colonial legacy, including the epidemic of missing and slain aboriginal women, the disastrous relocation of Manitoba’s Sayisi Dene people, land and treaty rights and residential schools.

– from CMHR rejects ‘genocide’ for native policies

We Failed Rwanda; Let’s Stand for the #Rohingya

Indonesia Muslim Rally
Indonesia Muslim Rally

It’s been almost 20 years since the Rwandan genocide. We were too stupid, callous, or indifferent to stop it, and Senator Dallaire has more than a few words on the topic.

Granted, the WWW was just getting going in the early 1990s, so we didn’t have the kind of viral campaigns we see now, like Avaaz’s campaign to stop the imminent genocide of the Rohingya in Burma [see below]. It started on Canada/Settler Day and accumulated over 300,000 signatures in less than two days. They’re going for 1,000,000.

Genocide is perhaps the surest sign that humanity is reaching for profound depravity.

Why would a country not issue birth certificates to babies of one cultural group?

How can a people cultivate such hatred? How can a people ignore systematic execution? How can a people be blind to dehumanization? I wrote about it yesterday, with Canada’s nice-guy self-concept combined with a studied self-delusion about our generations of abuse of the first peoples.

Maybe that sheds some light on what is happening in Burma. Maybe that also sheds some light on why Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has sent over two dozen emails about expanding trade relations with Burma in the last 50 weeks, yet only one email that had any reference to the Rohingya. If they are hated for taking away jobs from other Burmese, Canada should stop pouring kerosene on that fire.

Maybe it also explains how Al Jazeera has some significant coverage of the Rohingya, but how the CBC doesn’t.

Whatever the case, the Avaaz platform of viral campaigns for social justice is a proven model, and a welcome development from those who spent the 1980s getting together one Friday each month to jointly write letters to support Amnesty International campaigns.

Signing on to shine a spotlight on an approaching genocide is a useful act, but it’s not a final one. It is an opening act. The rest of your responsibility lies in forcing our government to see ALL Burmese as humans first, not sweatshop labour.

You can let your Member of Parliament know what you want if you know your postal code.

You can let the prime minister, foreign affairs minister, leader of the opposition, opposition foreign affairs critic, Liberal party leader and Liberal foreign affairs critic know what you want them to do to help the Rohingya by emailing this article to these folks, along with your personal message: romeo.dallaire@sen.parl.gc.ca, stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca, john.baird@parl.gc.ca, thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca, paul.dewar@parl.gc.ca, justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca, dominic.leblanc@parl.gc.ca.

Most people didn’t know who the Rwandans were until it was too late, and 800,000 of them were dead. Right now, the fate of Burma’s Rohingya people is hanging by a thread. Racist thugs have distributed leaflets threatening to wipe out this small Burmese minority. Already children have been hacked to death and unspeakable murders committed. All signs are pointing to a coming horror, unless we act.

Genocides happen because we don’t get concerned enough until the crime is committed. The Rohingya are a peaceful and very poor people. They’re hated because their skin is darker and the majority fear they’re ‘taking jobs away’. There are 800,000 of them, and they could be gone if we don’t act.

– from Burma: Stop the next Rwanda