Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The genocide loophole

Jonah Goldberg: The genocide loophole (Los Angeles Times)
Extract: "Last week, Russia's lower house of parliament passed a resolution insisting that Josef Stalin's man-made 1932-33 famine -- called the Holodomor in Ukrainian -- wasn't genocide.

Virtually no one, including the Russians, disputes that the Soviet government was involved in the deliberate forced starving of millions of people. But the Russian resolution indignantly insists: "There is no historical proof that the famine was organized along ethnic lines." It notes that victims included "different peoples and nationalities living largely in agricultural areas" of the Soviet Union.

Translation: We didn't kill millions of farmers and their families because they were Ukrainians, we killed millions of Ukrainians because they were farmers.

And that's all it takes to be acquitted of genocide." Read the rest.
Jogo sent me this. I'm not sure what my response is. Murder is murder, and mass murder is mass murder. The Holodomor is one of the worst events in history.

But, contra Goldberg, I don't think that all mass murder is necessarily genocide. Is it right to collapse all moral evils under the same terms?

Thoughts welcome.


Incidentally, the article references Samantha Power's superb A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, reminding me I still have a post to write about her!


The W said...

im rather tired of the competition of atrocities. someone should just come up with a nice sounding, possibly latin/greek derived, word that means terrible crime against humanity involving the deaths of so many that it cant be forgotten. the classification race ends up taking attention away from the actual crime.

Graeme said...

A belated response here.