Death By Marxism

May 7, 2009

[First published November 10, 2005. Among all the democide estimates appearing here, some have been revised upward. I have changed that for Mao’s famine, 1958-1962, from zero to 38,000,000. And thus I have had to change the overall democide for the PRC (1928-1987) from 38,702,000 to 76,702,000.

I have changed my estimate for colonial democide from 870,000 to an additional 50,000,000.

Thus, the new world total: old total 1900-1999 = 174,000,000. New World total = 174,000,000 + 38,000,000 (new for China) + 50,000,000 (new for Colonies) = 262,000,000.

Just to give perspective on this incredible murder by government, if all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5′, then they would circle the earth ten times. Also, this democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century. Finally, given popular estimates of the dead in a major nuclear war, this total democide is as though such a war did occur, but with its dead spread over a century.]

What is the greatest source of democide?

First, I should note that by democide I mean to define the killing by governments as the concept of murder defines individual killing in domestic society. And it is focusing on this democide, rather than the genocide that is one of its components, which uncovers the true dimensions of mass murder in the world.

Since democide is a government activity or policy, we must consider what type of governments are the worse murderers. Is there a political factor that discriminates between mortacracies–governments characterized by murder–and those who may kill incidentally or situationally? Yes, totalitarianism. Almost without exception, totalitarian governments are or have been mortacracies.

There is much confusion about what totalitarian means in the literature. I define a totalitarian state as one with a system of government that is unlimited constitutionally or by countervailing powers in society (such as by a church, rural gentry, labor unions, or regional powers); is not held responsible to the public by periodic elections via secret ballot, and competitive elections; and employs its unlimited power to control all aspects of society, including the family, religion, education, business, private property, and social relationships. Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was thus totalitarian, as was Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Hitler’s Germany, and U Ne Win’s Burma. Presently, North Korea is a prime example.

Totalitarianism is also an ideology for which a totalitarian government is the agency for realizing its ends. Thus, totalitarianism characterizes such ideologies as state socialism (as in Burma), Marxism-Leninism as in the former Soviet Union, and Italian fascism. Then, of course, there is Nazism, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei–National Socialist German Workers’ Party — although racist and nationalist doctrines dominated, economically, all become subverted to the Party, as under communism; as Hitler said: “We are socialists.” Other versions of totalitarianism dot the modern world, such as the socialist Baathist Party that ruled Iraq under Hussein and still rules Syria.

Not all totalitarianism is socialist. Theological totalitarianism, for example, characterized the Taliban, does so for revolutionary Moslem Iran since the overthrow of the Shaw in 1978-79 and Saudi Arabia. Here totalitarianism is married to Moslem fundamentalism.

In short, totalitarianism is the ideology of absolute power.

The worst of the totalitarian governments, however, by far have been the socialist. Socialist self-righteousness, desire to radically reconstruct the fundamental institution of society (throwing out the institutional evolution and cultural learning of generations), the belief that those who disagree are evil, and that one must “break eggs to make an omelet,” have led to monumental democide, as for example by the Soviet Union (about 61 million murdered), Mao’s China (about 35 million), and so on for all the communist regimes, as well as the nationalist socialists like Germany (21 million), state socialist like Burma, Baathists like Syria and Hussein’s Iraq, socialist Libya, and so on. See the figure below.

The details of communist democide are below:

By my count (here) for 1900-1987, totalitarian regimes murdered about 138 million (communist regimes about 110 million out of 169 million overall for all governments. Electoral or procedural democracies murdered 2 million (149 thousand domestic, mainly due to the Spanish Civil War); liberal democracies murdered none of their citizens.

Some, mainly on the left, argue that my figures for communist systems are way too high, while being too low for democracies, especially like the United States. Okay, cut in half all my estimates for communist systems, and double those for democracies. That leaves the communist murdering 55 million versus 4 million for the democracies (almost all wartime democide against enemy civilians). We can even go further and do this again, and the conclusion remains the same–nondemocratic socialism is one of the great threats to human life. In other words, as far as democide is concerned, the major danger, by far, is from the nondemocratic far left.

Be clear, regimes on the right, such as the absolute monarchies and non-socialist fascists like Chiang’s Nationalist government of China (10 million murdered) and Japan’s WWII military government (6 million), also committed major democide, but overall much less than the Marxists. Truly, we can say of communism, it is death by Marxism.



Only Mass Murder, Not Like A Disaster

May 5, 2009

[First published December 5, 2005] Have you noticed how disasters will dominate the headlines and mobilize the world to rush aid to the region or country involved, and help search for survivors? We’ve all see the moving videos — the bodies pulled from wreckage of hurricanes, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tornadoes, the destroyed homes and rubble everywhere. Then in hours come the headlines, “Death toll in quake feared to be 10,000,” “Village leveled by volcanic blast — 2000 dead,” or “Tsunami killed 2,500.”

These headlines are soon followed by, “Aid rushed in . . . ,” “U.S. planes carry . . . ,” or “UN Annan inspects . . . .” Surely, such headlines should invoke memories, for they have deluged us all. I do not wish to make light of such disasters or the plight of the victims. Our heats go out to them. I just want to draw an incredible comparison to the democide, which goes on and on without headlines or aid or intervention, as in North Korea, Sudan, Burma, the two Congos, Angola, and so on.

In the last century, 56,679,764 people died in disasters, totaled for those killing more than 10,000 people. The list is here, and includes the 5,000,000 Ukrainians that Stalin purposely starved to death 1932-1933. I subtracted that from the total to get the above total. Oddly, the world’s worst famine created by Mao in China, 1958-1962, is not listed as a disaster.

There is also another list of the “Death Toll from Disasters, War & Accidents, which comes to 99,000,000 for disasters alone. I suspect that it includes Stalin and Mao’s democidal famines, the later listed in a different table on the same page as 30,000,000. So, I will take the total in the above paragraph and estimate that when the dead for disasters less than 10,000 are added, the disaster toll for the last century is 60,000,000 dead.

That is an indigestible number. It is as though virtually every living human being in France, or Britain, or everyone in Italy or South Korea were wiped out. If the average height of these dead were five feet, the bodies lined up head to toe would span 56,818 miles. The circumference of the earth is 24,855 miles. So, the 60,000,000 dead from disasters would circle the earth head to toe 2.3 times! Wow, what a lot of bodies.

Of course, you know where I’m going with this. The total murdered in all communist countries alone was 148,000,000, or 2.5 times those killed in disasters. For all countries, the world total is 212,000,000 murdered in the last century — 3.5 times all of the century’s disasters. Since almost all these murders were by dictators, I can say this.

Dictatorships are human made disasters many times more deadly than nature’s. Dictatorships are not simply disasters, they are human catastrophes. Power kills, absolute power kills absolutely.

It should be a crime against humanity for any dictatorship to exist.

Spread the word and help freedom ring.


A Just Democide Doctrine?

April 30, 2009

[First published December 28, 2005] I just finished reading Downfall: The End Of The Imperial Japanese Empire by Richard B. Frank, which is on what led up to and caused the defeat of Japan in World War II. Based on the latest disclosures about the Magic and Ultra decoding of Japanese diplomatic and military messages and the debate among top Japanese rulers, this is the definitive book on the effect of our dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It answers the major questions I had:

Were the bombs decisive? Yes. And it had to be two bombs. Hiroshima alone would have allowed the Japanese to conclude, which they were on the verge of doing, that we had only one bomb, and it would take a long time for us to make another.

Were the Japanese peace feelers in Moscow serious? No. Not by the Japanese or by the Soviets, who were bent on conquering Japanese held territory

Would a change in American surrender terms from unconditional surrender to allowing a continuation of the emperor and imperial dynasty have brought about surrender. No. The reason the Allies insisted on unconditional surrender was so as not to repeat the mistake of the Versailles Treaty that ended WWI. It allowed the Germans to keep their government and military organization in place, and left it to Germany to punish her war criminals, and reform the military that led her into war. Now, in WWII, Britain and the U.S. were convinced that Japan and Germany would have to be occupied, and democratized by the Allies. Few critics of our Afghanistan/ Iraq nation building seem aware that this is what we did successfully in “authoritarian and militaristic” Germany and Japan after their defeat.

Would a million Americans have been killed if we invaded Japan? Unknown. Contemporary estimates were 300,000 more or less would be killed. However, given that the Japanese had predicted where the invasion would take place, had reinforced her forces there well above what we anticipated, would use all her aircraft for suicide attacks, and had prepared civilian battalions for suicide attacks, the toll on our side may not only have been close to a million, but the invasion may have been defeated. In any case, the Navy finally opposed invasion, and preferred to rely on blockade and air attacks alone. However, the war ended before this became an open fight between the Army and Navy.

Were Hiroshima and Nagasaki democide? Yes, it was mass murder, as was the firebombing of Tokyo and all other major cities.

Therefore, should we not have dropped the bombs and carried out the firebombing? As an adamant opponent of democide, I must painfully conclude that with foresight as to the reasons below, I would have approved this democide:

It ended the war

It thereby saved the lives of millions of Japanese who were on the edge of starvation. They would have died of a nation-wide famine if we had started bombing the internal transportation network, and tightened the blockade, as planned had we not dropped the bombs. These are sure deaths aside from those who would have been killed had the Navy agreed to go along with an invasion.

It saved the lives of the millions who would have been killed under Japanese occupation and by continuation of the fighting in China, the Pacific, and Southeast Asia. Perhaps a million or more were saved by the A-bombs.

Had we invaded Japan, all POWs held by the Japanese would have been killed. That was a standing order.

At the time of the surrender, Soviet forces were on the verge of invading the home islands from the north, and had the war continued for months (the bombs were dropped on August 6 and 9, 1945. Our invasion of southern Japan was planned for November, and that of the Tokyo area in March 1946. By then, the Soviets might have taken and occupied half of northern Japan. Thus, once Japan was defeated, the Soviets would have shared in the occupation as they did in Germany. Many Japanese lives alone were saved from communist terror as a result, or from fighting invasion Soviet forces.

Even if the ruling military in Tokyo had been forced to surrender by an invasion or strangulation of Japan, her vast armies in China and elsewhere might have continued to do battle (deeply ingrained in the Japanese military by their culture and unique history was to never surrender — this was a matter of honor and self-esteem), and the attempt to occupy Japan would have met a nation-wide insurrection and terrorist attacks by civilians that would have made those in Iraq look puny. What brought about a total surrender of Japan’s people and armies was the Emperor overriding the military and making it an imperial decree to end the war forthwith, and his radio broadcast calling for all Japanese to surrender. He had to be obeyed. He did this because of the two atomic bombs.

So, for me, as for American decision makers at the time, there is the awful choice between two stark evils. One is to murder hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians versus ending the war quickly with the millions of lives thus saved. What we have here is the need for — and even to think about it gives me a feeling of horror — a Just Democide Doctrine — that is an ethical rational for democide comparable to the Just War Doctrine developed by Catholic Theologians centuries ago. That is: If the lives to be assuredly saved by a democide far exceed in number the lives to be murdered, than the murdering is justified, although evil.

As to the ethics of this, I’ve been a deontologist, and much influenced by Immanuel Kant. Now, with this idea of a Just Democide, I’ve collapsed into situational ethics. So be it. That’s the world we live in.


The Blood Of Millions On Their Hands

April 29, 2009

The Blood of Millions on Their Hands

[First published on April 19, 2005] April 30th marks 30 years since the fall of Saigon, a horror story of the treason of American leftists and communists, and the blood on their hands. Their lying and deceit, their bamboozlement of a willing media and Democrat Party, and especially their exploitation of an army of young and empty minds that fearing the draft, or aroused by communist propaganda on behalf of North Vietnam, powered their demonstrations and protests marches.

In spite of the continued public support (as polls at the time showed) for our staying the course in Vietnam, and even though the war had been in effect won militarily, the alliance between the left, communists, Democrats, and major media forced an American military withdrawal from Vietnam, and a sharp decrease in aid to the South. Without sufficient American aid and support, the South collapsed under a conventional North Vietnam military offensive, and the North occupied and absorbed what had once been a sovereign country (no, it was not a civil war, but an invasion—the North and South had never been one country). Millions were killed and murdered before the United States turned tail to run off, and after the North’s victory, the killing did not stop. Hundreds of thousands were murdered — executed outright, or dying in “re-education camps,” and in the “new economic zones.” And never forget the over a million Vietnamese that risked an awful death on the ocean to escape the communists enslavement (the Boat People), of which perhaps 500,000 never made land again.

Then there was the communist Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia in April 1975 after the United States stopped all aid to its defending Lon Nol regime. Result: about 2,000,000 murdered (for one Cambodian’s story, see ”The Karma of the Killing Fields,”, and for another, see ”A Birthday wrapped in Cambodian History”).

The left seems not to care about such consequences. They opposed the war against the Afghan Taliban, and against Saddam Hussein. And even after both were defeated, in the face of terrorist attacks they wanted immediate withdrawal. I leave it to your imagination the resulting cost in blood of terrorist victories in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Michael Dickey has informed me that:

On April 30th, thousands will be marching in Washington to honor the millions of killed and subjugated people of Indochina, to thank the forgotten heroes, and to remind us of what could have been. 57,000 Americans lost their lives defending the people of South Vietnam but history has proven their cause just. South Vietnam stood alone for two years; with minor material support, it could have defended itself indefinitely, just as South Korea has for nearly 50 years. Activists and protestors have been as silent as the [millions] murdered by the Vietnamese Communist government . . . . If there is a lesson to be learned from the Vietnam War that is applicable today, it is to not abandon a people in their darkest hour.

Visit http://www.april30.org for more information.


Link of Note

”Statistics Of Vietnamese Democide: Estimates, Calculations, And Sources (1997) By R.J. Rummel

Below is a summary table (from my Death By Government) of the Vietnam war dead and murdered. The link of note above gives all the sources and estimates involved in making the table, as noted in its footnotes. Study the table and then weep. These dead were all fellow human beings.


Never Again Series


“No, God, I Can’t Believe It”–A Ducudrama Of The Forced Ukrainian Famine

April 28, 2009

[First published in May 18, 2005] In 1932, Stalin went to war against Ukrainian nationalism and resistance to collectivization. His weapon of choice was enforced famine. Stalin won. The “war dead?” About 5,000,000 Ukrainians who starved to death or died of associated diseases. Want to know what it was like for a Ukrainian villager then? Here is one possible story.
***

“We were starving to death,” Viktor suddenly blurted as I placed another beer before him. “My father, Petro Pynzenyk, was powerless to do anything about it, which made him very angry. I remember him shaking his feeble fist in the air and yelling to my mother Olena, ‘How could he do this to us? How could he starve us to death? God, why? What have we done to him?’

“My mother wouldn’t answer. Skeletal and weak with hunger, she could no longer leave their bed.”

Ignoring his beer, his eyes turned inward, Viktor finally let it all out.

***

Drought had brought famine to the Ukraine. But this famine was nothing compared to what Stalin, the absolute dictator of the communist Soviet Union, or USSR, was doing. He had launched a total blockade that prevented any food from getting into that Soviet republic. The communist cadre even searched travelers to the Ukraine to make sure they carried no food with them.

According to Stalin’s fanatical communist reasoning, Ukrainian peasant nationalism was a danger to his power that had to be subdued. The peasants also had strongly resisted giving up their homes, farms, and livestock to be collectivized into factory farms. Stalin’s weapon against such stubbornness and nationalism was starvation. He sent the communist cadre, activists, and security forces into the region to enforce his own man-made famine.

Petro Pynzenyk’s anguished outbursts against Stalin would almost exhaust him. He had been a handsome man in his youth, taller than most other peasants, with a round, open face and a strong brow. Even when age had grayed his hair, he had been well muscled, as heavy farm workers usually were. Now his ribs showed and his stomach was caved in; his arms and legs had grown bony, their muscles raped by his body for sustenance.

Viktor remembered watching him pry the soles off his shoes and then drop them into a pot of boiling water hanging in the fireplace. “Maybe they’ll add some flavor to the tree bark,” he rasped. It seemed that he could no longer say anything normally.

He was nonpolitical, tried to stay out of trouble, and did what the local communist functionaries asked. Except that, with all his being, he dreaded the demand he knew would soon come from Kiev—that he give up his one-acre farm and small home to collectivization. His father had worked all his life to develop and build this small farm. Petro did not want to give it up, but if he resisted, the communists would shoot him and his family.

Viktor was fourteen at the time. He spent the days hunting alone, because Petro, much to his shame, had grown too weak to join him. With a long-handled net, Viktor tried to catch any animals he saw around the village or in the unplowed fields, even former pets that the communists had missed when they came through, shooting them and stuffing the dead ones in sacks to be carried or trucked away. They’d also taken all the livestock, and had gone house to house looking for food, even seizing warm bread off the tables. When they learned that the villagers had started catching birds to eat, the communists again came through, shooting the birds out of the trees and bagging their little bodies.

When they came to the Pynzenyk home, they poked around the grounds outside the house with long rods, searching for buried food. They thus found the seeds Viktor’s mother had hidden by the pump, which they’d planned to use for planting if they survived.

Finally, as much as he didn’t want to believe it, Viktor realized they would not survive much longer.

One late afternoon when Viktor returned empty-handed to their house, he was just pulling the door shut behind him when he heard a distant scream. Alarmed but too weak to move himself, Petro waved Viktor outside to find out what was happening. Petro and Olena waited in tense silence as Viktor left the house. Viktor could tell they were scared. He followed the sound of the screams, which were soon punctuated by loud moans and gasps for breath.

When Viktor discovered what had caused the screams, he vomited up what liquid lay in his empty stomach. Sickened, revolted, he ran home and lay by his house and wept until too exhausted to cry anymore. Finally, he staggered inside.

He pushed the door shut behind him and stood there, swaying as if cornered. He could only gape at his parents, his mouth working. He started crying again, fighting to gulp air into his lungs, but dreading the news he had to tell his parents.

“What is it?” Petro demanded weakly.

Viktor ran over to his mother’s bed and threw himself down beside her, his whole body shaking. Olena put her bony arm around him, murmured some soothing words, and waited.

Finally, still trembling, Viktor blurted, “They ate her.”

“Ate who?” asked his father.

“Yana.”

“Yana? What are you talking about?” His mother looked from Viktor to Petro in confusion.

Viktor calmed down enough to explain, although tears still flowed. “Little Yana down the road. She went missing, and her father searched the woods and finally checked that crazy man Taran’s house on the other side of the stream. She was . . . ”

“What, Viktor?”

“She was . . . cut up in his . . . in his food pot. Her father grabbed a shovel and killed Taran and his mother with it.” Viktor’s stomach heaved at the memory, but nothing would come up. He whimpered, “She was such a fun little girl. She was always laughing and trying to trip me. She would make believe I was a horse.”

“My Holy God in Heaven,” Petro groaned. “I had heard this was going on, but in our village? No, God, I can’t believe it.”

Olena could only close her eyes and let the tears flow.

The days went slowly by, each a torment of hunger. Petro also grew too weak to leave his bed. Viktor continued to hunt, and captured some rats in the field. With the head of one he saved from the pot, he actually caught a starving dog whose own hunger had overcome its natural fear. His parents always gave him the largest part of any catch. They wanted Viktor to live to remember them, and what had happened.

Olena died two weeks later, and Petro the following week. With the death of his father, Viktor gave up all hope. He was lying on their bed, just waiting for the end, when Stalin ordered the release of grain from the military warehouses.

Local officials soon started going from village to village, looking for survivors. When they came to Viktor’s house, they knocked on the door. Receiving no response, they entered and, one told him later, were nearly overcome by the smell of urine, feces, and death. They found Viktor almost dead, lying next to the rotting corpses of his mother and father on a pile of filthy blankets. Viktor was not the first one they’d seen in this condition; they knew what to do. He was carried outside and propped on the ground to be spoon-fed thin soup.

***

Unlike all but a few in his village, Viktor survived. Five million Ukrainians did not.

Even this did not satisfy Stalin. He decided that the core Ukrainian culture had to be destroyed. And who was at the heart of this culture? The blind traveling musicians, who played and sang the classical Ukrainian music and folk tunes, and recounted tales of Ukrainian heroes. So, Stalin had communist officials call all the folk musicians together for a festival, and then had them all shot to death.

How can we prevent this from ever happening again? Through the democratic peace.


War/peace docudramas
War/democide Docudramas


No, Not 50-60Mil. War dead. It Was 15 Million

April 25, 2009

[First published April 11, 2005] I recently came across a reference to the number killed in World War II to about 60,000,000. This figure, or one lower at about 55,000,000 is not uncommonly mentioned. But, these figures are wrong and way too high. The correct count is closer to 15,000,000, but when I use this figure I get emails like one that said—“Your total inaccurate and detracts from your credibility.”

What confuses people is the way war dead are often counted. The most authoritative sources, widely relied in the field of war studies, are the statistical books of J. David Singer (See his Correlates of War Project here). His figure for World War II war dead is 15,000,000. Crazy, right? You often read figures like those I mentioned, and here is an authoritarive source which gives a figure only 25 to 30 percent of that usuallygiven. Even more confusing about this is that the World War II death toll for the Soviet Union is widely accepted as about 20,000,000. What gives?

What has caused these massive disparities is the confusion between those killed in combat and its crossfire, and those murdered by governments during the war (democide). Aside from battle or military engagements, during the war the Nazis murdered around 20,000,000 civilians and prisoners of war, the Japanese 5,890,000, the Chinese Nationalists 5,907,000, the Chinese communists 250,000, the Nazi satellite Croatians 655,000, the Tito Partisans 600,000, and Stalin 13,053,000 (above the 20,000,000 war-dead and democide by the Nazis of Soviet Jews and Slavs). I also should mention the indiscriminate democidal bombing of civilians by the Allies that murdered hundreds of thousands, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most of these dead are usually included among the war-dead. But those killed in battle versus in democide form distinct conceptual and theoretical categories and should not be confused. That they have been consistently confounded helps raise the toll during World War II to some 60,000,000 people, way above Singer and my estimated 15,000,000 killed in battle and military action. And that the almost universally accepted count of genocide (a form of democide) during this period is no more than “6,000,000” Jews, around 13 percent of the total wartime democide, has further muddled research and thought.

Overall, both World War I and World War II had about 24,000,000 (combat) war dead. This leaves still many, and smaller, wars to go to reach my approximate 35,000,000 war dead 1900-1987. I did a through search of the estimates of war dead for each nation, 1900-1987, and you can find them in my books Lethal Politics for the U.S.S.R., China’s Bloody Century, Democide for Nazi Germany, and for all others, Statistics of Democide. For their location on my website, see my list of documents

Good to clear that up. I trust I won’t see those highly inflated World War II war dead totals again.


Link of Note

”Why Not Here” (2/26/05)

By David Brooks [only available for purchase at The New York Times]
From Colleague: Along with the idea of memes and the zeitgeist, here’s a good oped by David Brooks. I especially like his mention of the argument that US foreign policy is at its best when it is not accommodating, but “maximalist” for freedom….Another reason to be grateful that John “Rodney King” Kerry ain’t president!

Brooks says:

[Why not here] This is the most powerful question in the world today: Why not here? People in Eastern Europe looked at people in Western Europe and asked, Why not here? People in Ukraine looked at people in Georgia and asked, Why not here? People around the Arab world look at voters in Iraq and ask, Why not here?

Thomas Kuhn famously argued that science advances not gradually but in jolts, through a series of raw and jagged paradigm shifts. Somebody sees a problem differently, and suddenly everybody’s vantage point changes.

“Why not here?” is a Kuhnian question, and as you open the newspaper these days, you see it flitting around the world like a thought contagion.

Wherever it is asked, people seem to feel that the rules have changed. New possibilities have opened up.

The question is being asked now in Lebanon. Walid Jumblatt made his much circulated observation to David Ignatius of The Washington Post: “It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world.”

So now we have mass demonstrations on the streets of Beirut. A tent city is rising up near the crater where Rafik Hariri was killed, and the inhabitants are refusing to leave until Syria withdraws. The crowds grow in the evenings; bathroom facilities are provided by a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts and a Virgin Megastore.
The head of the Syrian Press Syndicate told The Times on Thursday: “There’s a new world out there and a new reality. You can no longer have business as usual.”

Meanwhile in Palestine, after days of intense pressure, many of the old Arafat cronies are out of the interim Palestinian cabinet. Fresh, more competent administrators have been put in. “What you witnessed is the real democracy of the Palestinian people,” Saeb Erakat said to Alan Cowell of The Times. As Danny Rubinstein observed in the pages of Ha’aretz, the rules of the game have changed.

Then in Iraq, there is actual politics going on. The leaders of different factions are jostling. The tone of the coverage ebbs and flows as more or less secular leaders emerge and fall back, but the amazing thing is the politics itself. If we had any brains, we’d take up Reuel Marc Gerecht’s suggestion and build an Iraqi C-Span so the whole Arab world could follow this process like a long political soap opera.

It’s amazing in retrospect to think of how much psychological resistance there is to asking this breakthrough question: Why not here? We are all stuck in our traditions and have trouble imagining the world beyond. As Claus Christian Malzahn reminded us in Der Spiegel online this week, German politicians ridiculed Ronald Reagan’s “tear down this wall” speech in 1987. They “couldn’t imagine that there might be an alternative to a divided Germany.”

But if there is one soft-power gift America does possess, it is this tendency to imagine new worlds. As Malzahn goes on to note, “In a country of immigrants like the United States, one actually pushes for change. … We Europeans always want to have the world from yesterday, whereas the Americans strive for the world of tomorrow.”

Stephen Sestanovich of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote an important essay for this page a few weeks ago, arguing that American diplomacy is often most effective when it pursues not an incrementalist but a “maximalist” agenda, leaping over allies and making the crude, bold, vantage-shifting proposal – like pushing for the reunification of Germany when most everyone else was trying to preserve the so-called stability of the Warsaw Pact.
As Sestanovich notes, and as we’ve seen in spades over the past two years in Iraq, this rashness – this tendency to leap before we look – has its downside. Things don’t come out wonderfully just because some fine person asks, Why not here?
But this is clearly the question the United States is destined to provoke. For the final thing that we’ve learned from the papers this week is how thoroughly the Bush agenda is dominating the globe. When Bush meets with Putin, democratization is the center of discussion. When politicians gather in Ramallah, democratization is a central theme. When there’s an atrocity in Beirut, the possibility of freedom leaps to people’s minds.

Not all weeks will be as happy as this one. Despite the suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq, the thought contagion is spreading. Why not here?

Freedom's Website Never Again Series


Pakistans Megagenocide–A docudrama

April 16, 2009

[First published May 10, 2005] I have given a lot of statistics about democide in this blog. But, who can digest my mention of a 1,000,000 murdered here or there. It is near impossible to empathize with the human catastrophy such statistics dimly reflect when we have difficulty getting a feel for numbers greater than six or seven. A murderer tortures and kills three people, and that gets into our gut – three loving, feeling, human beings killed in agony. We can imagine this happening to our family or circle of close friends. But mention 10,000, 100,000, or 1,000,000, and that is beyond imagination and feeling; they are only a numbers.

So, to do something more than just provide statistics, I’m going to present a docudrama about one democide you probably know nothing about. It will demonstrate how much of democide is unknown—not hidden, but put away like all unwanted memories, and in the particular case I will relate, for political reasons. I’m going to tell you what Pakistan’s military rulers did in 1971—not the present government, but a previous one. Its genocide is still unmentionable, since Pakistan is an ally of the United States and a part of its coalition in the war against terrorism.

Pakistan is India’s neighbor to the west. And squeezed into the lower southeasern side of India is Bangladesh. Until 1971, that country was part of Pakistan, and was called East Pakistan. Its major ethnic group was Bengali, and their religion, as in West Pakistan, was Islam, although a slightly different variant.

Leading up to 1971, East Pakistan had been working politically and nonviolently toward independence from West Pakistan, almost a thousand miles away. It was on the verge of success after Pakistan’s 1969 national election, when the Bengali Awami League gained an absolute majority in the national legislature.

However, the ruling generals of Pakistan were absolutely opposed to East Pakistan gaining independence, so in 1971 General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan, the self‑appointed president of Pakistan and commander-in‑chief of the army and his top generals, prepared a careful and systematic military operation against East Pakistan. They planned to murder that country’s Bengali intellectual, cultural, and political elite. To reiterate what is hard to believe, at the highest level of this regime, the rulers planned, prepared, and executed the cold-blooded murder of the best and brightest Bengalis in East Pakistan, and murdered indiscriminately many of its Hindus, driving the rest into India. This despicable and cutthroat plan was outright genocide.

Now, imagine that you were a student there. Before going to bed one night, you may have been in the library studying, working on your term paper, or doing a lab assignment. You may have written home or been out in Dacca with some friends. You may have given your friend a secret kiss before parting, already looking forward to seeing each other the next day. You go to bed that night with a future for which you are studying hard, with a future of loved ones and children, with a future of hope and bright dreams. You have not the slightest hint that the next day will be any different than the last; you close your eyes without any thought that you will be lucky to see the dawn, or if you do, that you will not live through the day.

So students the world over have gone to bed, to be destroyed there by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tornadoes, and fire. But these are nature’s doings. What would happen this night was done by fellow human beings. Intentionally.

In the middle of the night, with no warning, West Pakistani tanks began shelling the dormitories of the University of Dacca, where students like you were sleeping.

Visualize it: you are blasted awake by tank shells suddenly bursting through the dorm walls and windows to explode throughout the dorm amongst your beds, your study rooms. Red-hot shrapnel flies, randomly seeking out those who will die, lose a leg or arm, or have their belly slit open so wide, their guts tumble out. Then the trembling fear, wild panic, and screaming; the mute dead, the crying wounded, the smoke and fire, destruction and blood, everywhere. And the forever unknown courage and heroism as you and others help the wounded and try to escape the flames and explosions.

You try to run or crawl out of the dorm, and help others to escape. You’re shaking. Your heart is beating wildly. You can’t get your breath. But you finally climb over smoking debris and make it outside.

But outside, the West Pakistan troops are waiting, and you are rounded up at bayonet point to stand or sit in trembling shock. You don’t know what happened or what they will do to you. You can’t believe it. You think this must be a nightmare as you watch the dormitories burn down with your fellow students still screaming inside or jumping from windows. If you have only minor injuries or none at all, you may try to help the crying, moaning wounded on the ground around you.

Dawn slowly shows through the smoke, and soldiers begin pushing and prodding all of you through the haze toward a grassy area near a parking lot. The soldiers bayonet those who resist, or who are too wounded to move. You are stunned and trembling — you cannot believe what you just saw. Students are being murdered, some you know, and as they are repeatedly bayoneted their screams and pleas for mercy rip through your mind.

Self-preservation takes over and you allow yourself to be herded along with the other survivors toward the grassy area, where you see a pile of shovels, hoes, and digging sticks that a small truck nearby has dumped. You are jabbed and shoved toward the pile and then the soldiers form a tight ring around all of you. An officer shouts, ‘Dig a trench. Dig it deep. Or be tortured to death.’

Your knees are almost knocking together, your heart thudding in your ears, and tears drip from your face as, in utter, mind-devastating terror, you pick up a hoe and begin hacking at the ground where one soldier is pointing. Through your fear, through your shock, through the terror, you have only one impossible realization—this trench is for you. For your dead body. You are going to be killed.

You hack away; you pull the loose dirt out with the hoe; you hack again and again. You stop crying. You don’t hear the cannon in the distance or the shooting nearby. You hear but barely recognize the scream of the girl who was digging near you, but made a break for it. She is tripped by one of the soldiers, and then is stabbed in the leg—you refuse to look as she writhes on the ground and shrieks and screeches while being stabbed in the other leg, and then in one arm, then the other, and finally in the stomach. It’s a calculated lesson for you, which you dimly recognize, and you blank out the girl’s moans and cries for her mother.

Now you’re resolute and focused. You hurry up your digging. You want to get it over with. Your body has grown cold. You shiver. Your mind closes down as you hack and pull the dirt, and deepen the trench with the others. Your soft hands, used to books and pencils, are bleeding and sore; your body is getting heavy and fatigued. But you feel nothing.

You and the others have dug three feet down. You are on automatic. Four feet. Then five. Several of the girls and two of the boys have collapsed in heaps at the edge from the unaccustomed labor, or have fainted from fear.

Someone yells, “Stop. Enough. Get out of the trench and line up on the edge.” This is it, but your mind refuses to recognize it. Your body obeys and lines up with the others. You see soldiers standing about twenty feet away with automatic rifles, but it means nothing.

You stand. You think of nothing. There is no passing time. You don’t see that the fire in the dormitories has nearly burned out, or that the smoke is drifting away, leaving the beautiful morning to prize. You don’t see the robin’s egg-blue of the sky, the gentle white clouds; you do not register the sound of birds chattering. You don’t even think of your loved ones, of your lost future, of your lost hopes, of your dead dreams. Of all your wasted study and effort.

Then, Brrrttt! Brrrttt!

Your body twitches from the impact of bullets ripping across your chest, blowing your last breath out the holes in a red mist. Now your body is as dead as your mind; you fall backward into the trench to be covered with dirt.

And how was your death received? The actual messages between the soldiers that killed you and army headquarters were intercepted. We know what was said. Your soul might be happy to know that you contributed to a prized well done.

The message was this:

“What do you think would be the approximate number of casualties at the university—just give me an approximate number in your view. What will be the number killed or wounded or captured. Just give me the rough figures”.

“Wait. Approximately three hundred.”

“Well done. Three hundred killed? Anybody wounded or captured?”

“I believe in only one thing—three hundred killed.”

“Yes. I agree with you that is much easier. No, nothing asked. Nothing done, you do not have to explain anything. Once again well done. Once again I would like to give you shabash and to tell all the boys . . . for the wonderful job done in this area. I am very pleased.”

The Pakistan military ultimately went on to murder about 1,500,000 Bengalis and Hindus. Only India’s invasion stopped them. The Indian army rapidly defeated them, and midwifed the formal independence of East Pakistan, which promptly named itself Bangladesh.


Link of Note

”Statistics of Pakistan’s Democide: Estimates, Calculations, And Sources” Chapter 8 of Statistics of Democide By R.J. Rummel

After a well organized military buildup in East Pakistan the military launched its campaign. No more than 267 days later they had succeeded in killing perhaps 1,500,000 people, created 10,000,000 refugees who had fled to India, provoked a war with India, incited a counter-genocide of 150,000 non-Bengalis, and lost East Pakistan.

This is the equivalent of a Rwanda in duration and murdered. Yet, it is Rwanda’s genocide that has gotten the publicity.


Never Again Series

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’ wow, very effective scene, Rudy.