Democide Galore

June 5, 2009

[First published May 8, 2005 Note for regular visitors: The {right} sidebar now provides a link to an archive in which I have organized together and by topic all my posts on different blogs, and website commentaries]

A few indigestible tidbits before the main course.

The democide deaths in Darfur, Sudan, have now probably exceeded 400,000, and perhaps twice the deaths from the Great Tsunami that was such oh-my-God!-news months ago. Meanwhile, with killing slowness, an underarmed, undermanned African Union force has been sent there to prevent the killing and assure peace, and now will be increased to about 12,000 troops by next year. This is not even the minimum required to stop the killing.

Dictatorial Ethiopia is suffering from another famine. The UN says that without food aid as many as 300,000 children will die. The UN has called for international help, again, as it has to help those starving under other thug regimes. Shouldn’t we also apply the “Never Again” to famine, and call also for the end to these killing. Criminal regimes? As I’ve commented before, democracies never have had a famine.

In Northern Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army has been slaughtering peasants and caused about 2,000,000 people to flee their villages. Worst of all, it “has reportedly abducted more than 20,000 children. Some are forced to fight, some to carry bags, others to have sex with the fighters. By way of initiation, many are obliged to club, stamp or bite to death their friends and relatives, and then to lick their brains, drink their blood and even eat their boiled flesh.” (link here) The International Court of Justice is about to issue an arrest warrant for the head of this rebel army, but local leaders oppose this as prolonging the conflict. Instead, they say, “if the rebels confess their guilt and undergo cleansing rituals, they will be accepted back into their communities.”

And then in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, over 31,000 a month die from civil war, democide, and associated disease and famine, which means that by now the toll has arisen to about 3,900,000 in six years. It is ruled by another thug regime

Then there is VJ day, and the end of World War II, which has occasioned both platitudes for the fighting spirit of Russian troops and the head shaking over their losses in the war. I did a lot of research on Soviet losses during the war. From a variety of official and unofficial sources, I estimated that the Soviets lost 7,000,000 men and women in battle, and 19,625,000 in total when I add the 3,000,000 Soviet POWs murdered, and those killed during the Nazi occupation.

But, which is seldom recognized in the outpouring of comments on the war, Stalin is responsible for the deaths by deportation, in camps, by summary execution, and through such extraordinary wartime measures as forcing prisoners to clear minefields with their feet, of around 10,000,000 citizens. Dead by Stalin and not Hitler! Then their were the mass murders carried out through Eastern Europe and occupied Germany by the Red Army and KGB, foreign deportation dead, and the mass of foreign POWs dying in Soviet camps. These dead would add another 3,000,000 to the total.

So, the Soviet’s (the use of “Russian” for Soviets is not correct, since a large number of different national groups had been forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union, such as Latvians, Estonians, Ukrainians, Armenian, etc.) lost about 13,000,000 to Hitler’s democide. And Stalin’s democide amounted to about 13,000,000 citizens and foreigners.

Overall, Hitler murdered about 21,000,000 people, and Stalin about 43,000,000. No one in recorded history, as far as I could determine, has murdered more during his rule. And yet, . . . try to relax and take two deep breaths to get ready for this . . . in Volgograd, once named Stalingrad, authorities will unveil a statue of . . . Stalin!

But wait, got more. The All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center took a poll, in answer to which half the respondants were positive toward Stalin’s “role in the life of the country” — 20% very positive, 30% some what positive, and ONLY 12% very negative. If anything displays the kind of education and information Russians are getting, this is it.

All this reflects the gradual takeover of Russia by present and former military and security chiefs, the refusal to publicize the tyranny and mass murders of Stalin, the turning a blind eye to the complicity of present and past officials in Stalin’s murders, and the public regret about the fall of the Soviet Union (I think President Putin called it “catastrophic”). As now is well known, Russia is has become an authoritarian state with a democratic veneer. Elections, yes, but the Putin regime now controls the major media and hassles and hamstrings opposition parties.

Oh yes, one more thing. When the Allies set aside May 8, 1945, to celebrate their victory over Germany, Algeria was then a French colony. Understandably, with all the celebration about victory and freedom, the Algerians tried, with the permission of the sous-prefet, to demonstrate for independence. Although a peaceful demonstration, they were fired on by troops and legionnaires, after which the military carried out a street-by-street, house-by-house massacre of any Algerians they could lay hands on and if they could not they would, for example, drop grenades down chimneys. About 45,000 Algerians were massacred (link here), of which are shown two heads below. Thanks to Gary Busch for the email tip and photo below.

Link of Note

”Outside View: Dictators must go” (4/19/05) By Herbutus Hoffman

Hoffman is president and founder of the World Security Network. While recognizing President Bush’s Forward Strategy of Freedom, he says,

Western foreign policy is for the most part reactionary, rather than proactive in “shaping a better world.” Foreign policy is for the most part a mix of lifeless bureaucracy and fear, almost always reactive and never preventative. Foreign policy too often contains a shot of cynicism as its actors secretly flirt with the 43 global dictators regardless of their character, only because they happen to be in power or because they bring the promise of new business.

Democratically legitimized politicians continue to hesitate when they ought to take action against them on behalf of oppressed people in other countries. . . .

It is perfectly clear for all to see: today’s Europe is secure only because there is now more freedom and democracy than there was 20 years ago. . . .

The United States is rich and powerful because it gave its citizens freedom more than 200 years ago. West Germany was rich, East Germany poor. North Korea is extremely poor, South Korea rich. Vietnam is poor, Thailand rich. . . .

Let’s start a new approach with fresh, new thought, combined with optimism for a new progressive foreign policy — with imagination a la Einstein — to promote democratic development and to get rid of the last 43 dictators in the word by 2025, now!

Freedom's Principles
An interactive book-in-the-making blog

Who Are The Mortacracies? Part I

December 6, 2008

[First published May 1, 2005] I have used the term democide for murder by government, where murder is understood as it is defined in civil law. This is clear enough. And, I have used the term mortacracy for a regime that commits mass democide, such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, communist China, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, among others. The key understanding of democide is that it is intentional. Yet what about those regimes that unintentionally cause the deaths of their citizens as a natural consequence of their actions, or their lack of action?. One example might be a regime where corruption has become so pervasive and destructive of a people’s welfare that it threatens their daily lives and reduces their life expectancy.

This blog is Part I of an exploration in the measurement and identification of mortacracies—those political regimes that murder or cause the death of their citizens by the tens of thousands.

Here, I will focus on the identification of mortacracies in 2005 by their domestic democide—their outright murder of their own citizens—and for this the U.S. State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2005 will be my primary source. I am impressed by the well organized detail and thoroughness of the report. I have compared it to other human rights reports, such as those published by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and find it the best for my purpose. I will consult these other sources as necessary for additional information.

Using the Country Reports, then, I was able to define democide of four kinds:

Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life, as in (1) the government or its agents committing politically motivated killings, and/or (2) security forces unlawfully killing people.

Disappearances of people caused by the government, its agents, or security forces.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions that caused, or were so life threatening to assume to have caused, the death of inmates.

Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in Internal Conflicts, or what I will call “war crimes.” It includes indiscriminate, nonselective killings arising from excessive use of force, or by the shelling of villages.

From the sources I mentioned above, I was able to assess the democide of each country in the world for 2005, and create the following list of mortacracies for 2005—those political regimes responsible for the mass murder of tens of thousands of their people. (If the table doesn’t show, see here)

The full table of democide data for all regimes is too big to show here. It is on my website. The list of mortacracies above comes from democide level 3 in the linked table. If you have any difficulty reading these tables, please let me know so that I can improve their legibility.

A word on how I determined the level of democide. First, any democide (a “yes” for any of the democide classifications in the table) earns at least a democide level of “1”. If a careful reading of the Country Report, and other sources, then suggested the level of killing was 1,000 or more, in 2005 or in previous years, I gave it a level “2”; and if at least 10,000, I gave it a level “3”.

What does “or in previous years” mean? The number a regime murdered in previous years counts toward its level of democide for 2005 if its freedom level is unchanged or it dropped (such as from partly free to not free). However, if its level of freedom improved such that it went from not free to partly free, then I did not count any democide before the change. Moreover, if a country went through a political system change, as occurred when Pol Pot was defeated in 1979, and Vietnam established a puppet Cambodian regime, or when Afghanistan’s Taliban were defeated by the American coalition, then even though the freedom level remained the same, I did not count the previous democide. However, simply a change in who rules through a coup, revolution, or natural succession, as happened in Syria, North Korea, and China, does not wash away the previous democide.

If you have difficulty with this, think of my purpose, which is to define a mortacracy. If a regime murdered hundreds of thousands of its people since it gained power, as did the Iranian theocracy, but while the same regime was in power in 2005 it only murdered a few, then it seems misleading and unreasonable to say that the regime was mortacratic during those previous years when it murdered so many, but it is not a mortacracy in 2005. By mortacracy, I mean a quality of a regime, as in being a dictatorship or democracy, and not its policy or actions in a particular year.

There you have it in the above table. The worst mass murdering thug regimes of the last year, all but one also depriving their people of all human rights, which is to say, enslaving them.

Related link

“QUANTIFYING GENOCIDE IN DARFUR: April 28, 2006 (Part 1)” By Eric Reeves:

” Currently extant data, in aggregate, strongly suggest that total excess mortality in Darfur, over the course of more than three years of deadly conflict, now significantly exceeds 450,000. As Rwanda marks a grim twelfth anniversary, we must accept that while vast human destruction in Darfur has unfolded plainly before us, we have again done little more than watch, offering only unprotected humanitarian assistance while some 450,000 people have perished as a result of violence, as well as consequent malnutrition and disease. Human destruction to date, however, certainly does not mark the conclusion of the world’s moral failure in responding to genocide in Darfur—on the contrary, this massive previous destruction is our best measure of what is impending.

Far [more] terrifyingly, all current evidence suggests that hundreds of thousands of human beings will die in the coming months from these same causes.”

RJR: This democide is so overt and public as to draw such attention to it. But thanks to the hopeless UN, the disinterest of the democracies, and Sudan’s supportive Arab Muslim countries, even then not much is being done about it. But for many of the mortacracies—like North Korea, which is a border to border concentration/labor camp—the day-by-day death and summary execution of its people is not so public, and thus hardly mentioned in the media. Even then, as evidenced by Sudan, nothing much would be done.

A murdered Darfur child