What makes a feminist?

What makes a feminist?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

a reminder about humanity.

Below is a copied list saved from the site Listverse, which I follow mainly because it appeals to my inner trivia nerd.

This list, however, was so controversial that the site owner took it down quickly and issued an apology.

I don't think it should have been removed. It stands as a chilling reminder about the evil that can occur when we stop thinking of a particular group of people as human. Some of the photos are graphic. History shouldn't be sugarcoated.

Ten Targeted Mass Killings

Trans-Atlantic Chattel Slavery

Dates: 1502 to 1888
Deaths: Exact numbers unknown, but definitely in the tens of millions.

From the time the Spanish first brought African slaves to the New World until Brazil became the last Western Hemisphere nation to abolish slavery, the trafficking in humans and the use of enslaved Africans for labor caused the deaths of staggering numbers of people. Men, women, and children were born, raised, and died under the lash and in chains. We Americans fought a War Between the States in order to end slavery, but our hands were not the only ones bloody. Slavery was alive and well on the plantations of South America for over twenty years after the Civil War. A nation of people was enslaved simply because of the color of their skins.

The March of the Conquistadors


Dates: 1492 to 1616
Deaths: Virtually the whole of the Aztec, Incan, and other Meso-American nations.

From the first contact under Columbus until around 1616 when they finally realized El Dorado really wasn’t out in the desert wastes of the American Southwest, the Spanish Conquistadors carved a swathe through the native nations and cultures of South, Central, and North America. The destruction is legendary: Cortez and the extermination of the Aztecs; Pizzarro and defeat of the Incas; and other conquests small and great in the threefold pursuit of God, Gold, and Glory. The Spanish took the best of the native cultures, such as cocoa and tomatoes and left the worst of European culture, such as smallpox and slavery. We white folk wouldn’t be here in the Americas today without Columbus, et al, but is that necessarily a good thing? Depends on who one asks. The Incas, at least, got some measure of revenge by the introduction of a little evergreen plant to the Europeans. It’s called the coca plant and it’s child, cocaine and all the misery associated with it, is one of the ultimate prices the Europeans would pay for the bloodsoaked land.

American Westward Expansion


Dates: 1607 to 1912
Deaths: Hundreds of millions of Native Americans

In 1607, Jamestown was founded and in 1912, Arizona became the last of the 48 contiguous states to join the United States of America. In between, the European, mostly white, settlers of the Original 13 Colonies moved slowly from the Atlantic to the Pacific, claiming all the land in between as their own. Unfortunately, the land wasn’t empty. Far from it, it was instead occupied by many varied nations of Native Americans with vibrant cultures as diverse as the sands on a beach. The settlers and the government troops that backed them more or less killed them all. Following the credo that “the only good Indian (was) a dead Indian”, the US Army slaughtered villages of natives, who, when they decided to fight back, were deemed savages unworthy of protection. The tribes who didn’t or couldn’t fight anymore ended up on tiny reservations as the nation they helped nurture early on turned its back on them. The Native Americans are extracting some measure of revenge now, however. Compulsive gambling at tribal owned casinos all over the country is paying the white man back for his wholesale slaughter of a proud people.

Australian Treatment of Aborigines


Dates: 1829 to 1975
Deaths: Unknown for certain. Likely in the thousands as well as the death of much of the Aboriginal culture.

Early in the settlement of Australia, relations between the European settlers and the Aborigines was civil and curious. Beginning about 1819, however, things changed and all legal protection was stripped from Australia’s natives, just as their land had been stripped from them as well. The next 150 would see Aborigines shot at will, lashed to death for the theft of a handful of flour, and, most heinously, cut off from their traditional watering holes by fences. Of all the atrocities visited upon the black Australians by the whites, however, nothing could equal the forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their homes and villages to be raised and educated in white boarding schools in an effort to eradicate Aboriginal culture. These “Stolen Generations” were a blatant attempt at a “superior” culture to destroy an “inferior” one.

Slaughter of the Armenians


Dates: April 24, 1915 to November 11, 1917
Deaths: between one and one and a half million men, women, and children.

Under the Ottoman Empire’s rule, Armenians had always been relegated to second class citizens, but with the coming of the First World War, the chaos involved enabled the Ottoman rulers like Talat Pasha to move against the Armenians with ruthless efficiency. On 13 September 1915, the Ottoman parliament passed the “Temporary Law of Expropriation and Confiscation”, stating that all property, including land, livestock, and homes belonging to Armenians, was to be confiscated by the authorities. Basically, anything belonging to an Armenian now belonged to the Ottoman Empire. The Armenians were rounded up and herded into concentration type camps as far away as the Syrian Desert. Eyewitness accounts of atrocities such as churches being filled with people then locked and burned abound. Mobile killing squads, eerily foreshadowing the einsatzgruppen of the Nazis, roamed the country rounding up pockets of Armenians and slaughtering them. It is this historical event that Adolf Hitler used in part to justify his own destruction of the minorities of Europe famously saying, “who now speaks of the killing of the Armenians?”

Japanese Rape of China


Dates: July 7, 1937 – September 9, 1945
Deaths: 20 to 35 million Chinese soldiers and civilians

For sheer brutality, the behind the scenes activities during the Second Sino-Japanese War are hard to surpass. The Japanese took few prisoners and left little standing in their eight year assault on China. The official policy of the Empire of Japan was succinctly stated as “the three alls” – kill all, loot all, burn all. Some incidents, such as the Rape of Nanking are famous in their own right. Many have no doubt heard of the famous “contest” between two Japanese officers to see who could behead 1,000 people the fastest with their samurai swords. Simply put, the Japanese strove to kill every Chinese person they could find and only the destruction of the Japanese war machine during the Second World War prevented them from accomplishing what most pundits have claimed is impossible, namely the eradication of the Chinese people.

The Nazi Killing Machine


Dates: 1933 to May 8, 1945
Deaths: At least 11 million people and very likely many, many more.

This is not about the Holocaust, though that is a facet. Instead, this entry is more about the Nazi attempt to exterminate the “subhumans” to purify the “Aryan” race. Of course, everyone knows about the horrendous condition of the Jews, but the Nazis also nearly succeeded in wiping out the Roma and Sinti tribes most people commonly refer to as Gypsys. Soviet civilians were treated at partisans whether they were armed or not. Soviet POWs were slaughtered wholesale. To be Catholic, homosexual, a Jehovah’s Witness, or any of the other multitude of “criminal classifications” under the Nazi regime was a death sentence. The Nazis automated mass murder in a way never seen before or since. They killed anyone who was different.

The Killing Fields


Dates: 1975 to 1979
Deaths: 1.4 to 2.5 million

The Killing Fields were a number of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime, during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Vietnam War. At least 200,000 people were executed by the Khmer Rouge (while estimates of the total number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including disease and starvation, range from 1.4 to 2.2 million out of a population of around 7 million). In 1979, Vietnam invaded and toppled the Khmer Rouge regime ending four years of brutality. During their time in power, the Khmer Rouge expelled almost all of the Vietnamese population living in Cambodia and the Chinese community (about 425,000 people in 1975) was reduced to 200,000.

Hutu Slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda


Dates: May to July 1994 Deaths: 800,000 to 1,000,000 people

There is no genetic or ethnic difference between a Hutu and a Tutsi. Those terms were imposed by the Belgian colonial governors during the 19th century. Unfortunately, some people took their labels a little too seriously and for nearly a century, the two groups were at best acrimonious towards each other. At their worst, they resulted in the killings of 1994. In reprisal against the Tutsi dominated government of Rwanda, the more numerous Hutus, under the leadership of groups collectively called Hutu Power, started slaughtering their neighbors and colleagues at work while the rest of the world looked on in mild shock. For three months, killing squads roamed the countryside hacking people to death with machetes over a supposed difference that truly didn’t even exist.

Legalized Abortion


Dates: January 22, 1973 – present
Deaths: a few million people and at least three doctors, plus numerous innocent bystanders during clinic bombings and the like.

This final entry is not about pro-choice vs anti-choice or about the morality of abortion. It is about the indisputable fact that several million more people would be alive in the United States today if not for Legalized Abortion. In this case, living people are able to impose their wills on those not yet alive. As a result, the population is somewhat smaller than it would be otherwise. As a corollary to the whole affair, some anti-abortion activists have turned terrorist or outright murderers and as a result, several good and decent people have gone to an early grave. No matter one’s stance, it must be realized that abortion has controlled the population. Now remember, before you comment, that the title of this list is “10 targeted mass killings”; there is no doubt that millions of babies have been killed by abortion which is an operation which expressly intends to kill unborn children. Thus it meets the requirement.

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