One of the joys of doing a degree with the open university is learning new things, and that it makes you seek out further knowledge. The real joy is never the set reading but the further reading you seek out yourself. However in this lays an occasional problem, not least when you’re doing a degree in politics, philosophy and economics. The problem of living in a world occupied by that most insidious of creatures humanity.
Allow me to explain.
My current essay project is a written report for a fictional pressure group seeking to reinforce the United Nations principle of humanitarian intervention. Heady stuff I am sure you agree. As the subject matter is interventions in nation states to prevent genocides and ethnic cleansing. A side of humanity which is it has to be said not its best. That is, of course, an understatement. Humankind has a history of horrendous, murderous action, for reasons of race, religion or just one group seeking power over another at the end of a blade. We are a sadly vicious bunch. The example of the Nazis and the Holocaust is the most glaring example of the worst of humanity, but at least, we can recall that the Nazis and their evil ideology was defeated in 1945.
Here in however is the source of my current malaise, in researching for the essay I needed to find out about genocides committed since the end of world war 2, which is a number of horrifying size.
Most everyone will know of the genocides of Rwanda and Cambodia. Others will have heard of the killings in Sierra Leone or partition India. These are however the tip of a bloody and nasty iceberg. The numbers make dreadful reading.
The +genocide watch lists them all, in the kind of detail no one wants to read and everyone perhaps should. I am not going to go into details here, if only because I have no wish to depress myself with figures, I shall only say no matter what you think the number of genocides is since the end of WW2 your probably wrong and thinking of too low a number. The link below will take you to genocide watch, and you can look for yourself. Which is something everyone who votes, everyone who has ever listened to racist rhetoric or religious bigotry, or anyone who has ever sat next to someone telling a joke about ‘those other people‘ should do.
Genocide is an ongoing evil in the human condition. It is the worst of our nature, it is something we should all be aware of. It’s something we should all try to stop.