Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Is genocide a public health problem

Erik Larson thinks so...

Sorry, Dr. Larson. This might be true for some genocides, but there is quite a difference among genocides.
The Ruanda genocide has complex roots in history, and both Hutu and Tutsi have killed each other in outbreaks.
The genocide of kulaks in Russia or "landlords" in China might fit the bill, but what about the starvation of peasants in the Ukraine or in China's great leap forward? Is it okay to starve people rather than admit your idealistic socialist utopia didn't work?
Often "genocides" are manipulated by politicians for political ends...
Yes, I agree that having radio stations and local organizations promote peace and love will help greatly. But you miss the point: the politicians in those countries encourage hatred against "the other" so that the hatred is directed against the "other" and not the government who is probably the source of the growing civilian frustration. (a major cause of the "war on terror" is based on the reality that many of the Arab governments encourage dislike of Israel to discourage criticism of their corrupt governments...)
And, of course, the government will control the radio and newspaper-- and in cases like Zimbabwe even the internet.

And one suspects Mugabe is not copying Ruanda's tribal genocide, but the social engineering of previous Marxist democides.

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