Ever since the German Nazis committed horrendous mass murders of Jews, homosexuals, Roma, and Catholics, many commentators, analysts and scholars have made the mistake of associating “genocide” with “executions and gassing” of people en masse.
The originator of the term “genocide” attorney and author Raphael Lemkin’s analysis essentially explains this error when his analysis points to how the Holocaust is not a synonym for genocide, but the consequence of Nazi imperialism and Colonialism in Europe. While the massive murders by the Nazi government was a horrific case of human destruction the genocide had already begun before the killings. Read from Lemkin’s book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (Washington, DC: Carnegie Council, 1944) on page 79 how he describes genocide:
Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group: the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population, which is allowed to remain, or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization of the area by the oppressor’s own nationals.
In other words, when a distinct people is systematically occupied by an outside population with the intention of replacing that population with the invading people under the instrumentality of a government or other organized agent monopolizing violence, that process is genocide. All events after the occupation—the Colonization—are the result of the initial genocide.
Scholars claim that there have been no fewer than 181 “genocides” since what they describe as the “beginning of genocides” in 1945–that is, instances where human beings have been massively killed with the intention of destroying that human population.
The Center for World Indigenous Studies is conducting a study of “Genocides against Fourth World Peoples” to learn about the extent of genocide (in the Lemkin sense and in the latter-day scholars’ sense) committed against Fourth World peoples and what alternatives exist to establish justice and prevent occurrences of genocide.
By simply examining the continental figures for Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East gathered by contemporary scholars tabulating the killings of groups by particular perpetrators we find that 156 Fourth Nations have been invaded with the resultant killing of an estimated 12.482 million people between 1945 and 2017.
Up to 58 UN member state governments and the militias they supported were responsible for all 156 invasions and ultimate killings of Fourth World peoples.
ESTIMATED POST-GENOCIDE KILLINGS FROM 1945-2017
Our initial finding is that “governments” (Republics, Dictatorships, Empires, Kingdoms) commit the vast majority of genocides in both the Lemkin and the latter-day scholars’ sense.
According to our estimate, UN member states committed an average of 51% of all 181 incidents of genocide counted by contemporary scholars. That figure alone is astonishing, since invasions and killings of Fourth World nations account for about 86% of all “genocides” counted by contemporary scholars since 1945.
Clearly by these numbers alone, cultural genocide and massive killings constitute a major feature of genocide over the last 70 years and beyond.
But, curiously, despite the International Convention on Genocide (1948) and the Rome Statute of 2002 that created the International Criminal Court, the cultural genocide of a people in whole or in part has not been prosecuted. And, of equal interest is the fact that not one of the governments responsible for invasions and then killing of Fourth World people has been sanctioned by the international community or any juridical forum.
Ongoing genocides are taking place now in China against the Uyghurs, Iraq against the Yezidi, Madaeans, Zoroastrians, and Assyrians; and against the Rohingya in Burma; and many other nations.
Yes, 156 Fourth World nations have suffered cultural genocide since 1945 and not one government responsible for invasions and killings of millions of people have been called to account.
Rudolph Ryser is the Chair of the Center for World Indigenous Studies.