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156 Fourth World Nations suffered Genocide since 1945: The Indigenous Uyghurs Case

Center for World Indigenous Studies

January 30, 2018

By Rudolph Ryser

 

Witness this: China is committing cultural genocide against more than eleven million Uyghurs in their homeland of Uyghuristan northwest of China and there is essentially nothing being done by the international community to prevent, stop or prosecute the crimes.

I want to explain a little about the situation in Uyghuristan first; and then go a little deeper to explain why what China is doing is genocide that must be addressed immediately by the international community. You will see why this is all critical as we see many Fourth World nations suffering under invasion, occupation and killings similar to what the Uyghurs are experiencing and what the Rohingya in southwestern Burma are also experiencing. States cannot be permitted to continue the carnage.

Uyghuristan is the homeland of more than 12 million Uyghurs neighboring Mongolia, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan. It has been an established nation of people for more than 2,500 years and the peoples’ written history extends to 1,480 BP. According to the TENGRITAGH AKADEMIYESI Uyghur Academy of Arts and Science Uyghurs were identified by Europeans as “Turkic” and referred to as “Taranchi.” The Russians referred to the Uyghurs as “Sart” or “Turk.” That their language is related to neighboring Turkic languages may have been the reason for these misapplied names. The Kuomintang government of China grouped all Uyghurs as part of the 11 million mostly Moslem Hui people who are located in northwestern China. Despite the practice of Islam, they are completely separate peoples.

Uyghuristan Map

Since the Peoples’ Republic of China under Mao Zedong and his successors annexed Uyghuristan the Uyghurs have pursued their independence and have frequently attempted to call the world’s attention to China’s cultural genocide against the Uyghurs. Until China claimed Uyghuristan in 1949, the Uyghur population constituted more than 94% of the total population in the country. China has systematically relocated Han Chinese into Uyghuristan reducing the Uyghur proportion of the total population to a little more than 45%. Effectively the Chinese have committed cultural genocide by invading, occupying and attempted to replace the Uyghur population with its own population. The Uyghur resistance is strong and persistent to the point where the Chinese government as recently as 25 January 2018  began placing Uyghurs in “re-education camps” to force their fealty to the Chinese government. They have imprisoned tens of thousands and, under the veil of “terrorism” as their justification, killed many thousands more.

Ever since the German Nazis committed horrendous mass murders of Jews, homosexuals, Roma, and Catholics, commentators, analysts and scholars have made the mistake of associating “genocide” with “executions and gassing” of people en mass. The originator of the term “genocide” attorney and author Rafael 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.

Since 1945, when scholars describe the “beginning of genocides” they claim that there have been no fewer than 181 “genocides” – 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

Continent

People Killed

FW Nations Occupied

Africa

7,153,400

77

Americas

544,000

15

Asia

3,953,500

34

Europe

400,000

12

Middle East

431,100

18

TOTALS

12,482,000

156

© CWIS 2018

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. Governments and their functionaries (military, security forces, interior agencies, police) 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 more than the last 70 years. 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 too. 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.

 

[“The Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS) is a non-profit American organization. Founded in 1979 as a research and documentation clearing house, it was incorporated in 1984 by Rudolph C. Ryser, Ph.D. (who grew up as member of the Cowlitz tribe but was of Weskarini, Oneida and Cree heritage), and Chief George Manuel (1929–1989) of the Shuswap nation.”]

Western Aggression: The Highest Form of Terrorism

Image: Mark Gould

Aggression is arguably the highest form of terrorism as it invariably includes the frightening of the target populations and their leaders as well as killing and destruction on a large scale.. The U.S. invaders of Iraq in 2003 proudly announced a “shock and awe” purpose in their opening assault, clearly designed to instill fear; that is, to terrorize the victim population along with the target security forces. And millions of Iraqis suffered in this massive enterprise. Benjamin Netanyahu himself defined terrorism as “the deliberate and systematic murder, maiming and menacing of the innocent to inspire fear for political ends.” This would seem to make both the Iraq war (2003 onward) and the serial Israeli wars on Gaza (2008-2009; 2012; 2014) cases of serious terrorism.

How do the responsible U.S. and Israeli leaders escape this designation? One trick is the disclaiming of any “deliberateness” in the killing of civilians. It is “collateral damage” in the pursuit of proper targets (Iraqi soldiers, Hamas, etc.). This is a factual lie, as there is overwhelming evidence that in both the Iraq and Gaza wars the killing of civilians was on a large scale and often not comprehensible in terms of genuine military objectives. (I give many illustrations in “They kill reporters, don’t they?” Yes–as Part of a System of Information Control That Will Allow the Mass Killing of Civilians, Z Magazine, December 2004. That this goes back a long way is well documented in Nick Turse’s Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, Metropolitan, 2014).

But even if the killings were only collateral damage, the regular failure to avoid killing civilians, including a built-in carelessness and/or reliance on undependable sources of information, is both a war crime and terrorism. Recall that the Geneva Conventions state that combatants “shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and, accordingly, shall direct their operations only against military objectives” (Part IV, Chap. 1, Article 48). Also, if civilian casualties are extremely likely in bombing attacks against purported military targets, even if the specific civilians killed were not intended victims, their deaths—some deaths—were predictable, hence in an important sense deliberate. Michael Mandel, while dismantling the claim of non-deliberateness in the usual collateral damage killing of civilians, points out that even in Texas a man who shoots someone dead while aiming at somebody else is guilty of murder.1

A second line of defense of U.S. and Israeli killing of civilians, only occasionally made explicit, is that the civilians killed are helping out the enemy armed forces–they are the sea in which the terrorist fish swim—so this makes them legitimate targets. This opens up vast possibilities for ruthless attacks and the mass killing of civilians, notorious in the Vietnam war, but also applicable in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza. Civilian killings are sometimes admitted to be an objective by official sources, but not often, and the subject is not focused on by the mainstream media. This rationale may placate the home population but it does not satisfy international law or widely held moral rules.

The same is true of the retaliation defense. The United States and Israel are always allegedly retaliating for prior aggressive acts of their targets. Deadly actions by the target military or their supporters, even if they clearly follow some deadly action by the United States or Israel, are never deemed retaliatory and thus justifiable. It has long been a claimed feature of the Israeli ethnic cleansing project that Israel only retaliates, the Palestinians provoke and virtually compel an Israeli response. In fact, the Israelis have long taken advantage of this bias in Western reporting at strategic moments by attacking just enough to induce a Palestinian response, that justifies a larger scale “retaliatory” action by Israel.

Of course, all of these tricks work only because an array of Western institutions, including but not confined to the media, follow the demands of Western (and mainly U.S.) interests. For example, although the Nuremberg judgment against the Nazis features aggression as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole,” because the United States is virtually in the full-time business of committing aggression (attacking across borders without Security Council approval), the UN and “international community” (i.e., Western and even many non-Western leaders, not publics) do nothing when the United States engages in aggression. The brazen 2003 invasion of Iraq called forth no UN condemnation or sanctions against the U.S.aggression, and the UN quickly began to cooperate with the invader-occupiers. The word aggression is rarely applied to that massive and hugely destructive attack either in the media or learned discourse, but it is applied with regularity to the Russian occupation of Crimea which entailed no casualties and could be regarded as a defensive response to the U.S.-sponsored February 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was surely not defensive, and was rationalized at the time on the basis of what were eventually acknowledged to be plain lies. (For an exception to the establishment’s villainization of Russia in the Ukraine conflict.2 )

Perhaps the most murderous aggression and ultra-terrorism of the last 40 years, involving millions of civilian deaths, has been the Rwanda-Uganda invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), beginning in 1996 and still ongoing. But the invasion’s leaders, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, were (and still are) U.S. clients, hence they have been subject to no international tribunal nor threat from the Security Council or International Criminal Court, and there has been no media featuring of the vast crimes carried out in this area. You have to be a U.S. target to get that kind of attention, as with Iran, Syria and Russia.

These rules also apply to the major human rights groups. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have a rule that they will not focus on the origins of a conflict but will attend only to how the conflict is carried out. This is wonderfully convenient to a country that commits aggression on a regular basis, but it flies in the face of logic or the UN Charter’s foundational idea that aggression is the supreme international crime that the world must prevent and punish. Thus, neither HRW nor AI condemned the United States for invading Iraq or bombing Serbia but confined their attention to the war crimes of both the aggressor and target — mainly the target. HRW is especially notorious for its huge bias in featuring the war crimes of U.S. targets, underplaying the criminality of the aggressor, and calling for international action against the victim (see Herman, Peterson and Szamuely, “Human Rights Watch in the Service of the War Party,” Electric Politics, February 26, 2007.). During the period leading up to the U.S.-UK attack on Iraq, HRW head Kenneth Roth had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Indict Saddam” (March 22, 2002). Thus beyond failing to oppose the imminent war of aggression, this human rights group leader was providing a public relations cover for the “supreme international crime.” His organization also failed to report on and condemn the “sanctions of mass destruction” against Iraq that had devastating health effects on Iraqi civilians, accounting for hundreds of thousands of deaths. For HRW these were “unworthy victims.”

In the case of the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s invasion and massacres of 1990-1994, HRW and its associates (notably Alison Des Forges) played an important role in focusing on and condemning the defensive responses of the Rwanda government to the military and subversive advances of the U.S.-supported invading army of Tutsi from Uganda, thereby making a positive contribution to the mass killings in Rwanda and later in the DRC.3

Similarly the ad hoc international tribunals established in the last several decades have always been designed to exclude aggression and to focus on war crimes and “genocide.” And they are directed at U.S. targets (Serbia, the Hutu of Rwanda) who are actually the victims of aggression, who are then subjected to a quasi-judicial process that is fraudulent and a perversion of justice.4  The International Criminal Court (ICC) was also organized with “aggression” excluded from its remit, in deference to the demands of the Great Aggressor, who still refused to join because there remained the theoretical possibility that a U.S. citizen might be brought before the court! The ICC still made itself useful to the Great Aggressor by indicting Gaddafi in preparation for the U.S.-NATO war of aggression against Libya.

In short, terrorism thrives. That is, state terrorism, as in the serial U.S. wars—direct, joint and proxy–against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and Syria and the still more wide-ranging drone assassination attacks. In the devastating wars in the DRC by Kagame and Museveni. And in Israel’s wars on Gaza and Lebanon and ordinary pacification efforts in Gaza and the West Bank. And in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen and Turkey’s proxy war in Syria and war against the Kurds.

All of these wars have evoked mainly retail terrorist responses to the invading, bombing, and occupying forces of the United States and its allies, responses that have been shocking and deadly, but on a much smaller scale than the state terrorism that has evoked them. But in the Western propaganda systems it is only the responsive terrorism that surprises and angers politicians, pundits and the public and is called “terrorism.” There is no recognition of the true flow of initiating violence and response, no recognition of the fact that the “global war on terrorism” is really a “global war OF terrorism.” The propaganda system is, in fact, a constituent of the permanent war system, hence a reliable supporter of wholesale terrorism.

 

• First published in Z Magazine, February 2016

 

  1. How America Gets Away With Murder, Pluto, 2004, 46-56 [?]
  2. John Mearsheimer, “The Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault,” Foreign Affairs, September-October, 2014 [?]
  3. Herman and Peterson, Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, Real News Books, 2014, 66-70. [?]
  4. On the Yugoslavia tribunal, see John Laughland, Travesty, Pluto, 2007; on Rwanda, Sebastien Chartrand and John Philpot, Justice Belied: The Unbalanced Scale of International Criminal Justice, Baraka Books, 2014. [?]

 

[Edward S. Herman is an economist and media analyst with a specialty in corporate and regulatory issues as well as political economy and the media.]

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