So WTF is genocide then?

I find this ridiculous. A brief summary of the story: East European EU states that had suffered appalling crimes against humanity when ruled by Communist regimes – Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic – want a law created that will make denial of Communist atrocities illegal, in the same way that some states have made denial of the Nazi Holocaust a crime.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m no fan of Holocaust denial laws; they are a direct contravention of freedom of expression. If I don’t believe that the Nazis killed millions of Jews, why shouldn’t I be allowed to say so? It’s like how the Inquisition treated Galileo for saying the Earth orbited the Sun.

No, what annoys me is the reason given by the European Commission and various experts for rejecting this law. Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff said “For all the terrible crimes of the USSR, you can’t compare the people who built Auschwitz with the people who liberated it. Nazi Germany would probably not have been defeated if it weren’t for Russia.” He gave the USSR a free pass for its murder of millions of people because its was the army that liberated a site of other mass murders. Where is the logic in that?

One reason given for the European Commission’s refusal was that the mass murders carried out by Communist regimes were not “genocide”. Matthew Newman, the EU justice spokesman, said: “The bottom line is, obviously, what they [the communist regimes] did was horrendous, but communist regimes did not target ethnic minorities.” It seems that the industrialized slaughter of millions of human beings is genocide only if its victims belong to a particular ethnic minority.

This means, of course, that a massive part of the Nazi Holocaust was not genocide. It was genocidal for the Nazis to kill the Jews and the Gypsies – but their slaughter of homosexuals, political dissidents, the handicapped, were just regular murders. WTF?

From the Guardian article:

According to Lithuania, whose foreign minister leads the campaign to create a new law, the EU’s understanding of genocide should be extended to include crimes against groups defined by “social status or political convictions”.

Andrius Grikienis, a spokesman for Lithuania’s mission to the EU, said: “During the first years of Soviet occupation, Lithuania lost more than 780,000 of its residents. 444,000 fled Lithuania or were repatriated, 275,697 were deported to the gulag or exile, 21,556 resistance fighters and their supporters were killed and 25,000 died on the front.”

By comparison, he said: “More than 200,000 citizens of Jewish origin were killed by Nazis and their collaborators.”

Do the math, then tell me: why is it okay to deny the murder of 780,000 people, but wrong to deny the murder of 200,0000? Where’s the logic in that?

Lithuania wants the definition of genocide to be extended to include crimes against groups defined by “social status or political convictions”. Seems perfectly reasonable to me. But West European politicians are suggesting that this movement is an attempt to trivialize or justify anti-semitism. So it’s “anti-semetic” to say the murder of 780,000 Lithuanian dissidents and “enemies of the state” was genocide? I suppose there is a kind of twisted logic to this. It’s okay to say the murder of thousands of people in the WTC Twin Towers was an act of “terrorism”, but the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Iraq or Afghanistan is not “terrorism”. I think it was Noam Chomsky who said the control of language is thought control. So be careful what you think about!

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