G:AWH Chapter 2

G:AWH Chapter 2

“Even during periods of peace, the threat of war or the ostensible need to prepare for war can instigate genocidal situations. War is not a necessary precondition for genocide, and genocide does not necessarily occur during war. Still, genocide is most often associated with wartime intentions, politics, and actions” (16).
“Civilian casualties are heavy, and women, children, and the elderly are intimately involved” (16).

Mongols:
– followed three templates:
1. the target people with the choice of either submitting to the Mongol overlordship or facing complete destruction; “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must” (Thucydides)
2. faced those political entities, many in China and India, that decided to resist subjugation by military means
3. “total elimination” (can be considered genocide, though “it is important to reiterate tat the Mongols did not attack groups because they hated or resented their religions or ethnicities. In this template, whole communities sometimes faced elimination at the hands of the mongols because of a perceived slight or transgression”). [I can’t decide if this is better or worse; is it better to target people because of who they are as a population or because they maybe did something to offend you? Are we able to make that decision? I want to lean towards the opinion that says it’s better to want to kill a population because it’s seen as some form of retaliation, but really I don’t think there’s any reason that an entire culture of people should be murdered.]
– ‘if we totally kill everyone in City A, then if we show up in any of the other cities B, C, D, E they’ll just submit and do what we want out of fear that we’ll do to them what we did to those in City A’ (the terror factor was a big part of Mongol conquering- other cultures’ fear of the Mongols made conquering those other cultures incredibly easy or just unnecessary)
– lots of victim blaming
– there’s one section that questions the purpose of the entirety of the killing and genocide perpetrated by the Mongols, and it suggests that there wasn’t really a whole lot of (if any) moral code that “condemned the killing of political rivals or their opponents”. The Mongols had execution quotas to meet and were so focused on overtaking their rivals that they practiced extermination to the furthest degree, in the sense that “they would return to the site of mass killing and make sure they eliminated any citizens who might have survived”. On one hand, I want to say “go Mongols! That’s real dedication!” because that’s the kind of person I am- giving credit for dedication where it’s due (like twitter user @big_ben_clock who has tweeted “BONG BONG” every hour, on the hour, for three years and counting) but, of course, on the other hand, killing every single person of an entire culture just to kill every single person of an entire culture isn’t exactly on the same level as a crazy twitter user.

The Crusaders

I’m not going to talk a whole lot about content here because a) I’m behind and b) I’m quickly running out of time. I have a really hard time talking about the Crusaders because this group of people’s main objective was to kill off people that didn’t have the same religious views as they did with their only justification being something along the lines of “for God” or “because it’s what God told us to do” which honestly is just such bullshit. I don’t believe in God, I don’t think (it’s complicated) but I do believe that if God exists the way that my Presbyterian Pastor parents taught me that God exists, God is a loving, all-seeingĀ beingĀ of sorts that doesn’t validate and certainly doesn’t encourage mass murder.
I’ll quote this, really quick: “The idea of ‘holy war’ [which I’ll talk about in some other post because this is also a ton of bull] in the Crusades contained the seeds of genocide. Christian knights were called to destroy a ‘vile and contemptible race’ in the name of the purity of the Catholic Church as deigned by the vicar of Christ on earth, the pope. This powerful ideology blended easily with ambitions of material gain and dreams of wealth, propelling a generation of knights an retainers to undertake dangerous missions… blah blah blah”. Anyway, maybe ‘God told them to’ or the Crusades were ‘for Christ’ but like Naimark so eloquently put it, there were ulterior motives that may have actually been the real motive all along.

I’m fine.

QUESTIONS:

  • Another kind of open-ended question that isn’t specifically about this reading, I guess: why are women and children typically treated differently than men?
  • Master Roger (quote on Page 23): “They perpetrated such crimes to the women that it is better to keep silent lest people get ideas for most evil deeds;” would talking about these crimes really give people ideas? Is that realistic?
  • Why do “some commentators” find it difficult to classify the Mongol killing as genocide?