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Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Let’s rename striving to end genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity

Better goals are Equality, Human Rights, and Democracy for all (HERD)

The concepts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity were established after WWII, the Holocaust. After Nuremberg, international law determined that war and military commands do not give limitless permissions. There are norms that, even in a war, are a bridge too far, immoral compared to ‘normal’ warfare. There are several main types.

1. The Nazis (and medical science at the time) held that a People is determined by its DNA. So, their genocide meant to exterminate genetic groups—even if they had a diverse DNA, as the Jewish People has.

2. Yet, there are other forms of genocide. Killing all the men and raping all the women, seeing a woman as just the fertile ground on which male sperm sprouts into a human, is a pre-scientific form of genetic genocide.

3. Then there is the destruction that aims to eradicate any remembrance of the culture, language, mindset, and character traits of a certain People.

Many genocides have seen mixtures of these types.

Genocide is often against a people lacking a homeland or living in great numbers as minorities in their respective diasporas, like Armenians, Jews, Roma, Bosnian Muslims, Kurds, Yazidis, Rohingya, Uyghurs, etc. In many regional wars, hundreds of thousands of people are raped and murdered.

Ethnic cleansing or gentrification of an area also smacks of genocide. Note that poor people often have their own, undervalued language and culture.

If you ask a fair question, what importance is there to protect every culture, language, and dialect, a solid answer is: How vital is ‘home’? NB: In a world where increasingly, people feel alienated and uprooted!

The problem is that when genocide was defined, it was thought to be a gruesome exception. There had been the genocides on the Armenians, Roma (Gypsies), and Jews. But, frankly, throwing atom bombs on major Asian cities (but not on Germany) seems to me racist and genocidal too.

Now we have genocide by ISIS, the regime in Myanmar (Burma), the junta of China. And the way the Nazis tried to enslave the Polish People and destroy its culture, and now, how Putin tries to obliterate Ukraine culture (and even its name), isn’t that genocide too? And we have the frequently broadcasted mass-murderous intentions by the terrorists leading Iran and the Gentile Palestinians. And, in the past, the leaders of Russia, China, and Cambodia murdered millions of their own citizens. That wasn’t genocide, ‘just’ mass murder? But it surely was regarding millions ‘unfit’ to exist.

Whole continents were not given medical information and medication to fight AIDS (but they were good enough to double-blind test anti-AIDS medication on, which, if successful would be unaffordable for them.) In the Rwandan Civil War, more than a million people were killed in a week (no typo). No one country interfered or cared. Presently, 9% of all humans chronically don’t have enough food. They are mostly not Caucasian and very poor and live in former colonies of Europe. Is that not genocide?

Genocide seems to be when you want to get rid of certain Peoples or don’t care when their survival is at stake. They can have certain physical or cultural aspects in common. That has included visible or invisible traits, as in the weak, old, frail, mentally or physically handicapped, LGBTQ, etc.

Unfortunately, genocide has turned out not as sporadic as once thought. Its cruelty and inhumaneness do not stand out so much anymore. All war is cruel and now, there are so many endangered groups. From 1956 to 2016 saw 43 recognized genocides, killing 50 million people, displacing more.

Maybe the concepts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity are losing their shock value and need an update. And that might be easy. They all have in common the anti-democratic idea that some people and Peoples are more valuable than others. And, it is also unthinkable that a real democracy openly would commit genocide. In fact, dictatorships more and more don’t only endanger their citizens lacking human rights. More and more, they threaten the whole democratic world and human survival.

Maybe the enemy is not just the less and less appalling genocide but the absence of (true but imperfect) democracy and all human rights.

Maybe, democratic countries should stop ignoring the global status quo. They should band together and guide the whole world toward democracy.

And not just on a communal and national level. Supremacy, an anti-democratic mindset, also ‘reasons’ that men may treat ‘their’ wives as slaves. Not only form women the world’s majority. At home, often, kids learn how to oppress and give up on resisting to be suppressed.

Instead of ‘just’ fighting racism, oppression, discrimination, genocide, terrorism, crimes against humanity, war crimes, slavery, world hunger, dictators, capitalism, communism, rape, any supremacy and bigotry, and the like, let’s fight for Equality, Human Rights, and Democracy for all, in an acronym: HERD. “Fighting for good” advocates better than “against bad.”

NB: HERD is not an existing activist acronym. I made it up here.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1500 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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