If there are aliens who have taken a road trip to our remote part of the Milky Way they must be deeply appalled at what they continue to find here – most recently the calculated campaign by Putin's Russian Army to murder civilians in Ukraine. (Photo by MikhailKlimentyev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
If there are aliens who have taken a road trip to our remote part of the Milky Way they must be deeply appalled at what they continue to find here – most recently the calculated campaign by Putin's Russian Army to murder civilians in Ukraine.
If those aliens have conquered time and space they would have found that their periodic visits have witnessed one form of genocide or another through virtually every century of human "civilization" on this globe.
Before going any further, it would be wise to define the term. Wikipedia says "Genocide is the intentional destruction of a people — usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group — in whole or in part. Raphael Lemkin coined the term in 1944, combining the Greek word γένος (genos, "race, people") with the Latin suffix -caedo ("act of killing")."
Historians suggest that they can chronicle the first act of genocide, Rome's march against Carthage, with Marcus Cato quoted as justifying the coming massacre by asking his fellow Roman Senators, "Who are the ones who have waged war most cruelly? ... Who are the ones who have ravaged Italy? The Carthaginians."
In the Roman Legion siege that followed, historians say that at least 150,000 Carthaginians perished, many of them civilians, with one Roman remarking that "the number of deaths was incredibly high..."
The tyrants that followed throughout history would probably describe that butcher's bill as just one day's worth of work: there would be much worse to follow. Historians say we still do not appreciate the ruthless brutality of Genghis Khan.
The 20th Century started with the Turks attempt to destroy the Armenians in a barbaric forced march during World War I that remains a dark stain on the history of mankind.
It would be the Nazis that would surely shock the aliens for, from their orbital perch, they would have seen the industrial might of a nation turned to killing men, women, and children in places that could only be described as murder factories. The aliens would be hard pressed to understand how a group of supposed humans would seek to kill off an entire portion of their own species.
Now Putin, with the indiscriminate bombing of civilians and the torture and execution of villagers, is leaving a wake of mass graves in Ukraine. Even the normally moribund United Nations has been compelled to raise its voice about the growing evidence of war crimes.
As yet another anniversary is observed of Holocaust Remembrance Day we dare not lose our sense of outrage at this latest destruction of humanity by a ruler who believes himself above the law, above morality, and above the judgment of history. If there are aliens viewing from a great distance Putin's savagery, they need to know this civilization will never forgive or forget those who have committed the ultimate crime of genocide.
Lawrence Kadish serves on the Board of Governors of Gatestone Institute.