Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of many books, including "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance."More ↓Less ↑
Not only is it fatally dangerous to be a Christian in Syria and Egypt, but “70 percent of Christians killed around the world in 2012 died in the African country of Nigeria, where the persecution continues today” (“Deadliest place to be a Christian: Nigeria,” Charlie Butts, OneNewsNow.com, May 31).
According to a Fox News report, in Iraq, which we invaded in 2003 to liberate its people from a vicious dictatorship, “the number of Christian houses of worship there has dwindled alarmingly in the decade since the U.S. invaded and ousted Saddam Hussein from power.
“There are just 57 Christian churches in the entire country, down from more than 300 as recently as 2003, Patriarch Louis Sako told Egyptian-based news agency MidEast Christian News. The churches that remain are frequent targets of Islamic extremists, who have driven nearly a million Christians out of the land, say human rights advocates” (“Christians, churches dwindling in Iraq since start of war 10 years ago,” Perry Chiaramonte, foxnews.com, March 21).
We hear a lot about Barack Obama’s targeted killing of Pakistan’s citizens, including innocent civilians, by drones, but you probably have not heard about this:
“The destruction a Christian neighborhood suffered on Saturday speaks volumes about growing religious intolerance in the country.
“An over 3,000-strong mob set ablaze more than 150 houses of Christians in Lahore’s Joseph Colony over alleged blasphemous remarks … by Sawan Masih, a 28-year-old Christian sanitation worker” (“Christians under siege: Mob rule in Lahore,” Rana Tanveer, The Express Tribune, March 10).
Did you ever hear our compassionate President Obama say anything about that?
And dig this from Walid Shoebat, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who is now a peace activist:
“Christians and other religious minorities are being falsely accused daily by those who use the Islamic blasphemy law as a method of intimidation. … The evidence of Islam’s hostility towards Christians is overwhelming, with very limited attention given to it in the international community. … Christians have become the most oppressed class in Pakistan. … 2012 also became one of the worst years of Christian persecution against the religious minorities in Pakistan, when hundreds of Christians and Hindu girls were abducted, raped and forcibly converted to Islam. …
“The targeting of Christian girls and women has become a twisted form of sexual bloodsport for fanatic Muslims. Christian girls are particularly vulnerable to these types of crimes. Christian girls and women normally don’t file any police reports against such crimes; they usually keep silent because of the fear of the fanatics.
“Christians are also economically very poor and cannot hire any lawyers to defend them. That’s why only 2 percent of rape cases were reported and a majority of cases were never reported by media or press” (“Rescue Christians Report: What our Donors’ money is doing in Pakistan,” Shoebat, shoebat.com, Nov. 18, 2012).
Discovering the mortifications and murders of Christians in their own countries reminded me of my brief rush of hope in 1948 when the United Nations suddenly appeared stricken with guilt at the genocide and vicious debasement of Christians and other minorities in their lands.
As reported by Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations:
“In 1948, the member states of the United Nations General Assembly – repulsed and emboldened by the sinister scale and intent of the crimes they had just witnessed – unanimously passed the Genocide Convention. Signatories agreed to suppress and punish perpetrators who slaughtered victims simply because they belonged to an ‘undesirable’ national, ethnic or religious group.
“The wrongfulness of such mindful killings was manifest. Though genocide has been practiced by colonizers, crusaders and ideologues from time immemorial, the word ‘genocide,’ which means the ‘killing (Latin, cide) of a people (Greek, genos),’ had only been added to the English language in 1944 so as to capture this special kind of evil. …
“Genocide differed from ordinary conflict because, while surrender in war normally stopped the killing, surrender in the face of genocide only expedited it. It was – and remains – agreed that the systematic, large-scale massacre of innocents stands atop any ‘hierarchy of horribles’” (“Never Again: The World’s Most Unfulfilled Promise,” Power, pbs.org).
Around the world, the rousing cheers among supporters – including me – of the U.N.’s erasure of genocide were “never again!”
But it couldn’t be more horrifyingly evident to those who give a damn that this U.N. sanctifying of such basic human rights has been a ghastly failure. Genocide by some of its members remains.
Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, president of Genocide Watch, has fought to end genocide with a very carefully researched formula for success in “How We Can Prevent Genocide: Building an International Campaign to End Genocide” (genocidewatch.org).
I recommend you read it, but I am not moved to chant “never again!” this time.
Stanton says one of the keys to ending genocide is the involvement of the U.N. Security Council. In that case, will permanent members Russia and China and certain others be resigning from the Security Council? And what role will U.N. leadership take in protecting such victims as those Christians in Egypt, Syria, Nigeria, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan? What about victims not acknowledged as such by other U.N. leaders?
Even after Barack Obama is gone from the presidency, who here in our Congress, our courts and our communities will lead, taking a stand for these victims?
I hope I’m wrong about this resurgent effort for an international end to genocide. That’s why I’m asking you to read Dr. Gregory H. Stanton. But, right now, why are so many of us still silent about the world’s ceaseless genocide?
However, my belief is that ending genocide cannot be accomplished by the involvement of the U.N. – it will take a coalition of nations who refuse to be silent accomplices in its continuance.