The population in New York Metro is 8.4 million.
The largest city in the world, Tokyo, has a population of 33,200,000.
Today, if every person living in Zimbabwe just disappeared off the earth, the number of people gone would still not equal the number of those who met their deaths because of Adolph Hitler’s rise to power.
The United Nations defines “genocide” as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” (A word the U.N. Security Counsel refused to utilize in a 1994 eight-hour meeting discussing the Rwandan "crisis" as 500,000–1,000,000 people were slaughtered. This refusal prevented the U.N. from having to take preventative action).
Genocides fascinate me; not because of the bloodshed or the death tools or any of the gory details, but because of how and why they happen. Because of the depths of human emotions associated with such phenomena. Hitler loved Germany as much as he hated “non-Germans.” Certain Americans cited “Manifest Destiny” as a reason to slaughter true Americans. The Qianlong Emperor loved leadership, the result being the genocide of about 600,000 Dzungars, destroying the state and the people.
Genocides fascinate the sociologist and the criminologist in me: how does a soldier fall asleep guarding a gas chamber as hundreds of men, women, children, and elderly march to their horrific death? How can machete-wielding people hack at their neighbor who is begging for mercy? How does one forgive their torturer, who ensured the survivor’s entire family perished? And how can a professional, astute organization called “United” not come to the aid of the weak? Most importantly, how do we get there?
There are of course practical, historical, psychological, and politically based answers to my last question. You study human beings long enough you see the evil that we can produce, sometimes accomplished so easily it boggles the mind of even the toughest of us who have seen the worst.
But cast aside the practical, the history, psychology, and politics. Study the numbers of people killed in genocides: entire cities, countries, of people. Just … gone. How did we get there?