Sometimes, one group of human beings will murder another on a mass scale. We call it different things: ethnic cleansing, holocaust, genocide. Compelling writers account for it. Tadeusz Borowski’s This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen is the tale of a Polish Capo, one of the prisoners who aided the Nazis in the extermination of the Jews in World War II. Amy Chua’s World on Fire attempts to theorize on the structural causes of more recent genocides: in Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe.
What matters is that we have the capacity for this, as a species. As individuals, we have the capacity to quietly condone it, to ask for it, to joke as we burn the bodies. The recipe is never exactly the same. It usually involves minor distinctions between one group and another, usually in physical appearance. Simple othering. Combine that with economic inequalities between the two groups, a dash of ignorance. Let it simmer.
Even today, these ingredients exist in abundance. They aren’t going away any time soon.
Genocide will happen again.
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