Tuesday, July 17, 2012

America as a Moral Authority?

The U.N. has called for nations to adopt a "responsibility to protect."
This list/map show the countries that are considered vulnerable for genocide
( www.genocidewatch.org).   Current list of at risk people groups... 

1 Somalia Minorities (Bantu, Benadiri and ‘caste’ groups like Gaboove); clan members at risk in fighting Hawiye, Darod, etc.
2 Sudan (Fur, Zaghawa, Massalit and others in Darfur; Dinka, Nuer and others in the South; Nuba, Beja)
3 Afghanistan (Hazara, Pashtun, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Baluchis)
4 Iraq (Shia, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkmen, Christians, Mandaeans, Yezidis, Shabak, Faili Kurds, Baha’is, Palestinians)
5 Burma/Myanmar (Kachin, Karenni, Karen, Mons, Rakhine, Rohingyas, Shan, ChinZomis)
6 Pakistan (Ahmadiyya, Baluchis, Hindus, Mohhajirs, Pashtun, Sindhis, religious minorities)
7 Dem. Rep. of the Congo (Hema and Lendu, Hutu, Luba, Lunda, Tutsi, Banyamulenge, Batwa/Bambuti)
8 Ethiopia (Anuak, Afars, Oromo, Somalis, smaller minorities)
9 Nigeria (Ibo, Ijaw, Ogoni, Yoruba, Hausa (Muslims) and Christians in the North)
10 CÔte d’Ivoire (Northern Mande/Dioula, Senoufo, Bete and Guéré)

How can we learn from history?
It's easy to point a finger to other places in the world...

But how did the United States handle things historically as a country?
Can the USA be a moral authority or give advise to other countries?
("Do what we did..." versus "Don't do what we did...")
Have we admitted our shortcomings?
Our mistakes?  Our failures?

What do you think?

Governor Alexander Ramsey September 9, 1862 to the Minnesota Legislature:

"Our course then is plain. The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the State. The public safety imperatively requires it. Justice calls for it. Humanity  itself, outraged by their unutterable atrocities, demands it. The blood of the murdered cries to heaven for vengeance on these assassins of women and children. They have themselves made their annihilation an imperative social necessity.

Faithless to solemn treaty obligations, to old friendships, to the ties o£ blood, regardless even of self interest when it conflicts with their savage passions, incapable of honor, of truth or of gratitude; amenable to no law; bound by no moral or social restraints- they 'have already destroyed in one monstrous act of perfidy, every pledge on which it was possible to found a hope of ultimate reconciliation.'

Bounty Check paid for the killing of Little Crow
They must be regarded and treated as outlaws.

If any shall escape extinction, the wretched remnant must be driven beyond our borders and our frontier garrisoned with a force sufficient to forever prevent their return
. So entirely have they destroyed all confidence among our people in the securities of life and property in the neighborhood of Indians, that much as many might regret it, it will doubtless be necessary sooner or later to remove the Winnebagoes, now dwelling in the heart of one of our most populous and beautiful agricultural districts, beyond the borders of the State.

To execute this policy and to organize a permanent system of frontier defenses, it is necessary to engage the approval and assistance of the General Government, and I therefore urge upon you the necessity of pressing these topics by memorials of this body upon the attention of the President and Congress."
Governor Henry A Swift, Minnesota Governor address to the Minnesota Legislature
January 11, 1864.
"A corps of State scouts was organized to track these savages to their hiding places, and in order to enlist the inhabitants of the menaced district in their extirpation, arms were issued to them, and a reward of twenty-five dollars, afterwards increased to $200, was offered for every hostile Sioux warrior killed.


Stages toward genocide include:

1) Classifying people
2) Using symbols to identify groups
3) Dehumanizing a group such as calling Tutsis "cockroaches"
4) Organizing mobs, or militias to harm the group
5) Polarizing the society so it is "them" against "us;"
6) Making preparations such as drawing up hit lists
7) Extermination of groups of people
8) Denial
Citation: The Genocide Studies Reader, Totten & Bartrop, eds., NY & London, Routledge, 2009, pp 127-9

The 150th Anniversary of the US-Dakota Indian War creates an opportunity to look at the past, dig out the TRUTH and then make informed actions for the future.

Some things for us to consider when weighing history:
What is the definition of "genocide"  ?
What are some of the policies associated with genocide?
Was the formal policy of the United States or state government to exterminate people?
What was the policy of American Indians?
What is racism?

Did the results from formal state/federal policies lead to genocidal results or extermination? (whether or not intentioned?)