Throughout history cultural genocide has occurred throughout the world with little or no punishment. What does that say about us? Before our ancestors embarked on the shores of what was to become the Americas in 1492, it was inhabited by indigenous people known to all today as the American Indian.
Conservative estimates the population of the United States prior to European contact was greater than 12-million. Four centuries later, the population was reduced by 95% or 237-thousand.
In 1493, when Columbus returned to the Hispaniola, he implemented policies of slavery and mass extermination of the Taino population of the Caribbean. Within three years, five-million were dead. Bartolome' de Las Casas, priest, scholar, historian and 16th century human rights advocate was the primary historian of the Columbian era. He wrote of many accounts of the horrors that the Spanish colonists inflicted upon the indigenous population: hanging them en mass, hacking their children into pieces to be used as dog feed, and other horrific cruelties.
The Removal Act of 1830 set into motion a series of events which led to the "Trail of Tears" in 1838, a forced march of the Cherokees, resulting in the destruction of most of the Cherokee population. As appalling as it is, we now also know that the Indians were intentionally exposed to smallpox by Europeans.
In California and Texas there was blatant genocide of Indians. In California, the decrease from about a quarter of a million Indians to less than 20,000 is primarily due to the cruelties and wholesale massacres perpetrated by the gold miners and early settlers who were assured their land by the Homestead Act of 1862.
We have a rich history of killing; of annihilating those who are deemed inferior. Not just in America, but in the world.
We have a bad track record.
In Canada, the aboriginal natives, the Beothuk people are completely extinct as a result of loss of habitat and importation of European diseases. As the European settlements grew, the Beothuk 's withdrew into the interior of the island and subsequently starved.
Between 1880 and 1920, under the rule of King Leopold II, the Congo Free State, (before it was taken over by Belgium and became the Belgium Congo), suffered great loss of life due to criminal indifference to its native inhabitants in the pursuit of increased rubber production. Over 10-million natives were the victims of murder, starvation, exhaustion induced by over-work, and disease.
The Ustashe regime of Croatia committed genocide against Serbs, Jews and Gypsies during World War II. They also mass murdered other political opponents. Mile Budak, the Minister for Education & Culture, said in July 1941 that "The basis for the Ustashe movement is religion. For minorities such as the Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies, we have three million bullets. We will kill a part of the Serbs. Others we will deport, and the rest we will force to accept the Roman Catholic Religion. Thus the new Croatia will be rid of all Serbs in its midst in order to be 100% Catholic within 10 years. "
In Hitler 's Nazi Germany, 11-million people were systematically starved, tortured, shot and gassed. Six-million were Jews, including 1.5 million children in the Nazi 's Final Solution to the Jewish Question. The plan was to rid the world of all Jews, all disabled, all Gypsies, Slavs, Poles, and Communists.
The world knew it was happening and yet it sat silent while millions were gassed in Hitler 's ovens. As the world came face to face with the horrors of Hitler 's Holocaust, we vowed that it would never happen again. And yet, genocide around the globe continues.
In 1985, German General Lothar von Trotha attempted to exterminate the Herero and Namaqua peoples of Southwest Africa. Sixty-five thousand Herero (80 percent of the total Herero population), and 10,000 Nama (50 percent of the total Nama population) were killed or perished. Characteristic of this genocide was death by starvation and the poisoning of wells for the Herero and Nama populations that were trapped in the Namib Desert.
Between 1920 and 1945 the Japanese massacred hundreds of thousands of its citizens. Some authorities claimed 300,000 people killed during the three months following the fall of Nanjing to the Japanese. Reportedly, Unit 731 conducted biological and chemical warfare experiments on living humans.
When British Malaya fell to the Japanese Imperial Forces in February 1942, ethnic Chinese in Singapore were systematically exterminated on the pretext of eliminating "anti-Japanese" elements. The death toll ranged upwards of 100,000. Smaller scale Genocide was also tar-geted at Koreans, Filipinos, Dutch, Vietnamese, Indonesians and Burmese.