The second chapter of Killing Civilians was extremely hard to get through. It covered the first two spheres of civilian suffering which are direct killing, wounding, and torture and rape, sexual violence, and sexual exploitation. The chapter begins by discussing the massacre in the Republic of Congo, more specifically, the Capital city of Brazzaville. The government armed forces and their cobra militia and the Cocoye and their ninja militias were fighting so the southerners had to flee. They experienced rape, violence, and murder from both the cobra militia and the Ninja militia. This civilian suffering is a pattern throughout all wars. It is estimated that 217 million people have been killed in the 20th century from war, genocides, and pogroms. Even if civilians aren’t killed during these events, many of them still endure lifelong suffering. Wartime makes genocide easy to get away with because people are intensely focused on something else and soldiers are more easily convinced to go through with it. The chapter goes on to list a multitude of genocides and massacres. It also discusses the newer and easier way of massacring people through planes. Planes allow pilots to drop bombs, killing thousands but making it easier because they don’t have to actually see the damage they are doing. The second part of the chapter goes on to discuss rape and sexual violence. It talks about how many people rape to leave a piece of them with their enemy as well as to instill fear in their enemy and make them flee. The Rape of Nanking was one of the largest mass rapes. The Japanese raped Chinese women and then killed them or left them in such a deteriorated state mentally and physically that they would often attempt to commit suicide. This, unfortunately, is not the only case of mass rape. It is popular in many African countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo. It doesn’t matter the age or the status of a woman, any of them could get raped. It was extremely upsetting and difficult to read this section of the chapter. I had to take multiple breaks to regain my composure before I could continue reading. Hearing about all of the innocent women and sometimes men who were raped was so difficult and very infuriating. I hope that one day this will be put to an end and these women will get justice.
Genocide: A World History Chapter One Questions
- Should we break down the term genocide into more narrow terms?
- How come the genocides in the Bible aren’t talked about nearly as much as others?
- Why were people in areas like Athens and Rome so willing to eliminate their rivals?
The first chapter in Genocide: A World History begins by discussing the first known time that genocide was written about. It was talked about multiple times in the Hebrew Bible although that can’t be taken as fact. God would repeatedly tell his followers to eliminate certain groups and destroy all traces of them. It was so interesting to learn about these examples of genocide in the Bible. I am a Christian who has grown up going to Sunday school and church yet I have never heard anything about these genocides. It shows how often times only one side is shown in a matter. I was only shown the good in the bible, never the bad. The chapter goes on to talk about how rivalry and genocide have always been present in the world. It mentions rivalries between Rome and Carthage and Athens and Sparta. The Athenian Empire killed everyone on the Island of Melos when they would not give in to them. Sparta also killed off populations in multiple cities. Rome ended up destroying all of Carthage. These empires also committed cultural genocide. They would destroy any remnants of the culture that their rival left behind. They would burn books and destroy architecture. I think it is such a tragedy that they did this because so much of history was lost. We could have so much more knowledge on the past and their cultures, but now we don’t. The chapter finishes off by discussing how although genocide across time has been for different reasons and different groups of people, there are always some similarities. No matter how far back one goes, there will always be a similarity that can be found. I thought this chapter was interesting but not very enjoyable. It was interesting to hear about all of the mentions of genocide in the Bible and the earliest genocides in places like Athens and Rome, however, I had trouble keeping up with it. All of the names and places that I never heard of made it difficult to follow. I would get confused with who and what and where. Overall, this chapter was very informative about the first recordings of genocides.
Killing Civilians Chapter One Questions
- What makes people believe in either just war or sparing no civilians?
- Does America believe in just war or military necessity as a whole?
- Do you think that armies actually attempt to feel for the enemies?
Killing civilians by Hugo Slim begins by discussing the Mandingo people who live in Bakedu. They are traditionally farmers and traders. Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia came into their town and killed an estimated 350 people in the short span of thirty minutes. They killed them because they were Mandingo people and they did not view them as citizens. The lack of humanity that was shown was astounding. The book goes on to discuss limited warfare. In essence, limited warfare means that soldiers should use restraint while fighting and not use more than what’s necessary to succeed. Innocent citizens shouldn’t be killed. Proportionality means that one should not use more than what is necessary to defeat their enemy. An example used in the book to show limited warfare was Pope Gregory the IX’s list of those who should be spared during fighting. It was interesting to see that he included church figures on this list. One can assume that is to make sure he is spared during wartime. This list shows just how early limited warfare dates back. Just war means that people shouldn’t use war and fighting as the first move. They should rather strive for a resolution in a more peaceful way. It also means that when war is necessary, those fighting should try and make sure the effects of it are as minimal as possible. Those fighting should also not enjoy the fight and should always show mercy. On the other hand, Italian Protestant and lawyer Gentili said that innocent citizens can’t always be protected. If they partake in the war at all then they automatically lose their immunity. In the same realm as Gentili was Lieber who said that the importance of military victory trumps citizen immunity. It was interesting to learn that a majority of those fighting do not support limited warfare. Some say the killing of innocent civilians is bound to happen, and others say it is necessary to cleanse and remove the weak. I enjoyed this first chapter. It thoroughly explained terms and ideas that are essential in understanding the history of war and genocides while including examples to make it even more understandable. I thought it was structured in a very logical way that made it easy to understand. Overall, this chapter was very effective in setting a good basis for the rest of the book.
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