THE GREAT HUMAN RIGHTS TRAGEDY OF OUR TIME
By Lydia Goodman
December 22, 2015
Evil, unchecked, is the prelude to genocide.-Anonymous —Joel C. Rosenberg, The Auschwitz Escape
Any day now, The State Department is expected to designate the atrocities taking place in Syria and Iraq against the Yazidi as genocide. Rightly so.They are being systematically wiped off the face of the earth by brutal persecutors who consider them to be “devil-worshipers”. However, it has been widely reported that Christians in the Middle East region have not sufficiently proven to The State Department that they too are facing extinction because of their faith. It can be said that they suffer from “crimes against humanity” but they just don’t seem to fit the criteria to be designated as victims of genocide.
The definition of Genocide can be found in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on December 9, 1948: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: a) Killing members of the group; b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
“...At several steps on their path to death by beheading and crucifixion last month, 11 indigenous Christian workers near Aleppo, Syria had the option to leave the area and live. The 12-year-old son of a ministry team leader also could have spared his life by denying Christ.
The indigenous missionaries were not required to stay at their ministry base in a village near Aleppo, Syria; rather, the ministry director who trained them had entreated them to leave. As the Islamic State (ISIS), other rebel groups and Syrian government forces turned Aleppo into a war zone of carnage and destruction, ISIS took over several outlying villages. The Syrian ministry workers in those villages chose to stay in order to provide aid in the name of Christ to survivors.
"I asked them to leave, but I gave them the freedom to choose," said the ministry director, his voice tremulous as he recalled their horrific deaths. "As their leader, I should have insisted that they leave."
They stayed because they believed they were called to share Christ with those caught in the crossfire, he said.
"Every time we talked to them," the director said, "they were always saying, 'We want to stay here – this is what God has told us to do. This is what we want to do.' They just wanted to stay and share the gospel."
Those who chose to stay could have scattered and hid in other areas, as their surviving family members did. On a visit to the surviving relatives in hiding, the ministry director learned of the cruel executions.
The relatives said ISIS militants on Aug. 7 captured the Christian workers in a village whose name is withheld for security reasons. On Aug. 28, the militants asked if they had renounced Islam for Christianity. When the Christians said that they had, the rebels asked if they wanted to return to Islam. The Christians said they would never renounce Christ.
The 41-year-old team leader, his young son and two ministry members in their 20s were questioned at one village site where ISIS militants had summoned a crowd. The team leader presided over nine house churches he had helped to establish. His son was two months away from his 13th birthday.
In front of the team leader and relatives in the crowd, the Islamic extremists cut off the fingertips of the boy and severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam. When the team leader refused, relatives said, the ISIS militants also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion...” —Christianaid.org
As reported by Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute, in a separate incident on the same day, ISIS militants publicly raped two Christian women, ages 29 and 33, in front of a crowd summoned by the jihadis, and then beheaded them, along with six men, when they refused to convert to Islam. “Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were praying the Lord’s prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to commend their spirits to Jesus,” the ministry director, who had baptized some of the victims, said. According to the witnesses, “One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, ‘Jesus!’” Their bodies were then crucified...”
Let’s look at that definition of genocide again:
members of the group: CHECK
b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group: CHECK
c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part: CHECK
d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group:
Honestly, I think beheading Christian women for their faith pretty much takes care of birth control, so... CHECK
The Hudson Institute reports there are up to 4,000 enslaved Yazidis and Christians. In October, Islamic State published pricing guidelines for slaves based on age, starting with “200,000 dinars for a Yazidi/Christian woman aged 1-9” and ending with “75,000 dinars for a Yazidi/Christian woman aged 30-40.” ISIS guidelines price Christian and Yazidi nine-year-olds at $172. So...
e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group: CHECK
Why then would The State Department deny such an important designation to Christians? There are noises from certain quarters who argue that Christians and Jews are considered “People of the Book” (Quran) and are therefore given certain protections that are not afforded to the Yazidi. They can convert to Islam (or die) or they can pay a jizya tax to the Islamic State and live under a brutal justice system devised by murderous jihadists. Well, Okie-Dokie then. Let’s pray that their money doesn’t run out or they don’t mind denying Jesus...if they want to live.
Other experts believe that The State Department’s refusal to include Christians in a declaration of genocide is due in part to Articles 3 and 4 of the Convention:
III. The following acts shall be punished: a) Genocide;
b) Conspiracy to commit genocide; c) Direct and public incitement to commit
genocide; d) Attempt to commit genocide; e) Complicity in genocide.
Article IV. Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals. (all emphasis mine)
Again, let me reiterate the perverted crimes committed against people of all faith, as compiled by The American Thinker:
ISIS has been enforcing its “convert or die” policy against
• Thousands have been kidnapped and murdered by ISIS.
• Some executions are videotaped and used as threats against those held captive.
• Those who refuse to renounce their faith have been raped, beheaded, or crucified.
• Women and girls have been enslaved and sexually abused.
• Christians have been systematically stripped of all their wealth.
• Christian homes are marked with the red letter N for “Nazarene.”
• Members of the clergy have been assassinated.
• Churches and ancient monasteries have been demolished or desecrated.
Without an official designation, these brutal atrocities against Christians and other minorities will continue and the monsters that commit them will go unpunished because no country, including the United States, will be legally obligated to take action. In other words, a do-nothing State Department would have to do something.
To that end, leaders are calling on John Kerry to include Christians in the declaration of genocide. In a letter dated December 4, 2015, it stated in part,
...“The Genocide Convention defines genocide as killing and certain other acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” We have extensive files supporting a finding that ISIS’ treatment of Iraqi and Syrian Christians, as well as Yazidi and other vulnerable minorities, meets this definition.
They include evidence of ISIS assassinations of Church leaders; mass murders; torture, kidnapping for ransom in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria; its sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women; its practices of forcible conversions to Islam; its destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artifacts; and its theft of lands and wealth from Christian clergy and laity alike. We will also present ISIS’ own, public statements taking “credit” for mass murder of Christians, and expressing its intent to eliminate Christian communities from its “Islamic State...”
House Concurrent Resolution 75, which names and decries the ongoing ‘genocide’ against Christians and other vulnerable minorities in Iraq and in Syria was introduced by Congressman Jeff Fortenberry and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. The resolution already has 153 bipartisan cosponsors and a similar resolution is to be soon introduced in the Senate:
H.Con.Res.75 - Expressing the sense of Congress that those who commit or support atrocities against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities, including Yazidis, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka'e, and Kurds, and who target them specifically for ethnic or religious reasons, are committing, and are hereby declared to be committing, "war crimes", "crimes against humanity", and "genocide". Declares that:
the atrocities committed against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities targeted specifically for religious reasons are crimes against humanity and genocide;
each of the Contracting Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and other international agreements forbidding war crimes and crimes against humanity, particularly the governments of countries and their nationals who are in any way supporting these crimes, are reminded of their legal obligations under the Convention and these international agreements;
the United Nations (U.N.) and the Secretary-General are called upon to assert leadership by calling the atrocities war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide;
the member states of the U.N., with an appeal to the Arab States that wish to uphold religious freedom and justice, should collaborate on measures to prevent further war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, and collaborate on the establishment of tribunals to punish those responsible for the ongoing crimes;
the governments of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Lebanese Republic, and other countries are commended for having undertaken to shelter and protect those fleeing extremist violence; and those who force the migration of religious communities from their ancestral homelands, including specifically the Nineveh Plain and Mount Sinjar, should be prosecuted in accordance with the laws of the place where their crimes were committed and under applicable international criminal statutes and conventions.
“The United States should formally recognize that a genocide of Christians in the Middle East is taking place, and take steps to protect the vulnerable population.”
David Brog, a board member of Christians United for Israel, called the persecution of Mideast Christians “the great human rights tragedy of our time.” “This [Obama] administration has a disturbing record of downplaying and even ignoring this tragedy. This is just one more sign that the administration is deaf to the cries of our Christian brethren.”
Sadly, I’m afraid he’s right but...
I’m praying he’s wrong.
© 2015 Lydia Goodman - All Rights Reserve
As a writer and commentator, Lydia Goodman is passionate about speaking out against progressive policies that threaten to erode our personal rights, freedoms, and traditions. Lydia has also written numerous articles on world human rights issues, in an effort to focus attention on the atrocities perpetuated against people of faith.