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Post On Bastardry and Crimes Against Humanity; from Gary Moore
Created by John Eipper on 05/04/17 4:24 AM

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On Bastardry and Crimes Against Humanity; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA, 05/04/17 4:24 am)

Gary Moore writes:

Re John Heelan and "Come hither you little bastard" (May 3): Too close for comfort! The proverbial genealogical aunt in my family (remarkable librarian and archivist Linda Jensen) long ago found that we seem to be descended from the scandalously active Mary Boleyn, one of the Fitz-progenitors John listed (in our case, supposedly, through later Lord De La Warr [Delaware], though presumably not when he was in the colonies for scorched earth warfare).

And re that latter theme: Serendipitously, though belatedly, I've come across in my notes two sources for our discussion of how to classify, jurisprudentially, the transatlantic slave trade (and confirming the comment by Timothy Ashby):

1. “Emerging Challenges for Criminology: Drawing the Margins of Crimes against Humanity,” International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory, Vol. 6, No.2, March 2013, 1150-1160, by Nikos Theodorakis (Harvard Law and University of Cambridge) and David P. Farrington (University of Cambridge).

Some quotes: "The field of international criminal law is a continuously evolving and challenging area of study."

"The broader notion of crimes against humanity is as old as humanity itself. However the present status has evolved mainly throughout the twentieth century, greatly influenced by the Nuremberg Trials."

"The latest development was the consensus in defining Crimes against Humanity during the ICC Diplomatic Conference of 1998, which can be considered as a milestone for the international community in the fight against human rights violations (Mettraux, 2002)."

"Crimes against humanity encompass attacks and violations on a wide range of civilian populations, which can be committed in times of peace and do not result necessarily in the physical extermination of the victims (Olmo, 2006). In contrast, the term 'genocide' is narrower, and 'war crimes' can only be committed during an armed conflict."

"The expression 'laws' or 'principles of humanity' embodies the idea that some transcendental humanitarian principles exist beyond conventional law that are not subject to any form of violation (Ntoubandi, 2007)."

"Crimes against humanity are therefore offences against humankind and injuries to humanness. Their gravity qualifies the perpetrators hostis humani generis, offending fundamental values not adequately defended in internal legal systems, urging international intervention (Stahn and van den Herik, 2010)."

"The very essence of 'humanitas' can be traced to the landmark concept in Greek philosophy of 'philanthropia' and the Roman concept of 'ethos' (Bauman, 1996)."

"Crimes against humanity are characterized by acts so abhorrent that shock our sense of human dignity (Kastrup, 2000)."

"The mens rea for crimes against humanity has a cognitive character, with the tribunals requiring that a defendant must have actual knowledge that his act is a part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population and pursuant to a plan."

2. The second source is Michel Gurfinkel of the Roussau Institute, as relayed by the Middle East Forum, April 24, 2015. (This one goes controversially farther in narrowing the terms, placing the Holocaust in a unique extreme category beyond mere genocide, different even from the Armenian genocide. The logic demands attention, since it speaks to the psychopathology underlying fanaticism; key quote, below: "crime was an end unto itself.")

Quotes: "For the sake of clarity and decency, one must delineate between (a) genocides (documented attempts to wipe off a race or a nation); (b) non-genocidal mass murders; (c) enslavement of large numbers of people; (d) planned dispossession and expulsion of large numbers of people; and (e) secondary effects of wars and other crises. In that order.  The Holocaust qualifies under point (a). So does the starvation program against the Hereros (in German Southwest Africa shortly before WWI), and the further genocidal operations against the Armenians, the Iraqi Chaldeans, the black minority in the Dominican Republic, the Roma/Sinti in Europe, and the Tutsis in Rwanda."

"The Soviet, Red Chinese, and Khmer Rouge domestic massacres qualify under point (b), as well as the Nazi treatment of European nations (like the Poles), the Japanese atrocities in China, and many further ethnic and religious massacres in the Balkans, South Asia, and Africa."

"The African slave trade and the slavery regimes in both Islamic countries and the Christian colonies in the Americas and elsewhere qualify under point (c). So do massive slave work programs in the Soviet Union, in Nazi Germany, in Maoist China, and in present-day North Korea."

"Qualifying under point (d): The US treatment of many Native Americans in the 19th century; the French treatment of Kabyles in Algeria in 1871; the alternate expulsion of Turks, Greeks, and Turks again between 1912 and 1923; the expulsion of Poles and French from areas slated for German colonization during WWII; the expulsion of ethnic Germans from East Prussia, Transoderian Germany, and Czechoslovakia in 1945; the mass anti-Christian pogroms in Turkey in 1955; the expulsion of Christians and Jews from Arab or Islamic countries from 1956 on (Egypt, North Africa, the Middle East); and the expulsion of ethnic Greeks from Northern Cyprus."

"A lot of tragedies befell civilian populations over the past hundred years, as a result of war, civil war, revolution, or other political or social upheaval. Many were cynically and deliberately engineered by governments or the military; the mass murder of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire paved the way. Many were planned and implemented along near-industrial methods. Still, there was something unique about the Holocaust, as the world realized in 1945, when the Nazi concentration camps were liberated."

"Crime, including political crime and politically or militarily motivated mass murder, is usually a means to achieve some higher purpose or to bring about some practical benefit. For instance, the Ottoman rationale in 1915 was to 'remove' the Armenian minority from Turkish Anatolia in order to prevent a pro-Russian Armenian uprising and to achieve geostrategic cohesion. They had no further racial or metaphysical concerns. The few Armenians who converted to Islam were spared; many Armenian orphans were adopted by Turkish families and raised as Turks."

"As far as the Holocaust was concerned, however, crime was an end unto itself. Under the Nazi genocidal project, no Jew was allowed to survive, neither by renouncing Judaism nor even as a pariah or a slave, and in fact very few Jews in the Nazi-controlled areas managed to survive. Moreover, the annihilation of the Jews was to take precedence over Germany's strategic considerations, and did actually divert and waste crucial resources in manpower, energy, and transportation needed by German forces. Finally, the Jews were not just to be murdered: they had to be murdered in the most gruesome and sadistic way, not just with physical cruelty but with moral or mental cruelty as well."

JE comments:  These are very useful working definitions.  Ultimately, however, "Crimes against Humanity" boil down to the Potter Stewart test of "I know it when I see it."  A case in point is the transatlantic slave trade, which Southern apologists considered a cornerstone of the timeless "natural order."  More importantly, it was legal.


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  • Bastards Poor and Rich (Tor Guimaraes, USA 05/05/17 10:26 AM)
    Most people get quite indignant by the "ghetto" culture, whereby irresponsible young people take advantage of social welfare to freely engage in the creation of bastards. The WAIS discussion about bastard creation by royalty shows that the self-indulgence is universal, with royalty also making taxpayers pay for their promiscuity. Both groups are just like many animal species that do not mate for life and/or neglect their offspring.

    Regarding crimes against humanity (see Gary Moore, 4 May), it seems as if the law is way ahead of its enforcement. The evidence is clear that might makes right, since powerful countries get away with proverbial murder, simply refusing to abide by rulings from international courts. Without enforcement, any law becomes useless. Thus, powerful countries refusing to accept responsibility for their crimes merely point fingers at the crimes committed by their accusers on the other side.


    JE comments:  Traditionally, the bastard was the child of a nobleman.  Here's the 13th-century French definition:  "acknowledged child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife."  Note the operative term acknowledged.  Presumably, legitimacy didn't matter if you were a commoner, as there was no property or inheritance to squabble over.


    Bastardry is proving to be a popular topic for WAISers.  Next up:  Edward Jajko.


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