On Monday the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, likened the crisis in Syria to what he called ‚??the Holocaust‚??. He also warned against the shame of doing nothing to stop it.
David Cameron was utterly wrong to describe what is happening in Syria as a ‚??Holocaust‚?? ‚?? even to compare it to a holocaust. He is either demeaning the English language or simply engaging in cheap and ugly politicizing. He is playing a similar game to that of Leftists who describe everyone who dares to disagree with them as being a ‚??fascist‚??, ‚??racist‚?? or, nowadays, ‚??Islamophobic‚??. Such uses simply degrade the English language. In Cameron‚??s case, what happens when a real holocaust comes around? In the Leftists‚?? case, what happens when real Nazis are on the streets or when you come across genuine racists (not just those who don‚??t endorse your Marxist theories)?
The Holocaust against the Jews was a systematic attempt to wipe out an entire racial group. Six million Jews were killed in that attempt. Bashar Assad, on the other hand, in engaged in a civil war with Sunni militants and Islamists. The entire stability of Assad‚??s nation, Syria, is being threatened. He is not attempting to wipe out an entire ethnic or religious group.
In terms of numbers, Cameron‚??s got it all wrong too. How can the deaths of 1,400 Sunni Syrians be likened to a holocaust? Holocausts, or at least genocides, in the past (as in the Sudan, Europe and Armenia) involved millions of people. (In addition, what Pol Pot did in Cambodia was clearly genocide against ‚??the middle classes‚?? and many have argued that Stalin carried out genocide against the kulaks.)
So, yes, 1,400 deaths are 1,400 deaths too many. But it‚??s not a holocaust.
It could be argued that Cameron was warning of a potential holocaust in the future if we don‚??t act soon. Nonetheless, he did use the words ‚??doing nothing to stop it‚??; which is present tense. Despite that, holocaust now or holocaust next week, it‚??s still the case that even violent and bloody civil wars (such as what‚??s happening in Syria) are not synonymous with holocausts. There was no holocaust during the English Civil War or during the American Civil War (even if there were massacres). There were tens of thousands of deaths but still no holocaust because holocausts are very specific phenomena. As I said, they are systematic attempts to wipe out an entire racial, ethnic or religious/political group. Assad could not possibly wipe out every Sunni in Syria because they are the majority and that would therefore leave him with an empty shell of a nation.
Yet – and this is the extreme irony of what Cameron said – if the jihadists and Islamists did gain power, or even before that time, they may very well attempt to cleanse the whole of Syria of two groups: Christians and Shia Muslims. In fact they have already begun doing so. So I actually agree with Cameron when he told guests at a charity dinner that ‚??the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten‚??. Yes, but which holocaust was he talking about?
Consequently, in Cameron‚??s cheap attempt to inflate people‚??s emotions by talking about a holocaust, his actions may actually lead to a genuine holocaust ‚?? the holocaust of Syrian Christians by Sunni Islamists and jihadists. After all, Christians have already been ethnically cleansed from Libya and Iraq. They have also been ethnically cleansed from many other Arab-Muslim states before that. And even outside of the Arab world (as in Pakistan), it can be said that even if Christians aren‚??t the victims of outright genocide, they are certainly being killed and persecuted on a massive scale.
All this leads to one question: Why does Cameron place a higher premium on the lives of Syria‚??s Sunni Muslims than he does on the millions of Christians who are being killed, persecuted and ethnically cleansed throughout the Muslim world today? Why?
Interestingly, Cameron did shift from the word ‚??holocaust‚?? to the word ‚??genocide‚??. He cited two examples of genocide:
“When we look back at Srebrenica and Rwanda, we wonder now why we didn‚??t do more at the time.‚?Ě
What happened in Rwanda was genocide precisely for the reasons I have suggested. In that conflict, one ethnic group literally attempted to wipe out another ethnic group. Moreover, the Hutu even killed on a massive scale when there was no large ‚?? or hardly any – threat from the Tutsis. They massacred thousands simply for the sake of killing them. They wanted to wipe them out. Assad is simply and certainly not doing anything which remotely resembles what the Hutu did.
Finally, Cameron had the audacity and cheek to claim to speak for Britain as a whole. Yet he knows full well that the Commons rejected his call for a military intervention in Syria. He also knows that most British people are against intervention. Despite all that, this little PR man said:
‚??Britain is not the sort of country that wants to stand by.‚?Ě
So now Cameron believes that he is the nation? That he alone personifies the British people in all their ‚??diversity‚??. This is arrogant stuff; just the sort of thing you‚??d expect a despot or dictator to say.
Paul Austin Murphy lives in Bradford (the north of England) and has previously had articles published by American Thinker, Liberty GB, The New English Review, Think-Israel, Faith Freedom, Intellectual Conservative, and other outlets.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter