Memorial Day of Jan. 27 and history's 9 other shameful moments

Memorial Day is an international celebration recurring on Jan. 27 of each year to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. The date has been designated by resolution 60/7 of the United Nations' General Assembly on Nov. 1, 2005, during the 42nd plenary meeting.

Jan. 27 refers to the day in 1945 when the Red Army troops of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, engaged in a major offensive over the Vistula River on the road to Germany and liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp.

In the following video, which was produced some years ago by CNN, three survivors are asked by English news anchor Don Riddell how they lived to see Liberation Day.

We want pay homage not only to the Holocaust victims, but also to the victims of each massacre that occurred throughout history. Commemorating this particular loss doesn't mean overlooking other similar atrocities. So we’ve compiled a list of nine most terrible genocides recorded in human history. The term genocide, first coined by Polish Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin and defined for the first time in 1948 by the U.N. General Assembly, refers to the systematic destruction of all or part of a racial, ethnic, religious, or national group of people.

  1. The Genocide of Native Americans is by far the most overlooked genocide in history. European colonization of the New World led to the decline of its indigenous population by more than 80 percent. Not only during American colonization but also during the Asia colonial period, numerous populations have suffered European regimes.

  2. The Ottoman Greek (1914-23) Genocide was the systematic extermination of the indigenous Ottoman Greek (Rūm) inhabitants of Eastern Thrace and Asia Minor by the Ittihadist and Kemalist governments of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. Estimated casualties: between 1,400,000 and 1,700,000 people.

  3. The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the systematic extermination of the Armenian people by the Ittihadist Ottoman Empire. It was perpetrated by Young Turks and led to the completed annihilation of the Armenian people from Western Armenia (present-day Eastern Turkey). Estimated killed: 1,500,000.

  4. The Holodomor (1932-33) was the extermination of Ukrainians by famine. It was perpetrated by the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. Estimated killed: 7,500,000.

  5. Military personnel from the Empire of Japan have been accused of conducting a series of human rights abuses against civilians and prisoners of war throughout East Asia and the western Pacific region, during the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45. The complex of these crimes is commonly known as the Asian Holocaust, in which more than 6,000,000 people were killed.

  6. The Nigerian Civil War (1967-70) was an ethnic conflict between the Hausas and Igbo people of Nigeria. Estimated killed: between 1,000,000 and 3,000,000.

  7. The Cambodian Genocide (1975-79) was perpetrated by the Communist Party of Kampuchea, commonly known as the Khmer Rouge regime. The KR’s goal was the “purification of the population”. Estimated killed: between 1,000,000 and 3,000,000.

  8. The Rwandan Genocide (1994), as the extermination of the Tutsi people, was perpetrated by the Akazu, a Hutu extremist organization within the ruling political party, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development. Estimated killed: 1,000,000.

  9. Finally, we cannot forget mentioning the crimes committed by ISIS. After the proclamation of the Caliphate in 2014 it has made over eighty attacks in twenty different countries all around the world.

 

If, as individual people, we don’t have the power to prevent such horrors when they take place, we cannot help but keep remembering them and reflecting about them.

“If understanding is impossible, knowing is imperative, because what happened could happen again,” survivor Primo Levi wrote in his book “If This Is a Man.”

“Consciences can be seduced and obscured again - even our consciences.”

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