David Kupelian, the author of “How Evil Works”, and whose Armenian ancestors suffered under the Turks, describes the problem:
Growing up in a family of genocide survivors as I did, I got to hear stories – lots of stories – about just how depraved human beings can get.
Although my father and grandmother passed down these often-vivid recollections to us in the comfort of a warm suburban family room, worlds apart from the nightmares of their youth, their painful psychological scars remained ever fresh. And to a young boy like me, those stories – of cruel soldiers and bandits hell-bent on mayhem, as well as their intended victims’ resourcefulness and sometimes even heroism – provided a glimpse into a scary, alien dimension of evil.
But rather than tell any more family stories here – and most Armenian families have them, just as Jewish Holocaust survivors and their kin have their stories –
I’ll quote the U.S. ambassador to Turkey at the time, Henry Morgenthau, whose published memoirs exposed the horrors he witnessed firsthand during the 20th century’s first genocide. Incredibly, he described how Turkish officials bragged to him about their nightly meetings where they would enthusiastically share the latest torture techniques to use on the Armenians:
Each new method of inflicting pain was hailed as a splendid discovery, and the regular attendants were constantly ransacking their brains in the effort to devise some new torment. He told me that they even delved into the records of the Spanish Inquisition and other historic institutions of torture and adopted all the suggestions found there …
I’ll spare you the details, except to say that Morgenthau, father of FDR’s treasury secretary of the same name, summed up the “sadistic orgies” of the Armenian genocide by declaring: “Whatever crimes the most perverted instincts of the human mind can devise, and whatever refinements of persecution and injustice the most debased imagination can conceive, became the daily misfortunes of this devoted people. I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this.”
Unfortunately, more such “horrible episodes” followed apace throughout the 20th century. In the 1930s, Stalin ordered his military to confiscate all of Ukraine’s food and then sealed her borders to prevent any outside sustenance from getting in, thereby intentionally starving 7 million men, women and children to death. This was followed soon by Japan’s demonic “rape of Nanking,” during which 300,000 Chinese were butchered in their nation’s capital, including up to 80,000 women and little girls gang-raped by Japanese soldiers and then stabbed to death with bayonets. The Nazi Holocaust in the ’30s and ’40s, of course, tops most people’s list of genocidal horrors, with its death-camp crematoria, extermination of 6 million Jews and unspeakable “medical experiments.” For sheer numbers of dead – tens of millions during the ’60s and ’70s – China’s Mao Ze-Dong has been called history’s worst mass murderer. Pol Pot’s maniacal communist purge of Cambodia in the late 1970s led to the deaths of 2 million of his own people, while Rwanda’s tribal genocide in the 1990s resulted in the club-and-machete massacring of 800,000. Today’s ongoing Sudanese genocide, backed by the Islamist government in Khartoum, has resulted in at least 400,000 dead.