Genocide and the holocaust are in the news
‘Genocide’ got Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, into trouble at COP26. because he said climate change could cause many deaths and people would blame today’s world leaders. He likened the situation to the 1930’s when leaders failed to act against the rise of Naziism and missed the opportunity to prevent the Holocaust. Soon after saying these things he apologised for his choice of language and imagery.
Was ‘genocide’ the wrong word?
Usually, the word is applied to deliberate acts of mass killing such as the Holocaust. Nobody is saying that present world leaders are doing anything like that. However, the Archbishop’s point was that failure at COP26 would cause deaths on a huge scale and future generations will blame today’s leaders if they fail to act.
How could climate change lead to genocide?
- We have already seen extreme weather cause deaths in many parts of the world.
- Deforestation is killing people who live in forests and depend on them for their survival.
- Drought is killing people in Africa.
- Rising sea levels could kill inhabitants of small islands.
- People’s reactions to the effects of climate change could lead to violent conflicts.
Should we accuse world leaders of genocide?
We all know much more about climate change than anyone knew about Naziism in the 1930’s. Therefore, leaders cannot say there had been no warning, as they have about such things as the Coronavirus pandemic. Whilst you can argue about the best remedies, doing nothing is not one of them. Failure to act will be inexcusable. Words like ‘genocide’ and ‘holocaust’ will be used in future and nobody will get an apology.
Who are you calling a troublemaker?
Perhaps some would add the archbishop to their list of troublemakers, like the members of Extinction Rebellion and perhaps Black Lives Matter. Sometimes we need people to challenge the status quo. The real troublemakers are the ones who… made the trouble in the first place. I wrote about that in a previous post. I’d rather a little trouble now than genocide later.