Sunday, April 14, 2019

Was The United States "Founded By Genocide," As Ilhan Omar Says?

August 2017: "Founded by Genocide"

On August 17, 2017, then-Minnesota State House Representative Ilhan Omar made the following statement on Twitter: "We must confront that our nation was founded by genocide and we maintain global power through neocolonialism."

April 2019: "Founded On The Ideas of Justice, Of Liberty, Of The Pursuit Of Happiness"

Nearly two years later, on April 13, 2019, the same individual, now a member of the United States House of Representatives (serving Minnesota's 5th Congressional District), stated, also on Twitter:
"This country was founded on the ideas of justice, of liberty, of the pursuit of happiness. But these core beliefs are under threat. Each and every day. We are under threat by an administration that would rather cage children than pass comprehensive immigration reform."

Contradictory Statements

Logically, motives lead to outcomes. As such, to say that our country was "founded by genocide" (2017) stands in contradiction the moral foundation of "justice, of liberty, of the pursuit of happiness" (2019).
  • An example of a consistent statement would be that our country was "founded by genocide" because it was "founded on the ideas of might makes right." Omar does not say that.
  • An opposing example of a consistent statement would be something like: "Our country was founded by intense struggle," because it was "founded on the ideas of justice, of liberty, of the pursuit of happiness"and it is difficult to achieve those ideas without a great deal of conflict.
But Omar's statements don't hold together in the way a consistent thought does. How can she on the one hand say that our Nation was founded by people who intentionally sought to kill off an entire identity group (specifically Native Americans) and on the other hand say that these same people had the noblest of ideals?

Formal Criteria for the Crime of Genocide

I find the simple definition found in Wikipedia to be workable:
"Genocide is intentional action to destroy a people (usually defined as an ethnicnationalracial, or religious group) in whole or in part."
Genocide requires:
  • Mass killing;
  • A defined identity group; and
  • Intention by the killing group to destroy the defined identity group.
Some well-known examples of genocide: Armenia, the Holocaust, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Of course, it is not necessary for a massacre to be a genocide for it to matter. The brutal massacre, rape, colonization and other mistreatment of Native Americans and their lands is not just one atrocity, but many:
"For hundreds of years a mixture of colonial conflict, disease, specific atrocities and policies of discrimination has devastated the Native American population. In the course of this time, it is estimated that over nine million Natives died from violent conflict or disease. 
"For too long this history has been under-recognized and too little discussed.
Today there are over 500 Native American tribes in the United States, each with a distinct culture, way of life and history. Even today, Native Americans face large challenges to cope with the disadvantages history has left them and ongoing cases of discrimination."

An Alternative View

Today on social media, Omar's supporters flooded Twitter to say that she was actually correct, essentially because the ideals of the founders did not mesh with their actions on the ground.

This more nuanced approach ("intrinsic genocide") suggests that the United States perpetrated genocide on the Native Americans because we took actions that resulted in the death of their culture. And it is factually true that we arrived on this continent, colonized it, killed the Native Americans, took their land, and substituted our culture for theirs.

The History Channel has published a list of massacres of Native Americans by the settlers that were fueled by a kind of hatred that mingled race and religion, and they call these massacres "genocide":
"The reasons for this racial genocide were multi-layered. Settlers, most of whom had been barred from inheriting property in Europe, arrived on American shores hungry for Indian land—and the abundant natural resources that came with it. Indians’ collusion with the British during the American Revolution and the War of 1812 exacerbated American hostility and suspicion toward them. 
"Even more fundamentally, indigenous people were just too different: Their skin was dark. Their languages were foreign. And their world views and spiritual beliefs were beyond most white men’s comprehension....all this stoked racial hatred and paranoia, making it easy to paint indigenous peoples as pagan savages who must be killed in the name of civilization and Christianity."
Another way of putting this view is "passive intent," or perhaps "unconscious intent." While on the one hand espousing high ideals, the settlers demonized and dehumanized people who were perhaps not equally entitled to vision of justice, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

"All War Is Is Genocide"

If we take Omar's words at face value, then we are forced to reconsider all wars in light of the idea that the conquering party is actually committing genocide, particularly in cases where religion is at issue.

If we look at Jewish history alone, all persecutions aimed at eliminating the Jewish people from the face of the earth were genocides or attempted genocides.

We could include the persecution of Christians by those of other faiths as a form of genocide or attempted genocide.

And we could say, obviously, that radical Islamic terror is inherently genocidal in nature.

Omar Is A Complete Hypocrite

The fact that Omar likely has a more nuanced view of genocide than many is all the more reason to condemn her actions in Congress, particularly with respect to Jews. As both a sitting member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, it is shocking and revolting that Ilhan Omar repeatedly shows her support for genocidal radical Islamic terrorists.

Omar is a fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which was established to support the genocidal terror group HAMAS, which has in its founding covenant the "struggle against the Jews" and the destruction of Israel. Most recently, Omar spoke at a CAIR event where she referred to the 9/11 terror attack as a case where "some people did something, and all of us (us, meaning Muslims) were starting to lose access to our civil liberties, minimizing the horrific nature of the crime.

She has made so many statements attacking Jews that she was forced to apologize publicly, but even after her apology Omar continued to attack Jews, calling the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (not Arab lobbying) "problematic"; singling out Jewish adviser to President Trump Stephen Miller to refer to him as a "white nationalist"; and so on.

Omar has claimed ignorance, but she is a Congresswoman; so many are making excuses for her that a video is now circulating that calls out their dumb excuses.

Finally, Omar has taken action on the ground to support terrorists who seek to commit genocide against Americans. She minimizes the worst terror attack in our Nation's history, 9/11laughs when discussing al-Qaeda; voted to continue life insurance payments to terrorists' families; asked a judge for "compassion" in the sentencing of radical Islamic ISIS terror recruits; and her own Somali community in Minnesota is the "terror recruitment capital of the U.S."

By her own measure of genocide (referred to here as "passive intent") Omar has demonstrated that she is a willing enabler of a hostile invasion of both the United States and of Israel. 

But she still has a good point about the Native Americans.

Recommended Reading 

The following books, articles and sites were recommended by readers with regard to the treatment of Native Americans by the United States.

By Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. This post is hereby released into the public domain. Photo credit: Free-Photos via Pixabay.