Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Top 10 Biggest Massacres in History

Social norms and religious teachings have taught us that killing is a sin worthy of condemnation. Taking a life in one’s hand is something unforgivable and something unjustifiable both in the rule of law and in the eyes of God. Deciding on other people’s death and/or life is never on the hands of mere mortals like us. It is decided by fate and by an almighty God who chooses who lives and who perishes.

But for some who are blinded by hate and ego, killing in massive proportions gives them the justice, the joy and the overwhelming recognition and affirmation of their strength and power making them “demons” in the process.

This top 10 biggest massacre in the world list exemplifies how the evils of men create a blot in history. A blot that signifies the lives lost a blemish that will ever be remembered in history as a moment of great terror, an instance to remember.

1. The Nanking Massacre

Also known as the Rape of Nanking, the Nanking Massacre has an estimated 300,000 Chinese casualties which includes men, women and children in the city of Nanking, the former capital of China. Men were mutilated, tortured and killed. Over 20,000 women including infants and elderly people were gang raped by Japanese soldiers before being killed by extensive mutilation and stabbing of their genitals. There were also extensive cases of looting and arson in the city. The massacre which started in December 13, 1937, ended in early February with Japanese atrocities considerably lessened after the establishment of a collaborating government.

2. Babi Yar Massacre

One of the darkest two days in history, the Babi Yar Massacre happened in September 29 and 30, 1941 wherein 33,771 Jews were killed in just a single operation. Babi Yar, a ravine in Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev was the witness as to how these Jews were told to undress and walk in the bottom of the ravine where they were asked to lie down on top of the Jews that have already been shot before getting killed themselves. The Babi Yar Massacre is regarded as “the largest single massacre in the history of the Holocaust.”

3. NKVD Prisoners Massacre

The NKVD Prisoners massacre were series of mass execution in which an estimated 100,000 prisoners from Eastern Europe where murdered by the Soviet NKVD, a public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union during the time of Joseph Stalin. Most of the victims were political prisoners who were imprisoned and executed without trial.

4. Katyn Forest Massacre
Also known as the Katyn Massacre, the Katyn Forest Massacre was the mass execution of Polish nationals which includes prisoners of wars, military officers, intellectuals and policemen. It was carried out by the Soviet NKVD in April and May 1940 with over 22,000 casualties. It is the largest of several simultaneous executions of prisoners of war.

5. The Massacre of Elphinstone’s Army

The annihilation of about 16,500 British and Indian troops by Afghan Forces led by Akbar Khan in 1842 have shown how ineptitude and indecisiveness of a senior officer like Major General William Elphinstone can compromise the morale and effectiveness of the whole army. Dying as captive, Elphinstone has been seen as a great shame to the British Military as he and Brigadier Shelton surrendered to save their lives while their subordinates faced death struggling.

6. The Batak Massacre

The Batak massacre is the massacre of Bulgarians by the Ottoman irregular troops in 1876 at the beginning of the April uprising which saw the re-establishment of Bulgaria as an autonomous nation in 1878. According to different sources, the total number of casualties in Batak alone was at 3,000-5,000. Overall, the death toll of the April uprising is estimated at 15,000.

7. The Massacre of Thessalonica

Happening in 390 CE, the Massacre of Thessalonica is one of the oldest recorded large scale massacres in history. This was a retaliatory move of Roman Emperor Theodosius I against people of Thessalonica in Greece who have ensued a general mutiny for the release of a popular charioteer arrested for a sexual offense which cost the lives of a Roman military commander and some Roman authorities. Though he changed his mind and revoked the order by sending a messenger to prevent his troops, it came too late with Church historian, Theodoretus putting the figures at 7,000 casualties.

8. St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

Believed to be the worst religious massacre in the 16th century, St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre was believed to be instigated by Catherine de’ Medici, mother of King Charles IX. Estimates about the actual death toll have varied widely between 5,000 to 30,000. It was a targeted group assassination against the Huguenots, the French Calvinist Protestants during the French Wars of Religion.

9. The 1066 Granada Massacre

With over 1,500 Jewish families numbering 4,000 persons murdered, the 1066 Granada Massacre took place in December 30, 1066 after a Muslim mob attacked the Royal Palace in Granada. They assassinated the Jewish vizier Joseph Ibn Naghrela and massacred many Jewish people in the city.

10. The Sabra and Shatila Massacre

One of the notable massacres of the 20th century, the Sabra and Shatila Massacre happened between September 16, 1982 and September 18, 1982 in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon. The exact number of victims is still disputed with estimates ranging from 700 to as much as 3,500 who were Palestine and Lebanese refugees. The attacked by the Phalangists were explicitly grieved and condemned in Muslim countries and Western counterparts, as well.


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