When genosuicide feels like genocide
An American coalition consisting mainly of Iraqi forces destroyed the city of Mosul in northern Iraq in 2017, with civilian casualties estimated at somewhere between 2,500 and 40,000. The Associated Press count was 11,000 civilians dead but it might have been much higher. ISIS fighters prevented civilians from leaving as the US and its allies bombarded the town, and no one knows to this day how many are buried under the rubble.
No one called this genocide because it didn’t feel like genocide. Muslims killing Muslims is a tragedy but Jews killing Muslims feels like genocide in the mind of the Muslim world and some who sympathize with it. Humiliation equals death in traditional society, and it is not the death count in Gaza but the humiliation of Hamas that elicits the charge of genocide.
When Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said, “We love death like our enemies love life! We love martyrdom, the way in which [Hamas] leaders died,” the world should have taken him at his word. Hamas leaders might experience martyrdom vicariously from hotel suites in Qatar but they are sincere about martyrdom and do not care how many martyrs they make among non-combatants. This is not genocide but rather genosuicide.
The purging of ISIS from Mosul parallels Israel’s efforts to root Hamas out of Gaza after the October 7 massacre of 1,200 Israelis accompanied by unspeakable sexual and other atrocities, and the abduction of another 240 Israeli hostages. 25,000 Gazans are alleged by the Hamas-controlled health ministry to have died, of which almost 10,000 are Hamas fighters by Israel’s count.
The civilian death toll is about the same as Mosul’s. With 2 million residents in 2014, Mosul had roughly the same population as Gaza so the per capita death