Hanlon’s razor suggests that we ‘never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity’.
I am pleased that some of my correspondents suggest I read articles like this one by John Crace in the Guardian. I am even more pleased to be have been able to live in societies where such truths can be published. Reading words such as ‘lies’ and ‘lying’ in the media reminds me of the privilege I enjoy living in progressive societies that can rely on the protection of punitive defamation laws.
The very existence of this journal underlines this privilege.
I badly wrote a bad short story years ago that involved the Han corralling their detractors behind fences in Rutland. In my storyline, the two islands that make up the British Isles became one large free trade zone of a future Han Empire. The Han had no word for dissent. All very Orwellian, they had banned it and all synonyms under public safety rules. It was forbidden in any and all languages. The utterance of it was punishable by transport to Rutland Lock after sterilisation.
The containment policies worked so well in landlocked Rutland county, that Westmeath was also cleared, fenced and opened for incarceration. The numbers of dissenters were so great that these places were never internment camps. It was clear that no amount of re-education would work nor would out-breeding. These were eradication camps, the detainees were there for biological life and the conditions imposed on them were Gulag-like primitive and brutal. Their children became the property of the Han but to use Huxley’s classes, the rescued children could never become alpha citizens.
This future society was designed to be perfect yet inhuman for the dissenting unter-mencshen. It was how the remote mandarins ensured the Han were free to trade. This free trade was the central theme of a poorly written short story.
My idea wasn’t inspired by the current mistreatment of the Uighuirs. Nor The Holocaust. Nor by the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge. Not did the fate of the Armenians influence me. Not the Israel−Gaza security barrier. Nor the expropriations that culled and disenfranchised indigenous Americans. Sure, they were on my mind as was Rwanda. As was Halabja in Iraq, the Tamils in Sri Lanka and the disintegration of the Balkans. There’s no shortage of historical inhuman examples. There are even wikipedia pages of the greatest genocides. The question is can they, will they happen again?
So my story idea was inspired by Article 2 in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide drawn up in 1948. I set about to tick all the boxes.
- My Han imperialists killed members of the dissident groups;
- The Imperial Han caused serious bodily and mental harm to members of those groups;
- The Han mandarins purposefully and deliberately imposed vile life conditions calculated to bring about the physical destruction of the dissenters in whole or in part;
- My version of the Han Medical Specialists prevented dissenter procreation;
- And I had the Han forcibly transfer and re-home children of dissenters.
Yes, I ticked all the boxes. Really. Then I deleted the badly written story because I wondered what would happen if the information on my phone was secure as I flew from London via Istanbul to Tashkent and then on to Houston via Beijing.
attribute to discount malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity no matter how stupid an explanation appears.’