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A murdered Darfur child


BY R.J.Rummel

I have used the term democide for murder by government, where murder is understood as it is defined in civil law. This is clear enough. And, I have used the term mortacracy for a regime that commits mass democide, such as did Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, communist China, and Pol Pot's Cambodia, among others. The key understanding of democide is that it is intentional. Yet what about those regimes that unintentionally cause the deaths of their citizens as a natural consequence of their actions, or their lack of action? One example might be a regime where corruption has become so pervasive and destructive of a people's welfare that it threatens their daily lives and reduces their life expectancy.

This paper is an exploration in the measurement and identification of mortacracies for the year 2000 -- those political regimes that murdered or caused the death of their citizens by the tens of thousands. It is a revision and consolidation of the six-part series on "Who Are the Mortacracies," beginning with Part I, all of which parts are indexed on my topical archive under "democide."

Part I
Identifying The Democidal Mortacracies for 2005

First, I will focus on the identification of mortacracies in 2005 by their domestic democide -- their outright murder of their own citizens -- and for this the U.S. State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2005 will be my primary source. I am impressed by the well-organized detail and thoroughness of the report. I have compared it to other human rights reports, such as those published by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and find it the best for my purpose. I will consult these other sources as necessary for additional information.

Using the Country Reports, then, I was able to define democide of four kinds:

From the sources I mentioned above, I was able to assess the democide of each state in the world for 2005, and create the following list of mortacracies for 2005 -- those political regimes responsible for the mass murder of tens of thousands of their people.

The full table of democide data for all regimes is too big to show here. It is on my website. This list of mortacracies comprises democide level 3 in the linked table.

A word on how I determined the level of democide. First, any democide (a "yes" for any of the democide classifications in the table) earns at least a democide level of "1". If a careful reading of the Country Report, and other sources, then suggested the level of killing was 1,000 or more, in 2005 or in previous years, I gave it a level "2"; and if at least 10,000, I gave it a level "3".

What does "or in previous years" mean? The number a regime murdered in previous years counts toward its level of democide for 2005 if its freedom level is unchanged or it dropped (such as from partly free to not free). However, if its level of freedom improved such that it went from not free to partly free, then I did not count any democide before the change. Moreover, if a state went through a political system change, as occurred when Pol Pot was defeated in 1979, and Vietnam established a puppet Cambodian regime, or when Afghanistan's Taliban were defeated by the American coalition, then even though the freedom level remained the same, I did not count the previous democide. However, simply a change in who rules through a coup, revolution, or natural succession, as happened in Syria, North Korea, and China, does not wash away the previous democide.

If you have difficulty with this, think of my purpose, which is to define a mortacracy. If a regime murdered hundreds of thousands of its people since it gained power, as did the Iranian theocracy, but while the same regime was in power in 2005 it only murdered a few, then it seems misleading and unreasonable to say that the regime was mortacratic during those previous years when it murdered so many, but it is not a mortacracy in 2005. By mortacracy, I mean a quality of a regime, as in being a dictatorship or democracy, and not its policy or actions in a particular year.

There you have it in the above table -- the worst mass murdering thug regimes of the last year, all but one of which also deprives their people of every human right, which is to say, it enslaves them.

Related link

"QUANTIFYING GENOCIDE IN DARFUR: April 28, 2006 (Part 1)" By Eric Reeves:

"Currently extant data, in aggregate, strongly suggest that total excess mortality in Darfur, over the course of more than three years of deadly conflict, now significantly exceeds 450,000. As Rwanda marks a grim twelfth anniversary, we must accept that while vast human destruction in Darfur has unfolded plainly before us, we have again done little more than watch, offering only unprotected humanitarian assistance while some 450,000 people have perished as a result of violence, as well as consequent malnutrition and disease. Human destruction to date, however, certainly does not mark the conclusion of the world's moral failure in responding to genocide in Darfur---on the contrary, this massive previous destruction is our best measure of what is impending.

Far [more] terrifyingly, all current evidence suggests that hundreds of thousands of human beings will die in the coming months from these same causes."

This democide is so overt and public as to draw such attention to it. But thanks to the hopeless UN, the disinterest of the democracies, and Sudan's supportive Arab Muslim countries, even then not much is being done about it. But for many of the mortacracies -- like North Korea, which is a border-to-border concentration/labor camp -- the day-by-day death and summary execution of its people is not so public, and thus hardly mentioned in the media. Even then, as evidenced by Sudan, nothing much would be done.

Part II

Demoslaughter -- An Added Meaning of Mortacracy

I have defined the gang of democide committing mortacracies. But, what about those regimes whose actions create such life threatening conditions as to unintentionally cause the mass death of their people?

Consider Zimbabwe, for example. The Marxist policies of the Robert Mugabe gang that rules the state by force (the state is rated not free by Freedom House), have caused a state that had a relatively high standard of living for Africa before Mugabe's rule to deteriorate into being among its poorest. It has an unemployment rate of over 70 percent, and the world's highest inflation rate at 900% (a roll of toilet paper now costs $145,750 Zimbabwean dollars). There is a crisis food shortage that without outside aid will turn into a famine, and fuel is hard to get. Its economy has collapsed by about 40 percent, dragging down the state's standard of living such that the people now have among the shortest lives in Africa. Their life expectancy (LE) at birth is 36.7 years, and continues to fall. Compare this to 82 years for Japan, the highest among sovereign countries, and 77.1 years for the United States. The chart below shows the six-year movement in Zimbabwe's LE.

Moreover, Mugabe suppresses speech, curtails and controls civil organizations, and corruption is widespread among officials. He has set his army on opposition supporters, using rape as a preferred weapon. And he continues to expropriate land owned by Whites. The 2005 Human Development Report gives Zimbabwe a human development index (HDI) of .50, while for comparison it is .94 for the U.S., .91 for Israel, and an average of .74 for the world.

Speaking as a 73-year old, what bothers me most about this is how young Zimbabweans are on the average when they die, as are the barely subsisting poor other such thug regimes. Many of us were just getting started in life at that age these people die. And to die from the conditions one is forced to live under though no fault of one's own, conditions created or allowed to continue by the gang that rules, such as massive corruption, hyper-inflation, extensive personal and mass violence, high unemployment, illiteracy, food shortages, malnutrition, and very poor medical services and facilities. While the resulting early deaths are not democide, since unintended by the regime, the regime still should be held responsible for them in my view.

The question is how to characterize these deadly conditions, since such ready terms as genocide, politicide, and democide are inapplicable. First, I suggest that the term mortacracy, that I have applied to mass murdering regimes, be extended to regimes like Mugabe's. That is, they commit demoslaughter -- they cause their people to die. Now, one meaning of slaughter is to kill unintentionally -- without malice aforethought -- as in "manslaughter" (in law a crime of a lesser degree than homicide or murder) (The Oxford Dictionary: "Criminal homicide without malice aforethought," or "...one person causes the death of another...unintentionally by culpable negligence...."). Of course, one obvious way of defining such demoslaughter is by the life expectancy (LE) of a state's people at birth. Then, those countries near or at the bottom might comprise our best list of mortacracies.

To my knowledge, this is a new line of research, and there is no guidance but well-grounded intuition in judging what is a low enough LE to reflect a true mortacracy at work. The 2003 life expectancies from birth (LE) for all countries, except notably for North Korea, are listed in the UN Human Development Report 2005. I plot them below.

Each blue dot is a state's LE, which tends to merge for all countries into a curving line. This is an incredibly uniform plot, as shown by the trend line -- the best fitting third degree polynomial regression and its virtually perfect correlation R^2 of .99. The LEs begin to dip down at the low end, with two breaks, one a little below an LE of 60, and the other at an LE of 50. Breaks of this sort in an otherwise smooth plot indicate that there is something working on the very low LEs to cause the break and steeper decline in the trend line. This could be the greater mortality caused by mortacracies at this level, and reflected in their LEs. Below, I list all 28 countries that are below the break in LEs at 50 years, and include their freedom rating and scores.

Among the 28, 5 are free, 13 are partly free, and 10 are not free. South Africa, which is rated free, is recovering from the years during which the Whites' policy of apartheid segregated the near 80 percent Black population in the impoverished, undeveloped, and ill-nourished areas of the state, with few health services. Even though the present liberal democratic government is trying to develop and improve the conditions of the largely Black areas, the LE has only increased slowly due to the overwhelming task of improving in the short run the conditions of life and education for 35 million Blacks.

Near the bottom of LEs is Lesotho, which became free one year before. And it is still is recovering from a military coup, violence, assassinations, three years of poor harvests, corruption, and a sharp rise in HIV/AIDS cases. In other words, democracy has not had time to influence the death rate. As to Botswana, which is a stable and long running democracy, it has been ravaged by an AIDS/AIDS epidemic that infects about one-third of the population and which has caused economic problems, including 40 percent unemployment.

Namibia and Mali are also free countries below the cut-off LE of 50. Until its independence in 1990, Namibia was ruled by South Africa and its 87 percent Black population also suffered under the apartheid system. In addition, under South African control Namibians violently intervened in the Angola civil war, besides being plagued with its own guerrilla war. Since independence, the democratic government has undertaken economic development, fair land reform, and a huge power development program. It now provides encouragement to extensive foreign investment. As for Mali, it is still recovering from 30 years of corrupt and rapacious military or corrupt one-party rule. This ended in 1992 with a fair and open democratic election, but it left the state terribly impoverished. Nonetheless, there has been steady improvement in the economy, much of which has yet to reach most of the people.

Then there are the remaining countries, such as the Central African Republic, Congo, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Zambia, which have been ruled by corrupt and violent tyrants, treating their countries as their own preserve, raping the resources for their own benefit and that of their relatives and tribesmen, killing and murdering to keep power, and showing virtually no interest in the well being of their people. Their abysmally low LEs reflect this.

But is the raw LE the best measure of mortacracies? LE is only one indicator of a regime's effect on life. Perhaps I should consider, in addition to an index to LE, a wider measure of human underdevelopment that takes into account LE's social and economic context. Such is the Human Development Index, which I will look at in Part III in order to refine my definition of the world's mortacracies.

Links of Note

The Brookings Institute recently held a forum on US policy options for Darfur. It included presentations by the United States Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick and the Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Displaced Persons Francis Deng, among others. A full pdf transcript is available here. Otherwise, C-Span has the entire event on video, which can be seen here (real player needed).

"4 million dead in Congo" December 22, 2004:

"THE WORLD'S biggest war may be its most invisible. In 10 years, an estimated 4 million have died in eastern Congo. A maelstrom of invading forces, local militia, a central army and United Nations peacekeepers shoot their way across the landscape.... In general, the Congo war is a scattershot conflict based on ethnicity and survival. The death rate, according to a relief group, the International Rescue Committee, runs at 1,000 people a day. These deaths, like the millions before, stem from hunger and disease, both preventable by peace."

"Counting the dead" April 10, 2003:

"So now we know: up to 4.7 million people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo's four-and-a-half-year civil war. The figure was announced this week by the International Rescue Committee, an American aid agency. Its lower estimate was 3.1 million...."

"Mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo: a nationwide survey" January 7, 2006 (free registration required):

" Commencing in 1998, the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been a humanitarian disaster, but has drawn little response from the international community. To document rates and trends in mortality and provide recommendations for political and humanitarian interventions, we did a nationwide mortality survey during April-July, 2004.... Total death toll from the conflict (1998-2004) was estimated to be 39 million. Mortality rate was higher in unstable eastern provinces, showing the effect of insecurity. Most deaths were from easily preventable and treatable illnesses rather than violence. Regression analysis suggested that if the effects of violence were removed, all-cause mortality could fall to almost normal rates."

Can there be any doubt that the Congo (former Zaire), classified as not free by Freedom House, is a mortacracy?

Part III

Including An Human Development Index

Is LE enough? Perhaps I should consider a wider measure of human development that takes into account LE's social and economic context, and its high and low. We have this from the UN's Human Development Report for 2005. It used a human development index (HDI) based on a people's income, education and health. Its purpose is not to give a complete picture of human development, but to provide a measure of human well being (see here for the indices involved, and their calculations). This is precisely what is impacted by mortacracies.

The report also provides a Life Expectancy Index (LEI), which among other indices goes into calculating the HDI. It is:

(a state's life expectancy minus the world low) / (world high minus world low).

Thus, the lowest LEI would be zero, and the high would be one. As to calculating the HDI, each of the indices that go into it is determined as is LEI above, and HDI is an average of them all. Thus, HDI also varies from a low of zero to a high of one. The 2003 HDI plotted against LEI is shown in the chart below.

Since LEI is a linear transformation of LE, the same curve would obtain even if LE were used in place of LEI.

The best fitting curvilinear function for the plot is the natural logarithmic one shown, with a correlation R^2=.82. It thus accounts for 82 percent of the variance between HDI and LEI. As the well being of a people increases as measure by HDI, there is an increasingly close relationship between this well being and their life expectancy. This is clear from the chart, where along the fitted log curve, the distribution of countries (blue dots) around the curve tightens into a cone at the highest level. I would argue that something is causing the wide distribution of countries at the low end of HDI and LEI, most likely the mortacracies.

Now, through inadequate health services, forced impoverishment, and extensive violence, thug regimes repress their subjects' well being such that they die at an early age. That is, HDI and LEI should both be low. This can be determined by averaging them together (since one-third of HDI is calculated from the LEI, averaging LEI and HDI means that 50 percent of the average is owed to LEI). When this is done, the ten countries with the lowest averages are shown below.

Clearly, a study of such countries would show corrupt, and in many cases tyrannical regimes, run by leaders who give to their relatives, tribesmen, henchmen and sycophants the best businesses, and the millions from exports and international aid they receive. Little is left over for the welfare of their people. Little is left over for the welfare of its people.

This raises the question as to the overall relationship of freedom to the average HDI & LEI. To answer I will use the Freedom House ratings for 2003 on the political rights (rated 1-7) and civil liberties (also rated 1-7) of all countries. When I add these two ratings together, the result ranges from a "2" for the freest to a 14 for the most unfree. I plotted these ratings against the average HDI & LEI, and got the plot below.

The linear fit is, as a freedomist would predict, inclined downward. That is, the greater the decrease in a people's freedom, the greater the decrease in their well being. The correlation is r =.50 (r^2=.248), and although this is a good correlation, it accounts for only 25 percent of the variance, the cutoff for what I consider a meaningful social science correlation.

A study of the plot shows that the average HDI & LEI tends to rise at free and not free ends, but less at the latter, and thus creating a dip in the middle. This is a lopsided U-distribution (one side is lower than the other) and suggests a third degree polynomial regression would best fit the points. The best fitting one is shown in the plot. It increases the correlation considerably to R=.61 (R^2 = .367), or 37 percent of the variance.

This is fascinating. For taken at face value, the worst mortacracies are in the middle range between free countries and not free ones. How can this be? Research on democide shows well that the tendency of a regime to commit democide increases as the freedom of its people decreases. While this also shows for mortality (the dipping straight line), the relationship is not as tight as for democide.

I believe the reason for this is totalitarian control over the statistics submitted to the UN. From a variety of memoirs, media stories, UN and refugee reports, and those of human rights organizations, we know that life in Sudan, North Korea, Burma, Libya, Ethiopia, and other such countries is dismal, not only with widespread democide, but with high mortality as well. Yet, this is not shown in their average HDI & LEI. To see this, consider the worst of the worst dictatorships, the most totalitarian ones, as rated by Freedom House.

I am using LE, rather than LEI, since the former is simply how many years from birth that people live on the average, it is easier to understand. As can be seen, some of the HDI and LE are surprisingly high. For comparison, I provide the HDI and LE for different groups of countries, and for the world.

For comparison, that for the U.S. is .94 and 77.4, respectively.

So far, based on LE alone, I have defined a potential group of mortacracies, which however included two liberal democracies. I have refined this by selecting the lowest average HDI & LEI, none of which were free. But the problem with this group is that it did not include what we know to be among the worst mortacracies, such as North Korea, Sudan, and Burma.

Perhaps another approach will work better, such as the change in LE over time, and I will analyze this in Part IV, below.

Part IV

A People's Falling Life Expectancy

So far, I have suggested that mortacracies be defined by their democide, and also by their LE -- the life expectancy of a people from birth -- , and their LE within the context of a peoples' HDI -- general well being --. While some free countries may have a very low HDI and LE that they inherited from their previous rapacious thug regimes, I expect that their very low LE will be moving upward. And those thug regimes whose people have moderately high LEs should show them falling as the regime's rapaciousness and corruption affects the people's well being.

So, what does the difference in LEs for all countries look like for a reasonable length of time, such as 9 years? I calculated this for the difference in LE between 1998 and 2006 and got for this period an average world increase in LEs of 1.6 years (median of 1.8 years), with a standard deviation of 4.4. I then converted the differences to standard scores, which makes comparing these changes from one state to another much easier. The average of the standard scores then equals zero, with a standard deviation of one. The plot of these standardized differences is quite revealing, as shown below.

The best fitting curve to the plot is the fifth degree polynomial shown, which has a squared correlation of R^2 = .95, and thus accounts for 95 percent of the variance. To best understand this chart, you should know that a standardized difference of -2.0 (what is called in polling or survey research a standard error) is two standard deviations below the average of zero. Now, in the plot the changes in LE hover around the average at the standardized difference of zero, and then plummet. Those countries whose changes in LE thus fall below the average at least by one standard deviation are obvious candidates to be mortacracies. They are listed along with their freedom scores in the table below. Differences are ranked ordered high to low.

The column of Z differences, are the standardized differences ("Z" customarily stands for a standardized variable).

Among the 18 countries with LEs falling by at least one standard deviation, five are free for 1998 and 2006. I have discussed Botswana and South Africa in Part III, but now we have Dominica, Nauru, and Grenada. While Dominica is relatively high in LE at 77.8 for 1998, it has undergone considerable financial difficulties, a downturn in the market for its major crop of bananas, a resulting 20 percent unemployment, and destructive hurricanes. All this has required the democratic government to impose harsh austerity measures.

The 8-square mile island republic of Nauru also had a relatively high LE of 66.7 in 1998. The state has been undergoing a severe political crises, and the increasing loss of the major source of its income, which is phosphate mining. Its phosphate beds are almost entirely exhausted. To make matters worse, over 80 percent of the island is uninhabitable, which means that with phosphate almost gone, there is little land on which to develop exportable crops.

Finally, there is Grenada, which while avoiding hurricanes for 49 years, has been devastated by two of them in recent years. In November 2004, Hurricane Ivan destroyed around 80 percent of Grenada's infrastructure and left 90 percent of its homes in ruins. Then in July of 2005, Hurricane Emily struck causing $110 million in destruction, or 1/4th of its gross domestic product.

As shown by the different colors, the remaining 13 countries are not free, partly free, or have changed from one classification to another over the 9 years. Many of these meet well our understanding of what a mortacracy is, such as Afghanistan before the American coalition's invasion, Angola, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

What state has had its LE change the greatest over the five years? North Korea, so the statistics tell us. Its LE jumped from 51.3 in 1998 to 71.65 in 2006, or an increase of over 4 standard deviations, and the largest increase in the world. It is that highest blue dot standing alone on the left in the above plot of these changes. If you believe these statistics, however, than I want to tell you about how good a tennis player I am.

An article in The Korean Times "Life Expectancy in NK Falls" has this to say about the North's LE:

"North Korea's life expectancy dropped by 5.5 years to 67.2 years in 2002 from 1993...."The decreases in the average life span seem to result from deaths by famine occurred in between 1995 and 1998,'' the South's National Intelligence Service (NIS) said. "As of 2003, the North's life expectancy was estimated at 64.9 years for males and 69.3 years for females, some 11-12 years shorter than that of the South.'' .... "The maternal death ratio was some three to four times higher than the South,' said an official at the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affaires in the South."

Links of Note

"Longer Life in the USA":
"This decline in [American] death rates was so big it offset the increase in population, so the number of total deaths actually dropped by about 50,000 to 2,398,343 in 2004 from 2,448,288 recorded for 2003. Declines are rare -- the last one was in 1997 -- and this one was huge -- the biggest decline in 6 decades. The important thought to take away from this news is the fact that we're not reaching any limits on life expectancy -- the preliminary estimate of life expectancy at birth for the total population in 2004 rose again to reach a record high of 77.9 years...."
"Life expectancy at birth (2003)": Colored Maps showing countries at specified levels of life expectancy.

"Big fall in African life expectancy":

"The Aids crisis has slashed the life expectancy in some parts of Africa to less than 33 years, according to the UN's Human Development Report 2004."

Part V

Failed States

The Fund For Peace website on failed states has beautiful data for my purpose here. The data comprise the 12 indicators of a state's failure listed below:

1 - Mounting Demographic Pressures,

2 - Massive Movement of Refugees and Displaced Persons,

3 - Legacy of Vengeance - Seeking Group Grievance,

4 - Chronic and Sustained Human Flight,

5 - Uneven Economic Development along Group Lines,

6 - Sharp and/or Severe Economic Decline,

7 - Criminalization or Delegitimization of the State,

8 - Progressive Deterioration of Public Services,

9 - Widespread Volition of Human Rights,

10 - Security Apparatus as "State within a State,"

11 - Rise of Factionalized Elites,

12 - Intervention of Other States or External Actors.

The definitions of each of these variables is here, and the methodology for scoring nations in a range from 0 for least intensity on an indicator to 10 for the highest intensity -- greatest failure -- is here. The actual scoring is done though special software, which:

"indexed and scanned tens of thousands of open-source articles and reports using Boolean logic. The data are electronically gathered using Thomson Dialog, a powerful data-collection system that includes international and local media reports and other public documents, including U.S. State Department reports, independent studies, and even corporate financial filings. The data used in each index are collected from May to December of the preceding year. The software calculates the number of positive and negative 'hits' for the 12 indicators. Internal and external experts then review the scores as well as the articles themselves, when necessary, to confirm the scores and ensure accuracy."

Now, keeping in mind that I am not focused on defining failed states in order to assess the risk of conflict, as is The Fund For Peace, but on defining mortacracies, not all 12 indicators are relevant for this purpose. So, I excluded indicators 1, 5, 11, and 12, and recalculated the total sum of the remaining eight indicators. The maximum possible failure is a total sum of 80 on these eight indicators, and the minimum is 0. The worst failure, then, is Sudan with a total of 74.6, and the least failure is Norway with 9.8 (these are the same lowest and highest failures on all 12 indicators). The U.S. is at 21, just above the U.K., which is 20.7. The average is 45.9, with a median of 50.3 and a standard deviation of 16.7.

The next step is to standardize these totals to get a relative picture of what nations are high in failure and to plot the result. The plot is shown below.

The distribution of states is a uniform curve that is nearly perfectly fitted (correlation squared = .998!) by a fourth degree polynomial. There are two inflection points on the curve, one approximately at a standard score of 1.00 (which means the states at this level states are about one-standard deviation above the mean = 0), and the other at about the mean itself. The implication of this is that a good list of mortacracies would be those at or above one standard deviation on the total for the eight indicators. These comprise the 21 states shown below.

This is quite a list. Unlike some of the other lists of possible mortacracies, this one has virtually all the states I would have included intuitively, especially the top ones. Even North Korea and Burma are captured by these indicators.

Now, from all I have done, it is time to choose a final list of mortacracies.

Part VI

The Mortacracies

Before defining the mortacracies, I should review the three most salient terms:

Democide: murder by government.

Demoslaughter: death caused by government.

Mortacracy: A government that is commits sizable democide and demoslaughter.

Also, one more thing. I've mentioned here and elsewhere the devastating effect of corruption on the welfare of a people. Corruption plays a large role in defining mortacide, but I suspect that not many readers living in democracies have a sense for what true corruption of this kind is like. In comparison to the corruption in many thug regimes, that in democracies is as a candle to a forest fire. Perhaps the following on such corruption in Angola will help (from Martin Meredith, The Fate Of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair, p. 616):

"[T]he Economist Intelligence Unit in 2003...reported that there were thirty-nine individuals in Angola worth at least $50 million and another twenty reportedly worth at least $100 million. Six of the seven wealthiest people on its list were longtime government officials, and the seventh was a recently retired official. Overall, the combined wealth of these fifty-nine people was at least $3.95 billion. By comparison, the total gross domestic product of Angola, with a population of about 14 million, was about $10.2 billion in 2002.

"The stark contrast between the rich elite and the mass poverty of the rest of the population was nowhere more evident than in [the capital of] Luanda. Its streets were packed with the latest models of Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Land Cruisers; jet skis circled the bay; prices in air-conditioned shopping malls were equivalent to those in London. But milling around on street corners were groups of street children and mutilados [Portuguese for the mutilated] begging from the passing traffic. Half of the city's population of 4 million had no access to clean water and survived on untreated water from the Bengo River bought by the bucketful from informal vendors. Most Angolans subsisted on less than seventy cents a day."

So, who are the mortacracies? I have defined possible candidates in Parts I to V above, and based on:

1. Democide,

2. Life expectancy at birth,

3. My intuitive judgment of who were the


4. The drop in life expectancy from 1998 to 2006, and

5. Eight indicators of failed states.

Thus, I have five tables of candidate mortacracies from which to pick. To make this selection systematic and as objective as possible, I will use the frequency of occurrence of a state across the five groups as my criteria. Surely, if a state is listed in only one table, it would not be a good choice, although it may have the potential to be a mortacracy. I present below this group:

I eliminated the free states of Grenada, Mali, Namibia, Nauru, and Trinidad and Tobago from this list, as there were reasons for their death toll beyond the capacity and policies of their governments, such as the effects of hurricanes, deep impoverishment due to previous unfree regimes, and rampant HIV. It would be misleading to characterize such states as potential mortacracies.

Then there is the group of states that appeared in two tables of candidates out of the five. I show the list below:

Here also I eliminated free states -- Botswana, Lesotho, and South Africa -- for the same reasons given above, with the exception of hurricane caused mortality. Finally, after all this, I hope that your patience is rewarded with the final list of mortacracies that appeared in three or more tables of candidates. I give it below.

There you have it.

This list is complete; I removed no free states. That the deadly Central African Republic appeared in all five tables is consistent with what we know about the state, and similarly with Chad and Sierra Leone. And we have North Korea, Burma, and Sudan on the list, as well as the bloody Congo (Kinshasa -- formerly Zaire). Corrupt Angola also appears.

Although this list was arrived at systematically, it is a list that surely contains those states that would most likely be chosen by those familiar with the human cost of the world's worst thug regimes.

Links of Note

"An Incomplete Peace: Sudan's Never-Ending War With Itself"

"[Chad:] Fear of 'Disappearance' and extrajudicial execution "

"Thousands flee from [Central African Republic] violence"


"Equatorial Guinea: Further Information on Torture/Health concern/Fear for Safety"

"Mozambique: Deaths of 80 people in custody must be investigated by independent experts"

"Nigeria: Deaths rise in Lagos clashes, thousands flee"


"Congo death toll up to 3.8m"

"Revealed: the gas chamber horror of North Korea's gulag"

"ZIMBABWE: Death rate mounts in political violence"

"Corruption undermines relief to Angola"

Part VII

What Can We Do About The Mortacracies?

First, I do not suggest any democracy make war on these mortacracies, or militarily attack them unless:

  • They are a direct or immediate threat to the national security of a democracy, as is Iran in its development of nuclear weapons and being the home of Islamofascism.

  • They have invaded a democratic neighbor.

  • They are supporting and aiding terrorism against a democracy, as did Afghanistan under the Taliban.

  • They are engaged in wholesale democide, as were Rwanda and Serbia, and as is Sudan today.

But, there is much that can be done otherwise and I will divide this into what democratic governments can do, and what you and I must do first. This distinction is crucial. Democracies will not act unless their top legislative and executive leaders perceive that this is what the people really want -- that there is a national will. This is one reason that the Clinton administration did nothing with regard to Rwanda, except hinder the action by others that might have dragged them into doing something. Congress and the administration well perceived that the American people had no interest in intervening to prevent the genocide, and there was no interest within the government to create -- excite -- such a demand. And similarly, this is why it took years for President Clinton to finally get involved in the Bosnian genocide. Photographs of the dead, pleas from the victims, and the haplessness of the UN finally generated enough media, public, and congressional outrage to propel Clinton into action.

Similarly, with the intervention of the senior President Bush in Somalia. The sympathy and concern of the public over the Somali famine, the belief that millions would starve to death, and that the media made clear that anarchy within Somalia left no authority to prevent the famine. But, above all, what was most effective in arousing the public for intervention was the widely circulated, pitiful photographs of starving children with sad eyes and distended bellies.

So, what can the public do to create the political will to act against the mortacracies? This is not a new question and there is no new approach or action that must be developed. All this is activism 101, whose syllabus informs the activists fighting globalism, war, environmental degradation, global warming, global hunger, and so on. The techniques are public and on the websites of any one of these activist groups. In short, volunteer, organize, protest, demonstrate, write, phone, contribute, donate, and seek deep pockets. But, in this case, it would be to focus public outrage on the worst democidal/mortacidal states. One thing is essential, which the environmentalist and animal rights activist have sewed on their underwear -- publish photos of the dead, the dying, the tortured, the crying, and especially, the babies and children.

A successful model to follow is what an aroused minority did about the detested White rule -- apartheid -- in South Africa. These activists demanded that universities, mutual funds, and retirement funds divest themselves of stocks of corporations doing business with South Africa. Also, they organized boycotts of these corporations and demonstrated in front of their national headquarters.

Those with websites and blogs can help immeasurably by beginning this process, and by embarrassing the major media into doing the necessary drumming. Fundamentally, this is not a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Conservative, or Liberal effort, but a humanitarian one. Whichever party or ideology will listen and help should be welcome, even though it may be for their own political ends. The mortacracies are the enemy of all who subscribe to democratic freedom, and a common enemy can make for strange bedfellows.

If political leaders have their ear to the ground, what can they do? First is to recognize that action against a mortacracy can't be done effectively by one state. Whatever is to be done must be in coordination, if not in coalition, with other democracies. And, I don't mean through the UN, which is in the pocket of the thug regimes, and where potentially mortacratic China and unfree Russia have veto powers in the Security Council against joint action. Such coordination would work best through an "Alliance of Democracies", which I have long called for and which is slowly being built as the "The World Movement for Democracy", and of which slowly, inch-by-yearly-inch, NATO is becoming a potential military arm (for example, NATO has now taking over the American role in Afghanistan -- on this, see the "NATO in Afghanistan_Factsheet").

What can such an alliance, or whatever it will be called, do about the mortacracies? Many would think of economic sanctions, or a blockade. However, for the worst of the mortacracies, those most affected by such actions would be the very people the mortacracy is enslaving, not the thugs, and not their gangs of enforcers. The whole state is their preserve, all its money and products are theirs, and what they can't get from other states for their table or pleasure, they can loot or expropriate from their slaves with their guns. But then, more will die or must be murdered, but these thugs seem not to care as long as they can gratify their desires.

I suggest instead that the focus be entirely on these thugs and their henchmen personally, such as through their international ostracism and isolation by:

  • Severance of diplomatic relations.

  • An international declaration that they are criminals for crimes against humanity and thus subject to arrest if they travel abroad.

  • A freeze of all their foreign financial accounts.

  • Refusing economic/food aid/medical aid unless directly for the people and tightly monitored

  • Treating similarly any nondemocracy providing aid or support to this mortacracy.

These are government-to-government negative actions. More important are what democratic governments , and intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations can do positively regarding those practically enslaved, and threatened with early death or murder by the worst of these mortacracies:

  • Provide aid, support, and encouragement to democratic movements within the state.

  • Provide information on nonviolent political action.

  • Provide aid and relocation to refugees.

  • Provide from abroad, and in the appropriate language, information, news, and support over TV, radio, and Internet networks to those remaining within the state.

All these actions have subtexts and nuances, and require timing and coordination among them. Whatever, the goal should be clear. It is to save lives and enrich life, and if that can be done by persuading the thugs that rule to change their deadly behavior, so much the better. The best would be to have their regimes replaced by democratic ones, but that may not be achievable in the short run without war or a military intervention. And in the case of mortacracies, we should beware of letting our desire for the best get in the way of what is good enough in the short run.

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