IS has now captured ever increasingly large parts of Northern Iraq and is hell bent on exterminating any non-Sunni muslim in those areas, despite the fact that such groups have lived there for millennia, longer even than islam itself has existed. Despite the BBCs inexplicable focus on other minority groups, the largest group affected is the world’s most persecuted group, the Christians. Thanks to the Internet and social media, there is a preponderance of images and reports coming out of that area too sickening to feel comfortable sharing. Search for yourself if your stomach is really strong enough for images of innocent victims of mass shootings, crucifixions, children’s bodies with no heads and collections of heads with no bodies.

And the international community responds by slowly gearing itself up to do what it can to appease the righteous indignation of its various electorates. It seems surprised and ill prepared for this kind of situation, but why? These genocides come along pretty regularly, indeed, it was in response to the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia that the UN developed its “Responsibility to Protect”, and yet still no-one has clear ideas about what to do or how to respond.

Wikimedia Commons

The problem is that violence breeds violence and it is in this escalatory situation that evil finds a verdant breeding ground. Those many individuals, not inherently evil but with all the emotional, spiritual and intellectual maturity of the primary school playground are incited and excited into the designs of the powerful and charismatic few and soon make zealous accomplices and disciples.

But unlike the playground bully, there is no higher authority to appeal to, the international community, once so happy to send their military might into the region and prematurely withdraw again leaving an opening for the present situation, is now reluctant to intervene. For the victims to stand up to their aggressors seems just as fruitless judging by the images and videos circulating, for evil is fuelled by fear and unmoved by courage. Acquiescence appears to be the only option, yet that is tantamount to endorsement.

Genocide is nothing new and seems to occur with increasing regularity. Whilst in each case the context is unique and complicated, surely there are enough similarities for the international community to by now have an initial response protocol that can be put in place swiftly whilst a more considered approach is prepared in the longer term?

If previous genocides are anything to go by, this abhorrent frenzy of brutality will eventually run its course. Its consequences and their knock-on effects will be devastating and preparation and intervention are needed now to save what can be saved. Too little too late is just too inadequate