Body counts are cynical. In conflict situations they are regularly cited to point out the moral deterioration of the opponent. They are also used to justify atrocities because eye-for-an-eye logic is intrinsic to them. However, analysing body counts might also put things into perspective. They help classify media coverage, expose propaganda and put focus on „forgotten tragedies“. In order to maintain an unbiased attitude it is essential to keep two principles in mind:
- All human life has equal value.
- Homicide is detestable regardless the race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status of offender and victim.
Figures in the chapter „Human catastrophes“ are highly disputed and only rough estimates. Precise death tolls of distant events are impossible to establish. Moreover, some estimates include „indirect deaths“ caused by structural violence resulting in famine, exhaustion and disease whereas others only count fatalities as a result of actual physical violence such as combat action.
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