Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.
Check out their Facebook page.
Geneva, April 1 - The United Nations Human Rights Council has appointed a commission to collect and analyze evidence that the ten plagues wrought against Egypt violated international law, and may constitute crimes against humanity.
Egypt submitted a request last month to the Council alleging that the release of the Israelite nation was secured under duress, and that the Israelite god had perpetrated mass atrocities in the process. As part of the negotiating strategy with the Pharaoh of the time, the Hebrew god YHWH repeatedly struck the nation with various calamities, disrupting life, agriculture, commerce, diet, and causing an unknown number of deaths and injuries. The request asked the Council to investigate, noting that although the events took place nearly 2,500 years ago, there is no statute of limitations on such crimes.
Specifically, the commission's mandate includes a series of ten events in the year leading up to the Israelite exodus, with the addition of a mass murder allegation charging that on the way out, YHWH disproportionately smote the entire cavalry corps of the Egyptian military. The commission will also explore the evidence of two accessories to the crimes identified as Moses and Aaron, brothers who may have participated in some or all of the alleged atrocities.
Investigators will have to sort through varying accounts of the events, but the broad outline of the narrative has been broadly accepted for some time. After encountering Egyptian resistance to his demands, YHWH dispatched Israelite brothers Moses and Aaron to threaten the Pharaoh over possession of at least 600,000 Hebrew slaves that the god wanted to acquire for himself. YHWH allegedly transformed the Nile to blood, then caused a massive frog infestation; according to some reports, vicious and venomous other reptiles also descended upon the land. The first two came with a threat, but then YHWH brought lice with no warning.
The pattern repeated when Moses threatened and brought wild beasts, animal pestilence, but initiated boils with no warning - though some reports claim swarms of gnats instead of beasts; and again, when he threatened hail and locust swarms, but caused thick darkness even in daytime with no advance warning. Finally, YHWH allegedly resorted to actual killing, when he smote all of Egypt's firstborn males.
The commission will attempt to depose Egyptians claiming to be eyewitnesses or victims, then build a coherent case for or against recommending that the International Criminal Court open a formal criminal investigation. However, several important hurdles may impede its work, chief among them an apparent paucity of survivors to interview, leaving only documentary evidence of disputed veracity. Such problems have not hampered other UNHRC commissions in the Middle East, since they often amount to a technicality in the foregone conclusion envisioned by the report authors, but if a bona fide criminal case by the ICC is the goal, and not mere political posturing, then rules of evidence may eliminate the vast majority of universally accepted credible sources.
The Council has already appointed Canadian professor William Schabas to head the commission, citing his experience with similar inquiries.