PDA

View Full Version : Genocide from the Balkans to Caucasia


Porpoise101
December 2nd, 2016, 09:55 PM
My most controversial post yet.

So I was speaking to an Armenian friend of mine, and he was talking about the Armenian genocide. It really got me thinking about how we can qualify certain events as genocide or not, and even if the events line up with the definition of genocide, if the genocidal actions were justified. Modern genocides tend to be easy to distinguish for one thing. There are usually more records and pictures taken, and this means we can discover the intent and consequences behind mass killings. But issues come into play when we examine places in the more distant past.

Example: When Charlemagne massacred the pagan Saxons, was that a genocide? Of course. But I'm pretty sure no one qualifies Charlemagne as being on the same level as Hitler. The reason they are treated differently is because of two reasons:
We are trained to hate certain people
We impose humanitarian values on Hitler and not Charlemagne

This bothers me seriously. As moralists, why do we hold Hitler to a higher standard than the Christian Charlemagne? Seems bizarre to me. I think the difference lies in the fact that one may have done it out of defense (at least initially) and the other did it out of pure hatred. Additionally, we have a habit of ignoring past events.

In the same vein, why do we compare the Armenian Genocide to the Holocaust? Sure, massive loss of life occurred and was experienced by a specific group. But when I looked at the historical context of the event, I realized that they really don't deserve the same historical treatment. You will have to look at it from the Muslim, Turkish perspective (assuming you know the Armenian perspective already).

You see, at the time of WW1 there was an Armenian revolt supported by the Russians. This meant that these equipped fighters posed a real threat to the divided Imperial Army. The Armenians deliberately attacked Turkish towns (when I say Turkish, I mean assimilated Muslim for simplicity) and sacked them, killing Turkish inhabitants. The rebellion was put down, enemies killed, and finally the people of 'Greater Armenia' were killed systematically as reprisal and as a last-ditch wartime effort. It sounds terrible and it is terrible. But it isn't Nazi-level (or even Rwandan-level) in that it wasn't out of previous hatreds as much as it came out of a war.

Sure, there were religious tensions directly preceding the genocide, but I find that to be because of atrocities against Muslims in the first place. I also find it especially troubling that the Turks are consistently blamed for various genocides when the blaming parties (usually Greeks or Armenians) were complicit in similar acts against their Muslim populations. The Muslims of Crete didn't magically disappear. Neither did the Muslims of Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia, Georgia, and Serbia. Why are they forgotten when they were expelled and killed in the same way?

More importantly, should all genocides be treated equally? I am torn by that question, and this is what worries me.

Dalcourt
December 2nd, 2016, 11:50 PM
We basically owe it to Hitler that we see Charlemagne in this more positive way today... he was a huge fan of Charlemagne where even his own inner circle was more on the Saxons side...The Saxons represent the culture the Nazis wanted to establish far better than Charlemagnes empire did.

Earlier times draw a rather bleak picture of Charlemagne and even his biographer Einhard? described this war against the Saxons as cruel.

So maybe this helps you in answering your own question whether we should make any differences in the way we see genocides or what we see as genocides?

You said it yourself we are trained to hate certain people. Who trains us? Why?
It's not easy to leave indoctrinated views behind...think outside the box so to speak that's why we will always be subjective in those matters and never get a neutral view on this.

Stronk Serb
December 3rd, 2016, 03:44 AM
Actually Turks in Serbia dissapeared after Prince Milan Obrenović signed a treaty with the Ottomans that they will leave. It was done in a more or less orderly fashion. The population exchanges the Serbs and Greeks did are actually far better than leaving the Turks. The Ottomams opressed us for five centuries, it was natural that a hatred would develop for them. What would happen to those Turks who would remain? They would be abused just like the Ottomans abused us. Jizya tax, devshirme, abuse by Ottoman spahi, Janissaries...

StoppingTom
December 3rd, 2016, 11:49 AM
I think we don't hold Charlemagne in the same light as Hitler because:

A) His actions against the Saxons are less well-known to the average person
B) Charlemagne reigned so long ago in such a different time that we feel disconnected from it
C) We don't see the effects of Charlemagne's genocide like we do Hitler's. By that, I mean we have photographs of the Holocaust, personal anecdotes and survivors. In Charlemagne's case we only have written word and paintings. Again, this creates a disconnect and emotional removal from the gravity of what he did.

Stronk Serb
December 4th, 2016, 04:53 AM
Also I would like to add the media portraying attrocities out of proportion. Like the Srebrenica genocide, for me personally it is a massacre, not a genocide due to it's small scale (less than 8,000 dead), but for the sake of the discussion let's say it is. Compared to what passed as genocide this was well, nothing. The Bosniak population isn't so small that this made a difference, while for example the Holocaust (not just the Jews, Slavic peoples and gypsies too) left a significant change on the numbers if said peoples. Almost a million Serbs died just from pro-nazi death camps in Croatia. Back to the Srebrenica argument, at least for the sake of justice, have Bosniak and Croat commanders answer fairly for their crimes, like the massacre in Bratunac or the exodus of Serbs from Croatia. I think there really are 8,000 people dead there, yes, it is horrible, but does it really qualify as genocide? There were 9,000 Serb troops attacking the town and the 6,000 Bosniak troops just fled. They had a defensive position and fled, leaving their people to suffer. Should the Bosniak commander Naser Orić (whose men massacred about 3,000 Serbs around Srebrenica) be held responsible for abandoning his people?

Vlerchan
December 4th, 2016, 06:25 AM
Stronk Serb:

None of those qualifiers detract from Srebrenica being considered a genocide under the current conventions of international law.

---

In response to the OP: Alongside what Giygas said, We hold our relative historical peers to a different ethical standard. It's easier to imagine them coexisting within our norms.

Stronk Serb
December 4th, 2016, 07:29 AM
Stronk Serb:

None of those qualifiers detract from Srebrenica being considered a genocide under the current conventions of international law.

---

In response to the OP: Alongside what Giygas said, We hold our relative historical peers to a different ethical standard. It's easier to imagine them coexisting within our norms.

Still it doesn't make sense. Regardless, genocide or well any massacre is a shitty thing.

Porpoise101
December 4th, 2016, 11:52 AM
Actually Turks in Serbia dissapeared after Prince Milan Obrenović signed a treaty with the Ottomans that they will leave. It was done in a more or less orderly fashion. The population exchanges the Serbs and Greeks did are actually far better than leaving the Turks.
Either way, better or worse, it is still a genocide by international definitions, as one religious community was more or less expelled. And I wouldn't call it orderly, because hundreds of thousands of Muslims (not just Turks) died along the way to get to Ottoman territory. The thing is, your national identity as a Serb is less connected to ethnicity as you may think, and the same thing goes for other ethnic groups in the Balkans and even for Turks. People were not qualified or expelled from these territories because of their language or culture, but because of their Muslim faith (or Christian faith if you lived in Turkey).

The best known example of this was the exchange (read: agreed-upon genocide) between Turks and Greeks. To do this, they made Muslim=Turk and Christian=Greek. This is wrong because many of the Christians weren't Greek, and many of the Muslims weren't Turks, and many of those were Greek. It cost a lot of pain for both groups, but the only ones I see complaining about it are Greeks usually.

In the West, it seems like all of the genocides which were done against Turks, and even native Muslims are forgotten, while the ones against Christian ethnicities are the ones remembered.

I do agree with what you said about the double standard of the international justice system. Those leaders which expelled Serbs should be tried at the very least, even if they did not do the same amount of destruction as done in Bosnia. One of the things I don't really like about international institutions is that they are biased towards the US, and this really harms their legitimacy among the world. And this means that places like Serbia will be pushed to the side that is most convenient for the US.
---

Referring to Charlemagne vs Hitler, I think it is quite interesting that people do not look at the morals of the perpetrator. It is completely insensible to think that Hitler would behave well to others, because he never professed those ideals. But Charlemagne is portrayed as a Christian, noble king who unified Europe. Nations even want to be associated with him. But if he is so Christian and so noble, then it is my opinion that we should hold Charlemagne to a higher standard than Hitler.

Voice_Of_Unreason
December 4th, 2016, 01:14 PM
In the West, it seems like all of the genocides which were done against Turks, and even native Muslims are forgotten, while the ones against Christian ethnicities are the ones remembered.
I'm sorry, but if you ever look at Medieval Middle East history, you will see that the Ottoman Empire and its predecessors were very common with genocide and oppression. You don't hear about these too often, as the Left always tries to shift the blame towards the Christians, as Islam is "a religion of peace" :rolleyes: You hear people say that basically any Muslim genocide was directly the result of the "Evil Christians."

I am curious of your opinion of the 1500's Muslim invasion of India. I know from your previous posts that you are pro-Islam in Christianity/Islam debates. But I wonder how you would justify the Muslim genocide of approx. 400 million Hindus, in which you are one..
Referring to Charlemagne vs Hitler, I think it is quite interesting that people do not look at the morals of the perpetrator. It is completely insensible to think that Hitler would behave well to others, because he never professed those ideals. But Charlemagne is portrayed as a Christian, noble king who unified Europe. Nations even want to be associated with him. But if he is so Christian and so noble, then it is my opinion that we should hold Charlemagne to a higher standard than Hitler.
I would first like to say that it is not likely Charlemagne was an actual practicing Christian. In my opinion the only reason he claimed to be a Christian was to get support from the Papacy. As for the rest, I believe that the previous posts were very clear. Charlemagne wasn't seen as murderer because he was a Christian, but because he ruled long before any of us were alive and the genocide was just a minor part of his overall impact on Europe. Hitler's genocide was much bigger, much more recent and impactful, and the core of his impact on the world.

I am working on a much larger and much more detailed post on this subject, but that may take a few days to finish. I just wanted to add this tidbit.

Porpoise101
December 4th, 2016, 03:25 PM
I'm sorry, but if you ever look at Medieval Middle East history, you will see that the Ottoman Empire and its predecessors were very common with genocide and oppression.

Of course, monarchy during this time was pretty oppressive. But as for genocide, I wouldn't say so honestly. Forced conversions were used intermittently at first, but for how fast the Islamic world grew, it was surprisingly genocide-less because of the internationalist nature of Islam.

The Ottoman Empire was probably as bad as it got in terms of intolerance and genocide. And, I will say this, they strove to protect minority populations with the millet system. The catch was that they were somewhat intolerant of religious minorities while being open to cultural minorities. And when it came to genocide, I think that they mostly came during the most desparate times when the empire was crumbling.

That being said, I am not denying or ignoring what happened to the Armenians, Pontic Greeks, Ionian Greeks, or Assyrians. But the atrocities committed against Muslims I find to be forgotten in history, and that is what I want to change personally. At least acknowledge it, that is all I am saying.

You don't hear about these too often, as the Left always tries to shift the blame towards the Christians, as Islam is "a religion of peace" :rolleyes: You hear people say that basically any Muslim genocide was directly the result of the "Evil Christians."

I don't think it makes sense to place the blame on Left/Right bickering. Rather it is an issue of documentation and record keeping in my mind, as many of the records we have aren't super-great during that period.

I am curious of your opinion of the 1500's Muslim invasion of India. I know from your previous posts that you are pro-Islam in Christianity/Islam debates. But I wonder how you would justify the Muslim genocide of approx. 400 million Hindus, in which you are one..

Look, I am not going to justify or support genocide. The way I see it is that India has more or less been invaded from the north numerous times. Aryans, white huns, Kushans, Afghans, Arabs, Turks, etc, what is the difference? The Muslims did use forced conversion on occasion, but the majority of religious change occurred as a result of trade.

Also I do not get what you are saying, the Muslim 'invasion' (more like a crawl tbh) began in the early 700s when the Umayyads seized Multan and the surrounding area. Only 1000 years later, did the Mughals have full dominion over the subcontinent. Anyways, to me, Muslims are now an intertwined part of Indian history and the Indian identity. They are not foreigners nor invaders nowadays, they are part of the identity.

I am not pro-Muslim as you seem to assert. I do not think there has been a Christianity/Islam debate on this forum that I have really contributed to. However, I have voiced support against prejudice and such things in various posts. It's not that I dislike Christians or even like Muslims for being Muslim, it's that I don't perceive them to be a threat.

A little OT, but I think it is bizarre that the Hindu Right praises the Vedic people when they were just as much 'invaders' as the Muslims.

I would first like to say that it is not likely Charlemagne was an actual practicing Christian. In my opinion the only reason he claimed to be a Christian was to get support from the Papacy. As for the rest, I believe that the previous posts were very clear. Charlemagne wasn't seen as murderer because he was a Christian, but because he ruled long before any of us were alive and the genocide was just a minor part of his overall impact on Europe. Hitler's genocide was much bigger, much more recent and impactful, and the core of his impact on the world.

I guess this makes sense. Legacy seems to be a good reason. Charlemagne's legacy reaches beyond conquest and destruction, while Hitler's doesn't.

Hyper
December 8th, 2016, 03:22 AM
If it was understandable for the Turks to nearly exterminate the Armenians, IIRC % wise they nearly wiped out the entire Armenian population with a killrate of well in the 90s, then the Holocaust should be understandable just as well.

You can't justify morally reprehensible actions with necessity, the moment you start doing that is the moment you pry open the door for more such actions - because they ''might be necessary'' under certain conditions.

Hitler as well thought the Holocaust was necessary because the jews were a threat to Germany and so on. I'm sure Stalin & Mao thought everything they did was justifiable as well though in the end it was just mass murder plain and simple.

EDIT:
So yes they should be treated equally. The way the Holocaust is essentially paraded around as a historical tragedy without equal honestly disgusts me. The moment you start playing the ''who is the greater victim'' game in a historical context you get people using that context to justify present actions - which coincidentally is what the Israelis do.

Porpoise101
December 8th, 2016, 05:40 PM
If it was understandable for the Turks to nearly exterminate the Armenians, IIRC % wise they nearly wiped out the entire Armenian population with a killrate of well in the 90s, then the Holocaust should be understandable just as well.

That is pretty untrue. We really don't know the true numbers of those killed, because of poor record keeping. I'm not going to deny that a genocide took place; Armenians used to live in places like Van and Erzurum. Now they don't because they were exterminated. But a large amount of Armenians were already living in the Russian Empire because of prior invasions. That means that the 90% you are throwing out is wrong. Perhaps you are referring to Armenians who lived in the Ottoman Empire.

The Armenian Genocide was originally the quelling a rebellion which threatened the existence of the state, which was then taken to a deadly extreme. The Holocaust was a genocide in which a long-persecuted minority group was rounded up even though they posed no threat to the country.

At least with the Armenian Genocide, it had a semi-legitimate purpose. It brought stability, while killing many innocents. What did the Holocaust do? It just killed productive members of society.

You can't justify morally reprehensible actions with necessity, the moment you start doing that is the moment you pry open the door for more such actions - because they ''might be necessary'' under certain conditions.

I'm not saying it's justified. I'm saying that it is less bad at most.

Hitler as well thought the Holocaust was necessary because the Jews were a threat to Germany and so on. I'm sure Stalin & Mao thought everything they did was justifiable as well though in the end it was just mass murder plain and simple.

But look at what actually happened. Did Jews really pose a threat in large numbers? No.

If you want to make a Hitler comparison, then I'd maybe place the Armenian Genocide in a similar place to the treatment of Communists and Social Democrats under Nazi rule.

EDIT:
So yes they should be treated equally. The way the Holocaust is essentially paraded around as a historical tragedy without equal honestly disgusts me. The moment you start playing the ''who is the greater victim'' game in a historical context you get people using that context to justify present actions - which coincidentally is what the Israelis do.

I don't think I understand what you mean by equal honesty.

I think I agree with you in some sense. While I do not think all genocides deserve the same amount of contempt, what you say about Israel is a good point. The Armenians are trying to do the same thing by framing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as a new Turkish invasion by Azerbaijan. This is in spite of the fact that they are doing the same atrocities as the Azeris. It has striking similarities, an imperialist power (Britain and USSR) divides land arbitrarily (Palestine Mandate and the Armenian and Azerbaijani SSRs) causing long term problems between nations.

Voice_Of_Unreason
December 8th, 2016, 06:05 PM
The Armenian Genocide was originally the quelling a rebellion which threatened the existence of the state, which was then taken to a deadly extreme. The Holocaust was a genocide in which a long-persecuted minority group was rounded up even though they posed no threat to the country. Hypothetical question for you. Lets pretend there was a small band of Jews in Germany who actively fought against the Nazi regime. Would that automatically somewhat justify the death of 7 million Jews?
At least with the Armenian Genocide, it had a semi-legitimate purpose. It brought stability, while killing many innocents. Stability is not a legitimate or moral purpose in and of itself. A dictatorship can justify violently killing peaceful protesters for "stability". The big issue with your argument here is that you are basically saying that genocide is okay if you have a legitimate reason, all the while there are no legitimate reasons.

Porpoise101
December 8th, 2016, 06:32 PM
Hypothetical question for you. Lets pretend there was a small band of Jews in Germany who actively fought against the Nazi regime. Would that automatically somewhat justify the death of 7 million Jews?

There was such bands, they were called partisans. But it's not as if they had a real chance of actually overthrowing the government. It wasn't even. Perhaps you could justify the deaths of those partisans, maybe even their immediate connections if you a really ruthless despot. But not all of the Jews in Europe.

When we look at the Armenian case, it was pretty even. The Turks were being attacked in Iraq, Thrace, Ionia, the Caucasus, Syria, and Palestine. The fight against the Armenians was a component of that. Many of the people rounded up and systematically executed by the Ottoman regime were connected to or collaborators to the rebellion. Of course, the majority were not. But still, this is a difference from the targeting of a people who had not done many significant actions against innocents from the targeting of a people who actively fought against you and threatened your existence.

Stability is not a legitimate or moral purpose in and of itself. A dictatorship can justify violently killing peaceful protesters for "stability". The big issue with your argument here is that you are basically saying that genocide is okay if you have a legitimate reason, all the while there are no legitimate reasons.

Where am I saying that any form of violence is okay to begin with? All I am saying is that one genocide can be less evil than another. I have never said that it can be good.

Stability is something to be valued I think. Because when there isn't order, people get hurt. That's why over a million Turkish civilians died because of Armenian revolutionaries. There was no longer a social fabric keeping people together. It may not be important, but it is vital to any functioning political system.

Stronk Serb
December 12th, 2016, 03:36 AM
That is pretty untrue. We really don't know the true numbers of those killed, because of poor record keeping. I'm not going to deny that a genocide took place; Armenians used to live in places like Van and Erzurum. Now they don't because they were exterminated. But a large amount of Armenians were already living in the Russian Empire because of prior invasions. That means that the 90% you are throwing out is wrong. Perhaps you are referring to Armenians who lived in the Ottoman Empire.

The Armenian Genocide was originally the quelling a rebellion which threatened the existence of the state, which was then taken to a deadly extreme. The Holocaust was a genocide in which a long-persecuted minority group was rounded up even though they posed no threat to the country.

At least with the Armenian Genocide, it had a semi-legitimate purpose. It brought stability, while killing many innocents. What did the Holocaust do? It just killed productive members of society.

I'm not saying it's justified. I'm saying that it is less bad at most.

But look at what actually happened. Did Jews really pose a threat in large numbers? No.

If you want to make a Hitler comparison, then I'd maybe place the Armenian Genocide in a similar place to the treatment of Communists and Social Democrats under Nazi rule.

I don't think I understand what you mean by equal honesty.

I think I agree with you in some sense. While I do not think all genocides deserve the same amount of contempt, what you say about Israel is a good point. The Armenians are trying to do the same thing by framing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as a new Turkish invasion by Azerbaijan. This is in spite of the fact that they are doing the same atrocities as the Azeris. It has striking similarities, an imperialist power (Britain and USSR) divides land arbitrarily (Palestine Mandate and the Armenian and Azerbaijani SSRs) causing long term problems between nations.

By your logic, Srebrenica should be semi-justified too? I mean from Srebrenica the Bosniaks launched campaings and murdered Serb civilians around Srebrenica. The Serb troops thst came brought peace and stability to the area. Does that justify a massacre? No. Is it just as bad? I think it is.

Porpoise101
December 12th, 2016, 05:50 PM
By your logic, Srebrenica should be semi-justified too? I mean from Srebrenica the Bosniaks launched campaings and murdered Serb civilians around Srebrenica. The Serb troops thst came brought peace and stability to the area. Does that justify a massacre? No. Is it just as bad? I think it is.
Actually Srebrenica is a great example. It is a smaller-scale version of what happened in Turkey and the Balkans to Christian populations. It resulted in the whole ethnicity of Turks to have a stigma attached to them, just in the same way Serbia became somewhat distant in the international community. And the groups which supposedly prompted these actions are completely forgotten; which is the case of the Revolutionaries and Nationalists for the Ottoman times, and the Croats and Bosniaks for the break-up of Yugoslavia.

In both cases, all sides need to be acknowledged as being guilty.

Arkansasguy
December 20th, 2016, 06:24 PM
My most controversial post yet.

So I was speaking to an Armenian friend of mine, and he was talking about the Armenian genocide. It really got me thinking about how we can qualify certain events as genocide or not, and even if the events line up with the definition of genocide, if the genocidal actions were justified. Modern genocides tend to be easy to distinguish for one thing. There are usually more records and pictures taken, and this means we can discover the intent and consequences behind mass killings. But issues come into play when we examine places in the more distant past.

Example: When Charlemagne massacred the pagan Saxons, was that a genocide? Of course. But I'm pretty sure no one qualifies Charlemagne as being on the same level as Hitler. The reason they are treated differently is because of two reasons:
We are trained to hate certain people
We impose humanitarian values on Hitler and not Charlemagne

This bothers me seriously. As moralists, why do we hold Hitler to a higher standard than the Christian Charlemagne? Seems bizarre to me. I think the difference lies in the fact that one may have done it out of defense (at least initially) and the other did it out of pure hatred. Additionally, we have a habit of ignoring past events.

In the same vein, why do we compare the Armenian Genocide to the Holocaust? Sure, massive loss of life occurred and was experienced by a specific group. But when I looked at the historical context of the event, I realized that they really don't deserve the same historical treatment. You will have to look at it from the Muslim, Turkish perspective (assuming you know the Armenian perspective already).

You see, at the time of WW1 there was an Armenian revolt supported by the Russians. This meant that these equipped fighters posed a real threat to the divided Imperial Army. The Armenians deliberately attacked Turkish towns (when I say Turkish, I mean assimilated Muslim for simplicity) and sacked them, killing Turkish inhabitants. The rebellion was put down, enemies killed, and finally the people of 'Greater Armenia' were killed systematically as reprisal and as a last-ditch wartime effort. It sounds terrible and it is terrible. But it isn't Nazi-level (or even Rwandan-level) in that it wasn't out of previous hatreds as much as it came out of a war.

Sure, there were religious tensions directly preceding the genocide, but I find that to be because of atrocities against Muslims in the first place. I also find it especially troubling that the Turks are consistently blamed for various genocides when the blaming parties (usually Greeks or Armenians) were complicit in similar acts against their Muslim populations. The Muslims of Crete didn't magically disappear. Neither did the Muslims of Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia, Georgia, and Serbia. Why are they forgotten when they were expelled and killed in the same way?

More importantly, should all genocides be treated equally? I am torn by that question, and this is what worries me.

Executing rebels is not genocide.

Voice_Of_Unreason
December 20th, 2016, 10:11 PM
” Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes i.e. the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.”

“In an attempt to carry out its purpose to resolve the Armenian question by the destruction of the Armenian race, the Turkish government has refused to be deterred neither by our representations, nor by those of the American Embassy, nor by the delegate of the Pope, nor by the threats of the Allied Powers, nor in deference to the public opinion of the West representing 1 half the world.”
Source (https://books.google.com/books?id=1WwUNltj0BQC&pg=PA6091&dq=%E2%80%9CTurkey+is+taking+advantage+of+the+war+in+order+to+thoroughly+liquida te%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UP83VfLUNs6ryASvz4DADQ&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false)
"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

Porpoise101
December 21st, 2016, 04:34 PM
Executing rebels is not genocide.
I agree. But when you kill whole villages of specific ethnic or religious groups, it is a genocide.

Arkansasguy
December 22nd, 2016, 09:23 PM
I agree. But when you kill whole villages of specific ethnic or religious groups, it is a genocide.

I was referring to Charlamgne. He executed a few thousand rebels, he didn't just go about massacring Saxons wantonly.

Porpoise101
December 23rd, 2016, 12:31 PM
I was referring to Charlamgne. He executed a few thousand rebels, he didn't just go about massacring Saxons wantonly.
Yeah, he massacred a few thousand in an empire with only a few million people (most of whom resided in modern-day France). After looking online, the best estimates of population were 10 to 20 million people. The most of them lived in former Roman territory.

Saxony on the other hand, it was extremely rural and undeveloped. When Charlemagne executed those rebels, he destroyed many Saxon villages. Additionally, this guy gutted many of the few towns in the area. He actually massacred much of the population of Verden and other Saxon towns in northern Germany. He also implemented forced conversions, as that is a genocidal practice. Many of the epic poems at the time liked that he used those methods.