2023: Another Year of Horrible Men

Have you noticed how the worst mass horrors in the world are led by men?
December 20, 2023
SvetaZi/Getty Images; kirstypargeter/Getty Images

As we enter the final week of the year, usually a time of holiday cheer, my mind is with Samira Sabzian, a child bride who was hanged Dec. 20 in Iran. Sabzian, at 15, was forced to marry a much older man. After years of violence and abuse, she defended herself and killed him. She was subsequently jailed and sentenced to death, the seventeenth woman hanged in Iran since the beginning of the year.

Who is behind her killing and other atrocities of her country? It’s an 84-year-old man, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who seems to enjoy wreaking violent havoc throughout the region, with a special place reserved for Jews. Not only does Khamenei run the world’s number one sponsor of terror, he terrorizes his own people to ensure his regime stays in power.

Have you noticed how the worst mass horrors in the world are led by men?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has already cost Russia 315,000 dead and injured troops. Who was behind the invasion? A macho egomaniac, President Vladimir Putin, who prides himself on his virility and longs for the glory days of the Soviet empire. Whatever turns him on, it’s worth sacrificing 315,000 of his own people.

Meanwhile, not far from where I’m visiting family in northern Israel, a trained ophthalmologist has presided over the killing of more than 500,000 people in a prolonged civil war. He is Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria and the son of another mass murderer. Al-Assad in Arabic means “the Lion.”

Another civil war has been raging in Sudan, where six million people have fled their homes and half of the population needs urgent aid. Who is responsible? Two men: Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, former allies who overthrew the government and then turned on each other.

In China, a Human Rights Watch report in 2021 concluded that “since 2017, the Chinese government has carried out a widespread and systematic attack against Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang. It includes mass arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances, mass surveillance, cultural and religious persecution, separation of families, forced labor, sexual violence, and violations of reproductive rights.”

Who runs China? Xi Jinping, a driven control freak with visions of spreading Chinese influence around the globe.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where millions have died in local conflict and more than 1,000 women are raped every day, according to Jewish World Watch, one leader, Felix Tshisekedi, is happily ensconced in his presidential palace. If he is bothered by the carnage under his watch, he’s hiding it well.

Closer to home, who was behind the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust? Two Hamas leaders, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal, who are worth billions and live in luxury in the sanctuary of Qatar, and one military leader, Yahya Sinwar, who decided it would be a good idea to invade Israel on October 7 and murder 1200 Jews.

In all of these horrors, among many others I’m leaving out, I keep looking for women leaders. I haven’t found any. Women come up mostly as rape victims.

It’s politically incorrect these days to suggest there are biological differences between men and women. Isn’t gender now supposed to be fluid? Maybe so, but a scientific study from the University of Chicago concluded that “across all cultures, men are more physically aggressive than women,” and that “of the various behavioral differences between males and females, physical aggression is one of the largest.” That doesn’t mean there are no exceptions; it means this is the clear biological inclination.

I know what you’re thinking: No kidding.

Gender theory or no gender theory, it’s hardly a mystery that the worst perpetrators of mass violence throughout history—from Genghis Khan to Hitler to Stalin to Mao Zedong— have had one thing in common: the Y chromosome present in males.

It’s tragic, really, that this primordial masculine trait to hunt, protect and defend, crucial to the survival of our species, has an ego-driven dark side that has led to the untold deaths of hundreds of millions of people.

But men don’t need two X chromosomes to embrace the less violent female trait. The great majority of men don’t succumb to the dark side. If I have one wish for humanity during this holiday season, it’s not that male monsters become female, but that they be replaced by leaders who value the female inclination not to mass murder and conquer people. That would make for a much nicer world.

It would also bring empathy for child brides like Samira Sabzian, for whom that empathy sadly will be too late.

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