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A genocide is the attempted destruction of an entire "people," most often a nation or ethnicity. These attempts can range from merely destroying all of the things that make an ethnic group (forced language policies, destruction of history), to forced sterilization of the group (to prevent further generations from being born), to attempts at whole-scale extermination (as was done in the Holocaust.) The word was coined in 1943 by Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish-Polish-British scholar, to describe Ottoman eliminationist policies towards Armenians, which was soon thereafter applied to the Nazi policies of extermination.
Whether action constitutes genocide depends on the breadth of the definition. Some forms of mass murder, as with undeniably preventable famines such as the Great Bengal Famine of 1943 or the Great Chinese Famine (1958-62) might not be deemed genocide, but take as many lives as the events recognized as genocide. From a legal point of view, mass killings that don't fit the definition of genocide are generally still crimes against humanity.
It should be noted that, without coercion of some sort, there is no genocide. Therefore, completely peaceful assimilation of one group into another cannot be considered genocide,[note 1] nor can intermarriage between groups, despite what some people say. In the wake of the Rwandan genocide, however, large-scale rape, when carried out to destroy or break up a group as described below, is beginning to become seen as an act of genocide as well. This would considerably (and, arguably, justifiably) expand the definition and range of the crime of genocide — in Burma's Karen provinces, for example, Burmese soldiers are ordered to rape Karen women; since Karen culture is patrilineal, this then leads to a drastic reduction in Karen births, to say nothing of the spread of STDs, and intense psychological and physical trauma to the victims.
- 1 Official definition
- 2 Eight Stages of Genocide
- 3 Denialism
- 4 Examples of genocide
- 5 Religion and genocide
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
“”In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:
Article III of the Convention delineates the following acts as punishable:
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
The issue of what constitutes a part of an ethnic group, however, is a contested legal problem — would it be an act of genocide if I killed a single member of group 'X', if she was the only X on my street and I wanted to make my street a 'Y'-only neighbourhood? Cases of this sort would technically fall under the remit of the above law, but are not usually treated as genocide. Hundreds of thousands of deaths are not necessary to reach a verdict of genocide, either, with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the International Court of Justice agreeing that it had taken place in the Srebrenica massacre, in which only 8,000 were killed. Furthermore, the massacre of 900 Ache Indians between 1968 and 1972 in Paraguay under the authoritarian regime of Alfredo Stroessner is considered a case of genocide.
Eight Stages of Genocide
Gregory Stanton published a paper entitled The Eight Stages of Genocide and presented it to the US State Department, the UN, and various other political bodies around the world. He outlined ways we identify true "genocide". While it is important for addressing questions like "Was the conquering of Native Americans, Native Canadians and Native South Americans a 'genocide' or was it simply the result of dominance in military actions", the Eight Stages of Genocide also have a far more practical and important point. That is, identifying future genocides and preventing them before they happen again:
- Classification — People separate themselves into "us/them" groups. This may initially be done on even terms and accepted by both parties, as with the African tribal associations in Rwanda. This is a universal attribute of all societies and does not necessarily result in genocide. All societies have categories to distinguish between groups of people with different common denominators (skin color, ethnicity, race, religion, nationality). Countries which are considered "bipolar" in that there are negligible mixed categories (such as Burundi and Rwanda) are considered the most likely to have genocides.
- Symbolization — Like classification, this is universally human as all societies apply symbols to members of a group. Symbolization becomes dangerous and becomes a stage in genocide when it is infused with hatred or feelings of superiority by another group, for example, one or both groups may begin to use hate speech, develop symbols (usually derogatory) to represent the "other," which can lead to the next stage…
- Dehumanization - A society goes from simply defining another group as "not us" to being "vermin," "insects," "plagues," "parasites," "subhuman" or "animals". This works in genocide by overcoming empathy towards a group, making it possible to violate or kill members of the group without remorse.
- Organization — Stanton suggests that a true genocide is always organized as such, with people in power invoking violence on others, pushing the rhetoric with words like "destroy", "remove", "cleanse" or purify". In many modern cases from, Rwanda to China, military units were trained specifically to systematically destroy a culture and therefore the people.
- Polarization — Polarizing hate speech steps up; rhetoric becomes common and normal, and it is usually associated with the violence of terms like "cleanse". Moderates are assassinated to silence the center and render it passive. Moderates slow down the cycle and are usually the first to go. As a result of polarizing hate speech and repression of moderates, the false dilemma of "us and them" is ingrained in the public consciousness. Laws may be enacted forbidding intermarriage or social interaction between the two groups.
- Preparation — (perhaps better understood as separation or isolation) The group in power begins to ward off, isolate, or even capture the "other". At this point, victim groups are fully aware that it is not simply about rights or freedom, but their very life as a community or people. Examples of preparation include the "ghettoization" of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.
- Extermination — (It should be noted that Stanton uses this term deliberately because in his research the criminal party sees the victim population as bugs, viruses, etc., to be exterminated. They are not humans to be killed or murdered.)
- Denial — The final stage is denial, where the perpetrators attempt to deny, suppress details of, or even attempt to rationalize the genocide (stifling investigations, destroying evidence, and victim blaming are common tactics).
“”Deliberate denial of a known genocide is a harmful act that deserves to be includes in the same moral domain as actual contributions to a genocide — indirect and direct. indeed, denial may be appropriately regarded as the last stage of genocide, one that can continue long after the actual killing has ended.
|—Eric Markusen & Israel W. Charny:159|
Genocide denial is particularly common for both the Armenian Genocide (Armenian Genocide denial) and the Holocaust (Holocaust denial). In the case of Holocaust denial, Deborah Lipstadt concluded from an exhaustive survey that most deniers were antisemites or bigots, but that there were also many other motives for denial.
Israel Charny and Daphna Fromer listed five characteristics of arguments ("logic") used by genocide deniers:
- "Innocence and self-righteousness": claiming that people could not have been so evil
- "Science in the service of confusion": science doesn't know everything
- "Practicality, pragmatism and realpolitik": There will never be world peace, so one must be practical.
- "Distorted linkages and temporal confusions": dishonestly pulling ideas out of context, i.e., justifying one action with a decontextualized action from a different time, a type of non sequitur
- "Indirection, definitionalism, reversal": methods of avoiding the essential issue of whether genocide occurred
Gregory Stanton has categorized 12 ways in which people attempt to deny genocide:
- Question and minimize the statistics
- Attack the motivations of the truth-tellers
- Claim that the deaths were inadvertent
- Emphasize the strangeness of the victims
- Rationalize the deaths as the result of tribal conflict
- Blame "out of control" forces for committing the killings
- Avoid antagonizing the genocidists, who might walk out of "the peace process"
- Justify denial in favor of current economic interests
- Claim that the victims are receiving good treatment
- Claim that what is going on doesn't fit the definition of genocide
- Blame the victims
- Say that peace and reconciliation are more important that blaming people for genocide
Examples of genocide
An analysis of 20th century wars and democides found that number of people killed from wars increased from democracies (4.4 million) to authoritarian regimes (15 million) to totalitarian regimes (24 million, both non-communist and communist). Notably, however the the number killed was markedly greater between the three types of government for democides: 2.0 million, 29 million, and 250 million, respectively.
List of genocides and other mass murders
List of genocides
- Destruction of Carthage
- Asiatic Vespers
- Roman suppression of Bar Kokhba revolt
- General Ran Min's extermination of the Wu Hu during Northern China's Wei–Jie war
- Catholic extermination of Cathars and Waldensians
- Destruction under the Mongol Empire (Tanguts, Khwarezmia, Baghdad, Persia)
- Vientamese genocide of indigenous Cham people
- Conquests of Timur the Lame (Siege of Isfahan (1387))
- Catholic massacres against the Huguenots
- The mass extermination of the Buddhist Dzungar people by the Qing dynasty of China.
- American Indian Genocides:
- Spain's conquest: Encomienda (Hispaniola),Cholula massacre, Tenochtitlan massacre (Massacre in the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan)
- US expansion: Pequots, Great Plains Epidemic (Mandan tribe), Indian Removal (Trail of Tears), Long Walk of the Navajo, California Genocide (Yuki tribe, Tolowa tribe),
- Mexico's campaigns against Apaches and Yaquis (Mazocoba)
- Cromwellian conquest of Ireland
- Extermination of Jews during the Khmelnytsky Uprising
- 1740 Batavia massacre of Chinese peoples by Dutch forces
- The Vadda Ghallūghārā ("Greater Massacre") against Sikhs
- The treatment of indigenous Central Asians in Siberia after its conquest by Tsarist Russia.
- Napoleon's gassing of Haitians
- 1804 Haiti massacre against the French
- French conquest of Algeria (Ouled Rhia tribe massacre, Siege of Laghouat, Camps)
- The killing and enslavement of the Chatham Islands Moriori at the hands of Taranaki Maori invaders beginning in 1835.
- Mexico's Caste War of Yucatán
- Japanese efforts to eliminate the Ainu
- Some believe the Great Irish famine was a deliberate genocide by the British.
- Russia's Circassian genocide (Policies also targeted the Ingush, Arshtins, Chechens, Ossetians and Abkhaz)
- Massacres between Muslims and Bulgarians during the Russo-Turkish War
- Abdur Rahman Khan's repression of Hazaras
- Argentina's Conquest of the Desert
- Massacre of Mongols by Chinese secret society
- Amazon Indian genocide
- Selk'nam genocide
- Canada's Beothuk genocide and the Canadian Indian residential school system
- US war crimes in the Philippines
- British concentration camps during the Second Boer War
- Brazil Indians genocide
- Germany's destruction of the Herero and Namaqua people in colonial Namibia (making it the first genocide of the 20th century).
- The forcible abduction of Aboriginal children from their parents by Australia. Some also count the initial British colonisation and frontier wars as genocide in a similar manner to the American Indian Genocide, though as in that case, the majority of deaths (315,000-1.25 million reduced to 50,000-90,000) were due to introduction of European diseases rather than direct violence.
- The Aghet (Catastrophe), conducted by the Ottoman Empire on the Armenians. (see Armenian Genocide denial)
- The Sayfo (literally "sword", referring the "Year of the Sword") conducted by the Ottoman Empire on the Assyrians.
- The Greek genocide, conducted by the Ottoman Empire on the Christian Ottoman Greek population.
- Thracian Bulgarian genocide, conducted by the Ottoman Empire on the Christian Bulgarian population.
- Great Famine of Mount Lebanon, believed to have been made by the Ottomans as part of same genocidal policy against other Christians
- Massacres of Albanians in the Balkan Wars
- Deportation of Volhynia Germans by Russia
- Russia's massacre of Central Asian Turks
- The massacre of Haitians committed by the Dominican Republic under President Rafael Trujillo.
- The targeted killing of Kurdish villagers by Turkey.
- The de-Cossackization and forced removal of Chechens and Ingush in the Soviet Union.
- Fascist Italy's conquest of Libya, where Cyrenaican indigenous population were targeted and brutalized, and Ethiopia, which was subject to a military occupation.
- Chiang Kai-shek's campaign against Tibetans during Sino-Tibetan War
- 1932 Salvadoran peasant massacre (People with indigenous were targeted collectively for murder)
- The Holodomor which saw the mass starvation of Ukrainians under Stalin.
- Polish Operation of the NKVD (Soviet genocide of Polish minority in USSR)
- Population transfer in the Soviet Union (Crimean Tatars, Chechens, Ingush, Kalmyk, etc.)
- The Holocaust, the most infamous (and the most industrialized) examples done by Nazi Germany
- Additional Nazi genocide directed against the Slavic peoples, particularly in Poland and Russia
- Romani genocide by Nazi Germany
- The Asian Holocaust, the Japanese genocide directed at essentially every country in the Pacific and Far East other than Japan, particularly China.
- The the massacres in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia against the Polish conducted by Ukrainian Nationalists.
- The Croatian Ustaše's killings of Serbs, Jews, and Roma during World War II
- Chetnik genocide against Muslims and Croats
- Titoist repression of Yugoslavian Germans
- Religious Violence in Post-Raj India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (Partition of India, Noakhali, Nellie, East Pakistan, Hyderabad, Gujarat, Biharis)
- Tibetan genocide by communist China
- Guatemala's targeting and killing of Mayan peasants during the Guatemalan Civil War (1960-1996)
- Arab genocide in Zanzibar
- Indonesian atrocities in East Timor and West Papua (modern-day Papua providence) during the Suharto regime.
- The Igbo targeted killings and starvation of the Biafra people by the Nigerian government during the Nigerian Civil War.
- The Cambodian genocide, conducted by the Khmer Rouge. Sometimes referred to as "Auto-Genocide" since the perpetrators and most of the victims were of the same ethnicity, although the regime especially targeted Sino-Cambodians and ethnic Vietnamese.
- The systematic mass murder of civilians by the Pakistani army in 1971 in East Pakistan
- Persecution of Hmong by Laotian government
- Persecution of Degar Peoples in Vietnam
- Bangladesh's repression of Buddhist indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts
- Paraguay Indians genocide
- The US government's Sudan Peace Act of 21 October 2002 accused Sudan of genocide for killing more than 2 million civilians in the south .
- Genocidal massacre of Sikhs by Indian National Congress
- The Anfal campaign against Kurds during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s
- Somalia's disgraceful Isaaq genocide under the junta
- Draining of the Mesopotamian Marshes by Saddam
- The Burundian genocides which include the 1972 mass killings of Hutus by the Tutsis and the 1993 mass killings of the Tutsis by the Hutus.
- The ethnic cleansing practiced in post-Cold War Yugoslavia, notably the Srebrenica massacre.
- The Rwandan genocide, done to Tutsis by the Hutus. Anti-genocide Hutus were also murdered.
- Persecution of Falun Gong of Falun Gong practitioners by Organ harvesting and Reeducation camps
- Effacer le tableau (Extermination of Mbuti Pygmies by the Movement for the Liberation of Congo)
- The genocide in Darfur, Sudan committed by the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militias against non-Arabs.
- Massacres of Tamils during the final stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War
- Genocide of Yazidis by ISIL (Sinjar massacre)
- The persecution of Rohingya Muslims, including ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State by Myanmar forces.
- Saudi terror famine against Yemen
List of politicides and other genocide-like mass murders
- Massacre of Novgorod
- Zhang Xianzhong's destruction of Sichuan
- Mass destruction of Poland during Swedish invasion
- Man-Made Famines in British India
- Ranavalona I's repression wiping out half of Madagascar
- Atrocities in the Congo Free State
- Belgian Congo atrocities
- Francoist Repression in Spain
- The Great Bengal Famine of 1943 committed by Winston Churchill's administration.
- Sétif and Guelma massacre by French against Algerian Nationalists
- Bodo League massacre
- French repression of Malagasy Uprising
- British repression of Mau Mau uprising
- The absolutely staggering death toll in China during the Great Leap Forward, which may have involved up to 55 million deaths from a combination of famine (arguably deliberately exacerbated) and deliberate action, and the destruction of more homes than any of the bombing campaigns in World War II.
- 1965-66 Indonesian slaughter of alleged communists
- Francisco Macías Nguema's mass killings of ⅓ of Equatorial Guinea's population.
- "Draining the Sea" in El Salvador
- Operation Condor, started in 1968 (and officially activated in 1975), was a campaign of repression and state terror against anyone vaguely left-wing, mainly communists, socialists, and critics of the neo-fascist Latin American military juntas who carried out the killings. Anchored by Henry Kissinger, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay all planned, trained for, and carried out the deaths of 60,000–80,000 suspected leftist sympathizers and over 400,000 politically motivated arrests. This ended by the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
- Crimes of Idi Amin
- North Korean Gulags
- Atrocities of the Ugandan Bush War
- Communist massacres of Ethiopians
- 1988 executions of Iranian political prisoners
- Ramzan Kadyrov's "gay concentration camps" in Chechnya.
French wingnut historians Reynald Secher[note 2] and Pierre Chaunu have argued that the War in the Vendée, which occurred when Catholic royalists revolted against the Republican government during the French Revolution qualifies as the first "modern" genocide. While it is universally accepted that atrocities were committed during the counter-revolution, the view that this conflict was truly a targeted extermination has been widely rejected by mainstream historians in both the United States and France, and the Vendéen revolt fails to satisfy the UN or Stanton's definitions of genocide. Western sources that support the "Vendéen genocide" theory universally cite Secher's work as their sole justification. Proponents of classifying the War in the Vendée as genocide in France are almost exclusively Breton separatists, neo-fascist wackjobs, or royalists seeking a return to the monarchy.
While the accusations of genocide against Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević (who, let's face it, was a despicable excuse for a human being) were one of the reasons for the 1999 war to liberate Kosovo from Serbian rule, later findings support that there were ethnic atrocities (by both sides) but not necessarily genocide. However, given the nature of this debate, the place where it happened and the recency of events, this is still a controversial topic.
Racists often promote the conspiracy theory that there is a genocide against white people. Usually this comes in the form of claims that the increase in immigration from Third World nations is some sort of Zionist/Illuminati/Freemason/Socialist/Liberal plot to cause the demographic destruction of the white race. Aside from being absolutely absurd, this wouldn't even qualify as genocide anyways, as there is no plan to kill white people. It is also not unusual for white nationalists to claim that there is an ongoing genocide of white people in South Africa, initiated by Nelson Mandela (or more recently the current president, Cyril Ramaphosa). Ironically, Israel was one of the last states to cut ties with Apartheid South Africa, yet the white nationalists will often claim that the Jews are the ones behind this evil liberal conspiracy.
In the Anglosphere, white supremacists like to claim that affirmative action, interracial relationships, and pretty much everything else are attempts to create genocide of the so-called "white race," despite ignoring current rates in demographics. Members of Black supremacy movements as well as certain individuals in the anti-choice crowd occasionally make the claim that abortion is a method of back-door genocide against minorities. (They also ignore current rates in demographics.)
Nazi sympathizers may claim that there was a genocide of Germans taking place in Poland in the late 1930s, citing forged evidence from the Nazi Party as evidence for this supposed genocide. This, they argue, was a justification for the German invasion of Poland, and therefore the allies were the aggressors. It is yet to be established what the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, or Norway did that warranted a German invasion if the Nazis were truly acting in "self-defence".
While it is well-established that the Armenian Genocide and the Holodomor took place, white nationalists will often try to blame the Jews for both of these genocides.
Religion and genocide
See Also Death toll of Christianity
Genocide can often be couched in religious terms. The centuries of pogroms preceding the Holocaust, for example, were religiously motivated by the idea that the Jews were collectively guilty of killing Jesus. Many also attempted to justify the U.S.'s American Indian policy in the 19th and 20th centuries by citing the tribes' refusal to convert to Christianity. This belief is still held by some professed fundamentalists, e.g., Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association.
Certain parts of the Old Testament of the Bible are often cited as a model for this sort of genocide. The best-known example is in the Book of Joshua, where the Israelites, finally coming into possession of their "land of milk and honey," at God's command conquer thirty-one kingdoms, killing all the kings, men, women, and children.
Another example, used by the Puritans of New England to justify battles against American Indians, is found in 1 Samuel 15:1: God tells King Saul to annihilate an enemy population, the Amalekites, but Saul does not carry out this command perfectly — he spares their king and a few of their tastier morsels of livestock. God proceeds to get very angry at him for this insubordination. The story of the Amalekites is featured in Bible study courses put on by the Good News Clubs, as an illustrative example to American schoolchildren of the necessity of obeying God in all particulars. 
- Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Text of the Rome Statute circulated as document A/CONF.183/9 of 17 July 1998 and corrected by process-verbaux of 10 November 1998, 12 July 1999, 30 November 1999, 8 May 2000, 17 January 2001 and 16 January 2002. The Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002.
- Dying Alive by Guy Horton (2005) Images Asia.
- Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity by Martin Smith (1999) Zed Books, 2nd ed. ISBN 9781856496605.
- Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Approved and proposed for signature and ratification or accession by General Assembly resolution 260 A (III) of 9 December 1948 Entry into force: 12 January 1951, in accordance with article XIII
- Genocide United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect (archived from December 28, 2018).
- Facts about Srebrenica — Summary of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia judgement on the case
- Summary of the ICJ conclusions on the case
- Richard Arens, Genocide in Paraguay (1976) Temple University Press. ISBN 0877220883.
- Democide versus Genocide: Which is What? by R. J. Rummel (May 1998).
- Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900 by R. J. Rummel (1997) Routledge. ISBN Routledge.
- The 8 Stages of Genocide by Gregory Stanton (1998) Genocide Watch.
- "Denials of Genocide, Psychology of" by Eric Markusen & Israel W. Charny. In: Encyclopedia of Genocide (1999), edited by Israel W. Charny. ABC-CLIO, pp. 159-161. ISBN 0874369282.
- Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory by Deborah Lipstadt (1994) Plume. ISBN 0452272742. p. 206.
- Five Characteristics of the "Logic of Denials of Genocide" by Israel W. Charny & Daphna Fromer. In: Encyclopedia of Genocide (1999), edited by Israel W. Charny. ABC-CLIO, p. 160.
- The 12 Ways to Deny a Genocide by Gregory H. Stanton (13 September 2004, updated 15 June 2005) '"Genocide Watch.
- "Power Kills, Absolute Power Kills Absolutely" by R. J. Rummel. In: Encyclopedia of Genocide (1999), edited by Israel W. Charny. ABC-CLIO, pp. 23-34 ISBN 0874369282.
- Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur by Ben Kiernan (2007) Yale University Press, page 365. ISBN 0300100981.
- El Salvador: Memoria Histórica y Organización Indígena by Juan Luís de La Rosa Municio (2006) Foro por la Memoria.
- Omar al-Bashir charged with Darfur genocide: Hague court issues arrest warrant for Sudanese president, adding international pressure to further isolate regime (12 Jul 2010 11.16 EDT) Associated Press via The Guardian.
- Across Myanmar, Denial of Ethnic Cleansing and Loathing of Rohingya by Hannah Beech (Oct. 24, 2017) The New York Times.
- Myanmar, Once a Hope for Democracy, Is Now a Study in How It Fails by Max Fisher (Oct. 19, 2017) The New York Times.
- Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction. by Adam Jones (2017) Routledge, 3rd ed. "Chapter 2: State and Empire". ISBN 1138823848.
- Barbaric Civilization: A Critical Sociology of Genocide by Christopher Powell (2011) McGill-Queen's University Press, pp. 238–245. ISBN 9780773585560.
- Indonesian state 'responsible for genocide' in 1965: People's tribunal says government must compensate victims and survivors of mass killings some five decades ago. (20 Jul 2016) Al Jazeera.
- A French Genocide: The Vendée by Reynald Secher, translated by George Holoch (2003) University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN 0268028656.
- The truth about white farmers in South Africa — and why the right is obsessed with them by Joe Sommerlad (23 August 2018 12:45) The Independent.
- We Watched Gavin McInnes’s Full Anti-Semitic Rant So You Don’t Have To: The Rebel personality has a lot of thoughts about Jews — and they're even worse in context. by Jonathan Goldsbie (March 14, 2017) Canadaland.
- Fischer: Native Americans Are Mired In Poverty and Alcoholism Because They Refuse to Accept Christianity by Kyle Mantyla (February 8, 2011 1:16 pm) Right Wing Watch.
- How Christian fundamentalists plan to teach genocide to schoolchildren: Good News Clubs' evangelism in schools is already subverting church-state separation. Now they justify murdering nonbelievers by Katherine Stewart (30 May 2012 10.15 EDT First published on Wed 30 May 2012 10.15 EDT) The Guardian.
- Kill them all, children by Ophelia Benson (June 4, 2012) Free Thought Blogs.