Throughout history, there were many kinds of genocides. Some revolves in hatred, tension, and revenge while others revolves in future conflicts, tensions, ethnics, etcetera. There are always legacies behind it and it’s scary what people can do. The legacy doesn’t affect me as much as the genocide, maybe because there weren’t as many blood sheds as the genocide itself. I believe the importance of legacy isn’t about revenge or anything bloody. In my case, my legacy revolves around hate.
The biggest war the world has ever seen was World War II. What was one factor that led to such a quick escalation? Genocide. Over 45 million people were murdered during this tragic time. The question is: was it the allies responsibility to intervene? The answer: No. The Global Community has no responsibility to intervene in states committing genocide.
Genocides Past and Present
Genocide, a dire event, has been recurring time and time again throughout history. In the past, there was the Holocaust, where Hitler exterminated over six million Jews based on his anti-semitic views. Elie Wiesel, a Jewish author, has become a very influential man in educating the world of the true events of the Holocaust due to his involvement in the disaster. Presently, a genocide is occurring in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, in which according to Cheryl Goldmark, “a systematic slaughter of non-Arab residents at the the hands of Arab militiamen called Janjaweed” has been taking place since 2003. (1) Not only is genocide a tragic historical event, it also continuously occurs today.
During the Darfur genocide over 480,000 people were killed, and more than 2.8 million people displaced. (Genocide in Darfur, 1) Genocide is the mass murder of a specific race or culture. The genocide in Darfur really technically hasn’t ended, because any attempt to stop the war its self failed.
Since Burundi’s independence in 1962, there have been two instances of genocide: the 1972 mass killings of Hutus by the Tutsi-dominated government, and the 1993 mass killings of the Tutsis by the Hutu populace. Both of these events in Burundi received different levels of attention by the international community and the western media due to a lack of foreign governmental interest, political distraction, and an unwillingness to acknowledge the severity of these atrocities in Burundi. Interestingly, events of genocide occurring at times without these distractions received more foreign attention than those ignored due to these factors. Because of this, much of the western world is unaware of the Burundian genocide and events similar to it.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a Japanese soldier barge into your house, rape your mother and sister, and then kill your father, all while you’re being forced to watch? Hopefully not, but unfortunately at one point in our history, that has happened to hundreds of thousands of people of Nanking, China. This Rape of Nanking or Massacre of Nanking can sometimes be referred to as the “forgotten Holocaust of WWII” seeing as it took place close to the start of the Second World War and is not nearly talked about as much as the German Holocaust with the Jews. It all happened in December of 1937, when Nanking fell to the Japanese.
Genocide in Rwanda
The definition of genocide as given in the Webster's College Dictionary is "The deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group. " This definition depicts the situation in 1994 of Rwanda, a small, poor, central African country. The Rwandan genocide was the systematic extermination of over eight hundred thousand Tutsi, an ethnic group in Rwanda, by the Hutu, another ethnic group in Rwanda.
April 6, 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of a genocide that killed nearly 100,000 people. The Rwandan genocide of 1994 nearly wiped out the Tutsi population of the country in only the span of a few months. An estimated 10,000 people were murdered each day. Philip Gourevitch, a journalist who visited Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide, gives this account: "Neighbors hacked neighbors in their homes, and colleagues hacked colleagues to death in their workplaces. Doctors killed their patients, and schoolteachers killed their pupils. Within days, the Tutsi populations of many villages were all but eliminated, and in Kigali prisoners were released in work gangs to collect the corpses that lined the roadsides. Drunken militia bands, fortified with assorted drugs from ransacked pharmacies, were bused from massacre to massacre. Radio announcers reminded listeners not to take pity on women and children." The world had never seen so many deaths so fast. It asks the question: how could something like this happen? The Rwandan Genocide was caused by three main factors: ethnic tensions between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes, the propaganda issued by the radical ideology Hutu Power, and the lack of action taken by other countries.
Living through genocide is a horrific tragedy that no one should ever have to endure. While there have been numerous genocides within the last century, the holocaust was a genocide that killed over 12 million innocent people and segregated them by religion, sex and age. Since the end of the holocaust, many survivors wrote their stories accounting the horrific lives they led, while some eliminated parts of their story, others felt that it was necessary to show the entirety of what had occurred. With these first hand accounts, the reader is able to see the differences between how men and women lived their everyday lives as well as how they were treated by Hitler’s regime. In Elie Wiesel’s, Night, and Sara Nomberg-Przytyk’s, True Tales from a Grotesque Land, Auschwitz, men and women prisoners lived lives that the everyday reader would find impossible. By reading these accounts, the readers can question themselves as to why this occurred as well as to why it matters.
Genocide is “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, ethnic, political, or cultural group”. In Rwanda for example, the Hutu-led government embraced a new program that called for the country’s Hutu people to murder anyone that was a Tutsi (Gourevitch, 6). This new policy of one ethnic group (Hutu) that was called upon to murder another ethnic group (Tutsi) occurred during April through June of 1994 and resulted in the genocide of approximately 800,000 innocent people that even included women and children of all ages. In this paper I will first analyze the origins/historical context regarding the discontent amongst the Hutu and Tutsi people as well as the historical context as to why major players in the international community chose not to intervene. Second, the actor/agent using political violence, in this case the Hutu, will also be analyzed into segments that include the characterization of the Hutu people, as well as their goals, tactics of violence used and resources administered that allowed them to accomplish the genocide against the Tutsi. Finally, how the Tutsi respond to the violence against them, what resources they had in deterring the Hutu and the outcome of the Rwanda genocide will also be discussed.