What’s Genocide?

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Genocide is the planned, systematic, and deliberate destruction of a particular cultural, ethnic, political, religious, or racial group. Examples include the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur. The term was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, who fled Poland before the Nazis took over. Genocide can be gradual and difficult to identify, and can include murder, sterilization, and undermining the group’s quality of life. The United Nations outlawed genocide in 1948, but has been accused of being slow to act. Other examples include the mass extermination of Armenian Christians, Stalin’s forced labor camps, and the Rape of Nanjing.

The term “genocide” is used to refer to a planned, systematic and deliberate destruction of a particular cultural, ethnic, political, religious or racial group. Numerous examples of genocides can be found throughout history; some notable 20th-century genocides occurred under the Nazis during the Holocaust, in Bosnia under Slobodan Milosevic, and in the African regions of Rwanda and Darfur. Collectively, the international community agrees that genocide is a heinous act and several attempts have been made to intervene in overt genocide.

This term was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, a man he knew he was talking about, as he fled Poland just before the Nazis took over. According to Lemkin, genocide is not necessarily something that happens all at once; it can be extremely gradual but still aimed at the ultimate goal of total annihilation. This can make the identification of genocide difficult at times, because it may have already advanced by the time outside observers realize what is happening.

There are several ways to carry out a genocide. Outright murder of the group in question is common, of course, as is inflicting grievous injury leading to the mass loss of life. Even genocide can be more insidious; for example, group members may be forced to undergo sterilization and their children may be taken from them and raised as children of another ethnic group. Another trait common to many genocides is the deliberate undermining of the group’s quality of life, as seen in Poland when Jews were forced into ghettos. By creating untenable life situations, taking away the ability to reproduce, and killing people in an ethnic group, a genocide will slowly but steadily ensure that the group is annihilated.

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly passed a law outlawing genocide and clearly defining the term, in the interest of clearing up confusion. Since then, several government leaders have been prosecuted for genocide and several cases of genocide have been identified and addressed. However, the United Nations has been accused of being slow to act in situations where genocide is suspected.

Some other examples of genocide include the mass extermination of Armenian Christians in Turkey in the early part of the 20th century, Stalin’s forced labor marches and camps in Russia, and the infamous Rape of Nanjing which was perpetrated by Japanese forces in the early stages of the Second World War. World War.

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