Genocide in the 20th Century

An Introduction to Genocide
A Case Study of Rwanda
Defining Genocide
Word Origins
Term first used in 1941
Combines two Greek roots
– genos
– cide
Taken together the word can be
transliterated as
race killing
U.N. Definition of 1948
…Any of the following acts
committed with intent to destroy,
in whole or in part, a national,
ethnic, racial or religious group,
including: (a) killing members of
the group (b) causing serious
bodily or mental harm to
members of the group (c)
deliberately inflicting on the
group conditions of life calculated
to bring about its physical
destruction in whole or in part (d)
imposing measures intended to
prevent births within the group (e)
forcibly transferring children of
the group to another group.
Unpacking the U.N. Definition
“Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole
or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, including…”
national – based on a country of origin
ethnic – based on a group of people sharing a distinctive culture,
religion, language, or other practices
racial – based on people linked by common descent or heredity as
classified by physical characteristics
religious – based on people sharing a common faith practice or belief
(a) killing members of the group
direct killing
actions causing or intended to cause death
(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
widespread torture
rape and sexual violence
forced or coerced use of drugs
(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction in whole or in part
withholding clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical
confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs
detention in camps, forcible relocation or expulsion into
(d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
involuntary sterilization
forced abortion
prohibition of marriage
long-term separation of men and women
(e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
imposed by direct force or by fear of violence, duress,
detention, psychological oppression or other methods of
Genocidal acts need not kill or cause the death of members of a
group. Causing serious bodily or mental harm, prevention of births and
transfer of children are acts of genocide when committed as part of a
policy to destroy a group’s existence.
The 8 Stages of Genocide
Understanding the genocidal process is one of the
most important steps in preventing future genocides.
The Eight Stages of Genocide were first outlined by
Dr. Greg Stanton, Department of State: 1996.
The first six stages are Early Warnings:
 Symbolization
 Dehumanization
 Organization
 Polarization
 Preparation
Stage 1: Classification
“Us versus them”
Distinguish by nationality, ethnicity, race, or
Classification is a primary method of dividing
society and creating a power struggle between
Classification (Rwanda)
Belgian colonialists believed Tutsis were a naturally superior nobility,
descended from the Israelite tribe of Ham. The Rwandan royalty was Tutsi.
Belgians distinguished between Hutus and Tutsis by nose size, height & eye
type. Another indicator to distinguish Hutu farmers from Tutsi pastoralists
was the number of cattle owned.
Stage 2: Symbolization
Names: “Jew”, “German”, “Hutu”, “Tutsi”.
 Languages.
 Types
of dress.
Group uniforms: Nazi Swastika armbands
Colors and religious symbols:
•Yellow star for Jews
•Blue checked scarf Eastern Zone in Cambodia
Symbolization (Rwanda)
“Ethnicity” was first noted on cards by Belgian Colonial
Authorities in 1933.
These ID cards were later used to distinguish Tutsis from
Hutus in the 1994 massacres of Tutsis and moderate
Hutus that resulted in 800,000+ deaths.
Symbolization (Nazi Germany)
Homosexuals = pink triangles
Identified homosexuals to SS guards in the camps
Caused discrimination by fellow inmates who shunned
Stage 3: Dehumanization
Hate propaganda in media: speeches, print, radio used to vilify
the victim group.
“Animals,” “vermin,” and “diseases”
Superiority of one group and inferiority of the “other.”
“Ethnic cleansing,” or “Purification.”
(used to hide the horror of mass murder)
Stage 4: Organization
Genocide is a group crime, so must be organized.
The state usually organizes, arms and financially supports
the groups that conduct the genocidal massacres.
Plans are made by elites for a “final solution” of genocidal
Organization (Rwanda)
“Hutu Power” elites
armed youth militias called
Interahamwe ("Those
Who Stand Together”).
The government and Hutu
Power businessmen
provided the militias with
over 500,000 machetes and
other arms and set up
camps to train them to
“protect their villages” by
exterminating every Tutsi.
Stage 5: Polarization
Extremists drive the groups apart.
Hate groups broadcast and print polarizing propaganda.
Laws are passed that forbid intermarriage or social interaction.
Political moderates are silenced, threatened and intimidated, and
•Public demonstrations
were organized against
Jewish merchants.
• Moderate German
dissenters were the first
to be arrested and sent
to concentration camps.
Stage 6: Preparation
Members of victim
groups are forced to
wear identifying
Death lists are made.
Victims are separated
because of their ethnic or
religious identity.
Segregation into
ghettoes is imposed,
victims are forced into
concentration camps.
Victims are also deported
to famine-struck regions
for starvation.
Forced Resettlement into
Ghettos – Poland 1939 - 1942
Weapons for killing are
camps are even built.
This build- up of killing
capacity is a major step
towards actual genocide.
Stage 7: Extermination (Genocide)
begins, and
becomes the mass
killing legally called
"genocide." Most
genocide is
committed by
Extermination (Genocide)
•The killing is
“extermination” to
the killers because
they do not believe
the victims are fully
human. They are
“cleansing” the
society of
impurities, disease,
animals, vermin,
“cockroaches,” or
Gypsies in a Nazi
death camp
Stage 8: Denial: Deny the
Deny that there was any mass killing at all.
Question and minimize the statistics.
Block access to archives and witnesses.
Intimidate or kill eye-witnesses.
Destroy the evidence. (Burn the bodies
and the archives, dig up and burn the mass
graves, throw bodies in rivers or seas.)
Denial: Blame the Victims.
Emphasize the strangeness of the victims.
They are not like us. (savages, infidels)
Claim they were disloyal insurgents in a
Call it a “civil war,” not genocide.
Claim that the deniers’ group also suffered
huge losses in the “war.” The killings
were in self-defense.
Denial: Deny facts fit legal definition of genocide.
They’re crimes against humanity, not genocide.
 They’re “ethnic cleansing”, not genocide.
 There’s not enough proof of specific intent to
destroy a group, “as such.” (“Many survived!”UN Commission of Inquiry on Darfur.)
 Claim the only “real” genocides are like the
Holocaust: “in whole.”
(Ignore the “in part” in the Genocide
 Claim declaring genocide would legally obligate
us to intervene. (We don’t want to intervene.)
Genocide in the 20th Century
The following events qualified as major acts of genocide between the
years 1900 and 2000.
Armenians in Turkey: 1915 to1918
Stalin's Forced Famine: 1932 to 1933
Rape of Nanking: 1937 to 1938
Nazi Holocaust: 1938 to 1945
Pol Pot in Cambodia: 1975 to1979
Rwanda: 1994
Bosnia-Herzegovina: 1992 to 1995
6,000,000 + 5,000,000
Total number of deaths due to genocide in the 20th Century: 17,450,000
Colonialism is a practice of domination, which involves the subjugation
of one people to another.
One society gradually expands by incorporating adjacent territory and
settling its people on the newly conquered territory.
Many ancient civilizations – the Greeks, Romans, moors, and Ottomans
– practiced colonization.
In the 16th Century, improvements in technology, particularly related to
navigation, connected more remote parts of the world. It became
possible to move large groups across the ocean and maintain political
control over a wider geographical area.
Imperialism occurs when a foreign government administers a territory
without significant settlement; this occurred in 19th Century Africa.
Colonialism is the policy or practice of acquiring
full or partial political control over another
country, occupying it with settlers, and
exploiting it economically.
– How do you gain political control over another
nation or territory?
– How do you keep political and economic control?
The Scramble for Africa
Between 1881 and 1914, many European
countries attempted to gain land in Africa.
This land was often taken after armed struggle
with the existing inhabitants.
European countries were eager to occupy land in
Africa both for the economic advantage it
afforded and power and domination.
Economic exploitation (the action or fact of
treating someone unfairly in order to benefit
from their work) is a cornerstone of colonialism.
It involves one country using the resources, both
natural and human, of another country or area.
Exploitation (the action or fact of treating
someone unfairly in order to benefit from their
work) was justified through racist logic.
Dehumanizing treatment and conditions.
Ex: Rubber plantations in the
Belgian Congo
Disrupted Social Systems
During the period of colonialism in Africa, there
were countless societies and civilizations
(nations) already established that the colonizers
fought and disrupted. These societies were no
longer able to function as they had before the
colonial project.
– Ex: the Ashanti, the Zulu, the Kikuyu, the Hutu,
the Tutsi, the Yoruba are just a few examples of
groups with distinct and developed cultures and
social systems.
Assimilation and Cultural Pressure
The cultural assumptions and beliefs held by
European colonial rulers were expected to be
shared by colonized peoples.
European values were applied to the colonial
setting, and these values included deeply racist
and supremacist belief systems.
In Rwanda, Belgian colonizers favored the Tutsi
minority because they appeared more European
and owned more land than the Hutu majority. In
fact, the Belgian colonial government created a
racially charged environment through unfair
treatment among people who had formerly lived
in relative peace.
Genocide started in April, 1994 with
the assassination of Habyarimana,
Rwanda’s president.
In just 100 days, 800,000-1,000,000
people - mostly Tutsis - were dead.
Hutus tried to take complete control
by wiping out all Tutsis and Hutus
who supported the peace movement.
They accomplished this with the
organization of the militia group
called the Interahamwe.
Mostly a Roman Catholic people, numbering around 11 million
(85% of Rwandan population).
Considered lower class farmers for the most part.
In the early 1960s, even though Tustis remained in control of
Burundi, the Hutu took control of Rwanda by force.
In 1972, between 80,000 and 200,000 Hutus were struck down in
Burundi by the oppressive Tutsi officials.
In April 1994, the Hutu president’s plane was shot down, sparking
the Rwandan genocide.
The Hutu military, teaming with the Interahamwe, called for the
mass extermination of all Tutsis by use of the radio, demanding
that even civilians strike down their Tutsi neighbors or else be
shot with them.
Tutsis are also mostly Roman Catholic, but number just 2.5 million
(14% of total Rwandan population).
They are considered mostly upper class.
Held a monarchy dating from the 15th century until 1961, when
Belgian colonizers and the majority Hutu took control of Rwanda.
Tutsi rebels were blamed for shooting down the plane carrying
Hutu president Habyarimana – the blame for the plane crash has
not been determined, but is mostly thought to have been shot
down by the Hutu military, not Tutsi rebels.
This act sparked the mass murder of 800,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsi
civilians (men, women, and children) in just 100 days.
Despite the loss, the Tutsi army once again took control of
Rwanda by defeating the Hutu regime.
• In the years following the Rwandan genocide,
only 20% of the population identified as male.
• An estimated 2 million Hutus fled to nearby
• Nearly 100,000 children were left orphaned
– Nearly 42,000 housholds in Rwanda were headed
by children as young as 9 or 10
– The number of genocide orphans reached
~320,000 by 2010 as victims died of HIV
infections that were spread during the genocide
• An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate
Hutus were killed in the first day alone.
• Altogether, an estimated 1,000,000 people
were killed over the course of the 100 days of
the Rwandan genocide.
• Now, Rwanda wants to rebuild itself into a
middle-income country by 2020.
• They have one of the best yields of healthcare
investment in Africa.
• The service sector – to help facilitate the
reappearance of mass tourism – has boomed,
employing thousands of people.
• HOWEVER – 50% of all Rwandan children
are malnourished and 40% of the population
lives in poverty.
• “Genocide in Rwanda.”
• “The radicalized movement of the Hutu
against the Tutsi becomes known.” Google

similar documents