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Genocide, Essay Example

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The term “genocide” did not exist before 1944. It is a very specific term, referring to violent crimes committed against groups with the intent to destroy the existence of the group. Human rights, as laid out in the US Bill of Rights or the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, concern the rights of individuals. The phrase genocide existed in 1944. It refers to violent crimes against human beings with the intention of destroying the being of those individuals or groups. There is a concern for human rights in the US Bill of Rights and in the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration. After the holocaust on 9 December, the UN approved the prevention and conservation and punishment of genocide as a crime as championed by Lemkin. The Conservation declares genocide a global crime, which must be punished and prevented. It is defined as acts done with the intention of destroying, in part or in whole, ethnic, religion, national, or any other group through mass killing of members, causing physical or mental harm, having measure to prevent births, or transferring children to another area of group by force. The paper will outline the similarities and differences between genocides in Cambodia and Kosovo by looking at the causes, the way people’s lives were ended, the killing fields, and the reactions from the international bodies.


Both the Kosovo and the Cambodian genocides were horrible and involved, mass killings, rotting bodies, and strange empty graves. Many witnesses and evidence were hidden through intimidation and killings (Jones 2006).

The Khmer Rouge began their killings campaign immediately they took authority of Cambodia in 1975. The targets were all intellectuals who included religious leaders, doctors, attorneys, and military leaders. The genocide is estimated to have killed more than 1.7 million individuals during that campaign (Jones 2006). It is noted as one of the greatest tragedies involving humans in the 20 th century. The oppressive, ultra-communist Khmer Rouge rule that was led by Pol Pot, wanted to convert the country to agrarian utopia and this led to mass killing of the people in Cambodia.

In 1998 and 1999, more than 12,000 Kosovan men, children, and women were killed by the Serbian forces. Another eight hundred thousand were deported by force, while others fled in fear of being murdered (Hughes 2009). The act was referred as to ethnic cleansing, cleansing the elements or the people who were undesirable and unwanted. These people were discriminated against and were seen as unclean and unnecessary, the Albanians. There was a mass act of rape of women, torture and brutality, and sadism (Quigley 2006). The overall results were extreme dehumanization. This violence and murder lasted 78 days only after the NATO was involved and hence forced Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his men from Kosovo permanently. However, thousands of Albanians kept missing and never returned home even after Slobodan in 2001, released thousands of Albanian prisoners from jails.

With reference to the US bombings, for in both instances there is a debatable case for a link to subsequent killing committed by the rule of Slobodan Milosevic and Pol Pot. In the Cambodian situation, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge was greeted as they rallied into Phnom Penh in 1975. Most of the people who would be its prospect victims supposed that Pot’s army would defend them from US attack. Certainly, the disreputable emptying of Cambodian cities that describes the beginning of the country’s odd social revolution was consummate peacefully (Hughes 2009). Most urban inhabitants believed that the momentary mass departure was required because of the risk of renewed harassment from the US air force.

In Kosovo, assaults on Kosovar Albanians that were modest in scale only became full-sized tribal cleansing after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombing battle had begun. However, to an onlooker it seems grotesquely one-sided to examine only the slaughter of the Khmer Rouge and Serbian armed forces and mercenaries. To the sufferers, individuals whose bodies are maimed and whose houses are destroyed by napalm and cluster bombs, terms like collateral damage are little more than literalism (Simon 2007).


The Kosovan genocide was largely aimed at killing of the Albanian by the Serbian forces as directed by the Serbian leader Slobodan after the declaration that Kosovo was still and would remain part of Serbia. The violent response by the Albanians is what led to the mastermind of the genocide by the Serbian leader (Quigley 2006). In contrast, the Cambodian genocide was planned when Pol Pot and his group took power in Cambodia and was target at mass killing of all intellectuals in the country for the interest of the party. Therefore, it is clearly noted that the two events are different as Kosovan genocide was what can be termed as ethnic or national genocide as it was one nation killing the other nation, while that of Cambodia is a group genocide as it involved killing of a certain targeted group of people, the intellectuals in the country (Simon 2007).

In summary, having seen the effects of the crime of genocide in these two cases, genocide must be prevented with all measures as it leads to both mental and physical harm to the victims, and mass murder with the intention of whipping out the target group by the dominant group. It is an international crime and, therefore, must be punished as it is against human rights.

Hughes, J. (2009). Colonial genocide and reparations claims in the 21st century the socio-legal context of claims under international law by the Herero against Germany for genocide in Namibia, 1904-1908 . Westport, Conn: Praeger Security International.

Jones, A. (2006). Genocide a comprehensive introduction . London New York: Routledge.

Quigley, J. (2006). The Genocide Convention an international law analysis . Aldershot, England Burlington, VT: Ashgate Pub.

Simon, T. (2007). The laws of genocide: prescriptions for a just world . Westport, Conn: Praeger Security International.

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essay on genocide

What is Genocide?

Genocide is an internationally recognized crime where acts are committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. These acts fall into five categories:

Killing members of the group

Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group

Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group

Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

There are a number of other serious, violent crimes that do not fall under the specific definition of genocide. They include crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and mass killing.

Raphael Lemkin, a Holocaust survivor from Poland, coined the word genocide in 1944 and made it his mission to compel nations to prevent it from occurring in the future. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of United Nations

Origin of the Term Genocide

The word “genocide” did not exist prior to 1944. It is a very specific term coined by a Polish-Jewish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin (1900–1959) who sought to describe Nazi policies of systematic murder during the Holocaust, including the destruction of European Jews. He formed the word genocide by combining geno- , from the Greek word for race or tribe, with -cide , from the Latin word for killing. 

Genocide as an International Crime

On December 9, 1948, the United Nations approved a written international agreement known as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This convention established genocide as an international crime, which signatory nations “undertake to prevent and punish.” Preventing genocide, the other major obligation of the convention, remains a challenge that nations, institutions, and individuals continue to face.

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essay on genocide

What Are The Main Causes of Genocide?

As the Genocide Convention of 1948 states, “at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity” (Kaye and Stråth 2000: 24). Nevertheless, the twentieth century was termed the “century of genocide” because of the high number of cases of genocide during that time period (Bartrop 2002: 522). For the purpose of this essay, the definition of genocide will be taken from the Genocide Convention, which defines genocide as “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. The genocide of the Armenians, the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda are the three genocides of the twentieth century that fit that definition (Destexhe 1994: 4-5). In this essay, the causes of modern genocide will be investigated using these three genocides as case studies. There are various reasons why genocide may occur and it is often a combination of circumstances that leads to genocide. The present essay will investigate the underlying conditions that make genocide possible, while leaving out catalytic events that may trigger genocide. The essay will firstly draw on the works of Horkheimer and Adorno in examining the relations between Enlightenment ideas and genocide. The correlations between war and economic crises will be subject to analysis in the second part of the essay. Finally, the creation of out-groups and in-groups will be explored. While these are certainly not the only causes of genocide, they may be deemed to be pre-conditions.

Raphael Lemkin coined the term “genocide” in the 1940s with the Holocaust in mind, which for him signified the return of an enlightened people to barbarism (Freeman 1995: 210). Similarly, Foster (1980: 2) sees the Holocaust as an aberration of an enlightened and developed nation. However, there are other scholars who argue that genocide is not an exception of Enlightenment but in fact a result of it. Horkheimer and Adorno (1973: 3-4) argue that the ideals of Enlightenment, which are human emancipation and rationality, alienate humans from nature and result in men wanting to control nature and, in turn, other people as well. Bauman (1989: 91), continuing this idea over a decade later, proposes that since the Enlightenment, the extermination of a people serves to establish a perfect society. The Enlightenment brought with it the belief in an evolutionary development towards a better society through state engineering (Bauman 1989: 70; Kaye and Stråth 2000: 11). “Gardening” and “modern medicine” were used as metaphors for human tasks that would improve a society (Bauman 1989: 70). In the enlightened world, a state can become a “wonderful utopia” (Hamburg 2008: 44) through “designing, cultivating and weed-poisoning” (Bauman 1989: 13). It is a modern idea that everything can be measured and classified, even a “race” and its character (Bauman 1989: 68). This classification of races, coupled with the modern idea of a constantly improvable society, leads to Social-Darwinist ideas of the survival of the fittest (Kaye and Stråth 2000: 15).

Armenians (Balakian 2008: 160), Jews (Bauman 1989: 76) and Tutsi (Mullen 2006: 172) were seen as worthless groups standing between a population and the realisation of such a perfect society. Therefore, in the mind of the “rational and enlightened” thinker, they were legitimate targets for extermination (Kaye and Stråth 2000: 15). This “purifying” of the state through genocide is reflected in the language of the genocidaires (Stone 2004: 50). Armenians were termed “tubercular microbes” and a local politician asked rhetorically “isn’t it the duty of a doctor to destroy these microbes?” (Balakian 2008: 160). Hitler spoke of the “Jewish virus” and that “by eliminating the pest, [he would] do humanity a service” (Bauman 1989: 71). Not only medical terms were used to justify the killings. Gardening metaphors can also be found. In Rwanda, the chopping up of Tutsi men was called “bush clearing” and slaughtering women and children was labelled as “pulling out the roots of the bad weeds” (Prunier 1997: 142). These three examples support Bauman’s theory that the Enlightenment brought about the idea of being able to socially engineer a perfect state. Genocide was consequently justified by the idea of “purifying” the state through tasks that a doctor or a gardener would employ in order to improve an unhealthy body or a garden.

Naturally, not every enlightened nation will descend into genocide. There are other factors that influence a state’s likeliness of genocide. According to Staub (2006: 98), an important indicator for the potential of future genocide is a difficult life condition, such as war or an economic crisis. He argues that during times of hardship, humans feel the need to protect themselves, which can result in losing respect for another group or blaming that group for the present conditions. Often, there is a history of long-standing animosities towards the group that is blamed, such as with the Jews in Europe and the Tutsi in Rwanda (Förster 2007: 73). However, Staub (2006: 99) says that people also feel the need to belong to something bigger during these times and therefore create an in-group together alongside an out-group. The parallels between war and genocide will now be examined, before the connection between economic crisis and genocide is made.

According to Bartrop (2002: 522), a strong link exists between war and genocide since the First World War. He argues that due to the war’s destructiveness, people were transformed into commodities, a condition in which a “surplus population” could simply be eliminated. Shaw (2007: 464) supports this notion. He has discovered that “the major instances of genocide have clearly taken place in the context of war and militarisation”. According to both Bartrop (2002: 528) and Shaw (2007: 465), the presence of war shapes the psyche of a population and makes their willingness to kill certain groups more likely. In the Ottoman Empire during the Second World War, Turkish leaders suspected the Armenians to be cooperating with Russia, which provided the rationale behind killing the entire group  (Hamburg 2008: 27). In this instance, “war provided the context as well as the pretext to make Turkish nationalist dreams […] come true” (Förster 2007: 77). The Holocaust, too, was used as a means to quietly destroy an undesired minority (Hamburg 2008: 27). Jews were blamed for every woe of Germany, just like the Armenians were seen as an enemy to the state. Nazis blamed the loss of World War I on the Jews, which made it legitimate to kill that group (Campbell 2009: 155). Fifty years later, in 1994, every Tutsi in Rwanda was accused of being part of the invading rebel army, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which consisted primarily of members of the Tutsi minority  (Hintjens 1999: 258). Exterminating this “enemy within” was therefore framed as a justifiable act of self-defence (Bartrop 2002: 526). War is an exceptionally difficult life condition during which innocent groups can be seen as threats; grievances towards that group are in rare occasions handled through genocide (Campbell 2009: 156).

The second difficult life condition Staub refers to is one of economic crisis. As with war, during times of a recession, people are inclined to find someone to blame for their misfortune (Hamburg 2008: 25). In Hamburgs’s (2008: 34) words, “a sharp economic downturn can create a sense of crisis that makes a population ready to scapegoat a vulnerable out-group and softens popular reluctance to kill others”. Local leaders have learned that these feelings can be easily manipulated for their own goals, which may be the elimination of an unwanted minority (Hamburg 2008: 24). Victims are often portrayed as wealthy and as willing to take advantage of other groups, which justifies killing that group (Hamburg 2008: 27). With the World Economic Crisis in 1929, support for the Nazi party in Germany increased drastically (Foster 1980: 9). The party blamed Jews for the crisis, which appealed to the general public, who were in want of a scapegoat for their condition (Foster 1980: 13). Similarly, Tutsi in Rwanda were accused of bringing about the economic crisis in the 1980s, a crisis that had been brought about by plummeting coffee prices, in order for power and dominance to be restored (Hintjens 1999: 256). During times of an economic crisis people look for someone to blame. Turning towards a wealthy minority such as the Jews in Germany or the Tutsi in Rwanda is simple. If this is coupled with the local leaders who seek to exploit such grievances, it can lead to genocide.

It has been shown that people are likely to build an out-group during times of hardship. However, a further important factor is the need to belong to an in-group during difficult times such as war or recession. In the words of Hamburg (2008: 32), “perpetrators bond together as a community with a kind of sacred cause […] in the ritual of genocidal killing”. Being part of something larger is, therefore, provided through belonging to a group. The feeling of belonging is intensified through doing something extreme like the killing of people. Whole communities experience a form of ecstasy while partaking in the killing of others (Stone 2004: 55). This can be shown using the example of the genocide in Rwanda, where the militia group was called interahamwe , which translates to “those who fight together” (Hintjens 1999: 257). The construction of out-groups and in-groups is important for people during difficult times. When leaders exploit grievances towards the out-group, it can turn people into killers who experience happiness through belonging to an in-group that seeks to “purify” the state of a perceived evil.

Incidents of genocide are not unique to the modern era; however, ideas of Enlightenment have led to humans’ wish to continually improve their societies. If a certain group is seen as standing between the population and this goal, it can be seen as “rational” and legitimate to rid oneself of that group. The chances of genocide occurring against an out-group that is perceived as standing between society and utopia is more likely during times of hardship, such as those of war and economic crises. Humans feel the need to blame an out-group and eliminate that threat to society. Being part of a genocidal squad may give them the desired feeling of security during those times of instability. It is therefore imperative to monitor situations in countries, especially those where grievances against an out-group already exist, and to step in as soon as the country experiences changes in welfare. Genocide is not inevitable and the international community should never again fail to prevent it.

Balakian, Peter. 2008. ‘The Armenian Genocide and the modern age’. The Sydney Papers : 144-161.

Bartrop, Paul. 2002. ‘The relationship between war and genocide in the twentieth century: A consideration’. Journal of Genocide Research 4(4): 519-532.

Bauman, Zygmunt. 1989. Modernity and the Holocaust . Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Campbell, Bradley. 2009. ‘Genocide as Social Control’. Sociological Theory 27(2): 150-172.

Destexhe, Alain. 1994-1995. ‘The Third Genocide’. Foreign Policy (97): 3-17.

Förster, Stig. 2007. ‘Total War and Genocide: Reflections of the Second World War’. Australian Journal of Politics and History 53(1): 68-83.

Foster, Claude R. 1980. ‘Historical Antecedents: Why the Holocaust?’. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 450: 1-19.

Freeman, Michael. 1995. ‘Genocide, Civilisation and Modernity’. The British Journal of Sociology 46(2): 207-223.

Hamburg, David A. 2008. Preventing Genocide: Practical Steps Towards Early Detection and Effective Action . Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.

Hintjens, Helen M. 1999. ‘Explaining the 1994 genocide in Rwanda’. The Journal of Modern African Studies 37(2): 241-286.

Horkheimer, Max and Theodor W. Adorno. 1973. Dialectic of Enlightenment . London: Allen Lane.

Kaye, James and Bo Stråth, eds. 2000. Enlightenment and Genocide, Contradictions of Modernity . Bruxelles: P.I.E.-Peter Lang.

Mullen, Gary A. 2006. ‘Genocide and the Politics of Identity: Rwanda through the lens of Adorno’. Philosophy Today 50: 170-175.

Prunier, Gérard. 1997. The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide . London: Hurst and Company.

Shaw, Martin. 2007. ‘The general hybridity of genocide and war’. Journal of Genocide Research 9(3): 461-473.

Staub, Ervin. 2009. ‘The Origins of Genocide and Mass Killing: Core Concepts’. In The Genocide Studies Reader , eds. S. Totten and P.R. Bartrop. New York: Routledge.

Stone, Dan. 2004. ‘Genocide as transgression’. European Journal of Social Theory 7(1): 45-65.

— Written by: Dominique Maritz* Written at: University of Queensland Written for: Sebastian Kaempf Date written: March 2011

*The author has since married and has changed her name to Dominique Fraser

Further Reading on E-International Relations

  • Accepting the Unacceptable: Christian Churches and the 1994 Rwandan Genocide
  • Perpetuating the Single Reality – the Culture of Rwanda’s Genocide Memorials
  • Performances of Justice? Interrogating Post-genocide Adjudication
  • The Cambodian Genocide: Operationalizing Violence Through Ideology
  • Are We Living in a Post-Panoptic Society?
  • Are You a Realist in Disguise? A Critical Analysis of Economic Nationalism

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essay on genocide

Beyond Intractability

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The Hyper-Polarization Challenge to the Conflict Resolution Field: A Joint BI/CRQ Discussion BI and the Conflict Resolution Quarterly invite you to participate in an online exploration of what those with conflict and peacebuilding expertise can do to help defend liberal democracies and encourage them live up to their ideals.

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By Chris McMorran Norman Schultz

August 2003

Genocide Defined

Genocide is generally defined as the intentional extermination of a specific ethnic, racial, or religious group. Compared with war crimes and crimes against humanity, genocide is generally regarded as the most offensive crime. At worst, genocide pits neighbor against neighbor, or even husband against wife. Unlike war, where the attack is general and the object is often the control of a geographical or political region, genocide attacks an individual's identity, and the object is control -- or complete elimination -- of a group of people.

The history of genocide in the 20th century includes:

  • the 1915 genocide of Armenians by Turks;
  • the attempted extermination of European Jews by Nazis during World War II;
  • the widespread genocide in Cambodia during the 1970s;
  • the "ethnic cleansing"[1] in Kosovo by Serbs during the 1990s;
  • the killing of Tutsis by Rwandan Hutus in 1994.[2]

Since 1948, the United Nations has defined genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such."[3] Actions included in this definition are:

  • Killing members of a group;
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group;
  • Deliberately inflicting on a group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within a group;
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Notice that in the U.N. definition, murder is not the only way to destroy a group. For example, the recent Australian practice of forcibly removing biracial Aborigine children from their parents could be classified as genocide, since the goal of this practice was to assimilate the children into mainstream Australian culture, and thus slowly erode the Aborigine culture and population.[4]

Causes of Genocide

The underlying causes of conflicts that result in acts of genocide often have deep historical roots. Stereotypes and prejudices can develop over centuries. Ethnic and cultural distinctions often result in the formation of "in-group" and "out-group" thinking, where members of different races, religions, or cultures view each other as separate, alien, and "different." Identity groups are formed from such thinking.

In many regions, members of different identity groups, for mutual advantage, develop conflict prevention methods. Yet where resources are limited, or where pressures are placed on societies because of political or economic instability, relations may degrade. This can lead one group to become convinced that many of its problems are the fault of another group, and that all of those problems would be resolved if only the other group no longer existed. Guy Burgess has named this irrational and potentially dangerous idea the " into-the-sea" frame . Coexistence and power sharing are not considered to be viable options, and the more powerful group instead desires to exterminate the other (i.e., drive the other side "into the sea"). Often there is a "coherent and vicious elite" led by a majority-supported dictator who incites genocidal movements. Such movements find expression more readily when powerful political entities are made up of a common ethnicity and when minorities are marginalized.

Responding to Acts of Genocide

Genocide, like any morally relevant action, can be supported, denounced, or viewed with apathy. One's moral convictions will result in varying responses to genocidal acts. Perpetrators of genocide often feel completely justified in their actions, and may draw on local cultural or political values to curry favor. This can lead to a response of support, thereby furthering the criminal acts. Others, while not participating in the acts directly, may support them by financial or political means.

Still other groups may attempt to take a neutral, apathetic stance. International law and historical precedent, however, has made it extremely dangerous for relevant parties to attempt to merely stand by. An example of such behavior was the Swiss policy of neutrality in World War II.. In the mid-1990s Swiss banks were held accountable for servicing the financial interests of Nazi party members and for failing to settle accounts with Holocaust victims or their surviving family members. It would seem that parties that are in a position to oppose acts of genocide, but fail to do so, can expect punitive repercussions.

The international community, following international law , sometimes attempts to stop genocide before it happens, or while it is in process. Often, however, the ability to do anything effective is minimal. Another approach is punishment after-the-fact, which is supposed to not only extract retribution or justice, but also act as a deterrent against future genocidal acts. Whether the deterrence effect is real, however, is unclear.

Preventing acts of genocide has become an important topic in peace research. Preventing genocide implies understanding how genocidal motivations begin and how groups become powerful enough to impose their plans on their victims. This involves the ability to recognize how ethnic and political values mesh in potentially dangerous ways and how elite organizers of genocide obtain state power. In addition to developing working theories of how genocidal acts begin and progress, prevention also necessitates the ability to detect signs of genocidal schemes and respond to them as early as possible. Government investigation agencies (such as the FBI and Interpol), the United Nations, and independent human rights organizations (such as Amnesty International), utilize some early detection methods. Attempts to prevent genocide usually involve preventive diplomacy and violence prevention . Dealt with elsewhere in depth, suffice it to say here that this involves both Track I and Track II diplomatic efforts to diffuse tensions and try to encourage the parties to negotiate at least a settlement , if not a resolution of their differences -- enough to prevent widespread violence.

Sanctions are also sometimes used as deterrents or punishments for unacceptable behavior. For example, economic, financial and military sanctions were imposed against the Yugoslav Federation to try to end their support of the Serb's "ethnic cleansing," a euphemism for genocide. Military intervention may also be called upon, as was the case with U.N. peacekeeping forces and later NATO forces acting in Bosnia in the 1990s.

International law also supports after-the-fact prosecution of war criminals. International law was the force behind the Nuremberg trials of Nazi officers in the late 1940's and, in more modern times, the trial of former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosavic at The Hague. The International Criminal Court (ICC), established in 2002, is intended to make such prosecution more effective. Though adherence to the ICC Statute (the Rome Statute) varies from country to country,[5] 139 countries signed the initial statute and the 60-country ratification minimum required for the ICC to enter into force was reached on April 11, 2002. Both the United States and Russia have refused to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC, however, leading to questions about how effective the court can be without their participation.

Problems with Punishment

In actuality, all forms of punishment face difficult challenges. Many question the effectiveness, and the ethicality, of economic sanctions , especially since sanctions can easily affect an entire nation's economy, arguably punishing innocent citizens for the crimes of their government or of a powerful faction. Legal punishment for genocidal acts can be frustrated by an inability to find the individuals responsible. Also complicating the matter is the fact that the number of people who committed the crimes is often so large as to make a trial huge, costly, and impractical. Military action also presents the challenges of how to engage, when to intervene, and how long to stay when hostilities have subsided, in addition to the delay from the time when military action is deemed necessary and when (if at all) it is approved by the international community.

Threat of punishment can also prolong a conflict. If one side fears prosecution if they end the conflict, they may continue, even though they realize that they cannot win. One answer to this fear is offering amnesty to all sides, as was done in South Africa with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Here the belief was that reconciliation and stability would be much more easy to achieve if people testified about their heinous actions, but then were forgiven, instead of prosecuted. This, many argue, has allowed that intractable conflict to be transformed much more effectively than it might have been, had whites been threatened with prosecution for crimes against humanity or other violations of international law.

The Aftermath of Genocide

Acts of genocide cause people to flee dangerous areas, becoming refugees or internally displaced people (IDPs). Great numbers of refugees fleeing to neighboring countries can be a social, political, and economic burden on those countries. Refugees often encounter discrimination in new countries, and may have no choice but to live in refugee camps, not knowing when or if they will return home. When they do return, they don't know if they will find their homes and possessions intact. This is but one of myriad problems faced by individuals, communities, and societies after a genocide ends.

Once the acts of genocide come under control, and accountability for the crimes is being enforced, the processes of peacebuilding , reconciliation , and healing must begin. Victim groups will, understandably, have a great deal of hatred for their oppressors. Relations between enemy ethnic groups must improve; otherwise retaliatory violence is essentially assured. Efforts to forge new relations between groups and to empower the victim group are justified. Realistically, though, true reconciliation will likely take a long time, as the crimes are horrible enough to make them nearly unforgivable.

The greatest challenge following genocide is rebuilding a society, since a conflict that at one time might have been resolved may now have become intractable. The rebuilt society must have a power-sharing form of government in order to prevent future inequalities that could lead to violent retaliation. Preventing a cycle of hatred and violence becomes the central challenge.

However, sharing power with one's past enemy, especially following such a horrible crime as genocide, may not be possible. Peace is often tenuous in these situations, as is the case today in Rwanda and Cambodia .

[1] Ethnic cleansing is a euphemism for genocide. Ethnic cleansing means "the purging, by mass expulsion or killing, of one ethnic or religious group by another" according to the Oxford English Dictionary "ethnic cleansing" avaliable at http://www.oed.com/ . The term is derived from the Serbian and Croatian etniko ienje and was first used in the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia, especially to describe the actions taken by the Serbian government against ethnic Albanian Muslims living in Kosovo. The Serb government wished to have a Serbia for Serbs and tried to rid its southern region, Kosovo, of non-Serbs.

[2] Some moderate Hutus were also victims of mass killings in 1994.

[3] United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

[4] Decoust, MichPle. "Australia 's Forgotten Dreamtime." [on-line] ( Le Monde diplomatique , October 2000) Available from http://mondediplo.com/2000/10/14abos . Accessed 28 January 2002.

[5] Notably, the United States and China have not ratified the Rome Statute, each having political objections to certain aspects of the treaty. Negotiation efforts between the ICC and countries yet to ratify its power continue. For up-to-date information on such efforts, see http://www.iccnow.org/countryinfo.html

Use the following to cite this article: McMorran, Chris and Norman Schultz. "Genocide ." Beyond Intractability . Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: August 2003 < http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/war-crimes-genocide >.

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Reflections on the Holocaust

Publish Date: July 2011

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Jacob Boersema

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Kelly Bunch

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Matthew Canfield

Fabian franke.

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Sheri halpern, saskia hansen.

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2008 Paris Fellowship

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Joseph kolker.

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Birte schöler, darren teshima, julia zarankin, publisher details.

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Holocaust , Remembrance


In 2011, Humanity in Action published its first book, Reflections on the Holocaust. The essays collected in this volume were written by Humanity in Action Fellows, Senior Fellows, board members and lecturers who participated in Humanity in Action’s educational programs from 1997 to 2010. Humanity in Action programs focus on the obligation to understand genocide, particularly the Holocaust and other mass atrocities in the 20th and 21st centuries and connect them to the complex challenges of diversity in contemporary societies. Interdisciplinary and intellectually rigorous, these programs explore past and present models of resistance to injustice and emphasize the responsibility of future leaders to be active citizens and accountable decision makers.

Each essay in this volume reflects upon the difficult necessity of understanding, teaching and memorializing the Holocaust. In addition, the essays consider our responsibility, as citizens living under democracies, to draw moral and ethical lessons from the Holocaust, as well as other mass genocides.

Reflections on the Holocaust

These essays do not set out to find answers. Instead, in the sprit of Humanity in Action, they challenge the reader to ask questions, to think critically and to act courageously. This volume of essays highlights the dangers of standing by, tolerating injustice and turning a blind eye.

Humanity in Action thanks Julia Zarankin, Senior Fellow and the editor of this book, and Werner Design Werks for their groundbreaking and innovative design. Humanity in Action is also grateful for the support of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, especially the Department of War Victims and Remembrance, for the publication of this volume.

To purchase this book directly from Humanity in Action, please contact  [email protected]. It can also be purchased online here. An e-book version can be downloaded free of charge further below on this page.


Introduction, Julia Zarankin

1. Memorials, Monuments and Museums

  • “A Self-Serving Admission of Guilt: The Intention and Effects of Germany’s New Memorial to the Murdered Jews”, Sharon Chin, Fabian Franke and Sheri Halpern
  • “Auschwitz-Birkenau: A Visitor’s Manual” ,  Tomasz Cebulski
  • “Visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum”, Judith Goldstein
  • “Journey to Auschwitz” ,  Julia Zarankin

2. The Challenges of Educating and Remembering

  • “Challenging Dutch Holocaust Education: Towards a Curriculum Based on Moral Choices and Empathetic Capacity” ,  Jacob Boersema and Noam Schimmel
  • “The Responsibility of Knowledge: Developing Holocaust Education for the Third Generation”, Kelly Bunch, Matthew Canfield and Birte Schöler
  • “Untangling Emotional History: How President Sarkozy’s Failed Memory Initiative Illuminates France’s Continuing Struggle with the Holocaust” ,  Vera Jotanovic and Juliana Schnur
  • “Heroism in Danish Culture and Self-Understanding: The Problems with Writing the Rescue” ,  Saskia Hansen and Julia Zarankin
  • “A Founding Myth for the Netherlands: The Second World War and the Victimization of Dutch Jews”, Matthijs Kronenmeijer and Darren Teshima

3. Drawing Lessons from the Holocaust

  • “Sixty-Five Years Later: The Meaning of Humanity in Action” ,  Ed van Thijn
  • “The Banality of Genocide”, Konstanty Gebert
  • “The Educational Imperative” ,  Anders Jerichow

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Publication | USA, January 2015

Recognizing the intensification of transnational conflicts that both violently divide and intimately link our global communities, this book is a collection of diverse essays, which tackle international relations and migration.

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Publication | Denmark, July 2013

In 2013, Humanity in Action Denmark held a conference in Copenhagen to mark the 70th anniversary of the flight and rescue of Danish Jewry. This book was published in association with the “October 1943” conference. The anthology examines how European societies dealt with the knowledge of the Nazi persecution of Jews in very different ways before, during and after the Holocaust.

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Genocide by Jeff Benvenuto , Alex Hinton LAST REVIEWED: 31 July 2020 LAST MODIFIED: 11 January 2012 DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766567-0065

Genocide is one of the most serious problems confronting humanity. It has produced extreme suffering, hundreds of millions of deaths, and the catastrophic shattering of families, communities, and cultures. While genocidal violence has a long history, dating from the Roman destruction of Carthage to ancient Assyria and beyond, the term “genocide” was coined as recently as the early 1940s by Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish lawyer who spearheaded an international campaign to criminalize the destruction of human collectivities. This effort successfully delivered the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Mostly stagnated by the onset of the Cold War, the field of genocide studies did not begin to mature until the early 1980s. Its growth was catalyzed further in the 1990s and the early 2000s by the genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur. Having developed vigorously in the late 2000s, the constitution of the field now demands critical reflection. This bibliography surveys the field’s broad literature, with a particular focus on the concept of genocide, the genocidal process, and key issues in genocide studies.

The most comprehensive and reader-friendly overview is provided in Jones 2011 . For more dated yet seminal contributions from the first generation of scholars that emerged from the 1980s, see Kuper 1982 and the autobiographical essays included in Totten and Jacobs 2002 . While this cadre of scholarship is overly focused on totalitarian genocides in the 20th century, recent contributions have developed a richer historical and conceptual framework. The contributions in Stone 2008 indicate a generational transition in the field, but the volume suffers from a “one-genocide-per-chapter” approach that fails to integrate individual cases into a holistic framework. As a corrective, Levene 2005 develops a historiographical framework that situates the rise of genocide with the crystallization of the modern world system, thereby linking cases across space and time. This approach is reflected further in Bloxham and Moses 2010 and, to a lesser extent, in Kiernan 2007 . Similarly, Hinton 2002 frames genocide in modernity, indicating key mechanisms and processes that appear across the historical record.

Bloxham, Donald, and A. Dirk Moses, eds. 2010. The Oxford handbook of genocide studies . New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

With contributions by many leading second-generation scholars. Offers an interdisciplinary overview and ties together various cases in comprehensive historical framework.

Hinton, Alexander Laban, ed. 2002. Annihilating difference: The anthropology of genocide . California Series in Public Anthropology 3. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

DOI: 10.2307/book8

Historicizes genocide and modernity through an anthropological lens, exploring the manufacture and crystallization of difference, the local dimensions in which genocidal violence is inscribed with cultural meaning, and the aftermaths of genocide.

Jones, Adam. 2011. Genocide: A comprehensive introduction . 2d ed. New York: Routledge.

The primary textbook on the subject, providing a broad yet in-depth conceptual and historical overview. The second edition updates the first in significant ways, including a reframing of some of the case material and a focus on dynamics too often ignored in the field. First edition published in 2006.

Kiernan, Ben. 2007. Blood and soil: A world history of genocide and extermination from Sparta to Darfur . New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

Offers a global perspective with a broad historical range. Framed by four primary themes: the cult of antiquity, the fetish for agriculture, ethnic enmity, and imperial or territorial conquest.

Kuper, Leo. 1982. Genocide: Its political use in the twentieth century . New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

A pathbreaking study, global in scope. Argues that genocide stems from plural societies, whereby two or more ethnic groups compete at disparate levels of power.

Levene, Mark. 2005. Genocide in the age of the nation-state . 2 vols. New York: I. B. Tauris.

Published as the first two volumes of a prospective four, establishes a rich historical framework that marks genocide as an inherent tendency in the modern world system.

Stone, Dan, ed. 2008. The historiography of genocide . New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

DOI: 10.1057/9780230297784

With contributions from leading second-generation scholars, this volume lays out a fruitful conceptual framework, but its case study chapters are episodically isolated.

Totten, Samuel, and Steven Leonard Jacobs, eds. 2002. Pioneers of genocide studies . New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

A collection of autobiographic reflections from the first generation of scholars.

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126 Genocide Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best genocide topic ideas & essay examples, 💡 interesting topics to write about genocide, 📌 simple & easy genocide essay titles, 👍 good essay topics on genocide, ❓ genocide research questions.

  • The Holocaust: A German Historian Examines the Genocide The Holocaust: A German Historian Examines the Genocide deals with one of the most debatable issues of the history of the twentieth century, i.e.
  • The Impact of Genocide on the Modern Society This was one of the worst cases of genocide since the Holocaust with the killing rate in Rwanda being five times more that of the Nazis’ Holocaust; as many as three quarters of the Tutsi […] We will write a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts 808 writers online Learn More
  • Sexual violence as a tool of genocide It is disgusting to observe the expert say that this act is a ‘cultural behavior’ and that it is amorally correct.’ The author does a good analysis by relating the origin of sexual violence and […]
  • Doris Bergen: Nazi’s Holocaust Program in “War and Genocide” The discussion of the Holocaust cannot be separated from the context of the World War II because the Nazi ideology of advancing the Aryans and murdering the undesirable people became one of the top reasons […]
  • The Concept of Genocide In recent past, daily media broadcasts were covered with terrible news of genocide going on in Bosnia-Herzegovina, genocide in Rwanda where more than one million people were killed by government forces as well as parliamentary […]
  • Genocide in Rwanda: Insiders and Outsiders The paper will look into the Rwandese pre genocide history, factors that led to the genocide, the execution of the genocide and impacts of the genocide.
  • Darfur Genocide Indicatively, this was before the period of the start of the Darfur genocide. Particularly, this relates to the development of the war within the area.
  • In-class Reaction Paper: Rwandan Genocide The book offers a detailed description of the events that took place in the 1994 Rwandan genocide as told by the survivors of the massacre.
  • Human Sanctity: Darfur Crisis The writer recommends paying attention to the development of strategies for paying the compensation for the Darfur victims, dismantling systems of violence, supporting the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur peace initiative and regulating […]
  • Australian Aborigines Genocide The rules and policies produced by the international laws state that as long as there is intent to systematically get rid of a group of people and there is the act itself, it is genocide.
  • The History of the Genocide in the Rwandan The Rwandan civil war led to the signing of the Arusha Accord that compelled the Rwandan government, which Hutu dominated, to form a government of national unity by incorporating marginalized Tutsi and the Hutu who […]
  • The Problem of East Timor Genocide To understand the peculiarities of genocide against the native people at the territories of East Timor, it is necessary to focus on examining such aspects as the causes for the genocide, the techniques used by […]
  • The Genocide of East Timor As far as genocide was proclaimed an international crime, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was established. In our days, the execution of women is recognized to be one […]
  • Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide Another difference between the two terms is that genocide is the systematic and widespread destruction of particular segment of the population or specific group of people, ethnic cleansing on the other hand is understood as […]
  • What Could Be Worse Than Death? Genocide Genocide is worse than death because of its horrific consequences, such as destruction of human life and the emotional and psychological trauma experienced by victims. Unlike the killing of the Jews and the Armenians, the […]
  • The Rwandan Genocide: Hutus and Tutsi Ethnic Hatred People have always believed that the ethnic hatred between the Hutus and the Tutsi was the core cause of the genocide.
  • Stories of Rwanda’s Recovery From Genocide Today, the killers and the victims of the genocide live side by side, and the government focuses on finding the effective measures and legacies to overcome the consequences of the genocide and to state the […]
  • Genocide’ Causes and Elimination Therefore, in this paper, we dwell on the theories and significant instances of genocide so that to prove that the global eradication of ethnicity is the payoff of psychological disparities both on a personal and […]
  • Rwanda Genocide: Process and Outcomes It will describe the Tutsi-favored political system and land distribution system that contributed to the occurrence of the Genocide. The Europeans were of the opinion that the Tutsi did not originate from the region.
  • Social Darwinism and Nazi Genocide Ideology It is possible to trace the way the Jews settled and assimilated in western countries and the way the ideas of Social Darwinism affected the society to see the link between Nazi genocidal ideology and […]
  • Genocide Factors in Rwanda and Cambodia By the start of the last decade of the 20th Century, animosity between the Hutus and the Tutsis had escalated with the former accusing the latter of propagating socioeconomic and political inequalities within the country.
  • Comparison of Genocide in Rwanda and Nazi Germany The proponents of the emancipation movement called the Rwandan Patriotic Front returned to the country in the fall 1990 to live within the population of Tutsi.
  • Genocide in the “Ghost of Rwanda” Documentary In the colonial process, the Hutus were discriminated by the colonial power, which was Belgium with the help of the Tutsi.
  • Analysis of the Documentary ”Genocide” According to the documentary, genocide is the outcome of mass hysteria. After that, the international community will be able to have an impact on the decisions of political leaders.
  • Virginia Holocaust Museum’s Genocide Presentation In terms of the educational objective, I aimed to learn the aspects and details of the Holocaust through the artifacts, objects, and things that belonged to people experiencing these events’ atrocities.
  • Genocide and the Right to Be Free The focus on the order is the main duty of a policeman even if the order is based on organizing the raid to find the red-haired men as the representatives of the minority.
  • Civil Liberties vs. American Cultural Genocide Thus, when one group’s idea of the good life requires others to sacrifice their freedom, negative outcomes, such as protests or violent response, are inevitable.
  • Genocide in Eastern Turkey An example of such events is the genocide and deportation of Armenians from the Ottoman Empire, since it ended in the numerous deaths; however, it was a victory for some people and a disaster for […]
  • Is Western Intervention in Genocides Justified? These include specific evidence of a crisis that is accepted by the global community, there is a lack of practical alternatives, and the use of force during the intervention must be limited to providing relief […]
  • Armenian Genocide and Spiegelman’s “Maus” Novel Tracing the similarities between the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide is important to the discussion of Maus as a literary piece.
  • Crime of Genocide: Justice and Ethical Issues The conflict was declared as genocide for the first time by the USA government, which gave a permit to ‘the UN Security Council to refer a case to the International Criminal Court.’ 2 Therefore, the […]
  • “Night” by Elie Wiesel: Holocaust and Genocide Given that the events are seen through the eyes of the young person, the major emphasis is placed upon the main character’s perception of the violence and death taking place around him and gradual loss […]
  • Yanomami: The Gold Rush and Genocide The Yanomami of Brazil and Venezuela can be considered the arena of aggression and conflict in Amazon; this interaction resulted in the global tragedy taking the lives of the whole communities.
  • Genocide in Darfur Region: The Actual Cause of Sudanese Genocide The true cause of Sudanese recent genocide in Darfur region is the same as were the causes for other genocides, which have taken place in Africa, after this continent has been liberated of “white oppression” […]
  • Rwanda Genocide: “Shake Hands with the Devil” by Dallaire Romeo This paper will examine the issue in highlighting the theme that the main purpose of the book was to let the world know of its callousness and lack of precaution while the horrible and immoral […]
  • Investigating the Religious Motif in Genocide The research is focused on genocide of the Jews in Nazi Germany before and during the World War II and genocide of the Armenians in Ottoman Empire in 1915.
  • Hotel Rwanda’: The 1994 Rwandan Genocide’s History Besides, the assassination of the 1994 president, who belonged to ethnic Tutsi, was one of the main causes; the Hutus accused the Tutsis of having been responsible for the president’s assassination.
  • The Global Impact of Genocide: The Socio-Economic and Political Spheres According to the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Article III, the following acts are punishable: “genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide; direct and public incitement to commit […]
  • The Darfur Genocide 2003: What Really Happened in Sudan This creates a substantial factor in the realms of Darfur Genocide. Precisely, this research will involve problem development, research design, data collection, data compilation, data analysis, conclusion, and presentation of results to the concerned audience.
  • Genocide: Darfur and Rwanda Cases When examining the case of Darfur, it can be noted that three specific factors prevented “true justice” from being administered, these encompass: the abstained votes from the U.S.and China in voting for a resolution for […]
  • Legal Standard of Genocide: The Enduring Problem From the perspective of the legal standard of genocide accepted in the world law, the events in Turkey correspond to the definition of the mass killing of one people by the other one.
  • Holocaust and Bosnian Genocide Comparison The current paper aims to compare some of the most notable genocides in history, the Holocaust, and the Bosnian mass murder in terms of their aims, death tolls, tactics, and methods.
  • Darfur: The New Face of Genocide The situation in Darfur raises new questions about events that constitute genocide as these crimes fit “uncomfortably within the definition of genocide”.
  • Argumentative Essay: Uighur Genocide A total of 149 nations, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China, ratified the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
  • Armenian Genocide Overview According to Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of the United Nations, genocide is a process of killing members of a religious, racial, ethnic, and national […]
  • Crimes Against Humanity – Genocide However, the most captivating event as the movie progresses is the reluctance of the international community to intervene to quell the raging storms.
  • Difficulties in Preventing the Occurrence of Genocide The 1994 Rwanda genocide that took place within the course of a hundred days was ethnic in nature as it involved a premeditated annihilation of the Tutsi minority by the Hutu government.
  • The Consequences Of The Vietnam War And The Pol Plot Genocide
  • The Bosnian Genocide in Behind Enemy Lines, a Movie by John Moore
  • The Eight Stages of Genocide in Steven Spielberg’s Film Schindler’s List
  • The Inhumanity of the Genocide During the Holocaust in Night, a Memoir by Elie Wiesel
  • The Genocide And Its Impact On The World ‘s Existence
  • The Ethnic Conflict Of The Rwandan Genocide
  • The Role of the Catholic Churches in the Genocide of Rwanda
  • The Six Stages of the Rwandan Genocide in Africa
  • What Happened During The Armenian Genocide
  • Truth About Christopher Columbus: The Man Behind a Genocide
  • The Justification for Genocide, Terrorism, and Other Evil Actions
  • The History of the Acts of Genocide in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment Was Not A Physical Genocide
  • The Rwandan Genocide and the Role of the United States in the Failure of the UN to Keep Peace in Rwanda
  • Why the Holocaust in Considered Genocide
  • The UN & US Mishandling Of The Rwandan Genocide
  • The Path of Genocide: The Rwanda Crisis from Uganda to Zaire
  • The Demographic and Socio-Economic Distribution of Excess Mortality during the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda
  • Supporting the Investigation of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
  • The Representation of War and Genocide in The Farming of the Bones, a Book by Edwidge Danticat
  • The Role of Colonial Influences in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide
  • The Economic Effects of Genocide: Evidence from Rwanda
  • Uncovering the Truth Behind the Armenian Genocide
  • The Lack of Involvement by the Government and International Community in the Genocide in Darfur
  • The Misconceptions and the Outside Influences of the Genocide in Cambodia
  • The Ukrainian Genocide: The Worst Tragedies In Ukranian History
  • Two Similar But Different Genocides: The Holocaust And Cambodian Genocide
  • The Bosnian Genocide And How It Changed Society
  • The Cruelty of Humans in the Rwandan Genocide, the Human Rights Broken, and Its Impact on Rwanda and the World
  • The History of the Armenian Genocide after the Fall of the Ottoman Empire
  • The Influence of Cultural Differences on the Development of Genocide
  • The Main Factors That Influenced The Rwandan Genocide
  • United Nations Role in Preventing Genocide in Africa
  • Rwandan Genocide: Atheism and the Problem of Good
  • The Mass Genocide Of The Republic Of Oceania Propaganda
  • The Events in the Cambodian Genocide in Its Effects in Society
  • The International Community and Its Lack of Actions in the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide
  • The Rwandan Genocide and Its Effects on Rwanda’s Society
  • The Cambodian Genocide: A Tragedy Hidden from the World
  • The Statistics of the Genocide in East Timor as of 1975
  • The Tragedy Of The Armenian Genocide And The Holocaust
  • The Holocaust and the Cambodian Genocide: Similar or Different?
  • Similarities and Differences Between the Rwandan Genocide and the Holocaust
  • Theme of Witch Hunts in The Crucible and the Rwandan Genocide
  • The Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings. Genocide or Not
  • The International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
  • To What Extent Were Women’s Roles Affected By The Rwandan Genocide
  • What Is The True Meaning Of Genocide
  • The Ottomans And The Armenians: Casualties Of War Or Genocide
  • Why Did the Government of Rwanda Perpetrate a Genocide in 1994?
  • What Caused the Darfur Genocide?
  • Was the Assimilation Policy for Native Austrians Cultural Genocide?
  • Why Do Liberal Not Care About Genocide?
  • What Caused the Rwanda Genocide?
  • Why Was the Armenian Genocide Forgotten?
  • How Does Racism Influence Genocide?
  • Was the Main Reason for the Genocide in Cambodia?
  • What Happened During the Armenian Genocide?
  • Did the United Nations and the International Community Fail to Prevent the Rwandan Genocide?
  • What Inspired Hitler and the Nazis to Start WWII and Attempt Genocide Against the Jews and Other Inferior Races?
  • Were the English Colonists Guilty of Genocide?
  • Was the Ukrainian Famine Genocide?
  • How Does Kocide Affect the North Korean Genocide?
  • Why Didn’t the United States Intervene to Prevent the Genocide in Rwanda?
  • Did the British Commit Genocide in the Second Boer War?
  • How Could Rwandan Genocide Be Justified?
  • Why Was Nothing Done to Stop the Genocide in Rwanda?
  • How Did Immaculee Ilibagiza Survive the Genocide?
  • Why Did the Armenian Genocide Happen?
  • How Has the Genocide Impacted Rwandan Society?
  • What Does Genocide Mean?
  • How Can the Holocaust Be Compared to One Other Form of Modern Genocide?
  • Was Ethnic Hatred Responsible for the Rwandan Genocide of 1994?
  • Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide?
  • What Barriers Are There to the Effective Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity?
  • When Did the Nazis Decide on Genocide?
  • What Are the Political, Historical, and Social Contexts in Which Genocides Occur?
  • In Which Genres and Through Which Channels Is Genocide Represented? And How So?
  • What – If Any – Is the Connection Between Modernity and Genocide?
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IvyPanda . "126 Genocide Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." September 26, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/genocide-essay-topics/.

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A Theme of Genocide in The Man in The High Castle by Philip K. Dick

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Genocide: Roles, Consequences and Resources

The story of genocide of the pawnee people, a question of forgiveness of the large scale crimes such as genocide, causes and consequences of the holodomor genocide for the people of ukraine, get a personalized essay in under 3 hours.

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Protection of The Genocide Victims: Research in Recent Icty Case Law

Racial-biological thinking: the world holocaust, impact of the holocaust on jewish peoples in europe and israel, republic of rwanda: languages, religion, culture, agriculture, the holocaust: historical anti-semitism, historical representation of the rwandan genocide, holocaust denial: anti-semitic conspiracy theory, armenian genocide: germany’s complicity and impact, a study of chomsky’s writings on the cambodian genocide, causes and effects of the bosnian genocide, human rights violation in xinjiang, depiction of the genocide of the jews in ordinary men by christopher r. browning, economic policy of the international monetary fund in rwanda, the nature of ethnic civil wars: case study of rwandan genocide, the boy in the striped pajamas: a powerful story of human nature, genocide and innocence, historical roots of the rwandan genocide, the representation of rwandan genocide in the film hotel rwanda, homosexuality and the holocaust, inclusion of holocaust education in schools, the holocaust: chronicle of murders, relevant topics.

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Essay Samples on Genocide

Us decision's impact on rwanda genocide's outcome.

In April of 1994, The Hutu ethnic group caused a genocide against the other ethnic group, the Tutsis. Many deaths happened over an imbalance of power. Although the Tutsis were the minority, they dominated and were favored. The Hutus threw Tutsis into random countries, took...

  • Indigenous People
  • Rwandan Genocide

Negative Impacts of Social Darwinism on Society

After five years sailing on the sea and, Charles Darwin made a lot of observations and collection on kinds of animals, plants, and fossils. The valuable experience inspired Darwin and made him create the theory of evolution -- one of the most important theories in...

  • Charles Darwin
  • Social Darwinism

The Truth About Holodomor and Memory of the Victims

To a moderate extent, we get nearer to the truth the closer we are the event, as over the progression of time, discoveries are made, and unknown facts are revealed, which were not readily available close to a certain event. In the case of an...

Critique of Hannah Arendt's Approach in Her Thesis on Totalitarianism

A totalitarian government is one which should be seen as a regime of the past. In society today, people have rights and freedoms; which means that the government has the mandate to protect its citizens, and give them the power to work and realise the...

  • Hannah Arendt

The Disgraceful Acts of Columbus and Why Columbus Day Shouldn't Be Celebrated

Growing up in America, young vulnerable kids are taught and develop beliefs that Columbus is amazing, but there's little-discussed about the horrid ways he acted towards our nation’s primary inhabitants. Columbus tortured slaves and indigenous people, and he also contributed immensely to the transatlantic slave...

  • Columbus Day

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Stalin and Famine in Ukraine: Reasons and The Results of Ukrainian Genocide, Holodomor

Many people think that a genocide is simply just terrorism that occurs, however a genocide means something much more stronger than that, it is the complete annihilation of a whole civilization. Genocide is “the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of...

  • Joseph Stalin

Genocide Witnesses and the Bystander Effect

'Today, people don't talk anymore about the mass murder of six million human beings' (Wiesenthal 156). Even though this statement refers to the Holocaust, it applies to various genocides that have occurred throughout history. No matter the place or time, the same reaction happens as...

  • The Bystander Effect

Role of International Orrganizations and Countries in Mass Violence

With the end of the Cold War and the world after passing through a series of catastrophic events and being on the brink of Nuclear Warfare found Disarmament to be a pertinent matter in order to retain peace. Efforts for disarmament had been in order...

  • Community Violence
  • The United Nations

The Justification of the Rwandan Genocide

No logic, no reason, no explanation. Just a prolonged nightmare in which fear, loneliness and the unexplainable walk hand in hand through the shadows. In a moment we will start to gather clues as to the whys the whats the whens and the wheres. We...

The Influence of the Bystander Phenomenon During Genocides Explored in Terms of the Rwandan Genocide

Time and time again it has been said to be ‘Never Again’ but literature still explores atrocities such as genocide in order to try and understand individual factors that lead to its development and influence the likelihood of genocide happening and how to prevent and...

The Terrors and Horrific Events of the Genocide Phenomenon

Intro “Why is the killing of a million a lesser crime than the killing of an individual?”- Raphael Lemkin. Throughout history, humans have killed each other for an array of reasons; differences in religion, culture, ethnicity, or just simply because one believes they are superior...

A Close-Up Look at the Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in The Promise

The discussion over what Armenians experienced in the Ottoman Empire after World War I, still maintains its violence since the day it has begun. Although most historians and academics believe that Armenians were the first victims of the 20th century’s first genocide, many Turkish people...

  • Ottoman Empire

The Meaning of Genocide to the Armenian Community

In “Sad Days of Light,” Peter Balakian talks about how his grandparents survived during the genocide and the harsh situations they might had to face for their survival. Balakian uses imagery throughout his text to show how the Armenians suffered due to the act of...

  • Social Problems

Genocide of Life and Culture in Patagonia Desert

Genocide, in which mass amounts of a specific group of people are killed, and cultural genocide, in which the culture of a group is forced in extinction, often arises from violent conflicts that typically have at least one of two main factors driving them: religion...

  • The Man in The High Castle

Analysis of Genocide in Rwanda, Its Impact and Aftermath

For many years, Rwanda dealt with an ongoing battle between the Tutsis and Hutus, but one major problem that was faced by the Hutus was their reluctance to share any power with the Tutsis. They wanted to be dominant and would not settle for anything...

Avengers: Infinity War Thanos And His Quest For Genocide

A warning to audiences should be put into place due to this film containing some of the most controversial action packed scenes in all of the marvel movies series so far. Thanos master plan for genocide is one example of a very dark turn marvel...

  • The Avengers

Stanton's Theory Of Eight Stages Of Genocide

Stanton's theory of eight stages of genocide Stanton based his theory on the idea that genocide is not just a singular or random event that occurs but a process. Stanton's theory suggests that this process has early warning stages which he categories into eight stages...

Technological Progressions: Past, Present And Future

At the beginning of the thirteenth century a drought greater than any during the recorded history of the area came to the Great Plains. As the rains failed year after year and the crops withered in the fields, the hunters and horticulturalists who lived along...

Best topics on Genocide

1. Us Decision’S Impact On Rwanda Genocide’S Outcome

2. Negative Impacts of Social Darwinism on Society

3. The Truth About Holodomor and Memory of the Victims

4. Critique of Hannah Arendt’s Approach in Her Thesis on Totalitarianism

5. The Disgraceful Acts of Columbus and Why Columbus Day Shouldn’t Be Celebrated

6. Stalin and Famine in Ukraine: Reasons and The Results of Ukrainian Genocide, Holodomor

7. Genocide Witnesses and the Bystander Effect

8. Role of International Orrganizations and Countries in Mass Violence

9. The Justification of the Rwandan Genocide

10. The Influence of the Bystander Phenomenon During Genocides Explored in Terms of the Rwandan Genocide

11. The Terrors and Horrific Events of the Genocide Phenomenon

12. A Close-Up Look at the Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in The Promise

13. The Meaning of Genocide to the Armenian Community

14. Genocide of Life and Culture in Patagonia Desert

15. Analysis of Genocide in Rwanda, Its Impact and Aftermath

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In Rafah, the final – and most deadly – stage of this genocide is upon us

I fear what an Israeli invasion would mean for more than a million displaced, hungry, desperate Palestinians sheltering in the city.

Ghada Ageel

For many years, every time I travelled to Gaza to visit my family, I passed through the Rafah crossing, the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and Egypt. And every time I took a breath in the border city of Rafah, I was reminded of my sister Taghreed’s words:  “I am inhaling the scent of the history of my land.” Her eyes would glow with pride every time she talked of Rafah, and I share the sentiment.

The history of this corridor spans thousands of years, a testament to the rich history of Palestine and its people. For millennia, Rafah has been a resting place and a trade hub for caravans from across Palestine travelling towards the Sinai Peninsula and onwards to Egypt and Africa.

Keep reading

Unrwa no longer able to provide services in north gaza, agency says, qatar to icj: israel carrying out “genocidal war” on people of gaza, is the red sea becoming fully militarised, palestinian authority says israeli post-war gaza plan ‘destined to fail’.

Today, a genocide is unfolding in this ancient, precious city. As I witness this genocide from afar and fear what the threatened Israeli invasion would mean for the hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians forced to take shelter there, I feel like I am one of those powerless souls who recognised what was happening in Srebrenia or the Warsaw Ghetto, tried to raise the alarm but couldn’t do anything to avert the tragedy as the world had already decided to turn a blind eye to the impending massacre of innocents.

Since the beginning of this latest war on Gaza, every new phase in the Israeli onslaught has inflicted more suffering, pain and death on the civilian population. Displaced many times over, those who are now in Rafah have nowhere else to go. The invasion of Rafah would thus be the last, and the most deadly phase of this genocide – the first genocide in human history that has been broadcast live to the world.

Sadly, this is not the first time beautiful Rafah has become the background to crimes against humanity. The border city’s recent history is a wound kept open by constant violence. The majority of Rafah’s residents, like most cities in Gaza, are the descendants of those displaced during the 1948 Nakba while others are the survivors of a 1956 massacre and the many other Israeli aggressions that came after.

My 89-year-old aunt Rayya, a refugee from Barqa village, which was destroyed by Israel in 1948, has been witness to decades of massacres, violence and oppression in this city.

In 1956, during the tripartite aggression involving Britain, France and Israel, also known as the Suez Crisis, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip for about four months, perpetrating horrifying massacres in both Khan Younis and Rafah.

On November 2, when the Israeli military occupied Khan Younis and ordered males aged 16 and older to come out and present themselves at points across the city, my aunt was there visiting family. Then a 22-year-old newlywed, she witnessed the Israeli military line those men and boys up against walls and massacre them over the course of two days.

My aunt eventually decided to leave the family home with her sister’s family in search of safety. They walked to the beach in Khan Younis and sought refuge under the trees. They ate anything they could find and dug holes in the ground to sleep, find clean water and use as a toilet. Despite the surrounding danger and the continuous sound of bombardment, Rayya, fearing for the safety of her husband, made the difficult decision to continue her journey on to Rafah.

Upon her arrival, Rayya realised that there had been yet more executions across Rafah. She could not find her husband anywhere. For days, she grappled with the harrowing uncertainty of his fate. Fortunately, her husband had survived that particular wave of violence. He later died during the occupation of Gaza in 1967, killed by the Israeli army while travelling along the beach from Khan Younis to Rafah.

After her husband’s murder, Rayya found herself alone, a single mother, tasked with raising five children in the hardship and destitution of the Rafah refugee camp.

In the 1970s, she was forced to seek employment in Israel’s agriculture sector, labouring in the fields collecting tomatoes to provide for her family.

During the first Intifada in 1987, Rayya lost an eye while trying to rescue her youngest son from the hands of Israeli soldiers. She was struck in the eye by the butt of a rifle while trying to prevent soldiers from taking her child.

At the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000, one of her grandchildren, 13-year-old Karam, was shot in the back of the head as he was running away from an Israeli army post after throwing stones at soldiers. The unconscious child was rushed to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, but doctors said he had no possibility of survival beyond a few hours.

Rayya and her daughter in law, Karam’s mother, were presented with an agonising choice: Stay at the hospital and accompany Karam in his final hours of life, or return to Rafah before checkpoints were closed to mourn his death at home with their loved ones. Uncertain whether they would be allowed to move between cities in the coming days, they eventually decided to go home without Karam’s body.

In 2004, Rafah was subjected to what Israel called Operation Rainbow, a cruelly ironic title for what was considered – at the time – the worst episode of violence the city had witnessed. The operation resulted in the destruction of hundreds of homes throughout Rafah. Rayya’s home was also partially demolished during this spate of violence. Then, during the 2014 war on Gaza, Rayya lost another grandson – a bright engineering student, recently engaged.

Today, 10 years later, Rayya is once again trying to survive military aggression in Rafah. I have not been able to contact her recently, but I fear she is once again displaced, hungry, cold and terrified, digging holes in the ground to find water or go to the toilet at the age of 89.

The story of my aunt Rayya – a story of suffering and perseverance – is the story of Rafah. Her story echoes the tragic stories of more than a million displaced Palestinians who have been forced to seek safety in the border city. But Rafah’s story is also one of international solidarity. Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall and James Miller all lost their lives at the hands of the Israeli military in Rafah while bravely taking a stand against Israel’s brutal occupation.

Rafah is now the last refuge for Palestinians in Gaza amid a still unfolding genocide, and it is the place where the international community could and should take action to prevent another Warsaw or Srebrenica.

This is the moment for every member of the global civil society, everyone who believes in human rights, justice and freedom for all, to speak up against the deafening silence of their political leaders and take a stance for the long suffering Palestinian people.

As the threat of a catastrophic Israeli invasion looms on the horizon in Rafah, we cannot continue to ignore the plight of Palestinian refugees, displaced many times over, sick, hungry and forced to resist a blatant ethnic cleansing campaign with nothing but their fragile bodies.

No one can claim ignorance about what’s happening today in Rafah, in Gaza, across Palestine. The truth is evident in the testimonies of the children living through the genocide, in the work of brave journalists on the ground documenting their own slaughter, in the carefully researched and sourced reports of experts, academics, human rights defenders and international institutions. Rafah is the final opportunity for the international community to come together for peace and dignity in Palestine. It’s time for Rafah to finally be truly safe and prosper. It is time for lifelong refugees like my aunt Rayya to find permanent safety and security. It is time for a ceasefire, and a free Palestine.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

FILE PHOTO: Sudanese girls who fled the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, and were previously internally displaced in Sud...

Jamey Keaten, Associated Press Jamey Keaten, Associated Press

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  • Copy URL https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/rape-and-sexual-violence-in-sudans-ongoing-conflict-may-amount-to-war-crimes-a-new-un-report-says

Rape and sexual violence in Sudan’s ongoing conflict may amount to war crimes, a new UN report says

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. human rights office said in a new report Friday that scores of people, including children, have been subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence in the ongoing conflict in Sudan, assaults that may amount to war crimes.

Sudan plunged into chaos in mid-April when clashes erupted in the capital, Khartoum, between rival Sudanese forces — the country’s military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and a paramilitary faction known as the Rapid Support Forces, under the command of Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

The fighting quickly spread across the African country, especially urban areas but also the restive western Darfur region, and has so far killed at least 12,000 people and sent over 8 million fleeing their homes, the report said.

The report, which covers a period from the outbreak of the fighting up to Dec. 15, documents abuses in a country that has been largely inaccessible to aid groups and rights monitors recently, clouding the impact of a conflict that been overshadowed by wars in places like Gaza and Ukraine.

READ MORE: UN food agency says it has reports of people dying from starvation amid the conflict in Sudan

The report found that at least 118 people had been subjected to sexual violence, including rape — with many of the assaults committed by members of the paramilitary forces, in homes and on the streets.

One woman, the U.N. said, “was held in a building and repeatedly gang-raped over a period of 35 days.”

The report also pointed to recruitment of child soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

“Some of these violations would amount to war crimes,” said U.N. human rights chief Volker Türk, calling for prompt, thorough and independent investigations into alleged rights abuses and violations.

The report is based on interview of more than 300 victims and witnesses, some conducted in neighboring Ethiopia and Chad where many Sudanese have fled, along with analysis of photographs, videos, and satellite imagery from the conflict areas.

The ravages of the war, beyond the period examined, are continuing, the U.N. said.

The U.N. cited video that emerged last week from the country’s North Kordofan State showing men wearing Sudanese army uniforms carrying severed heads of members of the rival paramilitary faction.

“For nearly a year now, accounts coming out of Sudan have been of death, suffering and despair, as the senseless conflict and human rights violations and abuses have persisted with no end in sight,” Türk said.

“The guns must be silenced, and civilians must be protected,” he added.

Speaking from Nairobi, Kenya, by videoconference to the U.N. briefing in Geneva on Friday, Seif Magango, a regional spokesman for the U.N. human rights office said that “the number of people displaced (in Sudan) has now crossed the 8 million mark, which should concern everyone.”

Earlier in February, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres told reporters that there is no military solution to Sudan’s conflict and urged the rival generals to start talking about ending the conflict. He stressed that continued fighting “will not bring any solution so we must stop this as soon as possible.”

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essay on genocide

U.S. ambassador to United Nations discusses concerns over another genocide in Darfur

World Sep 07

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Guest Essay

I’m the Mayor of Dearborn, Mich., and My City Feels Betrayed

A woman points and shouts into a megaphone. Other people hold Palestinian flags and signs that read “Abandon Biden.”

By Abdullah H. Hammoud

Mr. Hammoud is the mayor of Dearborn, Mich., and a Democrat.

“Dearborn doesn’t sleep,” I recently told an out-of-state visitor to my hometown.

It was a reference to the celebratory time of Ramadan, when our city breaks bread together for iftar at sunset and suhoor, before sunrise, each day. For a month, Dearborn is bustling around the clock: Business districts buzz during the day, and residents and visitors flock to break the fast together every night, gathering over hot, heaping plates filled with some of the best food in the country, surrounded by neighbors of all backgrounds.

I have always spoken these words with warmth and pride for my community, but after 130 days of genocide in Gaza, the phrase has taken on new meaning.

Dearborn does not sleep. We have not slept. Our entire city is haunted by the images, videos and stories streaming out of Gaza. Life seems heavily veiled in a haze of shared grief, fear, helplessness and even guilt as we try to understand how our tax dollars could be used by those we elected to slaughter our relatives overseas.

We don’t have to imagine the violence and injustice being carried out against the Palestinian people. Many of us lived it, and still bear the scars of life under occupation and apartheid.

Since the Nakba of 1948, many Palestinians have been forcibly displaced by the state of Israel. My neighbors still have the documents they had to carry between Israeli military checkpoints, to prove they could walk the streets of their own ancestral villages. My aunts, uncles and elders recall life under Israeli occupation and wrestling with the decision to flee the only home they ever knew. I have seen grief gut a constituent whose family pulled both his grandmothers from the rubble of their shared apartment building after it was leveled by Israeli missiles. Even before the horrific events of Oct. 7, last year was the deadliest year in nearly two decades for Palestinians in the West Bank.

Now, friends pray for the safe return of family members still in the West Bank. A shop owner from Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem that has come under threat from radical Zionist settlers, wonders what will happen to Al Aqsa Mosque. His family has cared for it for generations.

At a Dearborn City Council meeting in November, a resident testified that his family has buried at least 80 relatives in Gaza since Israel began its bombing campaign in October. Eighty relatives. Eighty innocent lives.

What compounds the constant fear and mourning is a visceral sense of betrayal. In the past three federal elections, Arab American voters in Michigan have become a crucial and dependable voting bloc for the Democratic Party, and we were part of the wave that delivered for Joe Biden four years ago. But this fact seems long forgotten by our candidate as he calls for our votes once more while at the same time selling the very bombs that Benjamin Netanyahu’s military is dropping on our family and friends.

Until just a few months ago, I firmly believed that Joe Biden was one of the most consequential and transformative presidents that our nation had seen since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His administration managed to put in place groundbreaking domestic policies in the last three years that his predecessors couldn’t manage even in two terms. But no amount of landmark legislation can outweigh the more than 100,000 people killed, wounded or missing in Gaza. The scales of justice will not allow it.

President Biden is proving many of our worst fears about our government true: that regardless of how loud your voice may be, how many calls to government officials you may make, how many peaceful protests you organize and attend, nothing will change.

My greatest fear is that Mr. Biden will not be remembered as the president who saved American democracy in 2020 but rather as the president who sacrificed it for Benjamin Netanyahu in 2024.

Dearborn is not alone in calling for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza. A poll conducted last fall found that 66 percent of Americans and a whopping 80 percent of Democrats want a cease-fire. However, the president and our elected representatives in Congress seem content to ignore the will of the American people.

This betrayal feels uniquely un- American. When conflict shoved them out of their homes, many of Dearborn’s parents fled to Michigan in pursuit of the American dream and the promise that their voices would be heard and valued. Today, we instill in our children the American aspiration of standing on the side of justice for all people, everywhere.

Two years ago, when Americans across the country rallied to offer support and aid to Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, so did we. There are still blue and yellow flags fading against the facades of homes and businesses across my city. But when Dearborn residents flew the Palestinian flag this past fall, they were met with threats .

Too often, it feels as if our president and members of Congress have turned their backs on us. In many ways, the Democratic Party has turned its back on us, too.

This month, I agreed to meet with senior policy officials from the Biden administration on the condition that they be open to withdrawing their support for the right-wing Israeli government now bombarding Gaza. A delegation visited me in Dearborn on Feb. 8, fully aware of these terms.

I firmly believe that there is always time to do the right thing. But as I imparted to the officials I met with, words are not enough. The only way to ensure the safe return of all hostages and prisoners is through an immediate cease-fire. The only way to ensure that unrestricted humanitarian aid enters Gaza is through an immediate cease-fire. The only way to establish a just and legitimate Palestinian state is through an immediate cease-fire.

With every day that passes, every minute that the president fails to do the right thing, the belief that I and so many others have invested in him dwindles. With every American-made bomb that Israel’s right-wing government drops on Gaza, a stark numbness coats everything, restricting any space for belief to grow.

Four days after our meeting in Dearborn, the United States government watched as Israel, which had corralled innocent Palestinian civilians into Rafah, one of the last safe havens in Gaza, besieged the city overnight, killing dozens in what experts believe could amount to an egregious war crime.

I, like many of my fellow Americans, cannot in good conscience support the continuation of a genocide. This has weighed heavy on my heart, particularly as the presidential primary election in Michigan has drawn near.

It is for that reason that I will be checking the box for “uncommitted” on my presidential primary ballot next Tuesday. In doing so, I am choosing hope.

The hope that Mr. Biden will listen. The hope that he and those in Democratic leadership will choose the salvation of our democracy over aiding and abetting Mr. Netanyahu’s war crimes. The hope that our families in Gaza will have food in their bellies, clean water to drink, access to health care and the internet and above all else, a just state in which they have the right to determine their own future.

The hope that, one day soon, Dearborn will be able to sleep again.

In my sleepless nights, I have often questioned what kind of America my daughters will grow up in: one that makes excuses for the killing of innocent men, women and children or one that chooses to reclaim hope. What still lies between betrayal and hope is the power of accountability. It is my prayer — as a father, the son of immigrants and as a public servant in the greatest city in the greatest nation in the world — that my fellow Michiganders will harness this power and lend their voice to this hope by holding the president accountable.

Abdullah H. Hammoud ( @AHammoudMI ) became the mayor of Dearborn, Mich., in 2021.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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In Ukraine and Gaza, twilight for the ‘rules-based order’

essay on genocide

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This weekend marks the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The ensuing conflict has ravaged large stretches of the Eastern European state, killed tens of thousands, displaced millions of Ukraine’s population and roiled global politics. It led to Russia’s geopolitical isolation from the West as well as the most significant display of transatlantic solidarity in the 21st century: A U.S.-led effort to arm and sustain Ukraine’s defense that has depleted arsenals on both sides of the pond and required dozens of billions of dollars in Western taxpayer money.

To many European leaders and U.S. officials, the value of backing Ukraine is priceless. A fledgling democracy must not be snuffed out by autocratic bully, they argue. And that bully in the Kremlin — Russian President Vladimir Putin — must not be allowed to rewrite the rules of the road and dismiss Ukraine’s rights as a sovereign nation, redraw borders and flout international law.

The war in Ukraine, President Biden argued a month after Russia launched its invasion , is “a battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force.”

That rhetoric has not faded almost two years later, with Ukraine’s leaders and backers championing Kyiv as a bulwark for the free world against a tyrannical menace that knows no bounds. If “Ukraine is left alone, Russia will destroy us,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told dignitaries at the Munich Security Conference last weekend , warning that “there is no one for whom the ongoing war in Europe does not pose a threat.”

“If we don’t act now, Putin will succeed in turning the next few years into a catastrophe — not only for Ukraine but for others as well,” he added.

The world confronts Israel over its occupation of Palestinian lands

But these warnings are starting to ring a little hollow. Ukraine fatigue is becoming a reality, especially in the United States, where Republican lawmakers have stymied new funding for Kyiv’s war effort. The war has bogged down along a front that has barely shifted over the past year, no matter the hideous cost of lives, arms and funds. Some analysts and policymakers are starting to question whether the marshy trenches carving up the battlefields of southeastern Ukraine represent the civilizational fault-line many Western leaders claim they do.

That was already the view of many outside the West in the wake of Russia’s invasion, and it has only deepened amid the explosion of the parallel war in Gaza .

For many onlookers, the Israeli military campaign that followed the deadly Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7 has served as a reminder of long-standing double standards on the world stage . Israel, traumatized by what was the single deadliest day in Jewish history since the Holocaust, has destroyed much of Gaza, killed tens of thousands of civilians and sparked a staggering humanitarian crisis that may only get worse. U.N. agencies and aid workers warn that mounting disease and malnutrition may claim tens of thousands more Gazan lives in the coming months.

Perceived Western complicity in Palestinian suffering is hamstringing U.S. diplomacy. This week, at ministerial meetings for the Group of 20 major economies in Rio de Janeiro, Secretary of State Antony Blinken weathered complaints from his counterparts on the latest instance of the United States vetoing Security Council calls for an immediate cease-fire over Gaza. The U.S.’s seeming isolation on the matter was a contrast to last year’s Group of 20 summit in India, where the Biden administration secured widespread condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“At the time, Blinken found a more receptive audience when he invoked the United Nations Charter and the principles of sovereignty to criticize Moscow’s land grab,” noted my colleague John Hudson , who was traveling with Blinken. “But in Brazil, diplomats invoked those same principles to criticize the ongoing war in Gaza, where the United States has provided Israel political cover and billions of dollars’ worth of bombs and military equipment.”

Ukraine and its allies face off against America’s tribal politics

The U.N. Security Council has arguably failed in the instance of both conflicts, with U.S. and Russian vetoes separately stymying collective international action. On Thursday, Brazilian foreign minister Mauro Vieira lamented the “unacceptable paralysis” on show at the United Nations, and said existing “multilateral institutions are not properly equipped to deal with current challenges.”

“The fact that the U.S. is repeatedly using its veto in the Council makes it harder to criticize Russia’s own vetoes,” Richard Gowan, U.N. director for the International Crisis Group think tank, told me. “And while the U.S. argues that the Council should avoid votes on Gaza until it finds consensus, the U.S. has never had any compunction about forcing Russia into vetoes over Ukraine. If the U.S. is allowed to force Russia into vetoes, other countries will do the same to the U.S. over Gaza.”

The Russians, Gowan added, sense an obvious opportunity to point to U.S. hypocrisy. The “rules-based order” is a concept dear to Western leaders, not least Biden, and invoked constantly when they set out their positions on world affairs. They may see in Ukraine the defense of the “rules-based order” against Russian brutishness, but in the ongoing calamity in Gaza, it’s easy to also see its breakdown.

Aid workers and rights groups argue there’s unprecedented crisis on their hands, one that has been enabled by the United States staving off U.N. efforts to force a cease-fire. “The humanitarian response in Gaza today is an illusion — a convenient illusion that perpetuates a narrative that this war is being waged in line with international laws,” Christopher Lockyear, secretary general of Doctors Without Borders, told the U.N. Security Council in a Thursday briefing.

Lockyear added that “the laws and the principles we collectively depend on to enable humanitarian assistance are now eroded to the point of becoming meaningless” and that Israel was waging a “war of collective punishment, a war without rules, a war at all costs” at the expense of Gaza’s entire population.

As Israel corners Rafah, Netanyahu defies the world

Israel is already in the dock at the U.N.’s top court over charges that it may be provoking genocide in Gaza . This week, hearings began over a separate inquiry into the legality of Israel’s more-than-half-century of occupation and control over Palestinian territories seized in the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. “International law cannot be an a la carte menu,” Lana Nusseibeh, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the U.N., said when making her nation’s presentation to the court. “It must apply equally to all, and it is more essential in the long shadow cast by the Palestinian question and injustice that has persisted for more than seven decades.”

But the emerging reality is that we do live in an increasingly “a la carte” world of waning U.S. clout, shifting alliances and the steady erosion of international law and the universal principles that undergird it.

“The risk of genocide, the gravity of the violations being committed, and the flimsy justifications by elected officials in Western democracies warn of a change of eras,” wrote Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International, in an anguished essay in Foreign Affairs . “The rules-based order that has governed international affairs since the end of World War II is on its way out, and there may be no turning back.”

essay on genocide

essay on genocide

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Knights and Daughters of Vartan Announce Essay Contest in Conjunction with Times Square Genocide Commemoration

NEW YORK — The Knights and Daughters of Vartan are holding their annual essay contest in conjunction with the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and its subsequent commemoration in Times Square, which will be held on Sunday, April 21. High school students (grades 9-12) are invited to participate in a writing contest to enhance awareness of the Armenian Genocide.

All submissions should be received by Monday, April 8, 2024, and the winners will be announced publicly in Times Square at the commemoration event.

“The Knights and Daughters of Vartan, continuing with their annual tradition, will sponsor a writing contest for high school students, where they will reflect on the Armenian Genocide and the importance of historic and cultural preservation,” said Times Square Co-Chairs Haig Gulian and Christopher Artun.

All submissions must be emailed to [email protected] by 11:59 pm on Monday, April 8, 2024.

The prizes are $300 for first, $200 for second and $100 for third.

The prompt is: As descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors, why do you feel the responsibility to share your family’s historical accounts and stories, and how will you carry your family’s story into the future? If you are not a descendant, why do you believe it’s important to recount the history of the Armenian Genocide to the public? Overall, how does transmitting stories from one generation to the next help preserve and retain historical facts?

The essay must respond to the essay prompt. Responses must be between 750-1000 words typed in Times New Roman 12-point font and double-spaced.

Please include the applicant’s first and last name at the top of each page along with contact information.

Accepted file formats include .doc, .docx, .pdf

Please note your essay will be judged on its originality, clarity, historical accuracy, and understanding of the essay contest theme.

The Times Square commemoration will take place on April 21, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. The annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration in Times Square is sponsored by the Knights of Vartan and Daughters of Vartan, a national fraternal organization, and co-sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian National Committee of America, Tekeyan Cultural Association, Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, Armenian Bar Association, and the Armenian Missionary Association of America; participating organizations include the Diocese of the Armenian Church, Prelacy of the Armenian Church, Armenian Presbyterian Church, Armenian Evangelical Union, Armenian Catholic Eparchy, Armenian Network of America, Armenian International Women’s Association, Homenetmen Scouts of NY & NJ, Armenian Youth Federation, and several national Armenian youth organizations.

Founded in 1985 by the late Sam Azadian, a former Brooklyn, New York resident who lost four siblings during the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian Genocide Commemoration at Times Square has honored the more than  1.5 million Armenian lives lost during the horrific events of the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians perpetrated by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire. This internationally recognized annual event draws thousands of Armenians and non-Armenian participants to commemorate the solemn occasion. The event features speeches and tributes delivered by prominent political figures and civic leaders, officials of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, representatives of major Armenian-American organizations, and distinguished scholars and educators as well as high-ranking Armenian and non-Armenian clergy.

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The top UN court has ruled on Gaza genocide case. Here's what happens now

In the ICJ's order last month, it did not grant South Africa's main request, which was to order Israel to suspend military airstrikes in Gaza and to call for a permanent cease-fire. 

Israel rebuffed the allegations of genocide at the World Court and accused South Africa of being used as a legal cover for Hamas. 

Cases under the Genocide Convention at the court have stretched for years — such as with Serbia — which took more than 10 years to reach a final decision.  

Last month, the International Court of Justice ruled on South Africa's legal case accusing Israel of genocide. 

Legal proceedings began after the African country submitted cause for emergency measures in Gaza, leading to a two-day hearing, with testimonies from the South African and Israeli legal teams. 

The court issued its interim ruling on Jan. 26 with six legally binding provisions, including those ordering the Israeli army to: prevent acts that might be considered genocide in the besieged enclave; allow humanitarian aid into the strip; punish incitement to genocide; submit monthly reports; and take measures to protect Palestinians. 

CNBC takes a look at what the next steps could be, and how we got here.

What's next?

After the ruling, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the decision and said Israel will continue to defend itself and its citizens against Hamas while adhering to international law. Israeli officials did not respond to a CNBC request for comment. 

Cases relating to genocidal intent are among the most difficult to win — evidence must show that the perpetrators have a premeditated intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. 

The ICJ has ordered Israel to submit a report this month describing how it's complying with the court's orders and to keep evidence of any acts of genocide. 

Last week, Yoav Gallant, Israel's defense minister, said Israel will not cease airstrikes on Gaza anytime soon. Gallant, who has called Palestinians "human animals,"  was one of three officials whose past statements the South African legal team's defense used.

Francesca Albanese, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, told CNBC last week that she is "not comfortable in knowing nothing of history."

"Therefore I know with absolute certainty that in 100 years, Palestinians have steadily been denied all the the three things: justice, human rights, and freedom."

It's impossible to come up with win-win scenario for Hamas and Israel: Professor

Albanese said that regardless of the outcome, the case is an important contribution to mounting international pressure to end the war and is of symbolic significance, adding that the allegations of genocide at the ICJ are not without merit.

Vincent Magwenya, spokesperson for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, told CNBC that the country expects to keep pushing the case at a high level. 

"We are working together to ensure that the case is successful for the sake of peace in the region and for the sake of many innocent people, women, and children, young and old who are suffering from Israel's decades of occupation and genocide," he said. 

How did we get here?

South Africa began proceedings against Israel in December before the International Court of Justice under the "Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip." 

"As a nation that fought and defeated apartheid, we have a particular obligation to stand up for justice and fundamental human rights for all people everywhere," Magwenya told CNBC Sunday.  

South Africa's legal defense was heard on Jan. 11, and Israel's on the following day at The Hague in the Netherlands.

"It is this obligation that informed our application to the International Court of Justice to halt the violence unleashed by Israel on the Gaza Strip," Magwenya added. 

Magwenya said that as a signatory to the 1948 Genocide Convention, the country carries a responsibility to prevent acts of genocide, wherever they occur. He added their own past "demonstrates South Africa's long history of unwavering solidarity with Palestinians."

Other countries that publicly supported South Africa's case include Turkey, Jordan, Brazil, Colombia and Malaysia. 

That comes as Israeli forces continue a military campaign in the Gaza Strip that has so far claimed more than 27,000 lives, according to the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry.

The court also said it was "gravely concerned" about the welfare of the Israeli hostages abducted by Palestinian militant group Hamas during its Oct. 7 terror attacks, of which more than 120 remained in captivity as of Thursday. The world court called for the immediate release of those hostages still in captivity.

Though the ICJ can issue demands on the countries it has done in the past, it does not have the jurisdiction to enforce them or the rulings on disputes between states.

On Feb. 26, 2022, two days after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Ukrainian government lodged a case with the World Court under the 1948 Genocide Convention and requested that it order Russia to halt military operations.

The following month, the ICJ issued a fast-tracked decision that demanded Russia cease military operations on its neighbor. Back in 2015, after an initial application was submitted in 1999, the court acquitted Serbia of committing genocide against Bosnian Muslims during the 1990s Bosnian war in its final judgment and rejected Bosnia and Croatia's request for reparations.

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    It is defined as acts done with the intention of destroying, in part or in whole, ethnic, religion, national, or any other group through mass killing of members, causing physical or mental harm, having measure to prevent births, or transferring children to another area of group by force.

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  8. 2010 On Genocide

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  9. Reflections on the Holocaust

    The essays collected in this volume were written by Humanity in Action Fellows, Senior Fellows, board members and lecturers who participated in Humanity in Action's educational programs from 1997 to 2010. Humanity in Action programs focus on the obligation to understand genocide, particularly the Holocaust and other mass atrocities in the 20th ...

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    "Genocide" published on by null. Broad Overviews. The most comprehensive and reader-friendly overview is provided in Jones 2011.For more dated yet seminal contributions from the first generation of scholars that emerged from the 1980s, see Kuper 1982 and the autobiographical essays included in Totten and Jacobs 2002.While this cadre of scholarship is overly focused on totalitarian genocides in ...

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    This essay explores the history of the genocide, the reasoning of the Hutu government and establishes why the international community did not intervene. History of the Genocide Hutu and Tutsi are the two tribes of Rwanda who have always been political enemies, fighting for power since independence in 1952.

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    The essays in this book, written over a span of some twenty years but updated for this publication, discuss episodes of mass murder that are often considered instances of genocide: the large-scale ...

  13. 105 Genocide Essay Topics Worth Your Attention

    Table of contents hide 1 Armenian Genocide essay topics 2 Rwandan genocide essay topics 3 Genocide essay topics: genocides in the history of the Americas 4 Genocide argumentative essay topics on genocides in the history of Europe 5 Genocide essay topics: genocides in Asian history

  14. 126 Genocide Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

    126 Genocide Essay Topic Ideas & Examples Updated: Sep 26th, 2023 9 min Table of Contents 🏆 Best Genocide Topic Ideas & Essay Examples The Holocaust: A German Historian Examines the Genocide deals with one of the most debatable issues of the history of the twentieth century, i.e. The Impact of Genocide on the Modern Society

  15. The Paradox of Genocide Denial

    Yerevan, Armenia, Introduction In the midst of World War I, during the summer of 1915, the rulers of the Ottoman Empire developed a systematic plan that led to the deaths of over one million Armenian men, women, and children (Bloxham 1).

  16. Genocide in Palestine: Gaza as a case study

    10 Edward W. Said, Peace and Its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process, 1st ed. (New York: Vintage Books, 1996). ... 86 A. Dirk Moses, Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History, Studies on War and Genocide; v. 6 (New York: Berghahn Books, ...

  17. Rwanda genocide of 1994

    Rwanda genocide of 1994, planned campaign of mass murder in Rwanda that occurred over the course of some 100 days in April-July 1994. The genocide was conceived by extremist elements of Rwanda's majority Hutu population who planned to kill the minority Tutsi population and anyone who opposed those genocidal intentions. It is estimated that some 200,000 Hutu, spurred on by propaganda from ...

  18. Argumentative Essay On Genocide

    Good Essays. 1832 Words. 8 Pages. Open Document. Genocide is one of the evillest moral crimes any ruling authority such as a government can commit against its people and it happens more than we think. A general definition of Genocide is the intention to destroy or murder people because of their race, beliefs, or even political and economic status.

  19. Essays on Genocide

    Essays on Genocide Essay examples Essay topics 30 essay samples found 1 The Armenian Genocide - The First Genocide of The Twentieth Century 3 pages / 1225 words Armenia is a small country located in the south Caucasus and is the smallest of the former Soviet republics.

  20. Opinion

    Genocide as a legal concept differs from ethnic cleansing in that the latter, which has not been recognized as its own crime under international law, aims to remove a population from a territory,...

  21. Genocide Essays: Samples & Topics

    Essay Samples on Genocide. Essay Examples. Essay Topics. Us Decision'S Impact On Rwanda Genocide'S Outcome. In April of 1994, The Hutu ethnic group caused a genocide against the other ethnic group, the Tutsis. Many deaths happened over an imbalance of power. Although the Tutsis were the minority, they dominated and were favored.

  22. At what point do Russian war crimes in Ukraine qualify as genocide

    His essay was seen as a declaration of war against Ukrainian statehood and has since been made required reading for all members of the Russian military. ... The UN defines genocide as the killing or a series of other acts "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." ...

  23. Genocide in Gaza: A call to urgent global action

    12 Nov 2023. Palestinians mourn their relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment of the southern Gaza Strip in Rafah on November 7, 2023 [AP/Hatem Ali] A week into Israel's war on Gaza, 800 ...

  24. In Rafah, the final

    The truth is evident in the testimonies of the children living through the genocide, in the work of brave journalists on the ground documenting their own slaughter, in the carefully researched and ...

  25. Rape and sexual violence in Sudan's ongoing conflict may amount to war

    GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. human rights office said in a new report Friday that scores of people, including children, have been subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence in the ongoing ...

  26. I'm the Mayor of Dearborn, Mich., and My City Feels Betrayed

    Guest Essay. I'm the Mayor of Dearborn, Mich., and My City Feels Betrayed. Feb. 20, 2024. ... but after 130 days of genocide in Gaza, the phrase has taken on new meaning.

  27. In Ukraine and Gaza, twilight for the 'rules-based order'

    "The risk of genocide, ... in an anguished essay in Foreign Affairs. "The rules-based order that has governed international affairs since the end of World War II is on its way out, and there ...

  28. Knights and Daughters of Vartan Announce Essay Contest in Conjunction

    NEW YORK — The Knights and Daughters of Vartan are holding their annual essay contest in conjunction with the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and its subsequent commemoration in Times Square, which will be held on Sunday, April 21. High school students (grades 9-12) are invited to participate in a writing contest to enhance awareness of the Armenian Genocide.

  29. UN court has ruled on Gaza genocide case. Here's what happens now

    On Feb. 26, 2022, two days after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Ukrainian government lodged a case with the World Court under the 1948 Genocide Convention and requested that it order Russia to halt ...