The Age of Genocide Exploring 20 th century genocides Jennifer Gigliotti-Labay
A crime without a name…
“ The aggressor ... retaliates by the most frightful cruelties. As his Armies advance, whole districts are being exterminated. Scores of thousands - literally scores of thousands - of executions in cold blood are being perpetrated by the German Police-troops upon the Russian patriots who defend their native soil. Since the Mongol invasions of Europe in the Sixteenth Century, there has never been methodical, merciless butchery on such a scale, or approaching such a scale .
“ And this is but the beginning. Famine and pestilence have yet to follow in the bloody ruts of Hitler's tanks.
“ We are in the presence of a crime without a name.”
- Winston Churchill describing the brutality of the German forces occupying Russia, 1941.
Genocide geno – meaning race cide – meaning killing The word genocide was coined in the midst of the Holocaust.
The 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defined genocide as Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group
20 th Century Genocides
With the definition of genocide in mind, try to list as many 20 th century genocides as you can.
Major genocides of the 20 th century
The Herero Genocide, Namibia , 1904-05 Death toll: 60,000 (3/4 of the population)
The Armenian Genocide, Ottoman Empire , 1915-23 Death toll: Up to 1.5 million
The Ukrainian Famine, 1932-1933 Death toll: 7 million
The Nanking Massacre, 1937-1938
Death toll: 300,000 (50% of the pop)
The World War II Holocaust, Europe , 1942-45 Death toll: 6 million Jews, and millions of others, including Poles, Roma, homosexuals, and the physically and mentally handicapped,
The Cambodian Genocide, 1975-79 Death toll: 2 million
The East Timor Genocide , 1975- 1999 Death toll: 120,000 (20% of the population)
The Mayan Genocide, Guatemala, 1981-83 Death toll: Tens of thousands
Death toll: 50-100,000
The Bosnian Genocide, 1991-1995 Death toll: 8,000
The Rwandan Genocide, 1994 Death toll: 800,000
The Darfur Genocide, Sudan , 2003-present Death toll: debated. 100,000? 300,000? 500,000?
Under German colonial rule, German Southwest Africa is modern day Namibia.
German Lieutenant-General Lothar von Trotha said, 'I wipe out rebellious tribes with streams of blood and streams of money. Only following this cleansing can something new emerge'.
On October 2, 1904, von Trotha issued his order to exterminate the Herero from the region. 'All the Herero must leave the land. If they refuse, then I will force them to do it with the big guns. Any Herero found within German borders, with or without a gun, will be shot. No prisoners will be taken. This is my decision for the Herero people'.
The Armenian Genocide, 1915
U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau Sr., concluded a “race murder” was occurring. He cabled Washington and described the Turkish campaign:
” Persecution of Armenians assuming unprecedented proportions. Reports from widely scattered districts indicate systematic attempt to uproot peaceful Armenian populations and through arbitrary arrests, terrible tortures, whose-sale expulsions and deportations from one end of the Empire to the other accompanied by frequent instances of rape, pillage, and murder turning into massacre , to bring destruction and destitution on them. These measures are not in response to popular or fanatical demand but are purely arbitrary and directed from Constantinople in the name of military necessity, often in districts where no military operations are likely to take place …there seems to be a systematic plan to crush the Armenian race.”
The documentary, The Armenian Genocide aired on PBS in April, 2006.
The Armenian Controversy
To this day, the Turks deny that the Genocide occurred.
This is a VERY controversial issue to the Turks.
Turkey suspended its military ties with France in 2006 after the
French parliament's lower house adopted a bill that that would
have made it a crime to deny that the Armenian killings
constituted a genocide.
23 countries acknowledge the event was genocide
In early October 2007, the U.S. Congress opened debate on
whether or not to declare the Armenian event a genocide – much to the dismay of the Turkish government.
The Ukrainian Famine 1932-1933
Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, set in motion events designed to cause a famine in the Ukraine to destroy the people there seeking independence from his rule.
As a result, an estimated 7,000,000 persons perished in this farming area, known as the breadbasket of Europe, with the people deprived of the food they had grown with their own hands.
Nanking Massacre, 1937-1938
In December of 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army marched into China's capital city of Nanking and proceeded to murder 300,000 out of 600,000 civilians and soldiers in the city.
The six weeks of carnage would become known as the Rape of Nanking and represented the single worst atrocity during the World War II era in either the European or Pacific theaters of war.
Two Japanese officers, Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda competing to see who could kill (with a sword) one hundred people first. The bold headline reads, "'Incredible Record' (in the Contest to) Cut Down 100 People —Mukai 106 – 105 Noda—Both 2nd Lieutenants Go Into Extra Innings"
The Holocaust, 1939-1945
The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
"Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire“.
The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior“, were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.
Cambodia 1975-1979 The Killing Fields were a number of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the Communist regime Khmer Rouge, which ruled the country from 1975-1979. One Khmer slogan ran: 'To spare you is no profit, to destroy you is no loss.' The massacres ended in 1979, when Communist Vietnam invaded the country and toppled the Khmer Rouge regime.
The East Timor Genocide 1975-1999
The Indonesian invasion of East Timor in December 1975 set the
stage for the long, bloody, and disastrous occupation of the territory
that ended only after an international peacekeeping force was
introduced in 1999.
Guatemala The Mayan Genocide, 1981-83
In the words of the 1999 UN-sponsored report on the civil war: 'The Army's perception of Mayan communities as natural allies of the guerrillas contributed to increasing and aggravating the human rights violations perpetrated against them, demonstrating an aggressive racist component of extreme cruelty that led to extermination en masse of defenseless Mayan communities, including children, women and the elderly, through methods whose cruelty has outraged the moral conscience of the civilized world.'
Iraq , 1988
The Anfal Campaign against the Kurds was a systematic
and deliberate murder of at least 50,000 and possibly as
many as 100,000 Kurds. It was the culmination of a long
term strategy to solve what the government saw as its
“ Kurdish problem ”.
Halabja (March ’88) was one chapter of this campaign in which chemical weapons were used against this Kurdish Village.
Bosnia was part of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire
until 1878 and then of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire until the First World War.
After the war it was united with other Slav
territories to form Yugoslavia, essentially ruled and
run by Serbs from the Serbian capital, Belgrade.
Yugoslavia disintegrated in June 1991
In 1992 in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
conflict between the three main ethnic groups,
the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims, resulted in
genocide committed by the Serbs against the
Muslims in Bosnia.
The Legacy of Mogadishu 1993
the most violent U.S. combat firefight since Vietnam
started out as an operation to capture warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid--turned into a firefight that lasted seventeen hours, left eighteen Americans dead, eighty four wounded and continues to haunt the U.S. military and American foreign policy
Its legacy , say many experts, was a continuing U.S. reluctance to be drawn into other trouble spots such as Bosnia, Rwanda and Haiti during the 1990s.
Rwanda 1994 800,000 Tutsis were murdered by Hutus in a 3 month period. The international community watched the event unfold and did nothing.
Before the 1994 Rwandan genocide boys outnumbered girls in school by 9 to 1. Today boys and girls attend school in equal numbers. Before the genocide fewer than 6 percent of college graduates were female. Today women make up as much as 50 percent of the student body on Rwandan college campuses. Before the genocide the government was just over 5 percent female. Today, women make up 30 percent of Rwanda’s local leadership and almost a quarter of national leadership. The Rwandan Lower House of Parliament is 49 percent women – the highest percentage of women in any parliament in the world.
Rwandan Women Change Their World
Is it genocide? Debatable death toll stands between 100 and 500,000.
What about the Darfur crisis makes it a genocide?
Why doesn’t the international community act?
What role does China play in the inaction?
Relatives mourn over the body of a one-year-old child who died of malnutrition in June 2004 in a refugee camp near a town in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Darfur What can you do?
Teaching students about social activism
Educating yourself on the issues
Demanding action from Congress
Educating your community ~ raising awareness
Volunteering for refugee organizations such as
Houston’s Alliance for Multicultural Community Service
The Age of Genocide Exploring 20 th century genocides Jennifer Gigliotti-Labay
“ A Problem From Hell” America and the Age of Genocide , Samantha Power, 2002.
Human Rights Watch http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/08/14/iraq13979.htm
PBS, Ambush in Mogadishu, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ambush/etc/synopsis.html
Peace Pledge Union Information http://www.ppu.org.uk/genocide/g_genocide_intro.html
National Geographic http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/17368253.html
United Human Rights Council http://www.unitedhumanrights.org
U.S. Department of State http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/rls/18714.htm
International Institute for Genocide and International Studies http://www.genocidestudies.info/main.htm
God Sleeps in Rwanda film, www.godsleepsinrwanda.com