Genocide & Nation state


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The presentation takes an academic view on genocide- definition, concepts of nation, state, nation-state & citizenship and their relation to justification/perpetration of violence. We touch upon concepts proposed by such eminent figures & researches as- Mark Levene (concept of Nation), T.H. Marshall (Citizenship), Nira Davis Yuval (Global Citizenship), Anderson (Nation), Linda Woolf & Michael Hulsizer (Psychosocial model) along with others. Passing references are made of major genocides- Khmer Rouge, Holocaust, Hutu-Tutsi (Rwanda), and the genocide of Hindus by Pakistan military in Bangladesh, to understand various points raised in the presentation. Points discussed under following major heads-
1. Reference to Darfur
2. Concept of nation, nation state, citizenship, community
3. Genocide: Why they begin, how the progress, why they end
4. What drives people to such violence?
5. 1971 Bangladesh Genocide
6. Prevention & Intervention- psychosocial model

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  • This implies the actual physical destructionof a group, and not just the obliteration of its culture, language, or communal practices. Furthermore, genocide requires intent. Accidental deaths resultingfrom faulty social policies or benign neglect lack the intentional quality that distinguishes genocide from other large-scale, human-authored calamities.Intention is a fundamental aspect of genocide. In addition, genocide should not be restricted to certain victim categories, since the perpetrators decide who qualifes as an enemy of the state (and thus a victim), and can include racial, ethnic, sexual or political identities
  • Turkish suppressing Armenians
  • Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another groupEncapsulated :
  • Guatemala Genocide
  • Three elements to citizenship: civil, political and social rights
  • Most universal way of constructing-fictive brothers and sisters
  • Each attack lasted a few seconds or can last several years – Germans extermination of Herero2) Political lea
  • Perception of victims
  • Turks annihilation of Armenians- depopulated Anatolia of ArmeniansPakistan ceased killing Bengali after being defeated militarily by India
  • The Pakistan army conducted a widespread genocide against the Bengali population of East Pakistan, aimed in particular at the minority Hindu population, leading to approximately 10 millionpeople fleeing East Pakistan and taking refuge in the neighbouring Indian states. The East Pakistan-India border was opened to allow refugees safe shelter in India. The governments of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura established refugee camps along the border. The resulting flood of impoverished East Pakistani refugees placed an intolerable strain on India's already overburdened economy
  • The Bangladesh Liberation war ignited after the 1970 Pakistani election, in which the East Pakistani Awami League won 167 of 169 seats in East Pakistan and secured a simple majority in the 313-seat lower house of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament of Pakistan).
  • Archer Kent Blood (March 20, 1923 – September 3, 2004) was an American diplomat in Bangladesh. He served as the last American Consul General to Dhaka, East Pakistan. He is famous for sending the strongly worded Blood telegram protesting against the atrocities committed in the Bangladesh Liberation War.
  • Bring perpetrators to justice- This has not been attempted consistently. International criminal Tribunal was set up for Yugoslavia and Rwanda to bring perpetrators to justice; however efforts to try cambodian genocide perpetrators have failed. Other genocides have been ignored
  • Genocide & Nation state

    1. 1. Darfur: Western Sudan, 40% ofSudanese populationLand disputes between semi-nomadic livestock herders &those who practiced agriculture1991, Zaghawa people of Sudanvictims of Arab apartheidDLF attacked Golo in 2003; Entryof the dreaded Janjaweed
    2. 2. The Other View• Sudan for long has remained under the NIF regime.• Legacy of exploitation- in the south’s oil richregion, to secure operations of international oilcompanies• In Darfur, the NIF pursued a deliberate policy ofhuman destruction, targeting ethnically Africanpopulations that had rebelled against, or werevictims of, decades of political and economicmarginalization.• Complicity of oil companies fromCanada, Sweden, China, Malaysia, India, Austria• Geopolitical angle
    3. 3. • Casualties:– UN figure: 70000 dead (disputed)– Latest estimates put the figure close to 461000– 2.85 million displaced– Many continue to die of disease and hunger• Darfur Peace Agreement (2011) was proposedby the Joint Mediators at the Doha PeaceForum.• The proposed document included provisionsfor a Darfuri Vice-President and moreadministrative rights.
    4. 4. • Concept of nation, nation state, citizenship,community• Genocide: Why they begin, how the progress,why they end• What drives people to such violence?
    5. 5. Nation• refers only to a socio-cultural entity, a union of people sharing who canidentify culturally and linguistically. This concept does not necessarilyconsider formal political unions.State• to a legal/political entity that is comprised of the following: a) apermanent population; b) a defined territory; c) a government ; and d)the capacity to enter into relations with other statesNation state• A political unit consisting of an autonomous state inhabitedpredominantly by a people sharing a common culture, history, andlanguage.
    6. 6. The crime of genocide is defined in internationallaw in the Convention on the Prevention andPunishment of Genocide“Genocide means any of the following actscommitted with intent to destroy, in whole or inpart, a national, ethnical, racial or religiousgroup, as such:• Killing members of the group• Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of thegroup;• Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculatedto 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.”
    7. 7. The intentional physical destruction, in whole orin part, of a group as defined by the perpetratorand carried out by the state or other recognizedauthority.UN Genocide Convention- restricts victimgroups to the categories of `national, ethnical ,racial or religious’ and leaves out political, sexualand other groups
    8. 8. Tells us who we areProvides with a promise to get through a normal day without aviolent confrontation with another person, family, clan or tribe.Because the state holds a monopoly on the legitimate use ofviolent forceIt provides the benefit of reigning in human propensities foraggression
    9. 9. The idea of the "nation" becomes theindividuals primary identity point ofreference – Mark Levene• Subordinate All Other Groups• Each individual is a subject of the state and the state isunder no obligation to recognize an individualsmembership in any other group when it comes to thatindividuals rights and obligations to the state.• In the political realm, the states primacy is absolute. Anyindividual or group that would challenge this absoluteauthority exposes itself to the states monopoly of violentforce.
    10. 10. Premium on Social Coherence• States push individuals/groups to assimilateto ideals of a nation—the notion of acollective and unified community. The ideaof the nation "standardizes" individuals.• Groups that refuse to assimilate nationalvalues may be encapsulated or, if this is notpossible, they may be targeted forpersecution
    11. 11. Drive for Development and Totalizing• The responsibility of state is to not merely to provide asecure basis for living, it will constantly seekto improve health and productivity of society• State seek to mobilize all aspects of life toward thesegoals-this push towards progress can become totalizing• Groups or individuals that dissent or resist the states goalsand efforts must reckon with the states monopoly ofviolent force.Bottom Line :• Genocide is not some aberration external to the modernage of nation-states.• Quite the contrary, the very processes that have createdthe conditions for the modern nation-state also created theconditions of genocide.
    12. 12. Citizenship (T H Marshall)• Civil element :– rights necessary for individual freedom such as liberty ofthe person, freedom of speech, thought and faith, theright to own property and to conclude valid contracts, aswell as the right to justice.• Political element– right to participate in political power as a member of thepolitical body or as an elector of the members of such abody.• Social element– right to economic welfare and security, the right to fullyshare social heritage, and the right to live life according tothe standard in the society
    13. 13. Janus faced CitizenshipRelationship between the individual and state.As Melanie Philips has put it “There appears to be a greatyearning for it, even though no one actually knows what it is”Thus citizenship was analysed by many researchers to act as anintegrating force in the society.Defending one’s own community and country is often perceivedas an ultimate citizen’s duty, in fact, to die as well as to kill for thesake of the homeland or the nation (Yuval-Davis )Feminist Ruth Lister says, “ There is a janus faced nature ofcitizenship for it “operates simultaneously as a mechanism ofboth inclusion and exclusion and also as a language of bothdiscipline and resistance
    14. 14. to naturalize poor and black agony,distress and death”• Hurricane Katrina devastation in New Orleans,Louisiana on August 28, 2005
    15. 15. Global Citizenship (Nira Davis Yuval)Davis pointed out that in this era of globalisation, therelationship between citizens and states and civilsocieties keeps on changing.A new perspective of “global citizenship”She stated that citizenship can be comprehended as“multi-tier construct” to understand people’smembership in a variety of collectivities at the local,ethnic, national and transnational levels
    16. 16. CommunityAnderson falls into the “historicist”“modernist” school of nationalismalong with Ernest Geller and Eric Hobsbawm in that he posits thatnations and nationalism are products of modernity and have beencreated as means to political and economic ends. Most influentialcontemporary literature on Nationalism• Anderson’s definition of the nation as an “imagined community”• As Anderson puts it, a nation "is imagined because the members ofeven the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of eachlives the image of their communion“• Members hold in their minds a mental image of their affinityEx: the nationhood felt with other members of your nation when your"imagined community" participates in a larger event such asthe Olympic Games
    17. 17. An Anthropological Perspective• Humans sacrifice their own selfinterest for unrelated individualseven for abstract ideals• Such groups naturally feel solidarityand feel some degree ofexclusiveness• Most universal way of constructing-’brethren & sistren’• Benedict points this as ‘Doubleedged sword’-Good subjects but also goodsoldiers.-Indulgence in group hates-Human problem stem from excesssolidarity not excess individualismAlso sacrifice lives willingly fortheir social groups(not only loyalsoldiers but also punks in street)Social solidarity constructed viareligion/festivals/shared culturalknowledge-Called ‘Culture’-Define ‘Ethnic Groups’Nations draw on everymechanism to create the‘imagined communities’
    18. 18. Nation Building• Homogenization of society• State sponsored genocide:Turkish Committee ofUnion & Progress decidedto eliminate Armenians• Pre emptive strike todefang real or imaginedthreats to State authority:Cambodia under KhmerRouge• Centrality of politicalleaders: Saddam Hussein’sBaathist credo; MaoZedong; Agha Khan
    19. 19. Acute ethnic conflict orintensive prejudice againsta group• Holocaust (anti Semitic),Rwanda (Hutu-Tutsi)• Hatred doesn’t lead tosystematic slaughterwithout politicalmobilization: Turkish acts
    20. 20. Temporal classification• Focused: a single, time boundedassault• American bombing at Hiroshima,Nagasaki• Iterative, a series of assaults• Initiate – halt - relaunch• Rwanda : 1963 – 1964 - 1994• Systemic, continual and drawn out• Integral part of a regime• Germany during Nazi period
    21. 21. Depends on:• Perpetrator’s character, their conception of thevictims, available technological means, perceived timepressureRwanda : poor, underdeveloped• Locked people in houses, starved to death• Killed with clubs, machetes• Less guns, bullets
    22. 22. Cambodia – Khmer Rouge• Planned starvationGermany – modern technology• Gas chambers• Inefficient• not economically rational –required transportation• Liked to think they weredisinfecting the world• assembly line killing
    23. 23. International Political Environment’s Crucial Context:4 dimensions:• Legal: Is mass murder legally proscribed• Rhetorical: Is mass murder publicly discussed and loudly condemned bymedia, govts, people• Action: Are outside actors/states/organizations permissive toward massmurdering or do they intervene to stop• Hortatory: Do outsider actors overtly or covertly actually support leaderswho commit mass murdersHow they end:• The perpetrators reached their goal: Turks annihilation of Armenians• There was internal change owing to the leader’s death-• The state lost war that was waged against them- Pakistan ceased killingBengalis
    24. 24. BangladeshLiberation War• Operation Searchlight1. 1970 Pakistan parliamentary elections2. Awami league and Pakistan Peoples’ Party tiff3. Carried out by Pakistan army (then westPakistan) to curb the bengali nationalistmovement4. Plan was to take control of major cities in EastPakistan within one month through murder, rapeand torture by Pakistani militia and autorities.5. indiscriminate killings of students of DhakaUniversity6. women were raped, tortured and killed duringthe war
    25. 25. It is estimated that between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 civilians were killed inBangladesh, and up to four hundred thousand women raped by the Pakistaniarmed forces especially Bengali Hindus.As a result of the conflict, a further eight to ten million people fled the countryat the time to seek refuge in neighbouring India
    26. 26. Blood Telegram:(March 27, 1971), Blood wrote about Americanobservations at Dhaka under the subject heading"Selective genocide”1. Here in Decca we are mute and horrified witnesses to a reign of terror by thePak[istani] Military. Evidence continues to mount that the MLA authorities havelist of AWAMI League supporters whom they are systematically eliminating byseeking them out in their homes and shooting them down
2. Among thosemarked for extinction in addition to the A.L. hierarchy are student leaders anduniversity faculty. In this second category we have reports that Fazlur Rahmanhead of the philosophy department and a Hindu, M. Abedin, head of thedepartment of history, have been killed. Razzak of the political sciencedepartment is rumored dead. Also on the list are the bulk of MNAs elect andnumber of MPAs.
3. Moreover, with the support of the Pak[istani] Military. non-Bengali Muslims are systematically attacking poor peoples quarters andmurdering Bengalis and Hindus.
(U.S. Consulate (Dacca) Cable, Selectivegenocide, March 27, 1971
    27. 27. • General Tikka Khan earned the nickname Butcher ofBengal due to the widespread atrocities hecommitted.• His orders to his troops were: I want the land not thepeople... Major General Farman had written in histable diary, "Green land of East Pakistan will bepainted red". It was painted red by Bengali blood.• Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 27 March 1971expressed full support of her government for theindependence struggle of the people of East Pakistan.• The Indian government repeatedly appealed to theinternational community
    28. 28. • The Indian leadership under Prime MinisterGandhi quickly decided that it was moreeffective to end the genocide by takingarmed action against Pakistan than to simplygive refuge to those who made it across torefugee camps.• Exiled East Pakistan army officers andmembers of the Indian Intelligenceimmediately started using these camps forrecruitment and training of Mukti Bahiniguerrillas.
    29. 29. Psychosocial Model:• Primary Prevention:• Addressing historic animosities and patterns of disparity• Promoting positive relation between groups (more contact, celebrating differences,personalization, de-stereotyping• Education• Secondary Prevention:• International aid to communities in crises (social, political, economic, environmental)• Intervention: When everything fails, armed intervention may be necessitated (CarnegieCommission on the Prevention of Deadly Violence, 1997)• Post Genocide Intervention:• Aid to victims• Bring perpetrators to justice- This has not been attempted consistently.• Truth CommissionEfforts to form global communitybased on co operation , non violent conflict resolution,human rights and peace.Reference- Journal of Genocide Research (2005),7,(1)- LindaWoolf & Michael Hulsizer