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Genocide: When do we stop it? Are there Rules?

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posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 03:48 PM
To begin a discussion about genocide, the natural place to begin seems to be in establishing a definition. This is more difficult than it appears, and I'm not sure it can be done to the satisfaction of everyone, so I will attempt to provide an idea of what it typically involves.

The UN defined genocide in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. I have reduced definitions from that document, to this:

Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial, or religious group, as such: a. Killing members of the group; b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

This document also provides for “punishable acts should include not only genocide itself but also “conspiracy to commit genocide; direct and public incitement to genocide; attempt to commit genocide; complicity in genocide”.

Firstly, it involves intent, with the intention directed towards the complete or partial destruction of a targeted population. Depending on the method involved, it can take years to identify intention, which can cause delays in efforts to stop it. By the time we can ethically step-up, it's too late. Is it then true, however, that immense harm can be caused to large groups of people without the intention of targeting them specifically for destruction? While we have waited on establishing intention, massive numbers of people can die, as we well know.

Methods used in genocide muddy the waters for long periods of time, and makes intent difficult to establish. This might take multiple forms, because at the core is the desire to end a functioning body of people. There might be outright killing. Sterilization. They are stripped of any political power. They might be kept illiterate, or otherwise kept so beaten down, they begin to lose viability as a functioning group. Think of the photographs of the children we see who are starving, who are dying and crying for lack of food and water. Starvation is a method of genocide, as well.

The victims: Persons of Power are threatened by them. They refuse to accept their “place”. A decision is made to eliminate the threat, when it becomes clear the only way to maintain complete control is to get rid of them. All group members are targeted. Men, women, children and the elderly. It doesn't matter what they have done, or if they have done nothing. Only that they have been identified as being a member of a certain group.

Taking on the task of genocide is not an easy one. It has to be planned. How the killing will be done, how the bodies will be disposed of. Will the targets be transported to the killing fields, or will the killers be imported or brought to them? We they be killed quickly, or over a decade or two?
It's not easy, being genocidal. Many complicated details to be worked out.

Much has been written about it.

Much of the above information has been taken from the book Will Genocide Ever End?
by Carol Rittner, John K. Roth, and James M. Smith , Paragon House, 2002.

Can we control Genocide in the twenty-first century?
The international community failed to stop the massacres in places like Bosnia and Rwanda. Is it immoral not to take swift action, once we become aware of it? Is there a criteria and protocol which should be followed?

We become so involved with our own lives, and have a tendency to think “it's their problem, let them handle it in their own way. We have our own problems”.

When should we intervene? Intervening in the internal affairs of another country is very controversial, and can be very dangerous. Should we, or shouldn't we? If so, how? At what point?

The Dutch writer Hugo Grotius argued that before one state could prevent another state from mistreating it's own citizens, the situation had to be “so ruthless and widespread that it would shock the sensibility of the international community”.

Are you shocked yet?

From a paper written by Herbert Hirsch, and published in the book Will Genocide Ever End:

Most scholars suggest that intervention is justified if several overlapping criteria are met:

1.The existence of large-scale atrocities or gross violations of basic human rights in the offending society;
2.Humanitarian motives MUST take precedence over other motives such as territorial acquisition;
3.Other possible remedies are exhausted and intervention will not cause significant harm elsewhere.

At times when someone brings up the Holocaust, inevitably someone points out that it was a horrible, horrible occurrence in our human history, and we should maybe just forget about it. Then, someone usually points out that we absolutely should never forget it, so it will never happen again. But it does.
It happens over and over. It's happening now.
I learned a new word recently. It's “Omnicide”. Our thermonuclear warheads, and weapons of mass destruction. There are those who would wipe out the entire population of the Earth. Some of these like-minded people even seem to among us, at times.

Are they harmless? Hatred is a powerful emotion.

Just a thought.

posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 03:49 PM
I looked for a video about genocide, and had quite a menu to choose from. They were mostly specific to a particular region; Darfur, Rwanda; North Korea, Armenia, Bosnia, Chechnya, among many others.
I opted to not post those, as it is difficult to ascertain how much propaganda is included in those videos, and some of them clearly were not factual, so I left them off. They are often visually disturbing.

I selected the following, which is short, with only a few world leaders giving their thoughts about it, and making suggestions as to how we might begin taking steps to stop it.

Do you believe we should have a criteria that pertains to when to interfere in the internal matters of another country when they are committing genocide? What should the criteria be? Should it be based on numbers killed? Intention? Method?

If you reviewed the information the UN decided on in 1948, do you agree with it, and do you believe we are responding to world emergencies as per the assertions of the document?

If you believe we should stop it – how? What is the best way to go about it?

The idea of genocide really bothers me, and I am interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions on it, and what we should do about it, if anything.

posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 05:22 PM

posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 08:40 PM
Excellent presentation Ladyinwaiting, the sad thing is the U.S. does nothing about genocide unless it is in their interest, if the particular country doesn't have oil or some other resource we want they just walk on by. This seems to be the case with other countries as well.

I wish I had the answer, if our own country doesn't do anything how can be help as a private citizen.


posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 08:48 PM
reply to post by ladyinwaiting

are there rules? of course there is.

but only when imposed on the people(surfs) or a totally different country you do not like for what ever reason, from my experience, they never seem to apply to those who hold power in any said country.

those who do genocide will excuse it and are unlikely to hand themselves in for genocide. and depending on relationships or personal gains some may turn a blind eye to it.

it is a sick world we live in. and these observations do not only apply to genocide, think of anything you like.

posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 11:02 AM
reply to post by Aquarius1

Thank you.

I noticed in the "rules" that the effort to end it must not be overshadowed by other motives....such as the acquisition of territory (or resources).

At this point in my life, I certainly do find our motives suspect at times.

posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 11:52 AM
Around 3:34 they show a picture of Musa Hilal, the leader of the "janjaweed". When I saw his face, I had the same feelings about him that I had about Osama Bin Laden, after 911.

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