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Hotword: Genocide...

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Genocide...

Definition

Genocide is the intentional and systematic killing of an entire national, racial, political, religious or ethnic group.

The word genocide was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer, from the roots "genos" (Greek for family, tribe or race) and "cide" (Latin for killing).

Examples of genocide are the planned and systematic murders of an estimated:

  • 6 million Jews as part of Hitlerís "Final Solution" during the Second World War
  • 800,000 Tutsis and their Hutu sympathisers in 100 days by Hutu zealots in Rwanda in 1994
  • 1.7 million people in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge regime headed by Pol Pot between 1975-1979

What makes it hot?

This word becomes very hot when people deny that genocide happened or minimise what occurred. Deniers often assert that the number of estimated deaths and methods of murder were fabricated or exaggerated, that the victims were responsible for the initial cause of violence, and that the victims falsified or deliberately misinterpreted historical proof.

Such denial serves to minimise the brutality of the perpetrators, perpetuate and inflame racist sentiment towards the victims, and reduce the capacity of victims to claim compensation. The devastating psychological effects of denial on both the survivors of genocide and their offspring has led it to be described as the final stage of genocide.

Date Added:

26 November 2004