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Terms such as mass killings, systematic murder, and destroying existence all have a
common word that compares them and brings them together into one meaning: genocide.
Genocide is a topic that can easily be considered very controversial, for its definition can - and
often does - have multiple variations which can also be interpreted differently among people.
However, when dealing with a topic that affects humans so drastically, it is realistic that the
definition can be interpreted based on the effect on the human populaces involved. First defined
in 1944 by Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin, genocide has since referred to "a coordinated
plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national
groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves"(Lemkin, 1944).
The act of genocide has since been labelled by the International Military Tribunal during
the Nuremburg Trials as "a crime against humanity". Genocide has happened all throughout
human history and still happens in the present world; millions of people have been and continue
to be slaughtered because of race, cultures are torn apart and destroyed, as well as countries
going to war with each other (What is Genocide? United States Holocaust Memorial Museum).
Genocide has generally not directly affected the lives of Canadians, North Americans, or
many first world countries outside of Europe. However, the idea of genocide occurring in the
world can be depicted fairly easily. Imagine a third world country halfway around the world; it
may be beginning to develop fairly well, life seems on the verge of becoming a utopia, the
population of which lives in relative peace with one another, until one day war wages in the
streets of the province's capital. Door-to-door, militiamen go looking for specific people.
Thousands of humans begin killing thousands more, systematically, brutally. In this imaginary

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example, this country's streets will run red with blood, the cultural diversity will be razed to the
ground by the prevailing race of civilians who commit crimes against humanity. Ordinary
humans turn into mass-killers of their own kind, blinded by hate and the differences between
races. Genocide has happened all over the world and all throughout history.

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Although genocide has happened throughout history, it did not really gain
acknowledgement or attention until the twentieth century. Genocides such as the Armenian
Genocide, the Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide, Bosnian Genocide, Rwandan Genocide, and
the more recent Darfur Genocide have plagued the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Although the concept was introduced in 1944, it was not until a year later the end of the
Holocaust in 1945 that the term "genocide" was first defined.
Since its definition, the term genocide has been further identified in eight stages:
classification, symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation,
extermination, and denial. The classification stage refers to a time in the beginning of genocide
where certain ethnic groups begin to be given labels, initiating an "us and them" way of thinking
amongst one group. The second stage of genocide - symbolization - marks the beginning of one
group of people associating certain symbols with another corresponding group of people. Stage
three - dehumanization - most of the time is when the targeted group is made to appear
subhuman in relation to the majority or attacking group of people. This step is used in order to
overcome natural revulsion to killing other humans, for the targeted group is no longer viewed as
humans in the eyes of the attackers. The organization of genocide is simply the time in which
attackers plan out how attacks/killings are going to take place. Polarization refers to the continual
creation of hate towards one group in which case the group is often harassed and intimidated by
the public. The sixth and seventh stages of genocide - preparation and extermination - refer to the
segregation and isolation of the victim group, leading to the mass killing which may use both
armies and militias. The final stage almost always comes after the genocide itself: denial. After

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mass killings ensue, the perpetrators will attempt to conceal mass-graves, attribute blame to the
victims of the genocide, or even refuse to acknowledge the act out of fear that it will "reopen old
wounds" (Catherwood/Horvitz).
Genocide is a global issue. When looking at the eight stages of genocide, one can
determine the theoretical possibility that genocide can happen virtually anywhere in the world to
virtually any group of people, however, the possibility does not indicate any probability of future
genocide. The psychology behind genocide can be present in any human brain in the world. This
theory identifies genocide as a current issue of the entire world, not because the entire world is
currently involved in an ongoing genocide, but because the world is involved in the ongoing
threat of genocide. Every single human has the ability to try and start or be a part of a genocide
when following the psychology of the eight stages of genocide. However, every single human
also has the ability to not start or be a part of genocide, leading genocides to need specific and
semi-unique circumstances in order for it to grow.
In cases such as the Holocaust and the Cambodian Genocide, the genocides have all
come shortly after a change in political power. Within six years after the Nazi Party rose to
power in 1933, the entire world was plunged into war, and the mass killings of the Holocaust had
begun. In Cambodia, Pol Pot of the Khmer Rouge was elected as leader in 1975, and lead the
country to genocide shortly afterwards. The Rwandan Genocide of 1994 is another example of
politics influencing genocide. Although sparked by the assassination of Rwandan president,
Juvnal Habyarimana (and indirectly caused by the colonization of the country) the Rwandan
Genocide was not instigated and overlooked by a ruling political party. Coincidentally, although
the genocide was not run by the government, political manifestations did inspire the killings of
Tutsis, as it was influenced by the ruling and death of the Hutu Rwandan President.

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The fact that some genocides of the twentieth century were instigated by national
governments, enforces the opinion that genocide is an issue on a global scale. Sometimes when
genocides are created or instigated by ruling governments, entire countries get involved in
national levels to repress or encourage the genocide. When an entire population is taking part in
genocide run by its government, then it is easy for said genocide to spread beyond national
boarders into other countries (as seen in the Holocaust as it spread across Europe). Also, in more
modern times, if a country's government is taking part in genocide amongst certain populations
of its citizens, then other countries will try to stop the violence and killings that are taking part.
However, even if outside countries try to intervene and stop a genocide from taking place (as in
the case when United Nations peacekeepers were deployed during the Rwandan Genocide but
were unable to engage because of the mandate they were working with), then it is still as if that
genocide had spread internationally because it has now touched the lives and cultures of the
parties trying to assist in stopping the situation. Physical killings do not need to be taking part in
other countries to make a genocide situation international and a global issue; as long as the
actions of one country has impacted or elicited an emotional reaction within another country,
then genocide and its affects have been spread.

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One renowned expert on genocide is Elie Wiesel. Wiesel is a survivor of the Holocaust, a
journalist, and actively defends the cause of victims of famine and genocide in Africa. Since
1976, he has also been a professor in the Humanities at Boston University. As vividly described
in his internationally acclaimed memoir, Night, Elie Wiesel is a Jewish Holocaust survivor who
was born in 1929 in Transylvania (now part of Romania). At age fifteen, Wiesel and his family
were deported by Nazis to Auschwitz extermination camp in Nazi-Occupied Poland, after
months of living in a local Jewish Ghetto. At Auschwitz, Wiesel (with his father) was separated
from his mother and three sisters. By the end of the Holocaust, Wiesel's mother and youngest
sister were killed, his two older sister survived, however. From Auschwitz, Wiesel and his father
were transported to Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. Although Wiesel survived until
the end of the Holocaust, his father died in Buchenwald shortly before the camp's liberation by
the American forces in 1945 (Night).
Although free of the Holocaust, an event of his past, Wiesel still needed to overcome the
effects of the genocide that he was a direct victim of. Genocide changed Wiesel dramatically, his
views on faith, his opinions and optimism of the future; everything was changed. As he writes:
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long
night seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small
faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky.
Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the
nocturnal silence the deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live. Never shall I forget
those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.

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Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself.
Never (Wiesel 34).
Wiesel shares the lasting effects that genocide had on him; that he lost faith in the divine, he lost
faith in his dreams, even in himself. He shares how the horrors he saw in the Holocaust are
things that he will never forget for the rest of his life. The message he is trying to convey with his
words is: genocide should never be forgotten.
Wiesel also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, and in his acceptance speech he says in
regards to genocide, "I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who
would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices" (Wiesel, 1986).
Genocide's purpose is to eradicate a group or type of people, and that extends to memory.
Wiesel's opinion is that people are not truly dead if those alive still remember them. If the world
forgets about genocide, then that genocide is more successful, for its victims are forgotten, and
no longer exist even in living memory. This is why, through books, public testimonies and
appearances, Wiesel is trying to make sure there are not people in the world who forget about
genocide, because he strongly believes that genocide is an international issue that should not
succeed in ridding this world of any group of people.
In his speech, Wiesel also mentions how the entire world has a certain responsibility
when it comes to genocide; a responsibility to not stand by and watch as bystanders; but to end
mass killings and injustice of an entire population of people. He says in his own words from his
youth in the Holocaust, "Can this be true? This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages.
Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?" (Wiesel,
1986). Wiesel refers to the time in which the Holocaust took place, stating how it is the twentieth
century as opposed to the Middle Ages. His meaning is that in the twentieth century, the nations

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of the world were in near constant communication and trade with each other; nations worked
together unlike in the Middle Ages where civilizations were more isolated as individual
kingdoms. So young Wiesel was wondering: why, if the world is so connected, has nothing
changed? He wondered why, if word had been communicated about the genocide that was
happening in Europe, there was not rescuers arriving at concentration camps to save lives, or
swiftly ending the war; if the world was so connected why were the victims of the Holocaust
alone to die?
This question relates to another one of Wiesel's opinions on genocide: that it must be
attempted to be stopped no matter what the cost. In his speech he states that, "Sometimes we
must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national
boarders and sensitivities become irrelevant. [] that place - at that moment - must become the
centre of the universe" (Wiesel, 1986). Perhaps these are Wiesel's own wishes; he wishes that
when he was at Auschwitz or Buchenwald, there was a powerful nation that made those camps
the centre of their universe. Perhaps if that were true, Wiesel would have spent a number of more
years with his family. However, this ideology does have some unbiased validity to it, which is
Wiesel's main point. If countries were bolder when trying to prevent or end genocide, then so
many more people would have survived these horrific times in history. There is the disadvantage
that if one country decides to try and stop another country from committing genocide, then war
could easily ensue. But perhaps it is better for countries to sustain casualties standing up for what
they believe in than it is for civilians to be forced to die simply because of who they are.

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Role of Control

Genocides are always about control. However, genocide does not consist of one group of
people trying to control another. As Lemkin said in 1944, genocide is "with the aim of
annihilating the groups themselves" (Lemkin, 1944). Although gaining control over a population
of people is a step within genocide, it is not the intended outcome; people who commit genocide
do not want control over a group of people, they want the group of people to no longer exist.
Motives behind this intended outcome, however, can be related to control. One thing that humans
always want in this world, are willing to group together to get, and willing to murder millions
for, are resources; these are otherwise known as anything to make their long-term survival more
likely and their lives easier.
World War II and the Holocaust is an example of how the need to control resources can
lead and encourage genocide. American writer and historian John Green referred to the second
World War as a war for resources. In his YouTube video about the War for Resources, Green
mentions how Nazi Germany was intent on expanding their living-space and agricultural space
to feed their German citizens (Green). Germany felt they needed more agricultural space because
they did not believe they had enough resources (mainly food) to adequately feed their growing
population. In order to solve this problem, Germany invaded other countries to annex and use the
foreign land for their own needs. When they did this, the Germans also implemented an "us and
them" point of view on their process of acquiring resources. Their point of view was that the land
they were acquiring was to help "us" (the German people) yet there were people already
inhabiting and using the space that they were trying to annex (the "them" side). The Nazis did
not think they could kill everybody in their newly-acquired territories, nor did they want to; if

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people shared the same beliefs as the German people and cooperated with the Nazis, they could
be transitioned from "them" to "us", meaning that resources could be shared. However, groups of
people such as Jews, Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals, disabled people, and people of different
political opinions, were not people that Nazi Germany wanted to be associated with or share their
resources with. Following the "us and them" point of view, if these groups of people were not
allowed to be "us" then they must have been "them" and impeding Germany's goal to achieve
living-space to grow food; thereby impeding Germany's entire long-term survival. This ideology
lead to the mass-killings and genocide of the Holocaust; an ideology which originally started
with the need to control more resources.
Another example of how the need for control is shown during genocides is the Rwandan
Genocide of 1994, which was a period of violent conflict mainly between the Hutu and Tutsi
peoples of Rwanda. Beginning with the early days of the colonization of Rwanda by the German
(later the Belgium), the Rwandan Genocide was the result of the Hutu people trying desperately
to maintain control of their government and opportunities of life; this was a control that they did
not have long before the genocide. When colonized by the Germans, the Tutsi people of Rwanda
were favoured more so than the Hutu. This favouritism lead to more opportunities being
available for the Tutsis, such as better education, better jobs, and even the opportunity for jobs
within levels of government. Generally, the Tutsi standard of living for years, was higher than
that of the Hutu people. The favouritism of the Tutsi minority population ended with Rwanda's
independence in the middle of the twentieth century. With Rwanda's independence, came a new
government run by the majority Hutu population. Tensions were still high, however, between the
two populations, as the Hutu now held control over the country and the Tutsi people that they
blamed for lowering their standard of living during colonization. In 1994, the Hutu President of

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Rwanda, was assassinated when his plane was shot down, presumably by members of the Tutsi
population in the opinion of the Hutu government and people at the time, although the exact
cause and/or blame for the accident has yet to be determined. The Hutu population and the
remaining Hutu member of government interpreted this act as a Tutsi attack on the Hutu people;
a threat that the Hutus were about to lose control once more to the Tutsis. Fearing the loss of
control and power, because they remembered what their lives in Rwanda was like when the Tutsi
were in control, the Hutu people reacted in whatever way they thought they could best eliminate
the threat of Hutu submission: genocide of the Tutsi people, a plan which had been developed
beforehand, waiting for a martyr to rally the Hutu.
Overall, there is not much control when it comes to active genocide. One might argue that
the population that is not being decimated is the one that is in control, which is a valid idea. On a
short-term basis, genocide could be very beneficial to the instigators when it comes to control. In
Germany's case, they gained land and the living space they wanted, and the Hutu people did not
lose political power to the Tutsis. In the long-term perspective, however, the instigating
population may not keep the control that they strived to achieve through genocide; the Nazi
regime fell, leaving Germany divided, and the Hutus were at the mercy of the rest of the world,
forced to accept responsibility for their actions. Genocide is an affect of wanting control, not a
means. After a genocide, the instigators do not always get the control that they wished to acquire.

The Logic of Evil

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The logic of evil refers to a logical and rational explanation as to the motives of the
actions of individuals involved in what is deemed "evil". Essentially, it is the "why" factor of evil
actions and behaviours. It can be argued that genocide is an evil in the world as it is considered a
crime against humanity. Humans involved as instigators of genocide do not wake up in the
morning and plan mass murder in order to induce the pain and suffering of others, but there is
always a rational explanation to their actions; a thought process that leads to the concluding evil
As explained by David Morrison, a former Ontario high school educator, the Holocaust is
an example of the logic behind the evil action of genocide. Adolf Hitler, instigator and organizer
of the Holocaust, did not one day decide to kill eleven million people of minority populations
across Europe, there was in fact logic behind his actions. After the first World War and the Treaty
of Versailles, Germany's nationalism and confidence in itself was shattered. In the 1920s and
1930s, Hitler started providing German citizens with a scapegoat for all their problems; someone
to blame in order for the population to unite again against a common enemy. Hitler proposed that
the Jewish population of Germany was to blame for the loss of the first World War and the
subsequent Treaty of Versailles (Morrison, 2015).
After labelling German Jews as the country's scapegoat, Hitler proceeded to exploit the
power he had with leading Germany after he was elected in 1933. After his election - and even
before with his the use of his novel Mein Kampf - Hitler was trying to use his political position to
influence the nation and test the limits of his power. The German invasions of the Rhineland and
the Sudetenland were ultimately tests of Hitler's powers. When no other countries stopped
Germany's invasions of these lands, Hitler still wanted to see how much power he could reinstate

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to his country (Morrison, 2015). After no retributions following his invasions, he was shown that
he did in fact have control and power of Germany (because his actions were unopposed by other
European countries has he violated the Treaty of Versailles), leading Hitler to turn his attention
back to the Jews of Germany. One thing that Hitler knew he could get in benefit from targeting
Jews was something that his country desperately needed in the 1930s: money.
After the stock market crash of 1929, the Germany economy was worse than that of most
developed countries. Through the 1930s, the economy of Germany continued to suffer. As
worded by Morrison, "civilians would bring wheelbarrows full of money to markets in order to
buy items of food" (Morrison, 2015). Under Hitler's regime, however, the economy slowly
started to recover. One reason for the German economy's recovery was because of the beginning
of the genocide of Jews. When Nazis forced Jews to abandon their homes and move to ghettos
(later on, concentration camps) many Jewish possessions and properties were confiscated by the
state. A lot of these properties or possessions (such as farmlands, or gold jewellery that people
would own) were of considerable value at the time because of the country's financial crisis,
letting the government essentially use them as things to grow their economy off of (Morrison,
2015). Hitler found a way to turn the Jews into a sort of natural resource for Germany that they
could make money off of; he did not plan in the beginning to start genocide or mass murder, only
to redevelop his country that was struggling to regain nationalism and a steady economy.
These intentions of Hitler's were simply that: intentions. His intentions are the logic of
evil in regards to Holocaust as an example of genocide. In this case, genocide was never the
intended outcome of Europe, but a result of logical thought processes in response to a seeminglyunrelated motive of fixing Germany in its most difficult days.

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Religion and ethnicity are some of the largest and most common motivating factors of
genocide. Genocides, along with their main components of fear and oppression, are mostly
always about religious, ethnic, or racial divide. Whether it be the extremist Muslim Sunni against
the Muslim Shia, the Hutus against the Tutsis, or the Dinka against the Nuer, religion and
ethnicity are always the means to channel hatred and fear which leads to genocide.
It is easier to make genocide about religion and ethnicity than it is not to. As mentioned
before, genocide is described to have eight stages. The first stage of genocide - classification - is
all about splitting people into groups to create a recently-explained "Us and Them" situation. For
the instigators of genocide, the classification of their victims is already done if they follow preexisting religious and ethnic divides; it is easier to classify people based on the labels that they
already have for themselves than it is to create new labels for people that will become victims. It
is also easier to justify the creation of a new group of people determined to eradicate another by
saying that the other group (a religious or ethnic group of people) created their group first.
In the case of the genocides taking place at the hands of the Islamic State, much of the
world calls these actions "terrorism". Journalist Gwynne Dyer noted during a speech at Innisdale
Secondary School in Barrie, Ontario how in the Middle East, when bad things happen to some
cultures, those cultures blame loss of faith. In an attempt to make things better for them, they try
to reach out to their God or Gods. To do this, they begin to look into the "rules" laid out by their
religion, and they make sure they adhere to them strictly. This leads, of course, to a sense that
some people do not follow the rules as well as they should. When this happens, the group
following the rules gets angry, and violence often ensues. Dyer notes with the Islamic State that,
"we are talking potential genocide of Shia," (Dyer, 2015).

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Iraq and Syria (Islamic State) - Case Study # 1

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The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also referred to as the Islamic State of
Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and currently as the Islamic State (IS), is a highly publicized transnational
insurgency group located primarily in western Iraq and eastern Syria. The origins of IS appear in
the Iraq War of 2003 to 2011, during which, it's direct precursor Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) was a
major influence in an insurgent movement against the Iraqi government and other foreign
occupying forces. In 2006, Al-Qaeda joined forces with smaller extremist groups in Iraq and
adopted the name Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the first clear sign that the group's goal was to gain
and control territory in which it would be a universal leader of the Islamic community. The
group's activities diminished slightly in 2007 before rising in 2010 with a new leader Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi (Encyclopedia Britannica).
The Islamic State is primarily composed of people of Sunni faith. The Islamic faith is
split into two main branches: the Shia and the Sunnis. The split in faith originates from the death
of the Prophet Mohammad, in regards to who will follow in his path and lead the Muslim
community. It is known that the Sunni are the majority branch with an estimated eighty-five
percent of the world's Muslim population of 1.6 billion people, whereas the Shia are the minority
branch with ten to fifteen percent of the population. The Sunni Muslims often regard themselves
as the traditional and orthodox branch of Islam, regularly causing oppression and hatred towards
the Shia minority. Also, it is regarded that in countries or regions that are governed by Sunnis,
the Shia become the poorest sections and people of that society, leading once again to oppression
and discrimination (BBC News). The perceived repression of Sunnis by the administration of
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was excused under the pretext that the Iraqi government was
repressing the Sunni Al-Qaeda's movements. However, this repression ensured that Sunni areas
of western Iraq remained ground for violent extremism. Along with the Sunni repression by the

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Shia government, the gradual withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq allowed the Islamic State
(then referred to as ISI) to make a recovery in their actions. By 2011, bombings by Sunni
extremists were once again a frequent occurrence (Encyclopedia Britannica).
The Islamic State quickly tried to gain territory across Iraq and Syria by force. In June
2014, IS captured the key Iraqi city of Mosul. Graeme Wood, author and journalist describes the
Iraqi/Syrian occupation by IS as, [IS] already [ruling] an area larger than the United Kingdom
(Wood). After a few years of combative violence, IS has begun destruction of cultural symbols
that they do not believe adhere to their beliefs. Iraqs ministry of tourism and antiquities has
recently revealed that IS militants have [defied] will of world and feelings of humanity in
regards to their actions against the Assyrian archaeology site (the Guardian). In the beginning of
2015, IS fighters began looting and bulldozing the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, located near
the city of Mosul that they annexed in June 2014. A week before the pillaging of this 3000 year
old city, a video was released showing IS smashing museum carvings and artefacts symbols of
Assyrian culture which now no longer exist. Many artefacts of the city have been destroyed (as
seen on video) by IS, shocking the world as they understand these actions as attempts to oppress
another culture (The Guardian).
The actions of IS are essentially genocides that have yet to gain the world's respect as
such. A United Nations report published in February 2015 about the actions of IS in late 2014
describes that,
"members of Iraqs diverse ethnic and religious communities, including Turkmen,
Shabaks, Christians, Yezidi, Sabaeans, Kakae, Faili Kurds, Arab Shia, and others have
been intentionally and systematically targeted by ISIL [] in what appears as a
deliberate policy aimed at destroying, suppressing or expelling these communities

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permanently from areas under their control [] Many of the violations and abuses
perpetrated by ISIL may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly
genocide" (Aljazeera).
Although the United Nations has not officially referred to the actions of IS as genocide, it easily
fits the criteria of genocide. As already mentioned, genocide was first defined by Raphael
Lemkin in 1944 as "a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential
foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups
themselves"(Lemkin, 1994), a definition which was then adopted by the world during the
Nuremburg Trails after World War II. The United Nations report uses the term "expelling these
communities permanently" which connects with Lemkin's term: "destruction of essential
foundations of the life of national groups", for forcibly removing people from their homes or
land of worship could destroy foundations of life, such as the right to have a place to live. Also, it
can be said that the fact that no countries or international organizations refer to the actions of IS
as a genocide is unusual, for it implies cowardice and irresponsibility.
The actions of IS in Iraq and Syria (hereby referred to as a genocide) are a global issue.
Many, because of the attacks committed by the violent group, have joined a coalition against IS.
In 2014, America quickly joined the coalition battle against IS, stating that "American military
power is unmatched, but this can't be America's fight alone" (Obama, 2014). Following this
statement in September, American Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that nearly forty
countries have agreed to help in the fight against IS. Although, the full list and roles of the
countries taking part in the coalition are unknown because of security reasons involving IS
supporters having access to internet, some nations such as: America, Australia, Great Britain,
France, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia have all expressed

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varying levels of commitment to fighting against IS. Because of the extent of retaliation against
the group, and how the retaliation is coming from so many different regions of the world, IS's
genocide is most definitely a global issue. In addition, the actions themselves make this genocide
a global issue. Not only is the group killing people with other beliefs in the Middle East, they are
also killing citizens of countries which may pose a threat to them. IS's acts of genocides have
been expanded from a regional level (mainly Iraq and Syria) to an international level with the
beheadings of Western citizens.
To solve this issue in Iraq and Syria, perhaps it is best for the coalition against IS to stop
fighting. Essentially, IS wants their own land, and are willing to purge anyone with different
beliefs from said land; the Coalition wants the genocide and the killing to end. However, it can
be argued that the Coalition is becoming the very thing they are trying to fight. IS chose killing
groups of people as a means to an end; the Coalition chose killing a group of people (IS) as a
means to an end. If the Coalition's goal is to oppress IS because of their actions and their beliefs,
then perhaps it should end it's violent fighting before they are forced to take responsibility for the
genocide they are perpetrating. If the Coalition's goal is to end the genocide and killing in the
Middle East, then an alternative to near-constant killing would be peaceful resolution. If IS wants
its voice heard and its own land, then perhaps the Coalition should work alongside the
governments of Iraq and Syria to see if any peaceful agreement could be met; IS would get a bit
of territory, and Iraq and Syria will be able to protect the lives of their citizens. Innocent people
in the Middle East do not need to be killed by IS, neither does IS need to be killed from the
South Sudan - Case Study #2

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The Republic of South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, gained its independence from
Sudan on July 9th, 2011. The country is the 193rd member state of the United Nations, and 54th
member state of the African Union (Government of the Republic of South Sudan). South Sudan
is also exposed to severe crises, constant fear, and genocide. After a gruesome history while it
was a part of Sudan (including twenty-two years of guerrilla warfare starting in 1983) the south
decided to split from the rest of Sudan in a 2011 election.
Once again, religious beliefs and ethnicity become motives behind genocide. This time,
in South Sudan, the genocide is between the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups. The Dinka and Nuer
are the two most dominant tribes in South Sudan who have often peacefully coexisted together in
the past (Lo Loyuong, 2014). South Sudan's genocide started out as political disputes and tension
between the President Salva Kiir, and Vice President Riek Machar. The political tension turned
into ethnic disputes as "Dinka militants and supporters of the president, Salva Kiir, battle Nuer
forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar for control of key cities and towns," now
leading to "[citizens] being targeted on the basis of their ethnic identity" (United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum).
After many South Sudanese had died or were displaced because of famine, disease, and
violence that are ravaging the country, Dinka President Kiir claimed that the conflicts arouse
from a failed coup d'tat attempted by former Nuer Vice President Machar (Verini, 2014). These
accusations provided the Dinka population with a scapegoat to blame for their misfortune and to
direct their hate and fear; their scapegoat being the Nuer population believed to be lead by
Machar. National Geographic's James Verini writes that "Kiir had not only fabricated the coup
plot in order to kill him, Machar declared, but also had in mind a genocide of the Nuer" (Verini,
2014). This accusation of a plan for genocide shocked the world as it admired its youngest

Meier 22

country and looked upon it with pride. America, the main funder of the South Sudanese
independence, tried to calm the two parties before accusations of genocide turned to actions. In
May 2014, United States Secretary of State John Kerry was sent to pull Kiir and Machar into
negotiations, fortunately brokering a deal between them. The ceasefire that was negotiated
between Kiir and Machar represented a peaceful resolution for a nation caught in the brink of
war since its inception, and it lasted only a few days (Verini, 2014).
Quickly, sides were formed. The Kiir-lead Dinka population targeted the Nuer for
supposedly plaguing their country with disease, violence, and famine, and the Machar-lead Nuer
population targeted the Dinka for supposedly initiating a genocide against them. Now, the two
dominant ethnic groups of South Sudan are killing each other in a two-fronted genocide. Verini
writes that on the night of December 15th, 2013, five months after the Dinka President fired the
Nuer Vice President, Dinka soldiers in the capital city of Juba attempted to disarm their Nuer
colleagues. "Soon units of Dinka soldiers were moving door-to-door through Nuer enclaves,
according to witnesses, executing people," writes Verini, "According to some, the exteriors of
Nuer homes had been marked beforehand, suggesting a premeditated plan" (Verini, 2014). This
suggestion of these killings being premeditated implies a government-organized genocide,
perhaps being the source of Machar's theories of being targeted by genocide. Some accounts of
the night, claim that Dinka soldier declared to one of his victims, "Because you are Nuer,
because you're the people of Riek Machar, we can kill you" (Verini, 2014). In addition, shortly
after the night of December 15th, Nuer members of the military retaliated against the Dinka
members, splitting the South Sudanese army into two halves, and quickly leading the entire
country into a two-fronted genocide.

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Because of the violent actions of genocide that plague South Sudan, many civilians have
been living in refugee compounds set up by surrounding countries and the United Nations. Many
compounds are flooded by seasonal rains, leading to outbreaks of cholera, tuberculosis, and
typhus. There are also often lines in which mothers have to wait to bury their dead children.
These terrifyingly real situations are mainly caused by the genocide of South Sudan, as people
desperate to escape violence are forced to live in overcrowded compounds (Verini, 2014).
The genocide and oppression in South Sudan began with famine, disease, and criminal
violence, leading the two dominant ethnic groups began to blame each other - directing their fear
into hatred. Perhaps if the genocide began with these disasters, then it can also end if these
disasters are resolved. If the fear of imminent death from disease or starvation is eliminated, then
perhaps the hatred that ensued from it will cease as well. This solution is possible, perhaps if the
world united to help their youngest nation. There was once a time when the world looked upon
the South Sudan with pride (especially the United States) but now the world watches upon the
crumbling country as it rips itself apart. Yes, some countries surrounding South Sudan are
accepting refugees, and the United Nations has funded refugee compounds, but all those
compounds turn out to be are safe places for people to starve and succumb to disease. South
Sudan needs more than just some of its people being relocated. It is quite possible for other
countries of the world to work together and fund campaigns to bring more food to South Sudan,
or medical supplies to prevent and protect against disease. These efforts, in addition perhaps with
a peacekeeping force, will eliminate the things that created so much fear and lead to ethnic
groups and members of government fighting each other. Neither the Dinka nor the Nuer feuded
to this extent before, it was the fear of starvation and sickness that drove the South Sudanese to

Meier 24

genocide. Perhaps if the cause of this genocide were resolved, then the fear that fuels the hatred
amongst the South Sudanese will finally come to a rest.

Falun Gong in China - Case Study #3

Meier 25

Another ongoing genocide in the world is the Chinese persecution of practitioners of

Falun Gong. Falun Gong is a controversial Chinese spiritual movement that was founded in
1992. The movement takes teachings from the more popular Buddhism, and uses meditation
techniques and physical exercise to help achieve good health and peace of mind. The religious
movement quickly became of great concern to the Chinese government which views Falun Gong
as a cult. The Chinese government claims that since its inception, Falun Gong has gained up to
three million followers within China alone (Introvigne, 2014).
In 1999, a prohibition against practicing Falun Gong was ordered by China's former
leader Jiang Zemin for reasons that are unclear at this time. This act instigated a violent
crackdown on the religion's adherents including arrests, torture, and death; over a decade later,
practitioners are still being persecuted by the Chinese government. The only change over the past
fifteen years of persecution is that now the actions against practitioners are kept more secret.
Peter Beaumont, editor of foreign affairs for the Guardian (a newspaper in Great Britain),
documents the story of Natalie Qiao's family who were arrested for practicing Falun Gong.
Beaumont notes that Qiao's mother and father who were arrested, were taken from their house by
men in an unmarked vehicle in the middle of the night (Beaumont, 2009). The stealthy arrest of
Qiao's parents, and their implied subsequent murder, is just one example of how the Chinese
government is trying to be discreet about the continuing persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
Annie Yang, an antiques dealer who fled from China to London once she was released
from a Chinese labour camp has first-hand knowledge of what happens to those who practice
Falun Gong. She shares that:

Meier 26

"I was arrested in March 2005. I was living in Beijing and was a practitioner of Falun
Gong. They came for me in the evening. They took me to a detention centre where they
kept me for 40 days without access to a lawyer. At the end they said I had been sentenced
to two years in a labour camp for being a member of Falun Gong. I was made to sit on a
stool for 21 to 22 hours a day. I had to keep my back straight and my knees and feet
pressed together with my hands flat on my thighs. I was told I was not allowed to close
my eyes" (Yang, 2009).
Yang also shares that it was common until 2004 to use physical violence to try and force Falun
Gong members to recant and give up more names of other members; as explains her torturous
The persecution of Falun Gong members has been described as peculiar, for the practice
mainly composes of meditation and exercise. Outside of China, it is claimed by supporters that
more than 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners have died since 1999, and that the United Nations
alleges that "the group's members feature disproportionately among those who have suffered
torture and abuse" (Beaumont, 2009). These numbers and statistics are a result of the systematic
elimination of the group by the Chinese government.
Unfortunately, very little information on this matter is available to the public, however,
the persecution of Falun Gong members in China is clearly a genocide as it is a religious group
being targeted for elimination by the Chinese government. Once again, like with many genocides
before it, the persecution's public motives are that of religion; the practices are considered
blasphemous in the religions of China's leaders. Also, the actions of the Chinese government are
all about oppression and riddance. For whatever reasons they may have, the Chinese government
does not want Falun Gong to be practiced and to be a favoured group in society. In order to

Meier 27

oppress the religion completely, the Chinese government is trying to physically rid of it by
removing practitioners from society on the largest scale possible.

Meier 28

International Organizations

In regards to Iraq/Syria and the Islamic State, countries and international organizations
outside of the Middle East have not called the actions of IS a genocide. The United Nations'
report did not mention the word "genocide" once, even though their definition of IS's actions
mirror Lemkin's definition of genocide. One theory is that because many nations believe that the
Holocaust was a terrible time in history and that it should never happen again, they refuse to
admit that it does happen again. Genocide did not die with the Holocaust, or with Rwanda, or
even Darfur; it still happens, and nations are not keen on admitting that it does.
A second theory is about responsibility, and that if a country is first to use the word
"genocide" then they are the ones that must stop it; for, once again, many countries and
international organizations never want genocide to happen again. In this second theory, countries
believe that by defining situations as genocides would result in them needing to take action
against perpetrators; something that they do not want to commit to. It is also worthy of noting
that before the South Sudan crisis/genocide, the nations of the world were supportive and proud
of their new country - especially the United States of America which funded the South Sudanese
Independence. What needs to be done in order to end the crisis and the genocide, is not being
done. The countries that were willing to take responsibility for the birth of another nation will
soon be the same countries to be responsible for its death.
Essentially, international organizations and aid are failures when it comes to preventing
genocide and its key elements such as fear and oppression. As well as the inability to take
responsibility for genocide, it is shown with the Coalition against the Islamic State, other nations
of the world do not become bystanders to genocide - they become instigators in their very own

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Relation to Canada

Although there are no current genocides in Canada, the elements of genocide - such as
oppression - are still present. However, just because there are no ongoing genocides in Canada
does not mean that there were never any Canadian genocides. Also, it does not mean that Canada
does not take part in genocides outside of the country's borders.
The residential schools of Canada's past are an example of genocide in Canadian history.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century, the Canadian
government forced about 150,000 native Mtis and Inuit children of Canada into what they
called "Residential Schools". These schools were a result of the Canadian government's new
policy of aggressive assimilation, as they believed that the natives' best chances of success was to
learn English and adopt Christian and Canadian customs. This policy was to be taught at churchrun, government funded institutions which then later became known as residential schools (CBC
News, 2008). Essentially, these schools were created to get rid of native customs and ethnicity
that the government did not approve of. The policy and the actions carried out by the government
was to assimilate an entire group of people; oppression being present in the steps towards
As mentioned before, Canada is a part of the Coalition against the Islamic State (IS),
which can also be considered an act of genocide. The actions of Canada in the fight against IS
are essentially the same as the actions of IS; in this case, Canada is becoming the very thing it
swore to fight. To elaborate, the actions of IS are to kill any group of people who have different
beliefs than them - they have decided who gets to live and who gets to die. Canada, however, has
done the same thing; it has determined that the Islamic State has to be oppressed. Both parties IS and Canada - have decide who they believe has the right to live. Both parties are trying
desperately and violently to oppress those whom they do not agree with.

Meier 30


As mentioned with the Islamic State, a possible solution for genocide would be to stop
physically fighting genocide. Elements of genocide such as oppression, are not going to go away
if people continue to oppress the oppressors. In the case with the oppression and genocide being
committed by the Islamic State, the Coalition is creating their own acts of genocide as they
attempt to oppress the violent group.
Briefly mentioned with the crisis in the South Sudan, the oppressive and violent actions
present within the country originate from an underlying fear of famine and disease. A solution to
the active genocide in South Sudan would be to eliminate the source of the fear; by countries
who essentially parented South Sudan to donate more time, money, and resources into the nation
that they created. With more help, the fear of disease and famine can be eradicated from the
country; less fear leads to less hate, less hate leads to less genocide and oppression.
Essentially, one of the more prominent solution to the issue of genocide and oppression is
to not create more genocide by means of violence or fear. In addition, the reason behind any
genocide is hate; the reason behind hate is often fear. If one figures out the source of said fear,
than one also discovers the source of its corresponding genocide.

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