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Chris Armand Ahounou

Period: 2
Honors English

How to Prevent Genocide

In the world we live in today people are terrorized and oppressed for their beliefs and
appearance however to gain peace we must all agree to stop hurting each other and start
moving forward. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must
believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it. Genocide is the
deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.
Studies show that genocides and other forms of mass murder killed 170 million people, more
than all the international wars of the twentieth century combined. It is extremely wrong for
people to commit such acts of murder without the international community doing anything
about it.
Elie Wiesel, a holocaust survivor and an active activist once said in his Nobel Prize
acceptance speech, Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages
the tormentor, never the tormented. These words are well spoken and they mean that we
should not just stand and watch when we see other people in trouble because that just
justifies the oppressors actions. For example if a bully starts pestering another child and no
one says anything it not only gives power to the bully, however it also destroys the victim
self-esteem because no one is stepping in to stop it.
For people to turn a blind eye to genocide is highly ignorant. Picture this, a government using
weapons from the national arsenal against their own unarmed population. It is sad that this is
happening in many places in the world however most cases never make it on the news. With
the United Nations formed and in this day and age you would think that these problems
would be resolved quickly.
Genocide is not only the cold blooded and systematic killing of a population it also
has a mental effect on the targeted group. The genocide in Rwanda has left more than
500,0001,000,000, or as much as 20% of the country's total population deceased. Families

have been broken apart and children have been forced to look out for themselves at such
young ages. Many children in these genocide torn countries now suffer from psychological
diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Till this day in Rwanda some
people who are easily frightened, have trauma-related nightmares and often avoid reminders
of traumatic events. There are many cases where some adults and children cant stand
seeing soldiers in uniform because they saw some murdering their relatives in the 1994
Studies show that most survivors (91%) have not had the chance to bury their loved
ones or perform mourning ceremonies. For widows and orphans, anniversaries of the death
of relatives become a hard time. For some, every weekend reminds them of good moments
with the husband, parents or children. Since different family members may have died at
different times and in various circumstances, many survivors grieve for several people and
their different endings. National unity has also been affected by genocide around the globe.
People who used to be working together in harmony have now become foreign with each
other. Businesses who used to thrive are now held back by barriers ranging from religion to
ethnicity and even different political parties.
One of the most famous genocides which was in the midst of a world war was the
holocaust. Jews were completely overwhelmed by a wave of negativity and pure hatred. The
holocaust was probably one of the most horrific events of the 21st century. Two thirds of
Europes Jewish population was wiped out. The Nazi party first began taking the Jews rights
away bit by bit until they had none. They then sent them to the infamous
concentration camps where the Jews were forced perform hard labor. Some studies show
that due to the conditions in the camps life expectancy for the prisoners was 270 days.
In the memoir Night by Elie Wiesel he recalls when he first saw the crematorium. My
forehead was covered with cold sweat. Still, I told him that I could not believe that human
beings were being burned in our times; the world would never tolerate such crimes (Pg.33
paragraph 2). In this quote young Elie Wiesel could not believe that the international

community would allow these atrocities to occur. The idea of people being senselessly
slaughtered seemed so ancient to him in 1945. So why do we allow these same events to
unfold almost 70 years later? We must speak up and take action and measures to stop these
things from reoccurring.
World leaders give lengthy speeches stating never again to genocide however history
keeps repeating itself. We must put an end to the meaningless deaths of millions of people.
To avoid genocide countries around the world need to truly cooperate and try to solve their
problems together. A great way to start genocide prevention is by branching out to the United
Nations and establish a genocide prevention office which intercepts any threat to a foreign
The time has come to reassert our common humanity. Any time someone says its not in the
national interest to stop a genocide, ask about the billions well spend for relief of refugees,
the hundreds of thousands who will flee to our shores, and more importantly the shame we
should feel as human beings to see mass murder before our eyes, but walk by on the other
side. When you get a form at immigration or at a job application that asks you your race,
what do you write? I simply write, Human. Because thats the truth. We are all of the same
How can we create a consciousness of our common humanity? We must create a world-wide
movement to end genocide, like the movement to abolish slavery in the nineteenth. The first
job in preventing and stopping genocide is getting the facts in clear, indisputable form to
policy makers. But conveying the information is not enough. It must be interpreted so that
policy makers understand that genocidal massacres are systematic; that the portents of
genocide are as compelling as warnings of a hurricane. Then options for action must be
suggested to those who make policy, and they must be lobbied to take action.