Before we go a little bit deeper into this difficult topic, I would like to say briefly that this post can only address the subject superficially here. I am a) not a trained psychologist, b) even the brightest scientists have not yet found a clear answer to this question, and c) it would simply go beyond the scope of a blogpost.
Furthermore, I would like to mention that murder can never be accepted and that there is no excuse for mass murder, no matter what explanations are listed. Mankind always has the opportunity to choose, to think rationally and to reflect on its actions, because that is what distinguishes us from animals.
Foto: Thomas Matthias
Much criticism has been levelled at the definition of genocide since the Convention was ratified, particularly with regard to the restrictive definition of victim groups. For example, by definition, the murder of social, cultural and political groups is not a crime of genocide. Many social and political scientists have therefore created different terms to describe the mass murder of different groups.
At first glance, climate change and genocide seem to have nothing in common, but if you combine them with the keywords “scarcity of resources” and “living space”, you get a bigger picture. If one follows the apocalyptic predictions, then the earth will be uninhabitable in a relatively short time. But even the more conservative studies predict that millions of people will be affected by global warming. Climate protection will thus become one of the greatest challenges facing humanity – especially in relation to genocide.
In terms of absolute taboos, torture comes a close second only to genocide. It is a crime against humanity with the sole purpose of deliberately and systematically putting another person through as much pain as possible. The consequences don’t only affect the victims and their families, but society as a whole. Torture is one of the most violent attacks on human dignity and human rights in general. It is therefore officially prohibited according to various national and international conventions and agreements and cannot be ignored, even in the extremest of situations.
April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month – when we highlight the events and causes of genocide with the aim to prevent future catastrophes.
Rwanda, Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia and Darfur – all of these genocides started during the month of April and, as such, this month is crucial for highlighting the atrocities of genocide and the reasons why it must be prevented.
to deny = to refuse to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by most scientific or historical evidence (definition: Oxford dictionary)
denial = refusal to acknowledge an unacceptable truth or emotion or to admit it into consciousness; used as a defence mechanism. (definition: Oxford dictionary)
Every genocide is followed by denial. The perpetrators try to cover their tracks and avoid liability. Death camps and records are destroyed, mass graves are filled up and hidden. They try to discretely hide corpses and intimidate eye witnesses.
“Genocide is not the predictable end product of a clearly worked out plan but a contingent outcome of a complex set of social and political process.”1
A genocide doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that consists of several phases. These phases are predictable but not unstoppable. Measures to prevent the spread of a genocide can be taken at any given point in time.
Even though this article contains a list of 10 phases, there is not always a linear progression between them; some phases overlap and the transitions between them are often fluent.
The following text has been adapted from the work of the president of Genocide Watch, Gregory H. Stanton.