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The Genocide In Rwanda

             "Things whose existence is not morally comprehensible cannot exist" Primo Levi's observation of the Jewish Holocaust.
             The Polish author Raphael Lemkin was the first to coin the phrase "genocide". Lemkin was working as the Polish advisor to the United States War Ministry at the time. He took the word from the Greek phrase for race "genos" and the Latin suffix "cide" which means to kill. Lemkin gave the word the following definition:.
             Genocide- the destruction of a nation or an ethnic group through the existence of a coordinated plan, aimed at total extermination, to be put into effect against individuals chosen as victims purely, simply and exclusively because they are members of the target group (Destexhe, 3).
             Of course he was referring to the atrocities that he was witnessing first hand committed against the Jews by the Germans during the Second World War. A new word had to be created to describe a crime like none other. Genocide was unique because of the motivation behind it (Destexhe, 2). Over 3 million Jewish people were killed by Hitler's Nazi Germany between 1939 and 1945. Jews were the specific targets of Hitler's malice. His goal was to rid the world of the Jewish race. This is by the far the most widely known example of genocide or mass murder in the world. What many people don't" realize however is that there were two other genocides in the 20th century alone.
             Throughout the 1930's, the Stalin regime in Russia repressed the Kulaks of the Ukraine and directly caused the deaths of over six million people not to mention the Purges Stalin committed against government officials. In revolutionary China, Mao's Great Leap Forward led to a famine that killed over twenty million people. This is not to mention Pol Pot's Cambodia and Mengistu's Ethiopia. Combined, these dictators were responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people (Destexhe, 8). However, Alain Destexhe, the author of Rwanda and Genocide, argues that these are not actual genocides because they do not fit Lemkin's definition of the word or the definition put forth by the Convention for the Prevention and the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was established in 1948.

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