HEN I CLOSE MY EYES AND THINK about the word genocide, the first thing that comes to mind is the Holocaust. In high school, Canadian students have to learn a lot about World War II and by the time we graduate, we know what Nazi’s did to the Jews. But then I remember what I’ve learned since graduating — what has happened in Rwanda, Armenia, East Timor, Cambodia and Darfur. These are the instances that I can recall from my memory, from my own personal experience, but the fact of the matter is that there have been thousands of genocides throughout history.
Going back fifteen or twenty thousand years, the entire epoch of human civilization, on almost every patch of land on Earth, there has been some form of a genocide. Merriam-Webster defines as “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.” Homo-sapiens, flesh-and-bones, organisms exactly like you are being exterminated as you’re reading this. It’s a part of our history and it is still the reality for millions of people today.
In 2003, the situation exploded as the government of Sudan responded to a rebellion in the Darfur region of Sudan, beginning a genocidal campaign against civilians that resulted in the deaths of over 300,000 and the displacement of over 3 million.
The Darfuri War has been going on now for over a decade and it’s already being recognized as the Forgotten War by the media. But it is not over. It is still actively going on and it’s not slowing down. The government of Sudan has been exterminating all of its tribal citizens in an area in the west of the country called Darfur. The small villages are being burned and the people are murdered ruthlessly by the Arab majority government.
The fighting in Darfur is usually described as racially motivated, pitting mounted Arabs against black rebels and civilians. But the fault lines have their origins in another distinction, between settled farmers and nomadic herders fighting over failing lands.
Those who do manage to survive are eventually raped and beaten. They’re left with no home or country to return to. In a decade or so, the reality is going to smash into the West and this is going to be just like Rwanda. I can’t believe it’s even going on. I cannot accept that this is any different. In Rwanda two tribal groups were against each other, in Darfur, it’s a government against the tribal group. What’s the difference when it comes to international intervention? I don’t think there’s any difference.
The Darfuri people have been living in protected camps all over Sudan and neighboring countries for decades and hardly anyone even knows the conflict is still going on. The Darfuri people are being systematically targeted for extermination and there’s a layer on GoogleEarth that shows you historical imagery of the villages which have been destroyed or damaged since the conflict began around 2003. It’s very powerful stuff.
Let us remember — Darfur is not the only genocide happening today, it is probably just the most visual.
There are so many websites that paint a very clear picture of what kind of slaughter is going on. According to PeopleAtRisk — Syria is #1, Somalia ranks #2, Iraq is #3, Sudan (where Darfur is) is #4, Afghanistan is #5 and South Sudan is #6. I another found this website not too long ago called GenocideWatch. I’m using it a lot in this blog because it’s a great resource. It’s full of information on real-time atrocities and they all desperately need more attention.
Stage 9 of genocide is defined as,
EXTERMINATION begins, and quickly becomes the mass killing legally called “genocide.” It is “extermination” to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human. When it is sponsored by the state, the armed forces often work with militias to do the killing. Sometimes the genocide results in revenge killings by groups against each other, creating the downward whirlpool-like cycle of bilateral genocide (as in Burundi).
Acts of genocide demonstrate how dehumanized victims have become in a corporate world. Dead bodies are being dismembered and put on YouTube. Rape is used as a tool of war to genetically alter and eradicate the other group. How can we say this psychological warfare is not being directed at us consumers? The media is being created — what is that supposed to do to our brains? At least we can find out about this though. We do know what’s happening now. Destruction of cultural and religious property is employed to annihilate the group’s existence from our history. All men of fighting age are murdered in genocides — all women are raped. Children have no purpose to an enemy that thinks you’re a monster.
For whatever reason, some countries seem to be on the list of genocide offenders and some are not there. Regardless, we all live in a country that’s guilty of ignoring the history if its creation. I hope we all start to remember what horrible acts happened to get us to where we are now, and we start to recognize that it’s still happening.
Header credit: SudanReeves