This is the beginnings of a list of genocides, lest we forget. It aims to be more concise than this list on Wikipedia, and to reiterate it. So long as we remain at war with our own history, as many Turks (for example) seem to be at present, we have little chance of avoiding repeating past errors.
I will probably confine this list to the last 150 years.
Another such list, by the Peace Pledge Union, may be found on their excellent site.
What is genocide? Well, my working definition will be “the deliberate and systematic murder of a large number of civilians”. I recognise that there may in certain contexts be virtue to more nuanced definitions, and this working definition may change as I proceed.
Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines it as:
Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [or] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Note that this definition of genocide, then, covers not just the outright murder of groups of people, but also the more cunning and nasty ways of dealing with them that have evolved, probably in response to the rather unfortunate publicity that attends the more old-fashioned form of genocide. It’s not so easy to kill people en masse any more, draws bad press, so better to destroy their means of earning a living, or force them to move away from it, or deploy the other weapons of corporate-legal mass destruction evolved for this purpose.
It’s worth noting the links between colonialism and genocide, as George Monbiot explains:
In his book Exterminate All the Brutes, Sven Lindqvist shows how the ideology that led to Hitler’s war and the Holocaust was developed by the colonial powers. Imperialism required an exculpatory myth. It was supplied, primarily, by British theorists.
At present, I plan to write about these genocides; more will probably be added to the list:
- Congo Free State
- Armenian (two genocides)
- Darfur (ongoing)
- East Timor
- The Holocaust
- The Serbian genocide
- The Ukraine