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Elements Of Genocide Essay

1684 words - 7 pages

Collective behaviour can be separated into two divisions, crowds and masses, which can be further subdivided, one of the most dangerous being an acting crowd. During World War II, an acting crowd known as the Nazi party brought forward the massacre of millions. After the war, in 1943 Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish-Polish lawyer, created the term genocide to describe the mass extermination of various groups. He combined Latin word “genos” (race or tribe) with another Latin term “cide” (to kill). After the holocaust, Dr. Lemkin fought for the recognition of genocide under international law. Thanks to his efforts, the UN Convention of Genocide was created. (Analysis: Defining Genocide 2) Today, genocide is seen as one of the most heinous crimes against humanity. This essay will discuss the essential elements needed for all genocides by first exploring the role of instigators in violent behaviour and how it connects to psychology. Next, a detailed overview of how human behaviour is impacted during havoc will be discussed relating to the ideas of a group ideology. By doing so the correlation between instigators and group visions will be clear. Finally, the importance of an identifiable minority will then be discussed. It will be clear from this that all components in this criteria must be met in order for genocide take place.
Mass crime like, self-driven crime has instigators. Turmoil in the form of war, poverty, politics, economics, societal change and diminishing life conditions are common instigators. (Staub 305) When these factors are placed between basic survival and psychological needs such as food, shelter, and security the individual or in this case, a group feels threatened. For instance the situation in Darfur, the Sudanese government failed to properly address the attacks on the sedentary people in Darfur from the nomads. This resulted in the creation of the two Darfuri rebel movements- the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) because their need of safety was not met. This eventually led to the death of approximately 400,000 people in Darfur. (Genocide in Darfur 2) Problematic life circumstances create a sense of chaos and disarray regarding the understanding of an individual’s role within their surroundings. (Staub 305) A lack of basic needs will not directly lead to genocide, but this will cause individuals to go through a psychological process that will result in the affected group harming members of another group. (Staub 305) As explained by psychology professors Craig Anderson and L. Rowell Huesmann, “The right situations can provoke most people to behave aggressively…” (Anderson & Huesmann 299) However, truly aggressive acts, like that on the scale of genocide only occur when there is a combination situational instigator. (Anderson 304) For example, the threat of war combined with political and economic turmoil.
There are various instigating factors, as mentioned above, but the most common and...

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