Evolution Of Genocide Uct Essay

551 words - 3 pages

Genocide has been an age old historical phenomenon that was popularly known but not given a name, “Until the second world war, the phenomenon of genocide was a crime without a name” (). It was up until Raphael Lemkin came into the lime light having been a Jewish refugee from Nazi Occupied Europe. His background contributed immensely in coining a term, genocide as he published books that applied the concept to campaigns underway in his home country, Poland. Having gained a bit of popularity through his books, he then went on to convince the United Nations to draft a convention against genocide. This brought about the evolution and meaning of the term genocide as much speculation and debate from scholars came to surface. The man premise of this essay is to trace the evolution and meaning of the term genocide from its earliest conception.
At its conception, Lemkin viewed genocide as being barbaric and characterized by vandalism. This was because of the premeditated destruction of national, racial, religious and social collectivities while the latter he described as the destruction of works of art and culture being the expression of the particular genius of these collectives (). This vocabulary failed to get people’s attention and also coupled with the fact that at the time genocide did not draw much attention to world leaders as governments and public opinion leaders were still welded to the notion that state sovereignty trumped atrocities against a state’s own citizens (). Therefore in a bid to try and convey his framework and capture the audience, he came up with the words genocide steming from the the greek world genos meaning race or tribe and...

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