Genocide: Why?

Genocide is something that I feel no person would see as being ethical or right. Killing and harming people due to their race, religion, gender, etc. is completely immoral and I find it shocking that genocide is still rampant today. Looking over the readings I could not believe the death tolls that have been associated with genocide. Genocide is a real dilemma that directly and indirectly affects the entire world.

“Genocide: not only a crime against the rules of war, but a crime against humanity itself.”

-Raphael Lemkin

As the quote above states, I believe there is no right way to defend acts of genocide because it does not deserve to be defended. I feel that understanding what genocide is and why it happens allows us to educate ourselves into the history of mankind for genocide has always appeared in the world, thus is a part of our history. It is eye opening to understand how these genocidal habits came to be and why people chose to murder thousands to millions of people just for persecution and discrimination. The hatred and lack of empathy towards groups really shook me as I try to go through life with the mantra of treating others the way I want to be treated and I cannot get my head around how some groups deliberately starve out their entire nation or kill due to someone’s religion.

I do not think that I was mentally prepared for this class before I signed up for it. My knowledge on genocide I would say is pretty average as I have taken many history classes, all which highlight the Holocaust as one of the worst genocides of all time (even though I feel that all genocides should be considered the worst). Knowing that the readings in the future will become more graphic and intense is something that I need to prepare myself for, as genocide is an intense study to research. I feel that that could be my biggest wall in this class; being able to dive deep into heavy subjects related to the impact of genocide.

Reading the account of John Deng Langbany’s life as a young refugee during the civil war in Sudan, really opened my eyes to the experience and perseverance someone goes through during genocide. It was intense to say the least. It also gave me a clear example of someone who lived in refugee camps, which are not always the “perfect” safe havens away from lands of genocide. His luck and perseverance helped me understand that refugees do not always get out of the camps, and can die in the camps just as easily as if they were still in their home countries.

This blog post may be all over the place, but I feel that I am still getting the hang of this course and the ideas of genocide. To me, genocide is more than just killing masses of their own people; it is persecuting and deliberately denying people their right to live. So I ask the question why: why does genocide exist? I am hoping as the course continues I will be able to contribute and learn more of the aspects surrounding the impact of genocide and refugees. I’m taking it one step at a time, but I will get there soon!

– Joshua


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