Genocide & killing
Genocide refers to the intentionally elimination or destruction of a racial, national religious or ethnic group either in whole or partly through killing or causing bodily harm or even mental harm to such persons. However, the term genocide have varied definitions according to various scholars and legally. Africa is one continent which has constantly experienced genocide acts and such acts are still being carried out even in the modern society among some African nations.
Genocide in Africa is caused by various or diverse reasons which ranges from different political affiliation of a person or a group of people, the ethnic differences, poverty, poor governance and government policies and the struggle for natural resources. Interference from multinational corporations and super power nations is also a cause of genocide in Africa although it is not very common. Some of the countries in Africa which have experienced genocide are together with Rwanda, Sudan, South Africa and Uganda.
Underdevelopment in African countries is one effect which can be directly linked to increasing acts of genocide. More developed countries have of late taken interest in ending genocide in Africa with different initiatives being undertaken (Scherrer, pp 9, 14). Genocide in Africa One of the renowned genocide acts in Africa was carried out in Rwanda in 1994. This genocide was organized by the Hutu community which is the majority and it involved the mass slaughter of the minority Tutsi community. During this operation which took place in about 100 days, more than 800,000 Tutsi were killed.
This was the largest form of genocide to be reported in this country and was one of the cruelest forms of slaughter. The slaughter was mainly carried out by hand using machetes and also clubs. This was carried out by trained members of a group which was referred as civilian death squads. The then Rwanda government was involved in these killings where politicians supported and even sometimes bribed the killers. During this operation, officials at the local level were the ones who were gathering the victims and keeping them in places they deemed fit for the killings (Ogletree, para 4).
Prior to the genocide, the Hutus and the Tutsis were sharing farming business. Tutsis were herdsmen traditionally who had moved to Rwanda over 600 years prior to the genocide from northern parts of Africa. Since Tutsis were pastoral and also agricultural inclined, they were the most land owners while the Hutus worked on this land. The Hutus outnumbered the Tutsis and a wedge was put between them by the European colonizers who invaded the land. Modern weapons were introduced by the colonizers and new modes of fighting were also introduced.
The church also heightened the division between the Hutus and the Tutsis since they were training that the Hutus were oppressed which inspired a spirit of revolution among these Hutus (Ogletree, para 9). In 1959 when Hutus gained power, they started taking land which belonged to the Tutsi community thus leading to more strife. In 1962 when Rwanda gained independence, Hutus took over the power and due to their inexperience, internal conflicts arose and tension grew between the Tutsis and the Hutus communities.
In 1973 saw the beginning of civil war where Tutsi children were denied access to secondary school. However, this war ended in 1993 after intervention by UN but the Hutus opposed the possibility of forming a coalition government with the Tutsis. A plane carrying the then Rwanda’s president was attacked and the president was shot and he died. Tutsis were accused of this attack which put the Hutus into action. Hutus who were against the Tutsi killing were killed which saw the beginning of genocide (Mirzoeff, para 11).
Sudan is also a country which has experienced genocide in Africa. The genocide which took place in Sudan for the past five years left over 450,000 Sudanese dead and still the conflict has not been resolved unlike in Rwanda’s case. Like in Rwanda, the 2003 genocide in Darfur a part of Sudan was supported by the Sudanese government. The cause of this genocide was due to the civilians’ demonstration against the government’s poor administration which had led to poverty in the region.
Instead of the government responding to the civilians needs, it trained militaries which were used in the genocide which left over 450,000 civilians and over 250,000 homeless and displaced (Social Education, para 2). Congo is another country in Africa which has experienced genocidal actions. However, genocide in Congo unlike most African countries is different since the genocide which occurred in 1996 in this country was not as a result of tribal, racial or political differences of the citizens.
Genocide in Congo was due to multinational corporations and powers which wanted to take control of the mines in Congo. Congo has vast minerals which are used for manufacture of high-tech devices like the phones. Among the minerals which were the root cause of genocidal acts are coltan and tantalum. The 1990s boom in demand for technological devices led the prices of these minerals to increase. Rwandan and Ugandan armies were sponsored by the superpowers most notably the united states and France to seize the mining areas.
This fight for control of Congo’s natural resources by outside forces since 1996 has led to the deaths of more than an estimated six to seven million people (Scherrer, pp 56). South Africa is also another country which is experiencing genocide especially of the white farmers. These farmers are brutally killed due to their color as they are termed as criminals. Other countries which have a genocide history are among Uganda and Namibia. The Namibian genocide took place in 1904 and is among the oldest genocides in Africa (Mercer, para 3).
Causes and impact of genocide in Africa Genocide in Africa is a troubling phenomenon and which if not carefully handle may lead to devastating effects in the future. Genocide also have affected growth and development of most of the countries in this continent especially those affected by constant genocide acts like Sudan. One of the root causes as can be identified in the above cases is the racial difference, political influence and ethnic differences. Power lust is one of the major causes which have led to an increase in genocide in the continent of Africa.
Genocide acts which have been witnessed in most parts of Africa are conducted or organized by individuals who are power hungry and thus the only way to obtain control is by killing their opponents. While most people believe that rooted hatred among different communities could be cause of the killings, studies have verified that mostly the communities co-exist peacefully and the political arena is the one which introduces dissonance by creating a mental picture on individuals about the oppression caused by the presence of the other group of people.
This was so in the case of Rwanda where the Hutus did not want to share political power with the Tutsis thus the massacre. This was and is still being experienced also in Sudan (Moses, para 4-6). Poverty is also another cause of genocide acts in the continent of Africa. Poverty leads to strife among the different communities in a countries leading to internal wars and genocide acts. Poverty in Sudan led to the protests against the then government which led to the genocidal actions experienced in that region.
Also, poor communities as they strive for the scarce resources in a country leads to the desire by one community to eliminate the other community so as to enjoy these scarce resources. Political and ethnic affiliations have also been root causes of genocide in Africa. Most of the genocidal acts which have been perpetrated in Africa are as a result of ethnic differences, racial segregation or political differences. In Africa, most leadership in the government is poor which gives rise to rebellion and internal wars.
Lack of diplomatic setting to solve such political differences and also the need to cling to power by politicians has also led to genocide. Ethnic misunderstanding and hatred also leads to genocidal actions in Africa. In some rare cases like in the case of Congo, outside influences by super power and developed countries have led to genocide in Africa. France among other countries played such a major role in the genocide which was carried out in Congo (Scherrer, pp 259). The effects of genocide in Africa are adverse and diverse.
Underdevelopment experienced in Africa can be attributed to the genocidal acts in this continent. Genocide leaves mostly the young and energetic persons dead thus hindering development in a country. Apart from the killing of people, most of the individuals who survive the genocide usually migrate to other countries or even permanently relocated thus hindering development. Genocide also hinders investment both by the local citizens and also by foreigners. This leads to slowed growth as has been the cases of many African countries.
In Sudan for example, there are few foreign investors due to the risk factor of the wars and also the fear that is instituted to potential foreign investors. Genocide also leads to the channeling of funds which could have been used for development to reconstruction of the country thus hindering growth and development of the countries (Social Education, para 7). Massive migration is also another effect of genocidal actions which have affected most of the countries in Africa. Where genocidal acts are carried out, the society which survives escapes due to fear of further attacks.
This has led to an increase in immigrants in certain countries thus overexploitation of the natural resources. Immigration has been a major problem in most of the countries in Africa with governments being unable to support the increased population. Most of the countries in Africa are developing and thus lack adequate resources to support the immigrants (Mirzoeff, para 17). Apart from the negative impacts that genocide has had on the country, such acts have adverse effects on the individuals who witness the genocidal acts being carried out.
The Rwandans who witnessed the 1994 massacre of the Tutsis live in fear and illusions. Most of the people also suffer mentally even in the long run. Some of these individuals are unable to live normal lives and even to trust other people especially those whom they feel are their enemies or enemies to their communities. Hatred is also heightened by genocidal acts only paving way for other such acts happening in an urge to revenge (Moses, para 10). Genocidal acts in Africa can be broadly categorized into two groups depending on their origin. Genocide may be geared by internal factors and external forces.
The internal forces have been the major causes of genocide in Africa which includes political differences, ethnic and racial factors and also poverty. External forces involve all forces which are outside the borders of a country but which may lead to genocide like in the case of Congo. Conclusion Genocide in Africa has continued to be unending debate as cases of genocide are reported in different parts of this continent. Most of these genocides are divided along political lines and ethnicity. The ongoing fights in Sudan Darfur have led to the United Nations involvement in an effort to quench them.
In the past, most of the developed countries have sidelined themselves from genocidal actions and violation of human rights in the continent of Africa but recently, the united nations are taking a more proactive approaches. African leaders have also been on the forefront in ensuring genocide in Africa is eliminated. However, lack of resources especially financial resources have hindered effective measures being taken by these African leaders. United Nations should take the initiative to help the African leaders fight genocide in Africa and also to aid the affected communities and societies reconcile.
Work cited: Lippman, Matthew: Genocide: The Crime of the Century; the Jurisprudence of Death at the Dawn of the New Millennium. 2001. Journal article of Houston Journal of International Law, Vol. 23 Mercer, Ilana: The Genocide in Democratic South Africa. (2007). Retrieved on 24th February 2009 from, http://www. ilanamercer. com/TheGenocideInDemocraticSA. htm. Mirzoeff, Nicholas: Invisible Again: Rwanda and Representation after Genocide. 2005. Journal article of African Arts, Vol. 38 Moses, A. Dirk: Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide. 2003.
Journal article of Ethics & International Affairs, Vol. 17 Moses, A. Dirk: Moving the Genocide Debate beyond the History Wars. 2008. Journal article of The Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 54 Ogletree, Aaron Peron: Origins of Rwandan Genocide. 2004. Journal article of The Western Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 28 Scherrer, Christian P. : Genocide and Crisis in Central Africa: Conflict Roots, Mass Violence, and Regional War. 2002. Published by Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0275972240 Social Education: Sudan Genocide Declaration Stirs the World. 2004. Journal article of Social Education, Vol. 68Sample Essay of EduBirdie.com