As a legal term, the word ‘genocide’ was first coined during the Nuremburg trials for war criminals of Nazi Germany. In fact, terms like ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘holocaust’ are most often associated with the infamous slaughter of 21 million Jews, Poles, Gypsies, and many other racial groups in Germany during the 1940s. But WW2 was not the only and certainly not the largest massacre of ethnic groups by government. It is far overshadowed by Communist China (39 million) and the Soviet Union (62 million). Many hundreds of thousands of other genocides could be recounted, dating as far back as the 14th century A.D. and causing the deaths of nearly 174 million people during the 20th century alone.
The common occurrence of genocide has stolen its shock value and encouraged the international community to shrink from political involvement. Without the necessary foreign aid, genocide is prolonged and the death toll escalates. However, genocide kills both physically and emotionally. The extensive psychological suffering among survivors hinders quality of life, at times mentally disabling its victims indefinitely. Steps for both political and psychological assessment are being taken in order to prevent past mistakes.
In the pages that follow, we attempt to provide a glimpse of one genocide that has been seemingly swept under the rug. The Rwandan genocide lasted only 100 days, yet nearly 800,000 Tutsis were murdered at the hands of extremist Hutus. The killers were neighbors, friends, and relatives. As we look at the political, psychological, and present-day response to this ethnic cleansing, let us learn from the horrific past and prepare for a brighter future.
Darci Nelson: Darci is a Freshman at Brigham Young University from Richland, WA. She is majoring in English and minoring in Spanish.
Alex Clark: Alex is a Freshman at Brigham Young University from Taylorsville, UT. He served in the Hawaii, Honolulu mission and he is majoring in information systems.
Giddoni Simons: Giddoni is a Freshman at Brigham Young University from Provo, UT. He is currently an open major.L to R: Darci Nelson, Giddoni Simons, Alex Clark