The word 'genocide' was coined in 1944 to name a particularly shocking and horrific crime of violence which it was then believed could never happen again. That it has been put into practice so many times in one century is even more shocking. Genocide is not a wild beast or a natural disaster. It is mass murder deliberately planned and carried out by individuals, all of whom are responsible whether they made the plan, gave the order or carried out the killings. Have a look.
10. Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a nine year war which wreaked incredible havoc and destruction on Afghanistan. The war was regarded by many as an unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country by another. The CIA invested US$2.1 billion over a 10-year period to create an anti-Soviet resistance that included 200,000 fighters from over 20 Muslim nations. Osama bin Laden was one of those who joined. Estimates of the Afghan deaths vary from 1 million to 2 million. 5-10 million Afghans fled to Pakistan and Iran, Another 2 million Afghans were displaced within the country. In the 1980s, half of all refugees in the world were Afghan. This invasion is a major reason for the current situation of Afghanistan.
9. Partition of India in 1947
The Partition of British India in 1947, which created the two independent states of Pakistan and India, was followed by one of the cruelest and bloodiest migrations and religious and ethnic cleansings in history and resulted in the forced transfer of an estimated 14 to 18 million people between the two countries. The ensuing religious animosity and communal strife resulted in the deaths of some two million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs and abduction, rape and killing of countless women and children. Those who survived were brutalized and traumatized and still carry the scars of their suffering which, in so many ways, have continued to dictate the relations between the two countries for more than half a century. It was indeed one of the most inhuman manifestations of religious and communal intolerance with few parallels in history.
8. Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995
The war in Bosnia can be considered both a genocide against Bosnia's Muslim population, and a gendercide against Muslim men in particular. At the beginning of April 1992, Serb forces swept through much of Bosnia and Herzegovina, systematically brutalizing and expelling non-Serbs and, in particular, Bosnian Muslims, in a campaign of terror. In the process, the term etnicko cišcenje (ethnic cleansing) passed from Serbo-Croat into English to encapsulate the brutality of a conflict in which the principal aim was to erase all traces of a culture. The death toll was originally estimated in 1994 at around 200,000 or more.
7. US invasion of Vietnam
The Vietnam War was a Cold War military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. The number of military and civilian deaths from 1955 to 1975 is debated. In 1995, the Vietnamese government reported that its military forces, including the NLF, suffered 1.1 million dead and 600,000 wounded during Hanoi's conflict with the United States. Civilian deaths were put at two million in the North and South, and economic reparations were expected. Hanoi concealed the figures during the war to avoid demoralizing the population. Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing in Operation Rolling Thunder range from 52,000 to 182,000. The U.S. military has estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war.
6. Rwanda 1994
Between April and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the space of 100 days. Most of the dead were Tutsis and most of those who perpetrated the violence were Hutus. In some local villages, militiamen forced Hutus to kill their Tutsi neighbors or face a death sentence for themselves and their entire families. They also forced Tutsis to kill members of their own families. The killings only ended after armed Tutsi rebels, invading from neighboring countries, managed to defeat the Hutus and halt the genocide in July 1994. By then, over one-tenth of the population, an estimated 800,000 persons, had been killed.
5. Expulsion of Germans
The expulsion of Germans after World War II refers to the forced migration and ethnic cleansing of German nationals and ethnic Germans from Germany and parts of territory formerly claimed by Germany in the first three years after World War II. The majority of the flights and expulsions occurred in Czechoslovakia, Poland and the European Soviet Union. Others occurred in territories of northern Yugoslavia, and other regions of Central and Eastern Europe. Estimates of total deaths of German civilians have ranged from 500,000 to a maximum of 3.2 million people. The end of the war in Europe was only the beginning of the suffering for millions of people left homeless by the fighting, released from captivity or expelled as an act of vengeance.
4. The Circassian Genocide
A genocide committed against the Circassian nation by Czarist Russia in the 19th century has been almost entirely forgotten, and that it was the largest genocide of the 19th century. Approximately 1-1.5 million Circassians were killed, and upon order of the Tsar, and most of the Muslim population was deported mainly to the Ottoman Empire, causing the exile of another 1.5 million Circassians and others. This effectively annihilated 90% of the nation. Many more Circassians were killed by the policies of the Balkan states, primarily Serbia and Bulgaria, which became independent at that time.
The Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979, in which approximately 1.7 million people lost their lives (21% of the country's population), was one of the worst human tragedies of the last century. the Khmer Rouge regime headed by Pol Pot combined extremist ideology with ethnic animosity and a diabolical disregard for human life to produce repression, misery, and murder on a massive scale. The Khmer Rouge banned by decree the existence of ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese, Muslim Cham, and 20 other minorities, which altogether constituted 15% of the population at the beginning of the Khmer Rouge's rule. Tens of thousands of Vietnamese were raped, mutilated, and murdered in regime-organised massacres. Most of the survivors fled to Vietnam.
2. Soviet Union
The butchers who ran the Soviet Union killed between 25 million and 60 million innocent humans men, women and little children. The most reliable estimates indicate that out of a population of three million, between 300,000 and 500,000 were killed or deported in 1919–20. There were three distinct periods that may be called genocides; firstly the great famine caused by collectivisation of agriculture, in the late 1920s second, the Great Purges in the mid 1930s, and thirdly the "removal" of peoples from their homelands during WWII. Under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, tens of millions of ordinary individuals were executed or imprisoned in labour camps that were little more than death camps. Perceived political orientation was the key variable in these mass atrocities.
1. The Nazi Holocaust
The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority": Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples, Poles, Russians, and others. Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals. It began with a simple boycott of Jewish shops and ended in the gas chambers at Auschwitz as Adolf Hitler and his Nazi followers attempted to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe. Two-thirds of the population of nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust were killed. Enough said.