Miss C/Mrs. Jordan
AP World History
7 June 2013
Genocide: The Holocaust vs. the Rwandan Genocide
The word genocide comes from the Greek word genos meaning race or clan and cide meaning killing. In Raphael Lemkin’s words, genocide is the crime of destroying a specific group of religious and/or racial people. Some areas in which genocide may occur is Africa, the Middle East, or any other third-world countries. Genocide tends to occur in recently collapsed areas of infrastructure, government, etc. The Holocaust took place in Germany and other German controlled areas. The Holocaust began in 1938 and ended in 1945, while the Rwanda genocide began on April 6th of 1994 and not yet ended. Both the Holocaust and the Rwanda massacre were similar due to their uses of classification, symbolization, dehumanization, and polarization. However, the Tutsis faced organization, preparation, extermination, and denial differently than the Jews from Germany. Tutsis and Jews were both classified as the “others” group. Classification is when cultures have categories in which they distinguish people into “us and them” by ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality. The Tutsis and Jews were both the original high standard people of the social pyramid. The colonists believed that the Tutsi were natural rulers, so they only put the Tutsis into positions of authority and discriminated against Hutus and Twa. (Hymowitz; Parker) Many Jews, as well as homosexuals and handicapped people, were targeted as enemies to Adolf Hitler. The reason why they were Hitler’s target was because he believed that they weakened the Nazi Party. (Fremy) This category impacted the way others viewed the Tutsis and Jews who were once the superior race. This similarity is important to this category because we can see that much of the well-known genocides have influenced other genocides. The two genocides also compare with their use of symbolization. Symbolization is shown with a logo used as a symbol of hatred that one group feels towards another. The Hutus labeled the Tutsi people with their physical appearances. It was also expected for the two groups to carry ID to ensure whether they belong with the Hutus or the Tutsis. (The Rwandan Genocide: The Steps to Genocide) Hitler also used symbols to easily identify his enemies. Nazi Germany colored homosexuals with a pink triangle, brown triangles for gypsies, green for criminals, and red for political enemies. (Fremy) This category has affected both groups because it was much easier to torment those who were the “enemies.” This similarity is important to the category because many innocent lives have perished due to the symbols of hatred that were forced upon them. Both the Tutsis and the Jews were dehumanized in similar ways. Dehumanization is when one group denies the humanity of the other group. The Hutus usually taunted the Tutsi people by calling them cockroaches or trees because of their skin color and their height. Also, some colonial rulers felt that by favoring the Hutu and trying to take back some power from the Tutsi, they could remain in power longer. (Hymowitz; Parker) In order to dehumanize the Jews, Josef Goebbels used negative propaganda to blame Jews for the economic and social conflicts or Germany as well as the world. The Nazis also dehumanized them by calling them the “inferior race”, which laid the groundwork to eliminating the Jews from their rights and freedom. (Dehumanization of the Jews) This category impacted both groups because they were all stripped of their humanity. This similarity is important to the category because it only took one statement or so to make the Tutsis and Jews look bad. The Hutus and the Nazi Germans both organized parties to help eliminate the Tutsis and the Jews. Organization can be informal, decentralized, and even include the use of militias to provide deniability of state responsibility. The Hutus organized the MNRD and...
Cited: AFP. "Rwanda Opposition Leader Jailed for Denying Genocide." - DN2. Daily Nation, 1 Nov. 2012. Web. 07 June 2013.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. Print.
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