Monday, August 07, 2006

Common Apathy

MIAMI, USA:In 1915 the Ottoman empire from Turkey wanted to get rid of it's Armenian problem by any means nessarary. That what resulted in the torture, starvation, and murder of over a million Armenians. Despite from the pleas of U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman empire, Henry Morgenthau Sr,to take action, the U.S wanted to keep up with it's friendly ties with Turkey, even if people were being murder. This would be one of the many cases of genocide(the word was yet to be created)and the U.S along with the international community, would simply not be able to stop the mass kilings of a specific race. But why is the international community apathetic to genocide? There are many reasons why no international body would even utter a peep of protest to a goverment that is commiting crimes againest humanity.

A young Polish scholar named Raphael Lemkin was apalled from the Armanian genocide. Why was a crime like this not punished by internation law? For years he researched about this and finally in 1943, he came up with took the root words genos (Greek for family, tribe or race) and -cide (Latin - occidere or cideo - to massacre) to create the word genocide. In the original adoption of the Geneva convections, Lemikin explaines the defenition:

"Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups."

Finally in 1948, the United Nation adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide making it a crime under international law. But it wasn't untill 1988 when the U.S sighed the treaty.

The mass murder of Jews by the Nazis during World War 2 was ignored by the U.S. due largely in fact because it didn't want to deal with another problem from Germany, despite reports of Death Camps. In Cambodia Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge killed up to 2 million Cambodians through 1975-1979. With this coming after Vietnam and the fact that that the regiem had a seat at the U.N, nothing was done. The Iraqi Kurds were gased buy the thousands in 1988. The U.S had ties with Iraq up untill the invation of Kuwait. In Bosnia Serbs tortute and killed Non Serbs over an estimated seven to eight thousand men and boys during 1992-1995 which of course the U.S. was slow to respond. Rwanda in 1994 faced a horrific genocide that killed over eight hundred thousand Tutsi by Hutu extermist in just one hundred days. This time the U.S. and the U.N. did know what was happening but did nothing to stop the killings. The Kosovo Albanians in 1999 were killed by Serb security forces. According to The New York Times "On April 19, the State Department said that up to 500,000 Kosovar Albanians were missing and feared dead."

One or the many reasons why the world is leary to responding to genocide is Self Interest. If there is no economic vaule to a country where genocide is being commited, then why bother? Another reason is not starting a big huge war with a country that has good relations just because that goverment is killing it's own people. With the current genocide in Sudan's Darfur region, there are American companies who have deals with Sudan because of oil and China a permanent member of the Security Council, has relations with the Sudanese president, whom is accused of conducting the genocide that are killing more than four hundred thousand Sudanese.

It is no surprise that genocide rages on.

No comments: