Intro, Chp 8, and Conclusion of Genocide: A World History

In the final chapter of Genocide: A World History by Norman Naimark, the author discussed the Bosnian genocide in Yugoslavia, the Rwandan genocide, and the genocide in Darfur. Naimark made an interesting point about all post Cold War genocides that took place in the late 20th century: the international community had raised its awareness and understanding of genocide from the Holocaust, yet had not taken the matter seriously enough yet to develop a plan of intervention. These genocides took place and could have been avoided had the international community been more aware and taken greater precaution in stopping such events. The result of these conflicts was the creation of the ICC and the “Responsibility to Protect” agreement.

I was able to follow along very easily with the first two parts of this chapter because I had read The Bridge Betrayed and We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families prior to reading this. As a result, I already had a great understanding of the Bosnian genocide and the Rwandan genocide. This chapter simply reinforced those ideas and summed up the events in a concise manner. Even though I had already read a lot about these two conflicts, Naimark’s book was still helpful. Any details that I had missed or failed to understand were clarified.

Unlike the sections of this chapter about Rwanda and Bosnia, I knew very little about the genocide in Darfur. I had learned about it extremely briefly in high school, but had long forgotten about what took place. It was interesting to think about the differences and similarities of the reasons for each of these three genocides being carried out, as well as the differences and similarities in ideology and demographics between Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Sudan. I really like the point that Naimark made about the current states of those three nations. Each one is still suffering from the effects of genocide and unhealed wounds will continue to remain.

The introduction of this book, Naimark summed up the ideology behind genocide, explaining the different types and causes in detail, as well as the creation of the term by Raphael Lemkin. He also noted that the way in which the word genocide is used changes how people approach the issue, so that should be taken very lightly and with great responsibility. The conclusion of this book summed up its entire points in a concise way that still urged the reader to act. Genocide has been present throughout the history of the world, even before the creation of the term.

The major causes for genocide include war, dehumanization of victims, growth of empires and removal of natives, imperialism, racism, and religion or ideological conflicts. Naimark sums up his entire discussion about genocide with the point that an understanding of genocide’s history is necessary and can help us all to bring it to an end. This book was extremely helpful for this class and reinforced key ideas about how genocide is carried out. I learned so much from it and it was an easy read.

1. What effect did Belgium’s withdrawal from UNAMIR forces have on the outcome of the Rwandan genocide?
2. How are the roots of the Rwandan genocide and the genocide in Darfur similar?
3. What caused the Croats and Serbs in Yugoslavia to stop fighting each other and to start targeting the Bosnian Muslims instead?

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