Thursday, March 1, 2012

Eight Stages of Genocide in Darfur

In the western region of Sudan known as Darfur the two main groups of people, the settled peasants who are mostly African and the nomadic herders who are mostly Arab, have been left in poverty by a neglectful government. Some non-Arab groups sparked an uprising which was answered by the government.  The government enrolled the help of the Janjaweed which is the armed militia that the Sudanese government supported to execute the genocide.  The Janjaweed would travel from village to village destroying and burning houses and buildings.  One can even see the damage done for themselves by using Google Earth to view here.  The Janjaweed terrorized the people, gang raped the women ad children, shot the men and anyone who tried to make a break for it.  Any who did get away set out for an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camp, which is about 3 million people.  400,000 people have died because of either the attacks or malnutrition and disease.  Another 4 million people in Darfur have been entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance from around the world.  
In any genocide there are eight stages that can be broken down to gain a better understanding of the way the events of a genocide can take place.  
  1. Classification: This stage is the distinguish categories based on ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality.  In Darfur it was the black africans vs. arab africans.
  2. Symbolization: Symbolization is the names or other symbols given to the classifications.  The skin color was the most prominent symbol in Darfur.  
  3. Dehumanization: This step requires one group to “deny the humanity of the other” and  associate them with animals, insects and diseases.  In Darfur slaves
  4. Organization: There is always some organization to genocides with some plan for the killings.  In the case of Darfur the Janjaweed was armed and given tanks, they knew what village was next and had a systematic route of villages to attack.
  5. Polarization: In this step the two groups are driven further apart by polarizing propaganda and laws prohibiting social interaction between the groups. The president of Sudan said he would protect the black africans but obviously did not.  Also they made it very dangerous for humanitarian assistance to help out and offer food, leaving the black africans completely at their mercy and killing them indirectly with starvation and disease.
  6. Preparation: This stage is when victims are identified and segregated.  Often they are relocated to ghettos, camps, or famine-struck regions where they are destined to starve.  Both of these are present in Darfur, survivors of the village raids make it to refugee camps and some areas are so isolated and connections for assistance have been cut off.  
  7. Extermination: Called extermination because the killers do not view their victims as even human, this stage is the actual mass killings.  In Darfur the villages were burned and looted and the people terrorized and killed.  
  8. Denial: Denial always follows genocide as the final stage.  They blame it on the victims, hide all evidence, report false information, intimidate witnesses, and deny investigation.  The Sudanese government rejects evidence that genocide is happening and has reported false statistics of the number of people killed.