United Nations (1951), in its Article II on genocide crimes, defines genocide as an act that is perpetrated with the aim of destroying in part or whole the racial, ethnic, national, or religious group. Such an action could involve killing group members, causing mental or body harms, imposing measures that limit births, transfer of children from one group to another, or inflicting conditions to the life of the group.
The Armenian genocide depicts the deportation and killing of the Armenians, which was executed by the Ottoman Empire Turks. Turkish government leaders in 1915 as World War I was taking place created a plan to massacre and expel the Armenians, whereby the early 1920s, between 600,000 and 1.5 million of the Armenians, were dead and the number that had been removed from the nation was high (History.com, 2019). The Myanmar genocide depicts persecution led by the government of Myanmar on Rohingya Muslims. The first phase was between 2016 October and 2017 January, and the second one started in 2017 August (BBC News, 2020). Thus, both Armenian and Myanmar genocides are perpetrated by the governments, and they involve killing and removing individuals from the different groups.
Both Armenian and Myanmar genocides were perpetrated because of religious division and potential disloyalty. In the Armenian case, the Turkish could not accept the resources that the Christians had as compared to the Muslims. In Myanmar, there is massive ethnic cleansing, which is based on religious differences between the involved groups.
The root cause of the Armenian genocide was the fact that the Armenians were wealthier and educated as compared to the Turkish neighbors, which was a fundamental threat to the success of this group. Thus, suspicions emerged where Armenian Christians were considered to be loyal to governments founded on Christianity as compared to the Ottoman caliphate. In Myanmar, the root cause of the genocide was the ethnic crisis, which was being experienced in society. The government of Myanmar has continuously denied Rohingya people the chance to vote during the elections (Council on Foreign Relations, 2020). Such has been escalated where peace conferences are held, and the Rohingya representatives are not invited.
In Armenia, the people thought that the establishment of the “Young Turks” as a group of new reformers would help in solving their problem by putting them in equal places at the new state. Unfortunately, the new group focused on “Turkify” of the empire, where Christian non-Turks were considered as a significant threat to the new government (History.com, 2019). When the Turks got into World War I, the military leaders began indicating that Armenians were traitors. The intensification of the war saw to it that the Armenians formed organized battalions that helped the Russian army in fighting the Turks. The event led to the onset of the massacre where the Armenians were sent away from their homes to Mesopotamian desert without water or food. The marchers were often stripped naked, and they would walk in the scorching sun where they died while those who tried getting a rest were shot. The Turks also organized killing squads where some people were burned alive, others were thrown off cliffs, and some drowned in rivers. The children of Armenians were also kidnapped and forced into Islam.
The Myanmar genocide experience involved the discrimination of the people in the society. The Rohingya villages were burned, and individuals killed. These acts caused mental challenges to the communities, which made people flee their homes as they focus on getting to safety (Council on Foreign Relations, 2020). Further, the Rohingya community could not participate in state affairs that include elections or peace conferences.
Genocide can be prevented through an examination of the possible crimes towards humanity. The early signs include atrocities crimes. There are also cases where the government tries to exterminate a large portion of its citizens or subjects because they belong to a specific group (Anderson & Anderson, 2014). The group could be defined based on political affiliation, ethnicity, religion, or gender, among others. The emergence of group hatreds is a key indicator of the possibility of genocide to take place.
In conclusion, genocide is an act that is against human rights. Thus, remembering and honoring genocide helps in giving the victims hope for the future. Further, it becomes possible to create awareness of genocide, its negative impacts, and what can be done to prevent such acts occurring again in the future. The process also creates a platform to advocate for working towards achieving a peaceful life in communities.
Anderson, E, & Anderson, B. (2014). Warning signs of genocide: An anthropological
perspective. Lexington Books.
BBC News. (2020). Myanmar Rohingya: What you need to know about the crisis. Retrieved
Council on Foreign Relations. (2020). Global conflict tracker. Retrieved from:
History.com. (2019). Armenian Genocide. Retrieved from:
United Nations. (1951). Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide.
Adopted by the general assembly of the United Nations on 9 December 1948. Retrieved from: https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/volume%2078/volume-78-i-1021-english.pdf
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