You are on page 1of 5

My takes on genocide

How and under what circumstances Religious ideas and movements can become pernicious?

Many believe that one needs food and nutrition for body, and religion for soul. Religion is always synonymous with peace and justice. No holy book ever ordered people to commit crimes, lie, cheat and create havoc on earth. As a matter of fact, religion is always considered “the good.” Nevertheless, can a religion who calls for peace and justice be manipulated and used to commit evil deeds such as genocide? Well, if we examine history, we will see that the churches involved in many massacres and atrocities during the medieval and early modern eras. Many thought that the churches would have acted differently following the Enlightment of the eighteenth century. However, the churches rejected the humanistic and liberalizing ideas of the Enlightment. Although, the Enlightment brought the idea of sovereignty, which one can see clearly in the American and French revolutions. In the twentieth centuries the number of civilian victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing is estimated between 60 and 120 million, which differing quantitatively and qualitatively from the massacres and atrocities of the pre-modern age. During the twentieth century, the quest for ethnically defined nations began. Ethnic dominance within a nation was an important issue. And many ethnic groups competed to be the dominant one within their nation, and the situation was often solved by a war, or an act of genocide. Religion, in some instances, provides or cements the sense of identity of the ethnic group. Despite the widespread trends of secularization in the twentieth century, religion has played an important role in several outbreaks of genocide. The examples provided in the next part,

will illustrate the relation between religion and state-organized murder. From the beginning. one must examine the roots of Christianity in Rwanda. the churches stood as important centers of social. Most estimates indicate a death toll between 800. What was the role of the Rwandan churches during this genocide? To answer this question.000 and 1. did not use their power to support the rights of the population. the churches were part of wider structures of power that allowed wealth to become concentrated in the hands of a selected few.000. from the 6 of April through mid-July. and Armenian genocides will shed some light on the fact that religion was used as a justification or/and a tool to commit a heinous act.000 people were killed. the Rwandan churches never publicly endorsed genocide. and political power. Rwanda The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass killing of hundreds of thousands of Rwanda's Tutsis and Hutu political moderates by Hutus under the Hutu Power ideology. The churches however. at least 500. Although. economic. After independence. and a collection of early warning signs that tells us what to watch out for when trouble may lie on the horizon. Bosnia. to keep the exact settings that led to genocide.000. This paper will also include many specific examples of how religion could be used to harm individuals and societies. The church and state in . Over the course of approximately 100 days. The churches worked side by side with the state to keep the stats-quo. the examples of Rwanda. the churches in Rwanda created and kept a racially divided society. the churches nevertheless are complicit because they helped to create and maintain the authoritarian and divided society that made genocide possible.

Christianity (the white fathers’ mission stations) was implanted in Rwanda by allying Christianity first and foremost with political authority. and see those Slavic people who converted to Islam are traitors. The churches in Rwanda adopted a system that kept a time-bomb ticking. Serbs Christian Orthodox committed genocide in order to be the dominant ethnicity in Bosnia. moral. in other word. this ethnic cleansing was conducted in the name of religion.Rwanda were not separated. the enemy. the Christian churches in Rwanda involved on several levels in preparing the theological. and mythical ground work for genocide. The story began on 1389. They referred to them as Turks. Religion should never be a tool to validate an ideology and a political trend. What do watch for? Religion should never be used to legitimate. sultan Murad. endorse and motivate genocide publicly or secretly. Bosnia Bosnian Genocide is a term used to refer to the genocide committed by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica in 1995. a war between Serbs and Ottomans. which makes the church an equal partner in regard to the state policies. and to ethnic cleansing that took place between 1992 and 1995. This war ended with the defeat of Serbs and becoming part of the Ottoman Empire for the next 500 years. prince Lazar vs. and for sure it should not use to divide societies. Serbs always saw themselves as Christian. As we all know. political. The . they created a racially divided society that finally exploded in 1994 with the mass killing of roughly on million human beings in the course of 100 days.

It is a dangerous thing to associate one’s identity with a certain religion. with a political power fueling this division in the name of religion. 12.000 people were killed.problem intensified when Milosevic started to refer to the Muslims as “the other. Armenia The genocide of over a million of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. or “the other” that should be eliminated.” and that it is a holy duty to cleanse the land from these Turks/Muslim Slavic people. which was criticized since the Enlightment Here we have two groups. talk the same language and share the same heritage and cultural background. in eastern Anatolia in 1915. This was a veritable genocide and sociocide. Religion should be used to unit people.000 of them children. Throughout history. in order to become the dominant ethnic group. even though the victims of this massacre were from a different religion. a struggle between two peoples over a single peace of territory. happened because of the conflict between two nationalities. many massacres and atrocities was committed due to religious rivalry. look the same. The massacre of Armenians was not religiously motivated. What to watch for? It seems like religion was used in this situation as an identity. What we see here is a case of religion fanaticism. while the other group was the competition. one group associate themselves with a religion and their identity became synonymous with this religion. and 2. not to divide them. However. . up to 50. Roughly 200.000 women were raped. The sign of trouble here is a religiously divide society.2 million were forced to flee their homes.

It was this process that generated the genocide policies against the Armenians. To conclude this paper.It was conducted by a collapsing Empire that fears the “other” will do them harm. and Mack. There was a need to establish a country for the Turks. The Ottomans used excessive violence against the perceived Armenians danger and by 1915. we could do a better job stopping acts of genocides. In God's Name: Genocide and Religion in the Twentieth Century (New York: Berghahn Books). by studying and researching these cases of genocide. P. . roughly a million and a half Armenians were perished. it was a threat that the Turkish towns and villages were filled with Armenian nationals. even before it occurs Reference Bartov. The genocide provided the base for a Turkish Republic in Anatolia. however. so that . In this case. in the multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire. O. one can see the causes and the early warning signs. (2001). religious fanaticism increased precisely at a time when religion being replaced by strident nationalism as the focus of collective identity. What to watch for? Armenian genocide is one of the first modern-era genocides.