Social Sciences


A genocide is an organized massacre carried out to eliminate an entire community or large number of people. Historically, genocides have occurred that were intended to liquidate thousands of people because of their race, political ideology or because of their religion. The word comes from the Greek ” geno “, which means ” race ” or “nation”, and ” cida ” which means “to kill .”


Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish lawyer, created the term in 1944 when he sought to promote the creation of laws that would protect members of his (Jewish) community from the Nazis and the slaughter they had waged against them. The lawyer defined genocide as calculated practices that aim to exterminate groups of people , both physically and morally.

By the end of World War II that word began to be used in trials. In addition, genocides began to be described as crimes against humanity .

The organizations that commit genocide are in charge of erasing historical traces of the communities they want to eradicate, with the massacre being their possible final objective.

Characteristics of the genocide

The communities that will be eliminated are trampled and singled out by the rest of society, this is the responsibility of the government or organization that will implement the genocide.

Society ends up hating this group of people and at a certain point they approve and justify their deaths. Before that begins a wave of humiliation and discrimination that could last for months or even years.

Future victims are symbolized so that it is easier to detect them. Then they are added to lists to identify them and organize what is to come.

The community in question is confined to one place to begin the extermination process.

Genocides can also occur as part of a military attack or terrorist attack. However, they are not spontaneous events, behind it there is a whole preparation.

In any of the forms used to provoke the massacre, society is a witness and many times a participant. Some people may notify the authorities, military or paramilitary groups of the existence of a member of the community, now hated, so that they cannot escape their fate. People believe that by nature it is their responsibility to cease to exist as a person and a community.

Not every killing is genocide . The difference between one and the other is in the reasons that caused the deaths: If it is an aversion towards a certain group of people based on their race, religion, political ideology or sexual identity, being that a group of people decided that they should not exist, then yes it is a genocide. If thousands of people are killed after a bombing or a terrorist attack that seeks to overthrow a government or frighten its citizens, then it is a massacre or massacre.

Examples of genocide

  • An example that perfectly illustrates this crime is the murder of millions of Jews in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust (1933 – 1945)
  • The Cambodian Genocide (1975-1979).
  • The massacre in Armenia, which took place in the Ottoman Empire (1915 – 1923).
  • Rwanda Genocide (1994).
  • Massacre in Ukraine (1932-1933)

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