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Never Again: A Genocide

MariaInes is a freelancer who writes about social matters from different perspectives.

Never Again

As indicated by Sindelar (2005) it is difficult to understand why it is so difficult to keep the promise of the 1948 United Nations Convention against the crime of genocide. The promise to never again allowing the mass murder of a group of people on grounds of nationality or ethnicity to happen again. Hamilton cited in Sindelar (2005) noted that:

"I think because of the gravity of the crime [of genocide], there was a certain fear about either being accused of that, or accusing people of that act," Hamilton said. "So the international community was somewhat cautious in setting up implementation mechanisms for the Genocide Convention. It moved very early, but it moved very cautiously, in the sense that it didn't set up an International Criminal Court [ICC] [sooner], it didn't set up a monitoring mechanism to alert the UN of the advent of genocide."

She also argues that the lack of empathy as the affected countries are considered remote and strange by the vast majority of the UN members from the so-called global north promotes the low response of countries, when it comes to red-flag a potential case that could escalate to another crime of this nature.

The Promise

  • Genocide Convention - Wikipedia
    The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260. The Convention entered into force on 12 January 1951
  • World: Post-Holocaust World Promised 'Never Again' -- But Genocide Persists
    Refugees fleeing the Darfur region of Sudan British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called it a "crime that has no name" -- the Nazis' deliberate and systematic extermination of as many as 6 million European Jews. But a name was soon found -- genoci

How to Move Masses to Support Genocide

I wrote an essay on the Rwanda Genocide recently and found sources such as Chretien (2006) who points that the psychology used to move the masses by a perpetrator is of the kind explained by Roger Mucchielli in 1972. His book called “Psychologie de la publicité et de la propaganda: Connaissance de probléme, Applications Practices” explains “the mechanisms of mass conditioning and mobilization required to create a mass movement”.

It describes methods for molding a good conscience based on indignation toward an enemy perceived as a "scapegoat”. On the other hand, De Fleur (1975) presents the psychodynamic model of persuasion that may be related to the kind of agenda needed to call the masses for action or support towards the crime of genocide and xenophobia. His model involves the modification of the psychological functioning of individuals to change their psychodynamic relationship between latent internal processes (prejudice and fear) and overt behavior (discrimination), which leads to the desired outcome of the persuader (genocide and xenophobic attacks).

  • Communication Science and Rwanda Genocide
    The radio and other mass media enabled the Rwanda genocide in 1994. This essay looks at the situation and how different theories were applied to mobilize civilians to become the perpetrators.

Sources of Prejudice and Discrimination

There are several theories that have been proposed to explain the phenomenon of discrimination and its causes, and how it might escalate to genocide, from a social psychology point of view. These theories attribute emotional sources to the sourcing of prejudice and discrimination. Florence (2012) exposes four theories:

  • Frustration and prejudice: Scapegoat Theory
  • Perceived competition and prejudice: Realistic Group Conflict Theory.
  • Self-enhancement motivation: Social Identity Theory.
  • Unifying model: Integrated Threat Theory.

The Scapegoat Theory explains how a disadvantaged group within a society serves as a convenient target of blame when in reality they are not causing the problem that is frustrating a majority or more powerful group of the population.

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The Realistic Group Conflict Theory explains how intergroup hostility is aroused when there is competition for resources, such as jobs, land, health care among others.

The Social Identity Theory explains how feeling superior or self-righteous over other groups of people have a moralizing effect.

The Integrated Threat Theory explains how prejudice can come from realistic threats, symbolic threats, intergroup anxiety and negative stereotypes.

The Mexican Case and Other Latino People

Illegal immigration is a common problem that is happening in the global north coming from the global south. People that are living in countries where their living conditions are sub-standard or believe that the grass is greener on the other side take a chance. Illegal immigration does cause problems for everyone. Some people in the global north would prefer to employ them as they are cheaper labor and can undergo abuse and humiliation as they are illegal and can not claim to have moral rights. They face a totally different world, where the American dream, in this case, is more of a nightmare. They end up serving not just labor abusers but also lords of mafia that see in them the right kind of people to use in their industry. It is not an easy ride for the immigrants and it is negative for Americans that suffer from job losses or are victims of crime.

The lawful immigrants also experience stereotyping behavior spanning from the relation between the illegal immigration and the "poor" countries from the global south that have nothing to offer but everything to take.

Latino people are, generally speaking, hard workers and law-abiding individuals that take pride in their culture. Spanish is the second spoken language in the United States, which creates certain moral panic as English is the official language of the country. Yes, it is a real problem that needs a solution.

But, no. The illegal immigrants are not the biggest problem for the United States and it is not the cause of the economic difficulties brought by the 2008 world crisis, that by the way, was a problem of irresponsible practices in the framework of capitalism, which impoverished the whole world and mostly affected the global south. Ex-president Obama, in my opinion, is not to blame either, because his presidency started in the midst of the crisis and he opted to try to alleviate the abuse of immigrants by some of the sectors of the population, which in turn would leverage the competition between local, legal migrants and the temptation of hiring an illegal immigrant for the "benefits" of such decision.


The Wall of the Discord

I am not stating that President Donald Trump would like to create a Xenophobic attack on Latino people or that he is trying to call for a genocide of the Mexican people (illegal or not). However, I would like to note that the elements that would raise red flags are there:

  1. American workers with a sense of economic struggle. Their living conditions have not improved in the last 8 years or have worsened.
  2. The democrat party made inroads to improve conditions for both, the disadvantaged and the not so much. This did not cause impoverishment but created a sense of betrayal on the American workers. Immigrants are in the mix.
  3. The current elected president has a populist tone in his discourses and engages emotionally his followers. "Let's make America great again".
  4. Summarizing his reasons for building the wall to isolate Mexico from the rest of North America: "Mexican are bad people that not just invade our land, take our jobs, sell drugs to our children but they are getting rich at our expense!". "Let's make America great again".
  5. There is a clear attack on the dignity of the Mexican people when he states: "The wall will be built and the Mexicans will pay for it".

The Issues Behind the Wall

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 MariaInes

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