Not Written by Me: The Cheapening of Words: Genocide

I generously received another post from my friend Dinah a few days ago, and after being relieved that it wasn’t about anything that could potentially get me arrested, I decided to post it. This isn’t the type of stuff I normally write about but hey, that’s the whole point of guest posting, and any of you guys are welcome to submit posts! Here goes:

The Cheapening of Words: Genocide

It annoys me to no end to see people cheapening the word genocide. The more we use genocide to define things that clearly aren’t genocide, the less impact it has.

The word genocide was made to define the Ottoman Turks attempt to exterminate the Armenians (a crime the Turkish government refuses to apologize for, teach, or even admit happened).

When we’re calling black-on -black crime genocide, we’re making an egregious mistake. Genocide is the systematic attempt to eliminate an ethnic, national, religious, or racial group. Unless black gangbangers are trying to destroy the African race, it’s not genocide. Abortion isn’t genocide either and it’s not a Holocaust. Women who get abortions aren’t trying to destroy a race or religious group – it’s a fetus; it doesn’t have one yet.

By the time humanity is through comparing everything to the Holocaust and genocide, when one actually does happen, it won’t have any impact. The word genocide denotes a massive attempt to eliminate a certain group in an organized, conscious effort. Don’t dilute the word’s meaning for your purposes. There’s a reason Jews use the word Shoa for the Holocaust – too many people slap the word ‘Holocaust’ on anything they want to make look bad.

Here’s a basic checklist before you describe something as genocide (courtesy of the UN):

“Article II:  In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a)     Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

So, once you’re done, has one or all of these conditions been fulfilled? If yes, then you may call it a genocide and rest easy in the knowledge that both the dictionary and the United Nations are on your side.

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