Rwanda and Genocide in the Twentieth Century

Rwanda and Genocide in the Twentieth Century

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Description

The massacre of the Tutsis in Rwanda, argues Alain Destexhe, is the first incontestable case of genocide since 1945. Yet the term has been frequently used by the media to emphasise the horror of many of the world's mass killings: from Cambodia and East Timor to Somalia and Bosnia. Destexhe demonstrates that genocide has a very specific definition and places the concept under close scrutiny, arguing that failure to limit the term to situations where it is clearly applicable under the terms of the UN Convention on Genocide detracts from the gravity of the offence. It must now be reinstated as the most infamous of all crimes. Setting the study in its historical context by analysing the Armenian and Jewish genocides, Destexhe concludes that a failure to grasp the reality of the situation in Rwanda undoubtedly explains the failure of the international community to take adequate action.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 104 pages
  • 132.08 x 210.82 x 15.24mm | 204.12g
  • PLUTO PRESS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745310419
  • 9780745310411
  • 2,167,565

Back cover copy

In this slim, passionately argued volume - first published to great acclaim in France and considerably updated during the translation process - a deeply involved witness of the massacres takes an unflinching look at recent events in Rwanda and what they can tell us about the nature of genocide. Drawing on his experiences in the killing fields, Destexhe illustrates how genocide is trivialized by superficial contemporary definitions and by modern media and its compulsion to describe any mass killing as genocide. Genocide, Destexhe argues, is the most evil of all crimes as it is directed at the very heart of what it is to be human. Reviewing the three most destructive genocidal campaigns of the twientieth century - the Turkish mass murder of Armenians; the Nazi Holocaust; and the Rwandan cataclysm - the book discusses such central issues as culpability and collective responsibility, the limits of humanitarian intervention, and the complexities of punishing genocidal agents after the fact.show more

Review quote

'A treatise to counter the catch all of media coverage in which 'all catastrophes are treated alike and reduced to their lowest common denominator - compassion on the part of the onlooker' -- Observer 'An angry and eloquent book' -- Edward Mortimer, Financial Timesshow more

About Alain Destexhe

Alain Destexhe is the former Secretary General of Medecins sans Frontieres ('Doctors Without Borders') and is a member of the Belgian Senate. He is the author of L'humanitaire impossible ou deux siecles d'ambiguites (Armand Colin, 1993). William Shawcross is the author of Sideshow : Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodiashow more

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION by William Shawcross The Unlearned Lesson of History 1. The Crime of Genocide Criminal Intention; The Necessary Distinctions; The Importance of Making Distinctions 2. The Three Genocides of the 20th Century The Young Turks, Territory and Nationalism; The Nazis and Industrial Destruction; The Racism of the Hutu, The Old and the New; The Characteristics of Genocide 3. Hutu and Tutsi: Tribalism Without a Tribe The Perception of Colour, Black and White; Promoting the Tutsi; The Belgian About-Turn and the 1959 Revolution; The Tutsi as Scapegoat 4. From Indifference to Compassion The Shadow of Somalia; French Intervention, Atonement for the Past; The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention 5. Justice Must be Done Individual Culpability and Collective Responsibility; Crime and Punishment; Britain, France and Belgium and Political Responsibility Appendices Convention for the Prevention of and Punishment for the Crime of Genocide Chronologyshow more

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