A Review Of Genocide Throughout History History Essay


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Throughout history, there have been infinitesimally many groups of people trying to wipe out other specific groupd of people. There are various reasons behind these attempts, but none are good enough to actually justify such actions. Unfortunately many times a blind eye is turned towards these acts initially. Although a third party typically steps in to stop these acts eventually, irreversible damage is already done in nearly all cases. Many of these events are quite alike. The slaying of the Aztecs and the tragedy in Rwanda are among these such events, are some of the most prominent genocides in history.

Before their defeat by the Spaniards in 1521, the Aztecs were the last major society to have control of central Mexico. In 1519 the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had a population estimated at 150,000, which made it one of the world's largest cities. It was noted for it's huge temples, and palaces, an enormous market, and a large number of artisans and warriors. When you take into account there were no beasts of burden, their accomplishments are even more impressive. However, they were no match for the Spaniards. Their organization was simply too fragile and it quickly disintegrated during the Spanish's conquest. The Spaniards barely even expended much effort conquering the Aztecs. Upon the Spaniards' arrival, a number of key entities seized the opportunity to gain powerful friends. The Spaniards' indigenous allies provided warriors in the magnitude of tens of thousands in order to wage war against the Aztecs. So actually the Aztecs' defeat can be attributed more to the numerous indigenous enemies that were aiding in the Spaniards than the Spaniards themselves. The Spaniards also had several technological and tactical advantages over the native warriors. These advances included horses, cannons, guns, other steel weapons, and ships, as well as formal battlefield training. Another key to their downfall was the rapid spread of smallpox when an African slave on the Spanish side who had an contagious case of smallpox accidentally introduced it and started the epidemic. "Gold, glory, and God" is the easiest way to summarize the Spanish's goals during the Conquest. By that it is meant that money, personal fame, spreading Christianity were the ultimate goals.

In the rather tiny East African nation of Rwanda occurred one of the worst genocides in history since the tragic happenings of the Holocaust. The very name "Rwanda" is etched into most adults minds and certainly the modern history books. Most cannot even fathom such a place of evil and unimaginable pain and suffering. In 1994, more than eight hundred thousand Tutsi civilians were murdered brutally the Hutu in a genocidal campaign. The world seemed to turn a blind eye upon this nation's suffering. Regardless of constant media reports and international laws specifically designed to prevent genocide, nothing was done. How did this brutal massacre begin you may wonder? On April 6,1994 the Rwandan President was assassinated. Within half an hour of the event the Hutu began broadcasting over the radio demanding the total Tutsi annihilation. The genocide began then and there. When it began, the number in the Rwandan militia was nearly thirty thousand. To put that in perspective that is one member of the Rwandan militia for each 10 families. It was a nationwide organization. Some militia members were able to acquire AK-47 assault rifles. Others were able to acquire other powerful weapons such as grenades, which were distributed rather broadly by the government. Many members were armed only with machetes, but this was still more than most Tutsi had. The oppression of the Hutus went on for many years and caused provided much resentment towards the Tutsi. The Tutsi dominated the Hutu in all forms of life until they lost governmental power. The separation of Hutu and Tutsi territories was can be contributed to many things, but the Europeans settling throughout Africa is seen as the main contributing factor. After coming to Africa the Europeans brought with them many ways of life and ideas. One of which was a stratified class system. That class system is said to be the initial source from where all the hatred between the two tribes started. The Hutu had been oppressed for so long that they had a deep deep hatred for the Tutsi. The history of the two groups shows many examples of why the Hutu felt the need to eradicate the Tutsi. It started back when the Tutsis originated the term "Muhutu" which was designated as a term for a Hutu servant. The idea that the Hutu were inferior began this feud. Before borders were created the two tribes regarded the other as people. It was not until the differences among the people were singled out that resentment started to form. Then the government started to encourage the Hutu that they needed to eradicate anyone that thought of themselves as better. And thus the hatred came full circle and the massacre began.

Truthfully, the incidents in Rwanda and Tenochtitlan are not too different from each other. Sure there may have been slightly different motives for each of the genocides and it was two completely different cultures that were effected, but there were also several motives shared between the two. If you break it down to the basic idea, it is quite clear that both events shared the same reason for the attacks. Indeed, both cultures desperately wanted something that the other cultures had. In the case of the Hutus and Tutsis it was that the Tutsis had pride and proclaimed superiority. For the Spanish and the Aztecs, it was gold, land and notoriety. While the latter is vastly more materialistic, this did not like make the Tutsi any less cruel. Without a doubt, both would stop at nothing to get what they desired. Another obvious similarity between the two is that both entities on the attacking end of the genocide had superior weapons and far more participating on their side. However there is one difference that definitely stands out. While the Tutsi might actually have some justification for their rage (although still not justifying genocide) the Spaniards have nothing except that they simply wanted what the Aztecs had.

When genocide is ignored horrible things can happen in massive proportions. How many times is a family going to have to watch their close friends and family brutalized in front of them? Ignorance of such genocide only gives ammunition to future regimes. Truthfully this was a great assignment. People need to be aware of the horrible things that have happened in the past. It's very true what they say... "History will always repeat itself." But hopefully with education on events such as these genocides the world will eventually start to stop genocides before they even starts, so that at least that part of history will not repeat itself.

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