Ethnic Cleansing vs Genocide | Genocide vs Ethnic Cleansing
If you have heard about the word Holocaust, you can very well understand the two concepts of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Though the word holocaust (from the Greek holocauston- animal burnt alive for sacrifice) was used for hundreds of years, it was reserved for the systematic and brutal annihilation of the Jewish population in Nazi Germany during the 2nd World War in Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler. More recently, killing of some 800000 Tutsi people in Rwanda by Hutu tribe in 1994 is another glaring example of genocide which is nothing but mass murder of a political or religious group by another group in a country. Ethnic cleansing is a very close concept which confuses lots of people. This article will try to differentiate between the two.
The word cleansing in ethnic cleansing says it all. It is a systematic attempt by one political or socio-religious group to remove a particular ethnic or religious group from a specific area through coercive (and sometimes through killings) means. It includes both forced migrations as well as brutal killings to terrorize a minority population and force them to leave a particular territory. Though the word ethnic cleansing has been used by historians while explaining the systematic and brutal killings of Jews in Germany and many other European countries at the behest of Adolf Hitler during WW II, the very fact that it involved mass murders to the tune of some 6 million Jews indicates that it was more of genocide than ethnic cleansing.
The ways and means utilized to achieve ethnic cleansing include torture, arbitrary arrest, execution, assault, rape, forcible eviction, loot and arson, destruction of property and so on. The purpose is to terrify a particular ethnic group to force them to leave a particular area to create a more homogenous population.
Though there has not been a single definition of genocide to satisfy all people (even the definition by UN fails in its attempt), the very inclusion of suffix cide in the word genocide is enough to refer to killings. It is similar to ethnic cleansing in the sense that a political or religious group decides to exterminate another political or ethnic group from the midst of their presence. Though the purpose of genocide is same as ethnic cleansing, the means adopted in genocide are much more brutal as it involves mass murders and brutal killings.
What is the difference between Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide?
Thus it becomes clear that both ethnic cleansing and genocide have roots of hatred and jealousy within them and refer to the intention of one social political group to remove another ethnic or religious group from a particular area. The only difference that separates ethnic cleansing from genocide lies in the fact that ethnic cleansing is more of the nature of forced migrations whereas genocide strictly involves mass murders and brutal killings. The recent killing of 80000 Tutsi people by Hutu tribe in Rwanda classifies as genocide whereas forced migration of 50000 Hindus from the state of Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists by terrorizing them through destruction of their property, rape and assault classifies as ethnic cleansing.