In a paper called the “The Ten Stages of Genocide”, originally released as the Eight Stages of Genocide, presented to the US State Department in 1996, Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, a peer-reviewed academic on the subject of genocide, defines the Ten Stages of Genocide as follows:
“Genocide is a process that develops in Ten Stages that are predictable but not inexorable. At each stage, preventive measures can stop it. The process is not linear. Stages may occur simultaneously. Each stage is itself a process. Logically, later stages are preceded by earlier stages. But all stages continue to operate throughout the process.” – Dr Gregory H. Stanton
Legal Definition of Genocide
According to the Office of the United Nations Special Adviser (OSAPG), Genocide is defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) as:
“Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
killing members of the group;
causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” – OSAPG
Genocide threat to Christians
A new report released by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, about Foreign and Commonwealth Office support for persecuted Christians, state the number of countries where Christians suffer because of their faith rose from 128 in 2015 to 144 a year later.
The Bishop of Truro’s Report state, that in some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN. Download the full report.
In a recent interview with Juliana Taimoorazy, senior fellow of the Philos Project, Fox news discuss the Genocide threat to Christians.
The Ten Stages of Genocide In a South African context
Applying the model of Dr. Gregory H. Stanton of Genocide Watch, we can observe the existential threat to Christian minority groups in South Africa as follows:
All cultures have categoristics that can be used to distinguish people into us and them for example by ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality: German vs Jew, Hutu vs Tutsi, Shia Muslim vs Sunni Muslim and so on. In bipolar societies such as South Africa where differences can grossly be grouped into a “Whites” vs “Blacks” the classification of these differences whether official or not can more likely lead to genocide.
Naming people as “White Settlers”, “The Boers” or “The Farmers” distinguish them as members of specific groups, lead to dehumanization and when combined with hatred, these symbols or classification may be forced upon unwilling members of a group. While legal limitations could be employed in South Africa, popular cultural, government and corporate policies are only sensitive to symbols and references in regard to the previously disadvantaged black majority.
When a dominant group uses law and political power to deny the rights of a minority group, the safety, security and civil rights of a minority group typically suffer. The dominant group is driven by an exclusionary ideology that deprive the minority group of their rights and prevailing ideologies typically legitimize the victimization of the minority group. Advocates of exclusionary ideologies are often charismatic, expressing their resentment and encouraging hatred amongst their followers.
One group denies the humanity of the another group with its members equated to criminals, animals, or diseases. This dehumanization serves the purpose of removing the normal human revulsion for rape or murder. At this stage, hate propaganda in the media is used to vilify the victims. It may even be incorporated into school textbooks and educational documentaries. The mass indoctrination prepares the way for the incitement of violence and crime. The majority group is taught to disregard the other group, their property, culture or religion. Hate speech propagate through social networks, online videos and in some cases even preached from the pulpit.
Genocide is always organized, usually by the state, or political parties that encourage, gangster or militias to provide deniability of responsibility. Organization can be informal or consist of decentralized attackers that plan the genocidal killings. Acts of genocide are disguised as normal crime perpetrated by members of previously disadvantaged groups and in the case of South Africa encouraged by a new sense of entitlement through official policies such as the as The Expropriation of Property (Without Compensation) Bill.
Extremists divide the country and hate groups broadcast their polarizing propaganda. Extremists targets moderates, intimidating and silencing the rational. The dominant group passes laws or decrees that grants them total power over the targeted group. The laws erode and targeted groups are disarmed to make them incapable of self-defense, and to ensure that the dominant group has total control.
National or political group leaders plan the “Final Solution”. They indoctrinate the populace with anger and fear of the victim group. Leaders often claim that “if we have to – we will die for our convictions” disguising genocide as self-defense. This is typically followed by inflammatory rhetoric and hate propaganda with the objective of creating fear of the other group. Political or judicial processes that threaten the dominance of the ruling group through elections or corruption may actually trigger genocide.
Victims are identified and separated out because of their racial or religious identity. The victim most basic human rights are systematically violated through systematic killings, torture and forced displacement. Death lists are drawn up and property is often expropriated. Victims are deliberately deprived of resources such as employment or the means to generate income to destroy the group. Systematic murder and torture begin. Lawyers, diplomats, and media who oppose action will deny the crimes are acts of genocide. The perpetrators watch if any of their crimes are opposed by any effective international response and where there is no reaction, they realize they can get away with genocide. Foreign countries and organizations become idle bystanders and permit another genocide.
Extermination begins and the killers do not believe their victims to be human. All men and boys may be murdered. All women and girls may be raped. Destruction of cultural and religious property is employed to annihilate the group’s existence from history.
Denial is the stage that lasts throughout and always follows genocide. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes and blame what happened on the victims.
It is crucial not to confuse this model with a linear one.
In all genocides, many stages occur systematically and simultaneously.