When We Are Less Than Human
“Memories of death do not just disappear. If it is not what one went through, it’s about the loss of the loved ones. It is about dehumanisation, discrimination, torture and emptiness. Survivors remember times they hated who they were because their rights were denied, including their most precious right: Life. To survive genocide is to live with a perpetual wound, suffering and trauma.”
The above are the words of Tom Ndahiro, who 20 years after still shivers at the memories of 1994, the year when the genocide happened, becoming a major turning point in Rwanda’s history. The genocide, a hate crime of absurd proportions, was unprecedented in both the scale and the cruelty with which it was carried out: over one million people butchered in a space of only 100 days.
Hate Crimes, as old as Humanity itself
Hate crimes are criminal acts –such as vandalism, arson, assault, or murder– committed against someone because of his or her race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, age, or gender. In a hate crime, the person is selected because of a characteristic that he or she cannot change.
The origin of hate crimes dates back to ancient civilizations. One of the earliest examples is from the Roman Empire, which was well known for persecuting various religious groups.
Some examples of hate crime have been so tremendous that they have affected the entire world. One of the most notable is the Nazi’s persecution of the Jewish people, better known as the Holocaust. In more recent years, the act of genocide, or attempting to obliterate an entire ethnic, racial or religious group, has occurred in both Bosnia and Rwanda.
How does genocide happen?
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