Tuesday, February 22, 2011


i keep seeing references to the libyan regime committing "genocide." but is it? the UN convention on the prevention of genocide defines it as an attack on or preventing the birth of or forcably transferring the children of "a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." genocide is defined as being an attach against a particular group because the victims belong to that group.

qaddafi is murdering the people protesting against his government. i don't think he's targeting a particular racial, ethnic or religious group. he's targeting the people who threaten his power regardless of their racial, ethnic or religious background. it doesn't, in my mind, fit the definition of genocide.

i think the reason people keep referring to it as "genocide" is because it's really awful and they want to emphasize that this goes beyond mere murder. but murder is really awful too. besides, what is happening in libya could be labeled "mass murder", which is really really awful, beyond run-of-the-mill murder. is it really necessary to go beyond mass murder? if every mass murder is described genocidal it takes away from the special awfulness of real genocide.