Genocide is considered a moral crime of a government (meaning any ruling authority, including that of a guerrilla group, a quasi state, a Soviet, a terrorist organization, or an occupation authority) against its citizens or those it controls (Rummel, RJ). There are many ramifications to the issue especially when one looks at the historical and empirical research as well as the culture and politics in defining the word. UN’s article 11 defines the word and gives its provision in a broad perspective such that it will encompass the phrase special protection and security, where care must be taken in the context of different cultures.Deeper values come into play.

These are the concepts on autonomy, ethnicity, moral judgment, political interests and economic priorities. Indeed, national bias prevails over the universal definition of the phrase. (Rummel) The meaning of genocide cannot be packaged. It has a lot of issues that will be touched once the term is defined. The only way to resolve the dilemma of confusion is to define the word not only by its assumptions, socio-political consequences, cruelty and ruthlessness, but by its causes and conditions.

Scholars state that in any social study, there are certain predispositions and biases that one needs to reckon with. (Rummel). It is estimated that more than 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda within a span of four months. There were no gas chambers or bombs used to carry out the genocide; ordinary Hutu citizens prodded by radio announcers and government officials worked together with the military to carry out the laborious task of killing any and all the Tutsis they could.The seeds of this tragedy had been sown as early as 1918 when the Treaty of Versailles made former German colony Rwanda a Belgian protectorate. The Hutus comprised 85% of the population but the Germans and Belgians favored the Tutsis and created a caste system between the two tribes.

The Tutsi were provided with western-style education and other privileges. They were also chosen to rule Rwanda over the Hutu tribe. In 1926, an ID system was introduced. The IDs were used to reinforce the caste system by providing a convenient means to distinguish Hutus from the Tutsis.

In 1959 the Hutus rebelled against Belgium; the ruling Tutsi tribe fled Rwanda; the Belgians were constrained to hold national elections to determine the will of the people and the Hutus easily won the elections. In 1962 the Belgians withdraw from Rwanda. The Tutsis were never able to regain their rule from the Hutus in Rwanda, and incidents of Tutsi massacre would occur from time to time (Pojman). This is another classic example of the tragedy brought upon by the misconception that it is the white man’s burden to save the people of the world.

From the start, both the Hutu and Tutsi tribes were treated like property. From Germany, ownership was passed on to the Belgians. And as the new owner of Rwanda, the Belgians saw that it is their duty and right to play god by anointing one of the tribes as a ruler without regard for the sentiments of the members of both tribes and the possible consequences their actions would bring. Perhaps they were too concerned about the two tribes uniting and revolting against them; being faithful to the ancient but effective tenet of every colonizer in the world divide and rule, they proceeded to divide and rule.

They bribed the Tutsis with privileges and power and let human nature take its course. (Pojman). The identities that evolved from this incident, the elite Tutsis and the Hutu masses, were socially constituted. An external force, Belgium, was responsible for creating the caste system. Normally caste systems evolve based on the culture and economic activities of a people; usually the elite are catapulted to their status because the lower castes have consented to such an arrangement; and sometimes through the industry and skill of an individual or family, but this not the case of Rwanda.It is then understandable that the rage of the Hutus would build up to the extent that it would seem as if their hatred towards the Tutsis have been ingrained in their genetic code; to be passed down from generation to generation.

Goffman’s theory of stigma provides that society has rules and sanctions; it sets the norms of what is acceptable or not. A stigma arises in a situation wherein there is something or someone that or who does not conform to the norms set by society. The main concern of the stigmatized is acceptance.They can try to mask the source of their stigma in the hopes of increasing their chance for acceptance, or they try to protect the selves they think they have. There are three kinds of stigma: abominations of the body, blemishes of individual character, and tribal stigma. The Rwanda tragedy falls under tribal stigma.

(Geofman) Tribal stigma refers to race, religion or nation. Tribal stigma is present in the following relationships: the Belgian colonizers and the Hutus and Tutsis, the Belgians and the Hutus, and the Hutus and the Tutsis.The Belgians, by virtue of their being colonizers of Rwanda, are the decision-makers or the society that determines what is acceptable or not. The norm that the Belgians established is that only western-educated people are fit to be members of civilized society.

The Hutus and Tutsis are collectively stigmatized. But the Belgians anoint the Tutsis as the ruling elite, and equip them with power and education to make them fit to be members of civilized society. The Tutsis have been accepted and only the Hutus are stigmatized. The Tutsis are now in a position to set the norms of society.In 1994, the roles were reversed and the Tutsis were the ones who were stigmatized; it was as if the Hutus had a frightening moment of clarity that if they eliminated the Tutsis there would be peace and harmony in Rwanda. (Pojman).

The Rwanda genocide shows how good intentions founded on arrogance can bring about disastrous results. The Belgian colonizers were arrogant to assume that they were needed in Rwanda in the first place; and they were arrogant to think that they knew what they were doing when they anointed a tribe to dominate another tribe.The Tutsis were arrogant to even consider that they might be worthy of having been anointed as the elite between the two tribes. While the Hutus were equally arrogant and foolish to think that they can achieve true peace and harmony by slaughtering every member of the Tutsi tribe.

Based on one of the Virtue Ethics, the Virtues of Character in General Aristotle (Pojman p. 252) said: Virtue Comes About, Not by a Process of Nature, but by Habituation. In the case of the Serbs, it seems that the real cause of the conflict was the cleansing that the Serbs wanted to implement.In this thought, it shows that the Serbs had the notion that their faith is the true one and therefore, other beliefs should be destroyed even to the point of using force.

Pojman takes different attitude to it all claiming that in this case, it can very well be seen that the virtues of character do not emerge from man naturally. If the attitudes of the Serbs toward the Muslims are natural, the children of the Serbs, even without the teachings of faith will act hostile to other children such as the Muslims. For the children of both Serbs and Muslims do not have the natural feeling of hostilities towards each other.This hostile feeling was ingrained through the teachings of their faith. But it was also not natural for the Serbs and Muslims to act friendly towards each other. They were unable to interact naturally to each other without the barrier of religious faith.

Thus, there was no chance that they will form a habit through their interaction a positive attitude towards each other. And here Pojman’s viewpoint is revealed again because, he mentions that these virtues emerge in us neither agreeing with nature nor in contrast to nature (Pojman p. 252).The natural capacity of individuals can be nourished but not acquired by habituation. In the issue of the Serbs, they have the capacity to launch a war against the Muslims. The Americans have the capacity to intervene militarily.

Their capacities were born out of their status in the society. It was also nurtured by their wants. The Serbs wait for the moment that they are strong enough to launch a war against the Muslims.The Americans, with their continuous effort on developing their military capabilities, are waiting for the moment to flaunt their capabilities.

Pojman p. 252). Given a chance though, the Muslims may also use the same atrocities with the Serbs. This is the reason why to balance the military capabilities of both Serbs and Muslims, the Arab states had been helping the Muslims by providing ammunition. The Turkish are also helping their Muslim brothers by donating food. This background on the case study proves, that the situation in the Balkans is related to the issue on religious faith.

Indeed, right habituation will make society live in harmony.But the effects of wrong habituation as in the root of the conflict in Balkans will create chaos when it reaches a certain peak. As it becomes a habit for the Serbs or the Muslims to act hostile to each other, given anybody from this group a chance, they will eventually use force to extinguish each other. In the case of the Americans, as the case study shows, they use legislation or their government to justify military intervention on the Balkans situation.

People react differently towards the same experience. This is because people are not developed in one environment with the same stimuli.People perceive things differently from each other. They assess their experience based on their own experience and background. In the case study, it became a vice for the US government to use military intervention when given a chance. They act as if this is the only solution, as the case study shows that majority of the people in the meeting, wants military intervention for the Balkan situation.

Although, their reasons vary according to their office’s interest, still they are rooting to use military force (Pojman, 2003).But the rightness and wrongness of a particular act would inevitably fall on the individual’s understanding of what is right or wrong, what may be right for a person may not be right for another person. Rationality tells us that it is wrong to kill a person on the basis of his race. It is apparent that our ethical standards are conditioned on the personal level by our rationality, an approach to which Plato adheres to, but in a macro level, that being on the societal perspective, society’s dominant ideology expressed through its leaders determines what is ethical or not.At this particular point, man is forced to comply with the standards set by society.

Ethics is thus a product of a set of principles formulated by the status quo. Because of man’s free will he has the innate ability to choose between right and wrong actions and with free will it is difficult to judge whether he would do something good or bad because it depends on his personal choice. Good intentions if founded on arrogance will always bring about nothing but disaster, as history has time and again showed us. (Pojman, 2003).References