Massacre

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Le Massacre de Scio ("The Chios massacre") of tens of thousands of Greeks in 1824 (painting by Eugene Delacroix). Eugene Delacroix - Le Massacre de Scio.jpg
Le Massacre de Scio ("The Chios massacre") of tens of thousands of Greeks in 1824 (painting by Eugène Delacroix).

A massacre is a killing, typically of multiple victims, considered morally unacceptable, especially when perpetrated by a group of political actors against defenseless victims. The word is a loan of a French term for "butchery" or "carnage". [1]

A mass killing, as defined by a genocide scholar Ervin Staub, is "killing members of a group without the intention to eliminate the whole group or killing large numbers of people without a precise definition of group membership". This term is used by a number of genocide scholars because the term "genocide" does not cover mass killing events when no specific ethnic or religious group is targeted, and when perpetrators are not intended to eliminate of the whole group or its significant part. This article primarily discusses different models used by genocide scholars to explain and predict the onset of mass killing events.

A political faction is a group of individuals within a larger entity, such as a political party, a trade union or other group, or simply a political climate, united by a particular common political purpose that differs in some respect to the rest of the entity. A faction or political party may include fragmented sub-factions, "parties within a party," which may be referred to as power blocs, or voting blocs. Members of factions band together as a way of achieving these goals and advancing their agenda and position within an organisation.

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There is no objective definition of what constitutes a "massacre". Various international organisations have proposed a formal definition of the term crimes against humanity , which would however include incidents of persecution or abuse that do not result in deaths. [2] Conversely, a "massacre" is not necessarily a "crime against humanity". [3] Other terms with overlapping scope include war crime, pogrom, mass killing, mass murder, and extrajudicial killing.

Crimes against humanity deliberate attack against civilians

Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population. The first prosecution for crimes against humanity took place at the Nuremberg trials. Crimes against humanity have since been prosecuted by other international courts as well as in domestic prosecutions. The law of crimes against humanity has primarily developed through the evolution of customary international law. Crimes against humanity are not codified in an international convention, although there is currently an international effort to establish such a treaty, led by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative.

Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another individual or group. The most common forms are religious persecution, racism and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, imprisonment, internment, fear, or pain are all factors that may establish persecution, but not all suffering will necessarily establish persecution. The suffering experienced by the victim must be sufficiently severe. The threshold level of severity has been a source of much debate.

War crime Serious violation of the laws of war

A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of war crimes include intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torturing, destroying civilian property, taking hostages, performing a perfidy, raping, using child soldiers, pillaging, declaring that no quarter will be given, and seriously violating the principles of distinction and proportionality, such as strategic bombing of civilian populations.

Etymology

The modern definition of massacre as "indiscriminate slaughter, carnage", and the subsequent verb of this form, derive from late 16th century Middle French, evolved from Middle French "macacre, macecle" meaning "slaughterhouse, butchery". Further origins are dubious, though may be related to Latin macellum "provisions store, butcher shop". [4] [5] [6]

The Middle French word macecre "butchery, carnage" is first recorded in the late 11th century. Its primary use remained the context of animal slaughter (in hunting terminology referring to the head of a stag) well into the 18th century. The use of macecre "butchery" of the mass killing of people dates to the 12th century, implying people being "slaughtered like animals". [7] The term did not necessarily imply a large number of victims, e.g. Fénelon in Dialogue des Morts (1712) uses l'horride massacre de Blois ("the horrid massacre at [the chateau of] Blois") of the assassination of Henry I, Duke of Guise (1588), while Boileau, Satires XI (1698) has L'Europe fut un champ de massacre et d'horreur "Europe was a field of massacre and horror" of the European wars of religion.

Middle French is a historical division of the French language that covers the period from the 14th to the early 17th centuries. It is a period of transition during which:

Château de Blois residence in Blois, France

The Royal Château de Blois is located in the city center of Blois at the Loir-et-Cher département in the Loire Valley, in France. The residence of several French kings, it is also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orléans.

Henry I, Duke of Guise Duke of Guise

Henry I, Prince of Joinville, Duke of Guise, Count of Eu, sometimes called Le Balafré (Scarface), was the eldest son of Francis, Duke of Guise, and Anna d'Este. His maternal grandparents were Ercole II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, and Renée of France. Through his maternal grandfather, he was a descendant of Lucrezia Borgia and Pope Alexander VI.

The French word is loaned into English in the 1580s, specifically in the sense "indiscriminate slaughter of a large number of people". It is used in reference to St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in The Massacre at Paris by Christopher Marlow. The term is again used in 1695 for the Sicilian Vespers of 1281, called "that famous Massacre of the French in Sicily" in the English translation of De quattuor monarchiis by Johannes Sleidanus (1556), [8] translating illa memorabilis Gallorum clades per Siciliam, i.e. massacre is here used as the translation of Latin clades "hammering, breaking; destruction". [9] The term's use in historiography was popularized by Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (17811789), who used e.g. "massacre of the Latins" of the killing of Roman Catholics in Constantinople in 1182.

St. Bartholomews Day massacre massacre directed against the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants)

The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572 was a targeted group of assassinations and a wave of Catholic mob violence, directed against the Huguenots during the French Wars of Religion. Traditionally believed to have been instigated by Queen Catherine de' Medici, the mother of King Charles IX, the massacre took place a few days after the wedding day of the king's sister Margaret to the Protestant Henry III of Navarre. Many of the most wealthy and prominent Huguenots had gathered in largely Catholic Paris to attend the wedding.

The Massacre at Paris is an Elizabethan play by the English dramatist Christopher Marlowe (1593) and a Restoration drama by Nathaniel Lee (1689), the latter chiefly remembered for a song by Henry Purcell. Both concern the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, which took place in Paris in 1572, and the part played by the Duc de Guise in those events.

Sicilian Vespers successful rebellion in Sicily on Easter, 1282 against the rule of the French-born king Charles I

The Sicilian Vespers was a successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out at Easter 1282 against the rule of the French-born king Charles I, who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266. Within six weeks, approximately thirteen thousand French men and women were slain by the rebels, and the government of King Charles lost control of the island. It was the beginning of the War of the Sicilian Vespers.

An early use in the propagandistic portrayal of current events was the "Boston Massacre" of 1770, which was employed to build support for the American Revolution. A pamphlet with the title A short narrative of the horrid massacre in Boston, perpetrated in the evening of the fifth day of March, 1770, by soldiers of the 29th regiment was printed in Boston still in 1770. [10]

Boston Massacre Incident on March 5, 1770

The Boston Massacre, known to the British as the Incident on King Street, was a confrontation on March 5, 1770 in which British soldiers shot and killed several people while being harassed by a mob in Boston. The event was heavily publicized by leading Patriots such as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. British troops had been stationed in the Province of Massachusetts Bay since 1768 in order to support crown-appointed officials and to enforce unpopular Parliamentary legislation.

American Revolution Colonial revolt in which the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain

The American Revolution was a colonial revolt that took place between 1765 and 1783. The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain, becoming the United States of America. They defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) in alliance with France and others.

The term massacre began to see inflationary use in journalism first half of the 20th century. By the 1970s, it could also be used purely metaphorically, of events that do not involve deaths, such as the Saturday Night Massacre—the dismissals and resignations of political appointees during Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal.

Definitions

The term massacre, being a synonym of "butchery, carnage", is by nature hyperbolic or subjective, primarily used in partisan descriptions of events. There is no neutral definition of what constitutes a "massacre" although some authors using the term may lay down general "working definitions" of what they mean by the term.

Thus, Robert Melson (1982) in the context of the "Hamidian massacres" used a "basic working definition" of "by massacre we shall mean the intentional killing by political actors of a significant number of relatively defenseless people... the motives for massacre need not be rational in order for the killings to be intentional... Mass killings can be carried out for various reasons, including a response to false rumors... political massacre... should be distinguished from criminal or pathological mass killings... as political bodies we of course include the state and its agencies, but also nonstate actors..." [11]

Similarly, Levene (1999) attempts an objective classification of "massacres" throughout history, taking the term to refer to killings carried out by groups using overwhelming force against defenseless victims. He is excepting certain cases of mass executions, requiring that massacres must have the quality of being morally unacceptable. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Democide is a term proposed by R. J. Rummel since at least 1994 who defined it as "the intentional killing of an unarmed or disarmed person by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to government policy or high command". According to him, this definition covers a wide range of deaths, including forced labor and concentration camp victims; killings by "unofficial" private groups; extrajudicial summary killings; and mass deaths due to the governmental acts of criminal omission and neglect, such as in deliberate famines, as well as killings by de facto governments, i.e. civil war killings. This definition covers any murder of any number of persons by any government.

Genocide is intentional action to destroy a people in whole or in part. The hybrid word "genocide" is a combination of the Greek word γένος and the Latin suffix -caedo. The United Nations Genocide Convention, which was established in 1948, defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group".

Mass murder act of murdering a large number of people

Mass murder is the act of murdering a number of people, typically simultaneously or over a relatively short period of time and in close geographic proximity. The FBI defines mass murder as murdering four or more persons during an event with no "cooling-off period" between the murders. A mass murder typically occurs in a single location where one or more people kill several others.

Homicide is the act of one human killing another. A homicide requires only a volitional act by another person that results in death, and thus a homicide may result from accidental, reckless, or negligent acts even if there is no intent to cause harm. Homicides can be divided into many overlapping legal categories, including murder, manslaughter, justifiable homicide, killing in war, euthanasia, and capital punishment, depending on the circumstances of the death. These different types of homicides are often treated very differently in human societies; some are considered crimes, while others are permitted or even ordered by the legal system.

Armenian Genocide systematic killing of Armenians residing in the Ottoman Empire

The Armenian Genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust, was the Ottoman government's systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, mostly citizens within the Ottoman Empire. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported from Constantinople to the region of Ankara 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, the majority of whom were eventually murdered. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases—the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly, and the infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian Desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre. Other ethnic groups were similarly targeted for extermination in the Assyrian genocide and the Greek genocide, and their treatment is considered by some historians to be part of the same genocidal policy. Most Armenian diaspora communities around the world came into being as a direct result of the genocide.

A spree killer is someone who kills two or more victims in a short time, in multiple locations. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics defines a spree killing as "killings at two or more locations with almost no time break between murders".

Butcher person who may slaughter animals, dress their flesh, sell their meat

A butcher is a person who may slaughter animals, dress their flesh, sell their meat, or participate within any combination of these three tasks. They may prepare standard cuts of meat and poultry for sale in retail or wholesale food establishments. A butcher may be employed by supermarkets, grocery stores, butcher shops and fish markets, slaughter houses, or may be self-employed.

War in the Vendée part of the War of the First Coalition

The War in the Vendée was an uprising in the Vendée region of France during the French Revolution. The Vendée is a coastal region, located immediately south of the Loire River in western France. Initially, the war was similar to the 14th-century Jacquerie peasant uprising, but quickly acquired themes considered by the Jacobin government in Paris to be counter-revolutionary, and Royalist. The uprising headed by the newly formed Catholic and Royal Army was comparable to the Chouannerie, which took place in the area north of the Loire.

The term genocidal massacre was introduced by Leo Kuper (1908–1994) to describe incidents with a genocidal component but which are committed on a smaller scale when compared to genocides such as the Rwandan Genocide. Others such as Robert Melson, who also makes a similar differentiation, class genocidal massacres as "partial genocide".

Genocides in history Wikimedia list article

Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group. The term was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin. It is defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) of 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 groups conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

<i>The Great Cat Massacre</i> book by Robert Darnton

The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History is an influential collection of essays on French cultural history by the American historian Robert Darnton, first published in 1984. The book's title is derived from its most famous chapter which describes and interprets an unusual source detailing the "massacre" of cats by apprentice printers living and working on Rue Saint-Séverin in Paris during the late 1730s. Other chapters look at fairy tales, the writing of the Encyclopédie and other aspects of French early modern history.

A mass shooting is an incident involving multiple victims of firearms-related violence. There is no widely accepted definition of the term. The United States' Congressional Research Service acknowledges that there is not a broadly accepted definition, and defines a "public mass shooting" as an event where someone selects four or more people indiscriminately, and kills them, echoing the FBI definition of the term "mass murder". As noted above, there is no widely accepted definition of mass shootings.

Press coverage during the Armenian Genocide

This page contains a selected list of press headlines relevant to the Armenian Genocide in chronological order, as recorded in newspaper archives. The sources prior to 1914 relate in large part to the Hamidian massacres and the Adana massacre.

Definitions of pogrom

This article provides a list of definitions of the term pogrom. The term originated as a loanword from the Russian verb громи́ть, meaning "to destroy, to wreak havoc, to demolish violently". The events in Odessa during Holy Week in 1871 were the first to be widely called a "pogrom" in Russian, and the events of 1881–82 introduced the term into common usage throughout the world.

Mass shootings in the United States

There is no fixed definition of a mass shooting, but a common definition is an act of violence—excluding gang killings, domestic violence, or terrorist acts sponsored by an organization—in which a gunman kills at least four victims. Using this definition, one study found that nearly one-third of the world's public mass shootings between 1966 and 2012 occurred in the United States. Using the same definition, Gun Violence Archive records 152 mass shootings in the United States between 1967 and May 2018, averaging eight fatalities per incident when the perpetrator's death is included.

References

  1. "the definition of massacre". Dictionary.com . Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  2. Bassiouni, M. Cherif (2011). "Crimes Against Humanity". The Crimes of War Project. Archived from the original on 20 March 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  3. Gallant, Thomas W. (2001). "Review of Levene, Roberts The Massacre in History". Crime, History & Societies. 5 (1).
  4. "Massacre". Merriam-Webster.com . Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  5. Harper, Douglas. "Massacre". Etymonline.com . Archived from the original on January 8, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  6. "Massacre". Oxford Online Dictionary . Oxford University Press . Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  7. "Massacre". Trésor de la Langue Française informatisé (in French). Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  8. Sleidanus, Johannes (1695). De Quatuor Summis Imperiis: An Historical Account of the Four Chief Monarchies Or Empires of the World. Nathaniel Rolls. p. 186. OCLC   11990422.
  9. Sleidanus, I. (1669). Sleidani de quatuor monarchiis libri tres. Apud Felicen Lopez de Haro. p. 301.
  10. The shortened name "Boston massacre" was in use by the early 1800s (Benjamin Austin, Constitutional Republicanism, in Opposition to Fallacious Federalism, 1803, p. 314). The term "Massacre Day" for the annual remembrance held during 1771–1783 dates to the late 19th century (Augusta De Grasse Stevens, Old Boston: An American Historical Romance, 1888, p. 126) The 1772 "Massacre Day of Oration" by Joseph Warren was originally titled An Oration Delivered March 5th, 1772. At the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston; to Commemorate the Bloody Tragedy of the Fifth of March, 1770.
  11. Melson, Robert (July 1982). "Theoretical Inquiry into the Armenian Massacres of 1894–1896". Comparative Studies in Society and History. 24 (3): 482–3. doi:10.1017/s0010417500010100.
  12. "Although it is not possible to set unalterable rules about when multiple murders become massacres. Equally important is the fact that massacres are not carried out by individuals, instead they are carried out by groups... the use of superior, even overwhelming force..." Levene excludes "legal, or even some quasi-legal, mass executions". He also points out that it is "...most often ... when the act is outside the normal moral bounds of the society witnessing it... In any war ... this killing is often acceptable." Levene, Mark; Roberts, Penny (January 1, 1999). The Massacre in History. Berghahn Books. p. 90. ISBN   978-1-57181-934-5. Archived from the original on May 10, 2016.

Further reading