Massacre

Last updated

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]

Contents

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.

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 multitude 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.

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.

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]

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

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 term genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.

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 people 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 killing of a human being by another human being. Use as value for "manner of death" (P1196)

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.

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.

Armenian Genocide Systematic killing of Armenians residing in the Ottoman Empire

The Armenian Genocide was the systematic mass extermination and expulsion of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians within the Ottoman Empire by the Ottoman government from approximately 1914 to 1923. 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 Angora (Ankara), 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, the majority of whom were eventually murdered.

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 a counter-revolution 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."

Names of the Holocaust vary based on context. "The Holocaust" is the name commonly applied in English since the mid-1940s to the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II. The term is also used more broadly to include the Nazis' systematic murder of millions of people in other groups they determined were "untermensch" or "subhuman," which included primarily the Jews and the Slavs, the former having allegedly infected the latter, including ethnic Poles, the Serbs, Russians, the Czechs and others.

<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.

Indonesian mass killings of 1965–66 Large-scale killings in Indonesia from 30 September 1965, into 1966

The Indonesian mass killings of 1965–66 were large-scale killings and civil unrest that occurred in Indonesia over several months, targeting Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) party members, Communist sympathisers, Gerwani women, ethnic Abangan Javanese, ethnic Chinese and alleged leftists, often at the instigation of the armed forces and government. It began as an anti-communist purge following a controversial attempted coup d'état by the 30 September Movement. The most widely published estimates were that 500,000 to more than one million people were killed, with some more recent estimates going as high as two to three million. The purge was a pivotal event in the transition to the "New Order" and the elimination of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) as a political force, with impacts on the global Cold War. The upheavals led to the fall of President Sukarno and the commencement of Suharto's three-decade authoritarian presidency.

Several mass killings occurred under 20th-century communist regimes. Death estimates vary widely, depending on the definitions of deaths included. The higher estimates of mass killings account for crimes against civilians by governments, including executions, destruction of population through man-made hunger and deaths during forced deportations, imprisonment and through forced labor. Terms used to define these killings include "mass killing", "democide", "politicide", "classicide" and a broad definition of "genocide".

A mass shooting is an incident involving multiple victims of firearm violence. There is no widely accepted definition of the term mass shooting. The United States' FBI defines a "mass murder" as "four or more murdered during an event with no "cooling-off period" between the murders." Based on this, it is generally agreed that a mass shooting is whenever four or more people are shot, not including the shooter(s).

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 Incidents involving multiple victims of firearm-related violence

Mass shootings are incidents involving multiple victims of firearm-related violence. The precise inclusion criteria are disputed, and there is no broadly accepted definition. One definition is an act of public firearm violence—excluding gang killings, domestic violence, or terrorist acts sponsored by an organization—in which a shooter 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 a similar definition, The Washington Post records 163 mass shootings in the United States between 1967 and June 2019.

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 March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 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 March 22, 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