Ethnic cleansing Genocide

 See also Problems: Genocide.


The latest of a series of euphemisms (See George Orwell: Politics and the English Language) for a typically twentieth century activity: the creation of refugees by driving people from their lands.

The term is being used by the Serb army and militias in the former Yugoslavia for the process of killing or driving out non-Serbs (Croats, Muslims, Albanians) from their land in order to settle Serbs in their properties. The Croats did the same.

In 1999 Serb forces removed Albanians from Kosovo with brutality.

In South Africa and former Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) Africans used to be driven off their ancestral lands in order to render an area "white", that is inhabited only by people of European descent.

The term is similar to Genocide, which is: killing people because they are members of a group, usually by birth.

  • The Nazis' attempt, at the direction of Hitler, to kill all the Jews.
  • Other examples: the Serbs' treatment of Croats and Bosnian Muslims in the recent war;
  • the Croats' massacres of Serbs during the second world war.
  • Greeks to Bulgarians and Macedonians in the Balkan War of 1913.
  • Armenians to Azeris in Nagorno Karabakh
  • Indonesians in West Papua, East Timor.
  • Nazi Germany practiced Genocide on a grand scale: killing Jews, Gypsies, Slavs in order to settle Germans on their property. They used the term Judenrein = "Clean of Jews" .
  • In 1945-6 Germans were expelled from Poland and Czechoslovakia .
  • The Burmese army seems to be doing it when driving away Muslims into Bangladesh.
  • Ottoman Turkey's elimination of the Armenians in 1915 is another example.
  • The Zionist removal of Arabs from the territory of what was to become Israel in 1948 is an example.
  • An early example might be the Highland Clearances in the 18th century when Gaelic speaking peasants in north Scotland were driven off the land to be taken to Canada and other countries.
  • The native inhabitants of North and South America and Australia have also experienced the practice.
  • The colonial habit of forcing villagers into concentration camps - strategic villages - to prevent their assisting guerrillas (practiced in the Kenya war of independence, in Malaya and in Vietnam and also in Central America) was similar to ethnic cleansing in its use of arbitrary power without regard for the consequences.

    In South East Asia the practice can be found in parts of Bangladesh - hill tribes and in Burma - Muslims and other minorities.

  • In Africa Zaire, Burundi and Rwanda are also experiencing it. One cause may be increased densities of population.
  • Sudan is currently causing concern in Darfur.

Interesting Reading

George Orwell - Collected Essays Collected essays

Last revised 31/08/09


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