Ethnic Cleansing Definition

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Ethnic cleansing has been described as a fairly a modern phenomenon – one that Michael Mann associates with modern democracies (Mann 5). Bearing in mind that culture and ethnicity are oft considered vague terms, for purposes of maintaining clarity, this essay will use Michael Mann’s definitions of ethnicity, ethnic cleansing, nation and nation state. Mann defines ethnicity as a group that defines itself or is defined by others as sharing common descent and culture, therefore ethnic cleansing is the removal by members of one such group of another such group from a locality they define as their own (Mann 11). Consequently, a nation is a group that also has political consciousness, claiming collective political rights in a given territory and …show more content…
However, it must be noted that ethnic cleansing is often unintentional. It never starts off as a call per se for ethnic cleansing. Subsequently, a minority group is likely to become a victim of ethnic cleansing if it displays resistance. Undeniably, Sri Lanka stands as a classic example of how state building can fail when one ethno national group (in this case the Sinhalese) attempts to build a religio, juridico and politico-economic society by excluding its minorities (De Votta 55). De Votta is of the opinion that Sinhalese nationalism and subsequent ethnic conflict is more or less the creation of political elites in Sri Lanka, vying for power and similarly, Tamil nationalism is cast as a construct of high-caste and middle-class northern Tamils whose design was to subsume intraethnic cleavages especially emanating from the disgruntled Tamil lower classes (De Votta 56). Nonetheless, whilst these stances help augment our understanding of ethnic cleansing and clashes between Tamil rebels and the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, they do not explain what De Votta terms as the “mobilization successes” of the Tamils who were once stereotyped as career-oriented, intellectual and passive but are now responsible for creating what is arguably the world's most deadly secessionist conflict (De Votta …show more content…
Mojzes’s conclusions supplement the argument that stable authoritarian regimes are less likely to engage in ethnic cleansing as opposed to unstable regimes that are invariably, in flux. Authoritarian regimes are most likely to co-opt or agree with minority groups. These arguments ring true, particularly in the case of ethnic conflict between Serbs and Croats in Croatia from 1991-1995/1998 resulted in civil war which concluded with the near total expulsion of Serbs from Croatia and very high casualties reached genocidal dimensions. Furthermore, the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1991-1995 – ascertained by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in the Hague – resulted in the systematic massacre of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims, largely unprepared for

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