The word genocide can not be described in terms by many people. The term Genocide derives from the Latin (genos=race, tribe; cide=killing) and means the killing or murder of an entire tribe or people. The Oxford English Dictionary defines genocide as "the deliberate and systematic extermination of an ethnic or national group" But what is genocide really? It's more than a mere definition. Genocide is the result from greed and fear. Usually the result of that greed or fear is the deliberate killing of a targeted group. There are many examples of genocide such as the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust. Some aren't forgotten like the Holocaust, while there are others such as the Armenian Genocide and the Marxist genocide that are known to be the "forgotten genocides".
The Armenian genocide is a very complex and controversial genocide. Can it be classified as genocide? What were the Turk motives in the attempt to annihilate the Armenians? Was it fear of domination from a Christian minority? Or was it the fear of these peaceful people? The Turks were the ones that dominated the Armenians. The Armenians were treated very well and had little conflict with the Turks. The Ottoman Empire started to crumble however when Nationalism spread through Europe. The empire became known as "the sick man of Europe".
Other Christian minorities (such as Cyprus, India, some countries in Asia) gained independence; Armenia was the only one who was still under dominating rule. Armenians and Turks began to have conflicting dreams of the future. Armenians began to call for independence like the Greeks and others had already received. Armenians were the only ethnic group in between these two major pockets of Turkish speakers and the nationalist Turks wanted to get rid of them altogether. In 1908, a coup broke out called the 'Young Turks', a Turkish group that replaced the Sultans government. Armenians supported this because throughout 1890's, the Sultan ordered Pogroms against the Armenians.
World War I gave the Young Turk government the cover and the excuse to carry out their plan. The plan was simple, and its goal was clear. On April 24, 1915, commemorated worldwide by Armenians as Genocide Memorial Day, when hundreds of Armenian leaders were murdered in Istanbul after being summoned and gathered. The Armenians had no choice but to comply with the Turkish leaders who evidently killed 1.5 million people from 1915-1923.
The remarkable thing about the following events is the virtually complete cooperation of the Armenians. For a number of reasons, they did not know what was planned for them and went along with "their" governments plan to relocate them for their "own good". At first the Armenians were asked to turn in hunting weapons for the war effort. Communities were often given quotas and would have to buy additional weapons from Turks to meet their quota. Later, the government would claim these weapons were proof that Armenians were about to rebel. The able bodied men were then "drafted" to help in the wartime effort. These men were either immediately killed or were worked to death. Now the villages and towns, with only women, children, and elderly left, were systematically emptied. The remaining residents would be told to gather for a temporary relocation, to only bring what they could carry. The Armenians, again obediently followed instructions and were "escorted" by Turkish Gendarmes in death marches.
The death marches would lead across Anatolia (a region in Turkey inhabited by both the Turks and Greeks) and the purpose was clear. The Armenians were being raped, starved, dehydrated, murdered and kidnapped along the way. The Turkish Gendarmes either led these atrocities or turned a blind eye. Their eventual destination for resettlement was just as telling in revealing the Turkish government's goal which was ultimately the Syrian Desert. Those who miraculously survived the march would arrive at this desolate desert only to be killed upon arrival or to somehow survive until a way to escape the empire was found. Usually those that survived and escaped received assistance from what have come to be known as "good Turks"; foreign missionaries who recorded much of these events and from Arabs.
In the end, 1.5 million Armenians were murdered during an eight year span. Turkey eventually let the US draw a border between the newly born Republic of Armenia and the Turkish government. Armenia was given most of the six western Ottoman provinces and most of the coastline of the Black Sea. It is said that even today, almost 100 years later, Turkey still denies that a genocide ever happened.
Were there other genocides that were just as horrific? Were there other peoples throughout the world that were murdered, and almost annihilated? There are some that have happened in our own hemisphere, even our own country. Many people tend to brush these people aside. The Native American genocide is usually pushed aside in history books. It is often like the Armenian genocide in many ways because the United States tends to deny that a genocide ever happened.
"In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue". He then made the first contact with the "Indians",(who were actually the natives of The Caribbean and the West Indies) for he had thought that he had arrived in India which then led him to believe that the people he saw were Indians or indigenous peoples of India. For Native Americans, the world after 1492 would never be the same. This date marked the beginning of the long road of persecution and genocide of Native Americans. Genocide was an important cause of the decline for many tribes.
By some estimates, the population of the United States prior to European contact was greater than 12 million. Four centuries later, the count was reduced to 237 thousand. This decline was mainly due to alien diseases to the Native Americans such as Small Pox. Smallpox is a serious, contagious, and sometimes fatal infectious disease. There is no specific treatment for smallpox disease, and the only prevention is vaccination. The name smallpox is derived from the Latin word for "spotted" and refers to the raised bumps that appear on the face and body of an infected person (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/overview/disease-facts.asp) . When Native Americans were given provisions from the Europeans such as blankets, the disease would be spread because the blankets were infested with the disease. Usually the Europeans that had used them had died from the disease.
In 1493, when Columbus returned to the Hispaniola (Or the DR and Haiti), he quickly applied policies of slavery and extermination of the Taino population of the Caribbean. Within three years, five million were dead. Las Casas, the primary historian of the Columbian era, writes of many accounts of the horrors that the Spanish colonists inflicted upon the indigenous population "Hanging them en mass, hacking their children into pieces to be used as dog feed, and other horrid cruelties." (The works of Las Casas are often omitted from popular American history books and courses because Columbus is considered a hero by many, even today.) Why Columbus is considered a hero even after he obliterated an entire group of people, initiated slavery in the Americas and was inhumane in general? Maybe it is due to creating romanticism about Columbus. Was it because he was the "first person to discover America"? We cannot create romanticism about someone who is so malicious and cruel to other peoples. Yet we can not label Columbus as a "Bad white man; good white man" because we do not know everything that happened. We have only Primary accounts to help us solidify our own personal beliefs.
Throughout the 400 years that the Native American genocide occurred, they lost over 100 million acres of land, lost countless lives and lost their dignity. Now is it really worth it to lose that much, just for simply being different? When Columbus first arrived, they treated the Spaniards with kindness and open arms. The Spaniards spat at their kindness and bound them into slavery. Genocide or the deliberate killing of one ethnic group by another is not new. For example in 1637, the Pequot Indians were killed by the Colonists when they burned their villages in Mystic, Connecticut, and then shot all the other people -- including women and children -- who tried to escape. There are many aspects of genocide which have been implemented upon native peoples of North America. The list of American genocidal policies include the following: Mass-execution, Biological warfare, forced removal from homelands, incarceration, forced surgical sterilization of native women, prevention of religious practices. The Native Americans were forced to move off of their homeland under the presidency of Andrew Jackson. The Native Americans were basically moved from the East coast of the United States to the unfertile and barren lands of Oklahoma, Texas etc. The primary reason for this was greed; greed for the fertile land that the Native Americans possessed. What was the result of the Indian Removal Act? Over 4,000 innocent people died from starvation, disease, dehydration and exhaustion. The Native Americans now reside mostly on reservations in the Midwest and West and are forced to live lives that are considered infertile, rugged and land that doesn't hold any interest to anyone. It seems that things haven't changed much in the past 200 years. Is this not what happened during the Trail of Tears under the reign of Jackson? Even though the hatred that the Native American endured is significantly less, it still feel to me at least that, the Native Americans "belong and need to be" on reservations.

The English policy of extermination - another name for genocide - grew more insistent as settlers pushed westward: 1.In 1851 the Governor of California officially called for the extermination of the Indians in his state. 2. On March 24, 1863, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver ran an editorial titled, "Exterminate them."3. On April 2, 1863, the Santa Fe New Mexican advocated "extermination of the Indians." 4. In 1867, General William Tecumseh Sherman said: "We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Lakota, even to their extermination, men, women and children." 5. In 1891, Frank L. Baum (The Wizard of Oz) wrote in the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer (Kansas) that the army should "finish the job" by the "total annihilation" of the few remaining Indians. The U.S. did not follow through on Baum's macabre demand, for there really was no need. By then the native population had been reduced to 2.5% of its original numbers and 97.5% of the aboriginal land base had been expropriated and renamed "The land of the free and the home of the brave." Do innocent people who have lived here for 35,000 years before the Europeans arrive have the right to claim the lands that once were theirs? Do they deserve compensation? I believe that they do, with a doubt.
In comparison, both of these genocides resulted in the loss of millions of people. It also resulted in the deportation of innocent peoples. The genocides reflect the greed and fear of peoples that resided in their land; peoples that were a minority and should be feared. The Armenians and Native Americans have been scarred and never have been the same again. Yes they have recovered from these genocides but the memory of death still haunts them. In contrast, they both happened in two different parts of the world. One genocide lasted for over 400 years while the other, only eight. The Native Americans were deported from their homeland and are in a way forced to live on reservations. The Armenians have a republic and are free to rule as they please. The Native Americans do not and they often reside in the most infertile land (Oklahoma, Texas etc.)

In conclusion, I believe it is pompous, atrocious and wounding of the human spirit to try to exterminate people of different cultures. Why should we kill? Is it an act of fear or an act of greed? This I shall never know. Maybe I never will. I shall never know the true meaning of genocide.