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The heart of this site's content is an expanding series of studies of gendercides against men and women worldwide. These case studies include both current and historical events (e.g., the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Jewish Holocaust), and "background" institutions that often exhibit gendercidal characteristics (e.g., maternal mortality, corvée labour). Although the format varies slightly from case to case, in general a brief summary is presented. This is followed by historical background; an analysis of the gendercide(s) and those responsible; and an estimate of how many people died or are dying. Annotated "further reading" is provided in each case. Below, we provide the summaries for each completed case study, and a list of those still "under construction." The full complement of case-studies should be uploaded to Gendercide Watch by early in 2001, but given the regularity of gendercidal patterns in modern conflicts, we can unfortunately expect to add new ones in the future. We also welcome suggestions of historical events and institutions that we may have overlooked.


Case Studies
(see summaries below; los casos de estudio marcados con un están también disponibles en español.) Current and Historical Gendercides

The Anfal Campaign (1988)
Armenia (1915-1917)
Bangladesh (1971)
Bosnia-Herzegovina
Colombia
East Timor (1975-99)
The Jewish Holocaust
Kashmir/Punjab/The Delhi Massacre
Kosovo (1999)
 The Montreal Massacre (1989)
The Nanjing Massacre (1937-38)
Rwanda (1994)
 Soviet Prisoners-of-War (1941-42)
The Srebrenica Massacre (1995)
Stalin's Purges

Institutional Case Studies

Corvée (Forced) Labour
European Witch-Hunts (and Witch-Hunts Today)
Female Infanticide
"Honour" Killings and Blood Feuds
Incarceration / The Death Penalty
 Maternal Mortality
Military Conscription / Impressment


Case Study Summaries

The Anfal Campaign (Iraqi Kurdistan)

The anti-Kurdish "Anfal" campaign, mounted between February and September 1988 by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, was both genocidal and gendercidal in nature. "Battle-age" men were the primary targets of Anfal, according to Human Rights Watch/Middle East. The organization writes in its book Iraq's Crime of Genocide: "Throughout Iraqi Kurdistan, although women and children vanished in certain clearly defined areas, adult males who were captured disappeared en masse. ... It is apparent that a principal purpose of Anfal was to exterminate all adult males of military service age captured in rural Iraqi Kurdistan." Only a handful survived the execution squads.


Armenia (1915-17)

The Armenian genocide was one of the most massive "root-and-branch" exterminations ever carried out against a defenseless people. In 1915, as World War I raged, the Turkish government (ruler of the Ottoman Empire) decided upon the systematic extermination of most of the male Armenian population, and the forced deportation of the remainder, mostly women, children, and the elderly. The deportation became a death march, with extreme violence and deprivation leading to the death of most of the survivors of the initial gendercide -- as was intended. By the time the exhausted and traumatized survivors reached refuge in neighbouring countries, up to three-quarters of the entire Ottoman Armenian population had been exterminated.


Bangladesh (1971)

The genocide in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) during nine months of 1971 stands with the Jewish Holocaust and the liquidation of Soviet POWs as the most concentrated mass killing of non-combatants in twentieth-century history. In an attempt to suppress Bengali independence forces, the West Pakistani military regime unleashed a horrific wave of slaughter that may have killed three million people. The mass rape and often the murder of Bengali women, along with children and the elderly, was accompanied by truly staggering atrocities against younger men, who likely constituted a large majority of the victims.


Bosnia-Herzegovina

Atrocities were committed by all sides and against all sectors of the population in Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. But the Serb strategy of gender-selective mass executions of non-combatant men was the most severe and systematic atrocity inflicted throughout. The war in Bosnia can thus be considered both a genocide against Bosnia's Muslim population, and a gendercide against Muslim men in particular. (See also Srebrenica.)


Colombia

Colombia is the most enduringly violent country in the world. Against the backdrop of a civil war that is now five decades old, a host of state and non-state forces have sought to preserve the social status quo by inflicting some of the most sickening atrocities anywhere on earth. These atrocities have pronounced gendercidal characteristics, targeting males (including male children) selectively and overwhelmingly, although not exclusively.


East Timor (1975-99)

This case study of the events in East Timor in September 1999 is necessarily the most ambiguous of our studies of "gendercide." Indeed, it is impossible to state with certainty that a fully-fledged gendercide did occur, and on what scale. Nonetheless, in the opinion of Gendercide Watch, there are grounds for believing not only that genocidal atrocities occurred during the period immediately following Timor's independence vote, but that they were widespread, pre-planned, and systematic -- and were strongly gendercidal in character. We also devote extended attention to the quarter-century of Indonesian occupation preceding the independence vote of August 30, 1999, in which gendercidal atrocities were prominent, though not predominant.


The Jewish Holocaust

The Holocaust inflicted upon European Jews by the Nazi regime was arguably the most systematic and sadistic campaign of mass extermination ever mounted. Like the Armenian and Rwandan holocausts, the gendercidal component with regard to both Jewish men and women is a subsidiary one only. Nonetheless, an understanding of the gendered strategies of incarceration and extermination pursued by the Nazis throws important light upon the Holocaust, and on genocidal strategies as a whole.


Kashmir/Punjab/The Delhi Massacre

The northern Indian states of Kashmir and Punjab have been among the most conflictive regions of the world in recent decades. The killings and "disappearances" have evinced a strong gendercidal component, with younger men overwhelmingly targeted. The violence has spilled over into the rest of India, most notably with the Delhi Massacre of 1984 -- one of the worst gendercidal slaughters of modern times.


Kosovo (1999)

The genocidal assault launched against Kosovo's civilian population in 1998-99 bore many of the hallmarks of the earlier Serb campaigns in Bosnia-Herzegovina. From a gender perspective, a strong trend was evident in the expulsion of women, children, and the elderly, the sexual assault of younger Kosovar women, and the systematic targeting of the "battle-age" male population for mass execution, detention, and torture.


Vincule a traducción en español The Montreal Massacre (1989)

December 6, 1989 is a date that lives in the collective consciousness of Canadians, and many others worldwide. On that day, a deranged young man walked into the Ecole Polytechnique in Montréal, systematically separated female from male students, and shot 14 women to death. The massacre was a rare example of a gender-selective "cull" that targeted women while preserving men. It cast into sharp relief the misogyny (hatred of women) that usually manifests itself in less obvious but much more destructive ways around the world.


The Nanjing Massacre (1937-38)

The Nanjing Massacre, also known as "The Rape of Nanking," is a rare example of simultaneous gendercides against women and men (see also the case-studies of the Armenian and Jewish genocides). The massacre is generally remembered for the invading forces' barbaric treatment of Chinese women. Many thousands of them were killed after gang rape, and tens of thousands of others brutally wounded and traumatized. Meanwhile, approximately a quarter of a million defenseless Chinese men were rounded up as prisoners-of-war and murdered en masse, used for bayonet practice, or burned and buried alive.


Rwanda (1994)

The genocide in the tiny Central African country of Rwanda was one of the most intensive killing campaigns -- possibly the most intensive -- in human history. Few people realize, however, that the genocide included a marked gendercidal component; it was overwhelmingly Tutsi and moderate Hutu males who were targeted by the perpetrators of the mass slaughter. The gendercidal pattern was also evident in the reprisal killings carried out by the Tutsi-led RPF guerrillas during and after the holocaust.


Vincule a traducción en español Soviet Prisoners-of-War (1941-42)

In a mere eight months of 1941-42, the invading German armies killed an estimated 2.8 million Soviet prisoners-of-war through starvation, exposure, and summary execution. This little-known gendercide vies with the holocaust in Rwanda as the most concentrated mass killing of any kind in history.


The Srebrenica Massacre (1995)

In the Bosnian silver-mining town of Srebrenica in July 1995, one of the most notorious modern acts of gendercide took place. While the international community and U.N. peacekeepers looked on, Serb forces separated civilian men from women and killed them en masse, or hunted them down in the forests. Some seven thousand died.


Stalin's Purges

Under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, tens of millions of ordinary individuals were executed or imprisoned in labour camps that were little more than death camps. Perceived political orientation was the key variable in these mass atrocities. But gender played an important role, and in many respects the Purge period of Soviet history can be considered the worst gendercide of the twentieth century.


Institutional Case Studies

Corvée (Forced) Labour

Corvée (forced) labour is a phenomenon as old as civilization, and has led directly to the deaths of tens of millions of people throughout history. Overwhelmingly, males have been targeted, though several of the most destructive forced-labour institutions have swept up women in substantial, even approximately equal, numbers (for example, in the Nazi-occupied territories). This case-study focuses on the most genocidal twentieth-century instances of corvée (the "rubber terror" of the Belgian and French Congos, the industrialization projects of Stalinist Russia, and the occupation policies of the Nazis and Japanese). Attention is also paid to perhaps the worst contemporary example of the phenomenon: Myanmar (Burma), where forced labour has apparently led to the deaths of many thousands of people, predominantly males.


European Witch-Hunts / Witch-Hunts Today

For three centuries of early modern European history, diverse societies were consumed by a panic over alleged witches in their midst. Witch-hunts, especially in Central Europe, resulted in the trial, torture, and execution of tens of thousands of victims, about three-quarters of whom were women. Arguably, neither before nor since have adult European women been selectively targeted for such largescale atrocities.


Female Infanticide

The phenomenon of female infanticide is as old as many cultures, and has likely accounted for millions of gender-selective deaths throughout history. It remains a critical concern in a number of "Third World" countries today, notably the two most populous countries on earth, China and India. In all cases, specifically female infanticide reflects the low status accorded to women in most parts of the world; it is arguably the most brutal and destructive manifestation of the anti-female bias that pervades "patriarchal" societies. It is closely linked to the phenomena of sex-selective abortion, which targets female fetuses almost exclusively, and neglect of girl children.


"Honour" Killings and Blood Feuds

"Honour" killings of women can be defined as acts of murder in which "a woman is killed for her actual or perceived immoral behavior." Such "immoral behavior" may take the form of marital infidelity, refusing to submit to an arranged marriage, demanding a divorce, flirting with or receiving phone calls from men, failing to serve a meal on time, or -- grotesquely -- "allowing herself" to be raped. The institution of the "blood feud" is the little-known but highly-destructive male counterpart to "honour" killings of women. Every year, at least a thousand men and boys die in blood-feud killings in Albania alone; the lives of tens of thousands more are spent in isolation and perpetual fear. Women and girls are virtually never targeted.


Incarceration/The Death Penalty

Imprisonment and capital punishment are among the most gender-selective of all repressive institutions. In most countries of the world, the proportion of those incarcerated and executed is at least 95 percent male, often higher. Although Gendercide Watch does not consider incarceration "gendercidal" in and of itself, in certain extreme cases the associated death-toll may warrant use of the term. Orders of magnitude are also significant in deciding whether to apply the framework to capital punishment. But if the witch-hunts in early modern Europe are considered gendercides against women, then capital punishment -- a far more enduring and destructive institution -- may also qualify. (Examples discussed: The Soviet Gulag; present-day Russia, Latin America, United States.)


Vincule a traducción en español Maternal Mortality

"Labour" -- the act of giving birth -- is the most dangerous labour in the world. Outside of a small number of privileged and/or conscientious countries that have succeeded in reducing maternal mortality to close to zero (example discussed: Cuba), each pregnancy and birth is a risky and potentially fatal experience for hundreds of millions of women worldwide. Some 600,000 die in state-sponsored agony every year.


Military Conscription / Impressment

Military conscription is a variant, perhaps the most destructive one, of corvée (forced) labour, an institution that has led to millions of overwhelmingly male deaths throughout history. As with corvée labour and imprisonment/incarceration, Gendercide Watch does not consider military conscription in and of itself to be a gendercidal institution. It is clearly a profoundly gender-selective one, however. And in many historical and current cases, the coerciveness of the conscription campaign (e.g., the use of "press-gangs" to round up draft evaders), and/or the sheer death-toll among conscripted males (particularly lower-class and less-educated males), warrants use of the term "gendercide." (Historical examples: Paraguay, 1864-70; Armenia, 1915; Republican China, 1930's/1940's. Current examples: Russia, Ethiopia, Angola.)


Case Studies Under Construction

Current and Historical Gendercides

Burundi (1972)
Chechnya
The Gulf War (1991)
Indonesia (1965-66)
Sri Lanka

Institutional Case Studies

Dowry Killings and Widow-Burning (Sati)
The Underground Economy
Vigilante Killings
Violence Against Gay Men

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