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Raphael Lemkin

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Raphael Lemkin is the figure behind the start of the genocide conventions. He is the person behind the invention of the term genocide. This was well detailed in his book on the imperialism of the Nazi’s, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. The origin stretches far much back. He came up with three concepts -: the ‘groupism’ social ontology most common in the Eastern Europe where he born and raised; the western legal tradition that covered the international law conquest, occupations that was exploitative, and wars that were aimed at the civilians.

He was the supporter of what has been termed by many sociologists as ‘groupism’. This is ‘the tendency to treat ethnic groups, nations, and races as substantial entities to which interests and agency can be attributed’, that is to refer to them as ‘internally homogenous, external bounded groups, even unitary, collective actors with common purposes’. His commitment took the liberals from America with surprise. They him his strive as an elemental confusion. However his intention revealed how his ideas had a world focus.

One would be tempted to ask where he got to have a world view to the matter. It is recorded that when he was a boy he was brought to close to the human cultural persecution by the story of the Christians who were to be exterminated by Nero the Roman emperor. His knowledge on the ethnic groups such as: the France Huguenots; the Japanese Catholics; the Spaniel Muslims led to conclude that the destruction of ethnic groups was a universal and a persistent problem. The Jews persecution was part of the things that he got knowledge on their suffering; the Jews that came from his area had been persecuted by the progroms. However his focus was beyond the boundaries of his home area.

He grew up in the in the international world of Eastern Europe. He shared the Herder’s cosmopolitanism which recommended the sticking of individual principles; the Mazzini, which believed in the people’s unique role ‘symphony of nations’.

The philosophy behind the conventions on genocide is based on the human cosmos formula. It consists of four primary tenets: racial, national, ethnic and religion. These groups are taken care of not just by human reasoning of compassion but also to ensure that the mankind spiritual resources are not drained.

It is also worth noting that behind the protection of the above groups from extermination is the assumption of communitarian that nationhood and nations are inherently invaluable as compared to other collections of human for instance the political parties. Instead they give meaning to life and are made up of human civilization.

It therefore goes without saying that Lemkin was brought up as a religious Jew. He was an ecumenical cosmopolitan and a Polish patriot who championed for all the cultures and never turned his back on the Jewish culture or heritage. He constantly said the genocide that was undertaken by the Nazi’s on the Jews and the Polish Christians who were murdered by the Roma. His concepts were drawn from the ‘spiritual nationality’ which its origin can be traced to the Herder and some sources of Jew.

It is quite evident that culture is the center point of his genocide conception. Immediately the war ended he came up with the anthropology of Bronislaw and Sir James to rejuvenate his mode of thinking. Bronislaw was an influential anthropologist in Britain. It is from this that he ruled out that the human needs up to including culture can be expressed in social institutions or can be anthropologically termed as ethos of culture. If a group culture is by way of violence undermined, the group is made to break up the result is that members will be taken in by other cultures which is painful and wasteful process to the disorganization of a person subsequently destruction which is painful.

He therefore concluded that ‘the destruction of cultural symbols is genocide’. As a result of his support for culture he also supported the treaty of national minority. This was under League of Nations. His struggle therefore for the human right on genocide will be remembered to have majorly stemmed from culture.

Eleanor Roosevelt

It should be noted that it is not only the Jews that were only persecuted by the Nazis. Many other people were persecuted because of what they believed in, and because of their originality. This also included the handicapped, the Gypsies, homosexual, social democrats, Jehovah witnesses and those who posed a threat to the Hitler’s administration and his quest for lebensraum and the superiority of his race. Though Lemkin might have been the first to come up with word genocide it is deemed to precede Holocaust.

The Japanese atrocities that led to lots of rape, razing down of cities and towns, and the looting are among the few unnecessary evils committed. Germany assumed responsibility for their evils, turkey and Japan denied.

After the World War II lots of protests were witnessed regarding the atrocities that were committed against the Jews. The human rights activist and the Jews carried out the protest. This led to the indictment of the Nazi’s and the Japanese. They were later tried as criminals of war by an international military tribunal. This also prepared a ground for international law which was to ensure that no one was going to be above the law irrespective of the position held in the society. This included any crimes against peace. It included- : initiating, planning, and violating of international agreements and treaties against humanity; deportations, extermination, and crimes of genocide war; namely, war law violation; and “a common plan or conspiracy to commit” acts of criminality.

These tenets of law later became the foundation of the UN convention on the genocide crimes. It was first voted and unanimously accepted by the general assembly as the first human right treaty (Meade and Merry 92).

Eleanor Roosevelt was the then the driving force behind the drafting of the Universal Declaration. This came in the wake of Carlos Rumulo the Filipino diplomat who was serving a court sentence for the crimes committed against humanity. In her address to the general assembly she declared that “This Declaration may well become the international Magna Carta of all men everywhere. We hope its proclamation by the General Assembly will be an event comparable to the proclamation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man by the French people of 1789, the adoption of the Bill of Rights by the people of the United States, and the adoptions of comparable at the different times in other countries”

 It is also important to note that Roosevelt was the member and chairperson of the commission that represented the nation’s diversity which included-: Belgium, Australia, china, Byelorussia, France Egypt, Iran, India, Panama, Lebanon, Ukraine, Philippines, United States, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Yugoslavia, and USSR (Meade and Wiesner-Hanks 27).

Eleanor Roosevelt and other framers who were gifted who for long had been by her side shared her spirit of committee of UNESCO. For a span of one year she worked hard to draft the document. She was assisted by other gifted scholars. Despite lot of objections from political and philosophical rivalries, individual commissioner felt the need for it and in the end contributed by putting aside philosophical and personal differences. The ideological differences often stood on the way of the commission on human rights, and subsequently the sour relations between the west and the east made things hard for the commission (Fredrickson 72).

It shall be remembered that Eleanor Roosevelt with a lot of determination managed to convince a number of government administration to adopt the Universal Declarations and incorporate it in their socioeconomics.  

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