African Women Voices
“Another word I don’t know; what’s an ethnic group?”
“It’s a group of individuals who have a common language, customs, traditions, civilisations, that they pass on through generations. It’s a group of people who have a precise, defined identity. The individuals who compose such a group can be spread throughout several countries.”
“History shows that minorities – those who aren’t many – are often persecuted. Taking only this century for example, from 1915 the Armenians living in the eastern provinces of Anatolia, were pursued and massacred by the Turks (more than 1 million deaths in a population of 1 million 8 hundred thousand).
Then there were the Jews, massacred in Russia and Poland (these massacres are called pogroms). Soon after, more than 5 million Jews were killed by the Nazis in Europe, in the concentration camps. From 1933 the Nazis considered Jews as ‘a negative race’, a ‘sub-race’, like they had declared the Gypsies to be ‘racially inferior’ and massacred them also (200,000 deaths). “
“That…it was such a long time ago. And now?”
“The massacres of minorities continue. Recently, in 1992, the Serbs, in the name of what they called ‘ethnic purification’, massacred thousands of Muslim Bosnians.
In Rwanda, the Hutus have massacred the Tutsis (a minority favoured by Europeans and opposed by the Hutus). These are two ethnic groups that have warred since the Belgians colonised the region of the Great Lakes in that country. The colonialism of which we speak, often divided the population to reign.
This century, my daughter, was generous in massacres and in pain.”
From Racism Explained To My Daughter by Tahar Ben Jelloun written in 1997