“Xenocide” is a term we coined from combining “xenophobia” and “genocide”. It refers to the “killing of the other”. We feel that by putting an added emphasis on the racism, intolerance, and exclusionary practices that can lead to genocide, we are placing the discussion in it rightful place, that of prevention as well as remembrance.
While Xenocide is a synonym for genocide, it is not meant to replace it. We feel that “genocide” is not only an important historical term, its pedestal as a legal framework of description, intervention, and eventual punishment of perpetrators is an essential place for describing the worst humans do to other humans.
On the other hand, we feel that “genocide” has lost its meaning for the younger generation, who tend to find it somewhat uncomfortable to even think about, much less do anything about. With “xenocide”, therefore we are offering a dynamic new word for a new generation, one that challenges them to think about their role in not only remembering or helping victims, but also to become better aware of the steppingstones to mass atrocity.
To think about combating xenocide is to think positively about the attitides we can create within ourselves to change the future for the better.
A vital part of our approach is to offer a modern framework where crimes committed by Communist regimes, as well as other such crimes that fall outside the UN definition of “genocide”, are given their rightful place in world understanding of human barbarity.
We generally present xenocide as follows:
It covers the most heinous acts of humans singling out groups and trying to destroy them. Generally speaking, it includes any crime that previously could be termed a genocide, but adds crimes of similar magnitude committed for ideological, political, or social reasons, or those (more modern) crimes against groups, due to rivalry for scarce resources. We feel we are offering a new term for a new generation, thereby re-energizing the desire to learn about the past, as a pathway to building a more hopeful future.
We have also formulated a preliminary definition, which will be revised after review by scholars:
Xenocide is “the deliberate mass destruction of one group of people by another group or by a regime, with the intent to eliminate a large part of the targeted group due to its ethnicity, religion, race, political belief, social identification or cultural heritage, or due to rivalry over scarce resources.”
Over time, we hope that this broader term will become part of a universal lexicon in the discourse on severe human rights violations.