I'm taking International Criminal Law this semester, and one of our first topics is genocide - its legal definition, how to prove it, who prosecutes it, and examples from recent history. It's common knowledge that the 20th century is full of instances of the systematic killing of ethnic and racial groups. The tragedy in the Darfur region of Sudan illustrates that the 21st century may not be all that different.
If you're unfamiliar with the whole mess, I don't blame you. What started out as a low-level guerilla movement and civil war (not exactly surprising given the history of the region) eventually grew to the point where hundreds of thousands of people died and more than 1.6 million people were displaced (the population of the Darfur region was about 6 million, by the way). The facile explanation for the violence is to blame it on attacks of Jingaweit (Arab/nomadic) militia and the government of Sudan, whose efforts at rooting out African rebels in the western region of the country, combined with famine conditions, led to an ever-spiraling cycle of suffering.
From the U.S. Department of State:
Another woman recounted how five Jingaweit men held her for a week against her will and repeatedly raped her in front of her nine-month old daughter. At one point, the woman was allowed to pick up the crying baby. When the baby continued to cry, one of the men grabbed the child and hit her with the butt-end of a rifle. The mother and child escaped and made their way to a refugee camp in southern Chad.
How do men turn into monsters?