Ethnic cleansing

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Ethnic Cleansing is a term popularized in the 1990s, referring to forcible displacement of ethnic groups during conflict, initially in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia. It refers to a practice seen much more widely, and despite sustained vociferous denials by the perpetrators and their descendants, in modern Middle East of Palestinians by Israelis in 1948-9; of Kurds by the Ba'thist regime in Iraq in the 1980s; of non-Arab minorities in the wars of the Sudan; of Greeks and Armenians from Turkey in the first decades of the twentieth century; and of Turks and other Muslim peoples from the Balkans and around the Black Sea over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The word 'cleansing' has a sinister polysemic character, appearing to stop short of killing or genocide, with mere displacement, but also echoing the twentieth-century word 'purge' - a euphemism, as in Soviet Russia, for mass murder. In all of these cases a significant proportion of those 'cleansed' were actually killed, not least to encourage the others to leave.

Source: Fred Halliday, 100 Myths About the Middle East, Saqi Books (September 2005) ISBN 0520247205.

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