Turkey asking Knesset to Stop Discussion

April 11, 2008

The Turkish parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman, Hasan Murat Mercan, has asked Isreali to stop discussion of the Armenian genocide. This move should surprise no one. The Turks have been avidly asking people to stop this discussion for years. This request even came with a slightly veiled threat: “We would prefer if this discussion would not take place at this time in the Israeli parliament because it may harm the relations between the two countries.” Read the rest of this entry »


How can Isreal’s “call to genocide” help Rwanda?

April 11, 2008

The Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram, recently led with an article titled “Genocide Announced“. The title came following this statement by the Haredi religious leader Rabbi Yisrael Rosen: “All of the Palestinians must be killed; men, women, infants, and even their beasts.” Based off of his interpretation of the Torah and in particular the parable of the Amalekites by the Jew, he quotes the following passage: “Annihilate the Amalekites from the beginning to the end. Kill them and wrest them from their possessions. Show them no mercy. Kill continuously, one after the other. Leave no child, plant, or tree. Kill their beasts, from camels to donkeys.” My first reaction to this was not one that questioned  the statement– instead I felt sympathetic.  Given that I am not usually sympathetic to genocide ideology,  I’m decided to dedicate  this post  to my gut reaction……. Read the rest of this entry »

Rwanda Commorates 14 years— but is it all propoganda?

April 9, 2008

“Let us commemorate genocide while fighting against genocide ideology; render assistance to survivors while working for development” is the official slogan for the 14th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. The motto itself strikes me as awkward. It is a highly politicized message. The current administration in Rwanda is particularly concerned with genocide ideology and what they consider to be the spread of the ideology.

In reality, they are concerned about opposition to the government. The government has done as much as it possibly can to remain in power by silencing dissidents, whether by restricting free press or imprisoning without evidence.

One of the key ways for them to stay in power is to continually position themselves as the victim. This week is a perfect way to maintain their position as a victim and to highlight their victim status in the eyes of the world. By continually bringing up their victim status as seen through the genocide, the government continues to be positioned on a platform above scruitny. Its okay for them to do x, we think, because so many of their people were murdered.

In reality, it is not okay for them to do anything that any other government should not be able to do. They cannot imprision without evidence or terrorize people for what they are thinking. Their government is just as accountable as any other irregardless of what has happened.

Yet, I really do like the second line of the motto which mentions “survivors”. Survivors is a unifying term for both the victim and the aggressor. Everyone survived the genocide and together they will work for development. I simply hope that the onus is on the survivors and not on the position of themselves as victims. What are your thoughts on the genocide and the message of the government? Have I gotten it all wrong?

Los Angeles Times on Russian position on Ukraine

April 8, 2008

I found this article so interesting that I wanted to include it in its entirety…..

Last week, Russia’s lower house of parliament passed a resolution insisting that Josef Stalin’s man-made 1932-33 famine — called the Holodomor in Ukrainian — wasn’t genocide.

Virtually no one, including the Russians, disputes that the Soviet government was involved in the deliberate forced starving of millions of people. But the Russian resolution indignantly insists: “There is no historical proof that the famine was organized along ethnic lines.” It notes that victims included “different peoples and nationalities living largely in agricultural areas” of the Soviet Union.

Translation: We didn’t kill millions of farmers and their families because they were Ukrainians, we killed millions of Ukrainians because they were farmers.

And that’s all it takes to be acquitted of genocide. Read the rest of this entry »

The Art of Survival

April 7, 2008

Cambodians are using art to discuss the Khmer Rogue genocide; they are also using it to heal. The exhibit, named “The Art of Survival”, incorporates the art work of both survivors of the genocide and the children of survivors. The art ranges from contemporary abstract depictions to more formulaic representations. Together it is a means of healing and also cultivating the nascent Cambodian art scene.

Art, the article mentioned, is a marker of development. Its a marker primarily because in order for people to make art there must be enough of a structure in society where its feasible for people to engage in non-subsistence work and enough free time to engage with art. The occurrence of free time and non-subsistence labor illustrate a society that is on its way “upward”. Therefore, the emergence of an art scene in Cambodia points to the way in which society is emerging from under the shadow of both genocide and the Khmer Rogue. Read the rest of this entry »

Ukraine- Famine or Genocide, Russia knows Best

April 3, 2008

ukfam.jpgRussian lawmakers yesterday passed a resolution, which officially stated that the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s was not genocides. Mounting Ukrainian pressure and a misconception by US President Bush pushed for reconsideration of the issue as genocide.

The 1930s famine was engineered by the Russian government to force peasants off their private plots of land and into collective farms. (Read more about this in this book). Ukraine, being the most agriculturally rich, suffered the greatest of all Soviet satellites. Its people starved to death after having their grain seized and being forced to remain on their land. Read the rest of this entry »

John McCain’s genocide– The Butcher of Black Mesa

April 2, 2008

I’m not sure why there are so many connections between John McCain’s name and the term genocide out there but I’m starting to find it a little bit worrisome…..

John McCain may be partially response for the systematic removal or mistreatment of the Di’neah in Arizona. He has been pivotal in legislation which forcibly relocated thousands from their homelands to radioactive grounds, forged signatures of tribal elder, impounded their cattle and sheep, demolished their spiritual lands and placed the Hopi (an unrelated native group) Tribal Council in charge of their care. Read the rest of this entry »

Is genocide a necessary evil?

April 2, 2008

Thank you for your thoughtful responses on yesterday’s topic. In response, I must admit that my knowledge of the Azeri genocide is significantly limited. However it has raised questions in my head.

Can we have mutual genocides, if we can have mutual massacres? Is the gravity of the event so great as to be called a genocide? Is the labeling mere propaganda? I would like to respond to the first question and open the other two up to your responses, I also encourage you to respond to this. Read the rest of this entry »

Azerbaijan Genocide- recognized

April 1, 2008

Yesterday was the 90th anniversary of the Azerbaijan genocide. A time when, the Dashnak-Bolshevik government of S. Shaumyan seized power and from March to April slaughtered Azerbaijanis in Baku, Shamakhi and other regions. During that period, Turkey extended a helping hand to Azerbaijan and rescued the Azerbaijani population from being killed one.

Israel, in its growing dialogue with others who have suffered genocide, formally recognized the historic event by holding its own events. An event held in the House of Diaspora in Rishon Le Tsion city, Israel was attended by representatives of Israeli Parliament, Mayor of Rishon Le Tsion, members of diplomatic missions in Israel and representatives of the Azerbaijani community in Israel. Read the rest of this entry »

Does genocide lead to peace?

March 31, 2008

I read this passage in the Economist:

Brussels types fret that such squabbling undermines Europe’s boast to have moved beyond the grudges and resentments of ethnic nationalism. But here too the reality may be more complicated. An essay in the current issue of Foreign Affairs makes the incendiary suggestion that the EU has kept the peace for 60 years thanks to nationalism, not despite it. The author, Jerry Muller of the Catholic University of America, argues that the brutal genocides and forced population shifts of the 20th century helped to make peace possible. With a few exceptions (he cites Belgium as one), Europe’s ethnic and state boundaries now match (ie, most Germans live in Germany, Greece is dominated by Greeks and so on). That has removed a big reason for fighting. Thus the post-war peace may not mark a defeat for ethnic nationalism, but rather demonstrates its “success”. A more recent example of such success, just recognised by most EU countries, is Kosovo. Read the rest of this entry »