Saturday, December 6, 2008

How to avoid Genocide

Study genocides that have happened, and vow not to let it happen again.

Here's an article from that talks about the ordinary people that served as concentration camp guards and doctors, often former neighbors or colleagues. These weren't murderers or sociopaths, at least not initially. They were regular people manipulated by their governments into thinking in an "us or them" mentality.

Below is a video of a survivor of the Bosnian Muslim Genocide from the early 1990s. It's not for the faint of heart. I urge you to watch it, and other like it.

It touches directly on a situation in my own background. My grandparents were escaped Jews during WWII, and they lost many close family members to the Holocaust, so it's a topic that has always been a part of my life. I've often wondered if I would be strong enough to survive the horrors that took the lives of so many of my relatives and people like them. But then, I try and turn it around, and wonder if I could be one of the heartless ones who did the killing. And the answer to both questions is "I don't know." I'd like to think I'd be strong enough to survive. And I'd like to think I'd be moral enough to not be party to genocide. But the undeniable truth is that you never know what you are capable of, until you are actually in the situation.

It's probably a fruitless wish, but may we never again need to be in either position. That's my wish for the world.

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