Posts tagged genocide.

Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day: Confronting Denialism ›


During the Armenian genocide in 1915, an unknown number of young Armenians survived because they were adopted as daughters and sons of Muslim families. Many lived the rest of their lives with Turkish, Kurdish, or Arabic names and identities to escape the forced deportation and systematic murders of the Armenian population by the Ottoman Empire. Until recently, accounts of these survivors have largely been silenced. Professor Ayse Altinay’s ground-breaking new book on this subject, Les Petits-Enfants, focuses on these stories and on the second and third generations.

April 24 marks Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day. While the international community has long accepted the mass murder of the Armenians as genocide, this day of remembrance reminds us, too, that even today—in 2012— the Turkish government denies that historical crime. Indeed, they staunchly reject responsibility. This denialism—and the re-writing of history their stance entails— has ramifications which command our attention. It creates everyday silences that make life difficult for the generations that Altinay writes about.

Part of the denialist position by the Turkish state can be explained by the link between militarism and nationalism. Laws such as Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code make it a crime to insult “Turkishness”, and set the stage to prosecute public intellectuals, historians, and activists. Further, they contribute to the framing of how the Armenian genocide can be publicly discussed. They factor into how history text books and curriculums are written in Turkey. Who is deemed responsible? Who is regarded as “other” or non-Turkish? In the hazy upholding of nationalism and ‘national security,’ what is left off the page and out of the historical narrative?

As a Latin Americanist, I ask these questions from a comparative perspective. Denying the Armenian genocide is not just about protection of Turkish nationalism. Nor do these questions arise only within contexts of genocide. In post-conflict countries around the globe, states and governmental institutions struggle with how they write (or re-write) history in order to protect national interests. And scholars, activists, teachers, journalists, and families grapple with how to reconcile those stories with their own lived experiences.

Professor Taner Akçam at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University is an example of one such person. Akçam was the first Turkish scholar to speak openly about the Genocide against the Armenians, and to overtly challenge the moral and political stance by the Turkish government in its denial of Ottoman responsibility. He holds the only endowed Professorship in the world dedicated to research and teaching on this subject. His stance: denialism of the Armenian genocide cannot, and must not, be tolerated.

But this is a position that is still wildly contested in Turkey. Further, he along with many fear prosecution for these views by the Turkish government under Article 301. Akçam has been the target of death threats and intimidation from Turkish ultranationalists. Data released by PEN International notes that Turkey has the world’s highest imprisonment rate for journalists. By the end of 2011, according to the figures, there were 30 writers in prison in Turkey and 70 on trial.

Yet thoughtful and effective activism and scholarship continues on this subject. In October 2011, the European Court of Human Rights ruled favorable in the case of Taner Akçam v. Turkey, and upheld that Article 301 violates Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Indeed, the courts agreed that he faces risk of unjust prosecution, and ruled that his freedom of expression was violated.

Landmark human rights cases such as this matter. And they matter because they set the stage for what can and cannot be taught, and for how history is to be written. They challenge and expand what is deemed too contested, or too political. The Turkish state has obfuscated information—deliberately concealing or destroying artifacts. Hidden files, barred access, and lack of transparency make the Armenian genocide an ongoing challenge for historians and educators—and for the survivors, children, and grand-children of survivors.

Framing and terminology carry weight. Partly because they have an impact on how we teach young people, what kind of curriculum is written into text books, and the types of public scholarship and debate that are able to take place. And terminology is important because it can prompt external intervention from other countries. These are not just quibbles over language; investments to deny or re-write history are often rooted in questions about resources and political interests.

And so, on this day of remembrance, let us move the conversation beyond commemoration or even recognition. Let us confront denialism: past and present.

(via mohandasgandhi)

Rwanda Remembers Genocide 18 Years Later ›

The Rwandan genocide, one of the most devastating massacres in recent decades, is estimated to have killed 800,000 people. President Paul Kagame lit a flame of remembrance at the memorial that will burn for 100 days, marking the length of the time during which the tragedy’s victims - mainly Tutsis and moderate Hutus - lost their lives.

Thousands of Rwandans gathered in the national stadium later to remember lost loved ones and to hear Kagame address the country. The president offered not only words of remembrance, but also words of caution.

“We will always remember them so that even those who did not experience it may learn the history of the genocide and its causes, and know lessons that will make it impossible to repeat it.” 

Kagame went on to admonish countries that harbor fugitives suspected of planning and participating in the genocide.

“There is little effort to apprehend them and when this happens it is a token meant to blind us and give us the impression that they are doing justice.”

Read more…

  April 08, 2012 at 02:12pm


As the vanquished Hutus fled into Tanzania, they had to leave at the border the weapons with which they had committed the genocide, Rwanda, 1994. 

[Credit : James Nachtwey]



Rwanda, 1994. Survivor of Hutu death camp.

[Credit : James Nachtwey]

(via sweetcalamity-deactivated201208)


National Day of Mourning / Happy Thanksgiving

(via handfu1ofdust-deactivated201201)


Statistics of the Genocide

The Rwandan Genocide of 1994 was a truly traumatic and horrifying event. It was one of the most brutal acts of murder ever committed.

  • Over the course of 100 days from April 6 to July 16 1994, an estimated 800,000 to 1 million Tutsis and some moderate Hutus were slaughtered in the Rwandan genocide. A recent report has estimated the number to be close to 2 million.
  • During this period of terrible slaughter, more than 6 men, women and children were murdered every minute of every hour of every day. This brutally efficient killing was maintained for more than 3 months.
  • There are between 300,000 to 400,000 survivors of the genocide
  • Between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped during the 100 days of genocide. Up to 20,000 children were born to women as a result of rape.
  • More than 67% of women who were raped in 1994 during the genocide were infected with HIV and AIDS. In many cases, this resulted from a systematic and planned use of rape by HIV+ men as a weapon of genocide.
  • There are 10 times as many widows than widowers – almost 50,000 widows of the genocide.
  • Nearly 100,000 survivors are aged between 14 and 21, of which 60,000 are categorised as very vulnerable.
  • 75,000 of survivors were orphaned as a result of the genocide.
  • Of those that survived the genocide over half the children stopped their schooling, because of poverty.
  • 40,000 survivors are still without shelter, many whose homes were destroyed in the genocide.
  • 7 in 10 survivors earn a monthly income of less than 5000 Rwandan Francs (Equivalent to 8 (eight) American Dollars)

(via crookedindifference)

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Celebrate the genocide of Native Americans with the slaughter of animals!

(via sweetcalamity-deactivated201208)


American History. Land of Liberty and Justice for All.

(via mutualaddiction)


Intended Consequences: Rwandan Children Born of Rape

An estimated 20,000 children were born of rapes that occurred during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Fifteen years later, the mothers of these children still face enormous challenges, not least of which is the stigma of bearing and raising a child fathered by a Hutu militiaman. Over the past three years, photographer Jonathan Torgovnik has made repeated visits to Rwanda to document the stories of these women. The portraits and testimonies featured in Intended Consequences offer intensely personal and honest accounts of these survivors’ experiences of the genocide, as well as their conflicted feelings about raising a child who is a palpable reminder of horrors endured.

(via crookedindifference)