Volume 9 FALL/WINTER 2002 Numbers 3/4
on Contributor's name to see the Abstract for their article
TO CALL GENOCIDE, GENOCIDE: RWANDA AND BEYOND
More Than Genocide:
Rwanda Revisited (Before and After 1994)
Afraid to Call
Genocide Genocide? Reflections on Rwanda and Beyond
"We Call It
Genocide": Soviet Deportations and Repression in the Memory of
The United States
and the "G-Word": Genocide and Denial Before and Beyond Rwanda
Leopards in the Temple: Selected Essays 1990-2000
Michael R. Gardner,
Harry Truman and Civil Rights: Moral Courage and Political Risks
The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount
Stanley J. Grenz
and John R. Franke, Beyond Foundationalism
Mirko D. Grmek,
ed. Western Medical Thought from Antiquity to the Middle Ages
Peter C. Hodgson,
The Mystery Beneath the Real: Theology in the Fiction of George Eliot
Justus George Lawler,
Popes and Politics: Reform, Resentment, and the Holocaust
The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment
Robert T. Pennock,
ed., Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics: Philosophical,
Theological, and Scientific Perspectives
John K. Roth, Holocaust
Pat Shipman, The
Evolution of Racism: Human Differences and the Use and Abuse of Science
Pat Shipman, The
Man Who Found the Missing Link: Eugene Dubois and His Lifelong Quest
to Prove Darwin Right
A New Kind of Science
ed., Encounter With Mystery: Reflections on l'Arche and Living with
Time and again in the latter half of the twentieth century, genocide has been perpetrated, and for the most part, the international community has responded in a sorely inadequate fashion. In part, this is due to the fact that genocidal events are often not deemed genocide in a timely fashion. Among the reasons for the latter are: (1) ambiguities in the definition of genocide; (2) inadequate intelligence or information gathering sources; (3) a tentativeness by scholars and others to deem a situation a genocide until they are positive it constitutes such; and (4) the avoidance by government officials and others to deem a situation "genocidal" since they would be obligated to act to halt it.
Two emblematic instances of genocide in the twentieth century-the Nazi Holocaust and the Rwandan Itsembabwoko-represent markedly different outcomes for their respective survivors. Whereas Zionism enabled the renaissance of the Jewish people in a homeland far from the gas chambers, the Tutsis remain close to their killing fields. They also still live as a minority (albeit one in tenuous power) in a region of continued insecurity. Strategies for social reconciliation are necessary, complicating the psychological process of healing for survivors. These strategies include national and international trials; community-based tribunals (gacaca); and state institutions for the promotion of human rights, national unity, and civic education. Overwhelming numbers of accused perpetrators, the (im)morality of capital punishment as punishment for genocide, and sheer Realpolitik further diminish the prospects of achieving justice. In Rwanda, unlike Israel, post-genocide survivorship occurs within a context of general poverty: this too greatly impedes the healing process.
The decade following the spring 1994 genocide has been one of continuous mass killings both in and outside the borders of Rwanda. The task of post-genocide national reconstruction has been arduous and is by no means near completion. Each episode of large-scale killing raises the fear of another escalation to genocidal violence, regardless of which ethnic or political group is victimized. Scholars and policy makers must take care not to see the crisis in Rwanda in terms of a narrow chronological and geographic framework. Instead they should regard the April-June 1994 genocidal killings as but one episode in a chain of tragic mass killings. To study a genocide in vacuo, out of context, is to isolate and parochialize it. What happened in 1994 was a radicalization of a series-a continuum-of violent outbursts in an extreme, volatile region.
The personal reflections of one child of a survivor-escapee of the Holocaust of the Second World War provide the foundation for reflection on a number of related topics, including the work of Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), and the role of institutional religion and theological understandings regarding genocide. Undergirding these reflections, however, is a primary concern with both the ethical responsibilities and moral mandates of those who stand in opposition to genocide.
The political use and abuse of historical memory is explored by describing the process whereby the memory of the deportations and repression that occurred during 1940-41 and 1944-53 in Lithuania has been transformed into the state-supported remembrance of a "Soviet genocide." During Soviet times, memories of deportation and repression were used by dissidents and diaspora activists to delegitimatize the existing political order, but, by and large, such memories were preserved only in the private sphere. The collective memory of deportation and repression was rekindled and became a unifying factor in society during the time of national revival (1986-1992). During this time, the experience of deportation and repression became known as "genocide." Later, this memory was transformed into institutionalized history.
The story of American foreign policy and the prevention and punishment of genocide since the Holocaust is an intriguing and disturbing tale of being afraid to call genocide "genocide." The record clearly shows that the United States often denied or refused to speak of genocide in places like Rwanda and Bosnia. Equally important, however, has been a different form of denial: the United States' willingness to deny itself the opportunity to assume a critical leadership role in the prevention of genocide, the saving of millions of lives, and in significant normative evolution in international affairs under the auspices of the United Nations Genocide Convention. Four cases in particular-he ratification of the Genocide Convention, and the American response to genocide in Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda-bring these stark failures of foreign policy and leadership to light.
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