Published on December 28, 2007
A Framework forTeaching aboutGenocide: A Framework for Teaching about Genocide David H. Lindquist, Ph.D. Assistant Professor School of Education Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN Regional Museum Educator United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Washington, DC Outline of the Workshop: Outline of the Workshop Goals of the Workshop A Personal View of Genocide Rationale for Studying Genocide Defining “Genocide” Historical Background A Century (and Beyond) of Genocide The Eight Stages of Genocide America Responds to Genocide Identifying Genocidal Situations Current Genocidal Situations “Current Emergency: Darfur” Confronting Genocide on Three Levels “What Can I Do?” Developing Genocide Curricula References Annual Fall Conference of the Michigan Council for the Social Studies Boyne Falls, MI October 30, 2006 Goals of the Workshop: Goals of the Workshop Not to discuss individual cases of genocide To establish a rationale for studying genocide To set an historical context for studying genocide To outline the process of genocide To consider possible responses to current genocide To propose ways that students can be involved in anti-genocide efforts To personalize the study of genocide A Personal View of Genocide: A Personal View of Genocide “A Good Man in Hell: Roméo Dellaire and the Rwanda Genocide” DVD Produced by Committee on Conscience United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Rationale for Studying Genocide: Rationale for Studying Genocide Not Never Again because it has happened Again and Again To understand the workings of governments (particularly the U.S. government) in responding to genocide To discuss and promote involvement in democratic citizenship To encourage engagement in efforts to halt contemporary genocide To build general historical knowledge Slide6: “… what schools do not teach may be as important as what they do teach. I argue this position because ignorance is not simply a void; it has important effects on the kinds of options one is able to consider, the alternatives one can examine, and the perspectives with which one can view a situation or problem” (Eisner, 1979, p. 83). Rationale: The Null Theory of Curriculum Development Defining “Genocide”: Defining “Genocide” “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (December 9, 1948) Genocide as an international crime Convention signatory nations “undertake to prevent and punish” genocide Any of several actions intended to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group Slide8: Actions Defined as Genocidal Killing members of the targeted group Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the targeted group Deliberately inflicting on the targeted group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the targeted group Forcibly transferring children of the targeted group to another group Historical Background: Historical Background 1915: Armenia “Race murder” (Henry Morgenthau) Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), Polish-Jewish attorney, urges European governments to criminalize the destruction of ethnic and religious groups (Power, 2002) The term “genocide” did not exist before 1944 Lemkin coined the term to define the state- sponsored, systematic annihilation of European Jewry that was being conducted by Nazi Germany Slide10: Etymology: geno- (Greek): race or tribe -cide (Latin): to kill Lemkin’s definition: “a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of the essential functions of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups” (1944, p. 80) Lemkin, working for the U.S. Department of War, publicized the need to define and then oppose the Holocaust War crimes trials moved genocide from a descriptive term to a legal format Slide11: 12/09/48: U.N. approves the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” Distinction between human rights and genocide Human rights concern rights of the individual Bill of Rights (U.S. Constitution) U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Genocide refers to crimes against groups: People are targeted “… not in their individual capacity but as members of the national group” (Lemkin, 1944, p. 80) that is being attacked Slide12: Cold War era (1948-1991): Various genocidal or near-genocidal situations occur 1988: U.S. ratifies the Genocide Convention 1990s: “A decade of genocide” Current situations: Sudan / Darfur; Sudan / Nuba Mountains; Chechnya A Century (and Beyond)of Genocide: A Century (and Beyond) of Genocide Namibia (Herero) Armenia Europe (Nazi Holocaust) Cambodia Iraq (Kurds) Bosnia Kosovo Rwanda Chechnya Sudan: Darfur The Eight Stages of Genocide: The Eight Stages of Genocide Classification Symbolization Dehumanization Organization Polarization Identification Extermination Denial (Source: Stanton, G. H. ) Steps 1 and 2: Steps 1 and 2 Classification “Us and them” Ethnicity, race, religion, nationality Occurs in bipolar societies that lack universal institutions Symbolization Identify groups by name or code words Distinguish groups by markings A common factor in all societies Stages 3 and 4: Stages 3 and 4 Dehumanization The group’s humanity is denied Members equated with animals, vermin, insects, or disease Key step in overcoming limits on murder Organization Usually by the state, sometimes informally Special army units or militia formed Plans made for mass murder Stages 5 and 6: Stages 5 and 6 Polarization Drive various groups apart Use of propaganda Forbid intergroup contacts Target moderates to “silence the middle” Identification Force target group members to wear symbols Develop lists of “who” and “where” Segregate physically Stages 7 and 8: Stages 7 and 8 Extermination Mass killing begins “Extermination” to the killers because victims are not seen as being human Collaboration of armed forces in some cases Denial Leads to further genocidal situations Bodies dug up and burned Witnesses intimidated Investigations blocked America Responds to Genocide: America Responds to Genocide 1915: Armenia Morgenthau: “Race murder” Constraints Wilson pledge to “Keep us out of war” Diplomatic protocol to host country Teddy Roosevelt called for action Americans returning from Turkey described what was happening to the Armenians State Department directive: “Deplore the suffering, cannot take active steps” Slide20: “America’s nonresponse to the Turkish horrors established patterns that would be repeated” (Power, 2002, p. 13) Reasons for this pattern (Power, 2002, p. 13) Reluctance to break neutrality (non- interventionism) Reluctance to denounce a fellow state Impact of atrocities blunted by uncertainty about the accuracy of reports Rationalization that a firm U.S. stand would make little difference Humanitarian aid to those affected But leave the perpetrators alone Slide21: Controversies about American policy during the Holocaust (e.g., “Could/should the U.S. have bombed Auschwitz?”) Pattern of bureaucratic indifference to Nazism’s victims (e.g., battles between Departments of State and Treasury) U.S. did not sign the Genocide Convention until 1988 due to concerns about national sovereignty “Did post-World War II genocides ‘measure up’ to the specific genocide that would Never Again be allowed to occur?” (Power, 2002, p. 503-504 [paraphrased]) Slide22: Political dynamics of the Cold War and other international tensions (e.g., U.S. support of Saddam Hussein’s actions against Iran) Idea that post-World War II genocides tended to occur in regions that were outside the realm of America’s national interests or that action might interfere with those interests “Should American lives be risked by intervening in violent situations?” When the U.S. has acted (e.g., threatened sanctions vs. Iraq , diplomatic intervention in Rwanda , NATO actions in Bosnio and Kosovo [1990s]), positive results achieved Summary of American Policy: Summary of American Policy Despite media coverage, Americans are “slow to muster the imagination needed to reckon with evil.” Public indifference leads to domestic political stance that a lack of action will not cause any political harm U.S. government avoids involvement in the steps leading to genocide in addition to a reluctance to send troops when violence occurs Various aspects of “political spin” (Source: Power, 2002, pp. xvii-xiii) Summary Statement:America Responds to Genocide: Summary Statement: America Responds to Genocide “The real reason the United States did not do what it could and should have done was not a lack of knowledge or influence but a lack of will. Simply put, American leaders did not act because they did not want to. They believed that genocide was wrong, but they were not prepared to invest the military, financial, diplomatic, or domestic political capital needed to stop it. The U.S. policies described in this book were not the accidental products of neglect. They were concrete choices made by this country’s most influential decisionmakers after unspoken and explicit weighing of costs and benefits” (Power, 2002, p. 508). Identifying Genocidal Situations: Identifying Genocidal Situations WATCH (a serious potential for the eruption of of mass violence that could lead to genocide exists) WARNING (organized violence that threatens to become genocidal is underway) EMERGENCY (acts of genocide or related crimes are occurring or immediately threatened) Current Genocidal Situations: Current Genocidal Situations The Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has identified the following current situations: Chechnya WATCH Sudan: Nuba Mountains WATCH Sudan: Darfur EMERGENCY Current Emergency: Darfur: Current Emergency: Darfur DVD Produced by Committee on Conscience United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Confronting Genocide onThree Levels: Confronting Genocide on Three Levels Preventing Responding Punishing “What Can I Do?”: “What Can I Do?” Keep informed Contact the media Communicate with the government Support relief efforts Get engaged in your community Support the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s anti-genocide efforts Developing Genocide Curricula: Developing Genocide Curricula Most students will have little or no background knowledge about genocide except for the Holocaust, which may or may not be labeled as genocide Therefore, begin with a general discussion of genocide Then move to the discussion of a specific case of genocide (or cases, if desired) Establishing the historical framework(s) in which the case(s) occurred is critical Slide31: Comparative/contrastive studies can be very effective Avoid “comparisons of pain” (“This genocide is worse than that genocide.”) Personalize the study of genocide Examples of sources to use Zlata’s Diary Into the Quick of Life: The Rwanda Genocide - The Survivors Speak Shake Hands with the Devil Grief of My Heart: Memoirs of a Chechen Surgeon Be judicious in using graphic imagery References: References Information is taken from the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (<www.ushmm.org>) unless otherwise noted. Eisner, E. (1979). The educational imagination: On the design and evaluation of school programs. New York: Macmillan. Lemkin, R. (1944). Axis rule in occupied Europe: Laws of occupation, analysis of government, proposals for redress. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Price. (2005 edition available through Lawbook Exchange) Power, S. (2002). A problem from Hell: America in the age of genocide. New York: Basic Books. Stanton, G. H. (2006). The eight stages of genocide. Accessed from the world wide web August 30, 2006. <www.genocidewatch.org/ 8stages2006.htm>.