Category Archives: Genocide

Holocaust Remembrance Day: Never Forget

By Michelle

The horrors of the Nazi Holocaust shocked the conscience of the world. Hitler’s machinery of mass murder methodically led 12 million civilians to their death, and, upon his demise, sparked a revolution in international law and politics that forever changed the landscape of our global systems — even if actual implementation of the new norms remains lagging.

Today, on the Israeli holiday of Yom HaShoah, the world pauses to commemorate the six million Jews lost to the Nazi’s campaign of hatred. Events, small and large, are scheduled today and tomorrow throughout the world, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is holding a week-long “Days of Remembrance,” which this year honors the Allied soldiers who liberated the Nazi death camps at the end of World War II, and were among the first to uncover the sheer brutality of Nazi rule. As General Dwight D. Eisenhower remarked after a visit to Buchenwald: Continue reading

The Definition Debacle (or, The Many Meanings of Genocide)

By Michelle

11 December 1948 United Nations, New York: Mr. Ales Bebler (Yugoslavia), signing of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

It’s a more exciting debate than you think. Not excited? Ok, then it’s an incredibly important debate with significant ramifications on (the theoretical possibility of) international response to genocide. Read on.

The International Legal Definition

Following Raphael Lemkin’s footsteps, the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (or the UN Convention on Genocide, UNCG) defines genocide as: Continue reading

Being Social For Social Justice

By MGJack

Do you Blog, Twitter, Facebook or MySpace for social justice? Would it not be great to go to just one place and add your post just once and it goes everywhere you have a social presence? I have come across an up and coming service called Hubze that will do just that for you. Please read how Hubze could really help you spread the word about your social justice cause .

What is Hubze?

Just imagine this. Would it not be great to have only ONE place you had to go online to be social? Right now many of us have to perform the overwhelming task of signing onto and posting to all our social networking sites. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FriendFinder, Ning and all these other social networks…and the truth is…it is a lot of work. I mean should social networking not be fun and easy to do so we in fact do it. Add to that the fact that many of us use social networking as a business application promoting our business and building are brands.

How do we fix this? Enter Hubze. Hubze plans to simplify your life by giving you a platform where you only have to go to ONE place to enter any content. One place to blog, update, share, chat, email, market and search. One place to simplify your online life.

Hubze is not going to be just another social network. Hubze is not going to be just another online marketing system. Hubze is going to be the ONE STOP SHOP you need! And at Hubze simplifying your online life is only the beginning.

Hubze is all about what it’s founders call “Elegant Organization” This concept allows you to bring all of your social interactions into one place. Twitter, Facebook, Direct Matches, Linkedin, BetterNetworker, Myspace, etc. and post to all of them at the push of a button from one single platform. The Hubze MeCard is only the tip of the iceburg here and will be the first of many other services to come. Recently Hubze let out of the bag that they will provide a service that will allow anyone to customize the look and feel of there Facebook page similar to the customization folks enjoy in MySpace. The HubzeCard will always be a free service for all who sign up. For more information on Hubze and to get the HubzeCard service free go to:  for full details. You must be invited by another Hubze member like me so Click and join for FREE.


Holocaust Remembrance Day

This year, Holocaust Remembrance Day is Sunday, April 11, 2010, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is asking communities across the nation to organize observances during April 11–18, 2010.

The Museum has designated “Stories of Freedom: What You Do Matters” as the theme for the 2010 Days of Remembrance. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II, and we will pay tribute to the U.S. soldiers who helped defeat Nazi Germany and liberate Holocaust survivors from years of suffering. These stories of freedom remind us that individuals have the power to make a difference.

We invite you to join the nation in remembrance. The Museum has created the Planning Guide and Resources for Annual Holocaust Commemoration, a free CD/DVD set filled with advice and ready-to-use videos and resources for organizing civic, military, and interfaith observances. This resource is free and may be obtained by filling out the Request Form. In addition, you may also view these and other resources on the Museum’s special Days of Remembrance Web site. We also invite you to share your thoughts and experiences on Days of Remembrance with the Museum and other citizens through our web site and various social media sites.

Remembrance not only obligates us to memorialize those who were killed during the Holocaust, but it also reminds us of the fragility of democracy and the need for citizens to be vigilant in the protection of democratic ideals.

Thank you for joining communities across the nation as we remember the victims as well as survivors of the Holocaust.

For questions contact:


Book review: Left To Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza

Reposted from: A Passion To Understand

This is the book that started it all for me again.  I had always known at the back of my mind that sooner or later I was going to have to face up to my horror and read up about the Rwandan genocide.  Once I picked up this book in late 2007, it started a process of discovery for me and culminated in me forming this blog.

There have been several books written on the genocide by people from all walks of life.  Sociologists, journalists, a United Nations general and a hotel operator have all written excellent and compelling books but this book was written by a normal, everyday woman.  Immaculée Ilibagiza was a student in 1994, just like me, and she had gone home for the April holidays, just like I used to do.  The difference is that Immaculée is Tutsi.

Left to Tell is the story of how her entire family was killed in the genocide and how she was hidden in the bathroom of a local pastor along with seven other women for 91 days.  There were days on end when the pastor could not secret away food to them as he had not even told his family that he was hiding the women and they suffered from starvation, dehydration and the wasting of their limbs.  They could not stand, exercise or eve stretch their legs.

Immaculée is a devout Catholic and in this book she talks of the miracles that occurred and how her faith carried her through the most trying period of her life.  I’m not a religious person but I found this book to be absolutely inspiring and incredible. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to see what happened in the genocide through the eyes of a survivor.  This is an excellent introduction to anyone wishing to know more about the events but who does not feel ready to ready one of the more technical or complex books.  Just make sure that you have a box of tissues handy because this book is absolutely touching.

Immaculée has written two more books since this one and maintains a blog too in which she speaks of her faith and the journey she has take since 1994.  The blog is simply called Immaculée.



A discussion with Washington Post reporter Shankar Vedantam, author of The Hidden Brain

Helena Rubinstein Auditorium
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

How do we explain the actions of perpetrators, collaborators and bystanders in genocide? Fundamental questions about human behavior raised by the Holocaust continue to be debated in light of Rwanda, Bosnia and 21st century mass killings. Join us for a discussion with Washington Post reporter and author, Shankar Vedantam, whose new book, The Hidden Brain, explores how groups and unconscious bias shape human behavior and decision making.

Shankar Vedantam is a national science writer at the Washington Post. Between 2006 and 2009, Vedantam authored the weekly Department of Human Behavior column in the Washington Post. He is the winner of several journalism awards and is a 2009-2010 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University

Reservations are requested at:


Jewish Responses to the Holocaust: Teaching the Victims’ Perspective  June 2-15, 2010

The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) announces the 2010 Silberman Seminar for college/university faculty from all disciplines who are teaching or preparing to teach Holocaust or Holocaust-related courses. The study of the Holocaust has recently shifted to include a broader analysis of the voices of the victims through diaries, letters, community documents, artistic representations, and other forms of primary and secondary sources that focus on the victims’ response to the Holocaust. This year’s Silberman Seminar will introduce participants to the variety of Jewish responses to the Holocaust—the largest victim group—and will equip instructors with the knowledgebase and pedagogical techniques required to teach this complex topic. Continue reading

Auschwitz: A Young Handicapped Child

Reposted from the blog: Grab A Chair

I am so scared I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what is to become of me, or my family, and I fear for them.

I don’t know why we are here, or what we may have done to have pissed off the people who are in charge of this camp. Ever since we came here, we have been treated very badly, and all I have heard since we have been here are people yelling in a language I don’t understand, or people screaming or crying as they were seperated from loved ones. I haven’t seen my mama or my papa in days, and I am worried what may have become of them.

I have also been treated very badly, and I have been made to lie on this hard, cold table, while strange men examined me thoroughly and have taken away my crutches and my braces. (I was born with weak legs.) I haven’t been able to get around since except by dragging myself around, and when I don’t come when they call, they beat me repeatedly, and they laugh when I cry out for help or ask for my braces and crutches, or when they strike me with a thick stick. On bare skin it hurts so horribly, and I am so covered with bruises and cuts it’s a wonder I have any skin left after they have beaten me! They call me an “undesirable” (whatever that means, but it can’t be good!), and they keep telling me that they have “plans” for me. Whenever I ask what they are going to do, they just laugh in speak in that ugly, gutteral language of theirs and tell me to shut up and to mind my own business.

I have had to have my hair shaved off, and I wear ill-fitting clothes; and I also have had to go around naked; and with other people looking at me, it is uncomfortable, and it makes me very unhappy. It is very cold here in these camps, and people have gotten sick; and disease has ran rampant, and people have gotten so bad they have died. There is typhus about, and I am scared that I will get it next (that is, if I don’t get beaten to death or whatever plans the Germans have for me)! I have eaten but very little, and what I HAVE eaten has tasted nasty, and I would much rather eat poop or drink pee than to eat or drink the awful stuff that the Germans leave for us here at the camp!

Life has been very hard for all of us, and every day, I see more and more bodies piling up, or smell the horrifying stench of burning flesh or hair or hear people crying or screaming or see people being beaten, and it is all very scary, especially to a little boy like myself. (I am only eight years old.) It is during these times where I wish I could see my mama or papa again, and I wish I were still at home in Warsaw! I wish I were still at home in my little bed or safe in mama’s arms while she would sing to me; I still can remember her telling me that she loved me so much, and that I was her angel! I also remember papa’s strong arms and his big, booming laugh; but then the War came, and it changed everything; and now I am here, and I don’t know what I may have done to deserve being here at Oswiecim (Auschwitz, as it is known by today)! I am only a little boy who can’t walk, and I didn’t ask to be captured by the Germans or taken to this strange and awful place where death is so real and horrifying! I didn’t ask to be born a Jew, and I certainly didn’t ask to be born handicapped! Now it seems that is exactly why I am here, at Oswiecim, at this camp, and I am so scared!!

All I can do now while I wait is pray for God to take me now to Heaven or to ask Him to stop all these killings; I don’t know if I can take much more of all the screaming or crying or the sickening smells that fill the air or my nostrils!

(A day after this was written, little Ruben Abraham Ostrowicz was gassed to death. He was all but eight years old, an innocent little victim of the Holocaust. In just three years, over 1.5 million people died just at Auschwitz; but a grand total of anywhere between 6,000,000 and 12,000,000 people perished in the Holocaust.)


Genocide Deniers

Reposted from: A Passion to Understand

Last week a genocide denier commented on my blog and effectively denied that the Srebrenica massacre had occurred.  Actually, a couple of years ago before the mass graves were discovered, they denied there had been a massacre at all.  They claimed that the 8,000 men and boys were cowards who had cleverly fled town to avoid the conflict.  Unfortunately, in their expression of grief, the families and survivors were unable to accept that their loved ones were dead and so the situation perpetuated until the graves were discovered and unearthed by the UN.

With the discovery of the graves, the tactic of hate had to be altered.  When this person commented, he claimed that the Bosniaks, the Bosnian Muslims, were tired of not getting their own way in the Balkan war and so they orchestrated the massacre to force NATO involvement.  These deniers in fact can’t really make up their minds precisely how to spread their hatred as the links he posted suggest that the Bosniaks were holding Al-Qaeda training camps and therefore, in the name of the War On Terror it is only right and true that 8,000 men and boys were killed at Srebrenica.

That is right – six years before the attacks on the US and the start of the War on Terror, the Serbs magically thought to purge the world of the Al-Qaeda terrorists.  The problem with that kind of hatred is they simply aim to make our blood pressure rise but their arguments are always fundamentally flawed.

I have expressed my revulsion at genocide deniers before in my entry Right and Wrong.  This time I felt quite appalled afterwards as I had replied to the comment and that means that anyone who had previously commented would have received my reply full of fury and vitriol in their inbox.  I feel that I should apologise.  Not for what I said but for the manner in which it was executed.  Calling a commenter “scum of the earth” on your blog is not exactly the way to engender the respect of your readers or encourage further conversation and discourse.  My aim therefore will be to continue doing what I do and to weed these people out and expose their actions until the whole world knows that there is no use in them denying what they have done.


Happy and Blessed New Year From