Genocide Memorial Quotes

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My people are few. They resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain...There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea cover its shell-paved floor, but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now but a mournful memory.
Chief Seattle (Chief Seattle's Speech (1854) (Books of American Wisdom))
The West's post-Holocaust pledge that genocide would never again be tolerated proved to be hollow, and for all the fine sentiments inspired by the memory of Auschwitz, the problem remains that denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good.
Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families)
Diana searched her memory for everything she’d been told about mortals, the soft stuff—eating habits, body temperature, cultural norms. Unfortunately, her mother and her tutors were more focused on what Diana referred to as the Dire Warnings: War. Torture. Genocide. Pollution. Bad Grammar.
Leigh Bardugo (Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1))
But shame is not a pleasant feeling, and some Japanese politicians are always trying to change our children’s history textbooks so that these genocides and tortures are not taught to the next generation. By changing our history and our memory, they try to erase all our shame.
Ruth Ozeki (A Tale for the Time Being)
Never before in modern memory had a people who slaughtered another people, or in whose name the slaughter was carried out, been expected to live with the remainder of the people that was slaughtered, completely intermingled, in the same tiny communities, as one cohesive national society.
Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families)
The few surviving Armenians no longer ask to go home. They do not ask for restitution. They ask simply to have the memory of their obliteration acknowledged. It is a moral obsession, the lonely legacy passed onto the third and fourth generation who no longer speak Armenian but who carry within them the seeds of resentment that will not be quashed.
Chris Hedges (War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning)
Historians concluded that in the twentieth century about sixty genocides had occurred in the world, but not all of them entered historical memory. Historians said that historical memory was not part of history and memory was shifted from the historical to the psychological sphere, and this instituted a new mode of memory whereby it was no longer a question of memory of events but memory of memory.
Patrik Ouředník (Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century (Eastern European Literature))
Congratulations, now you know the single reason why the world is the way it is. You see the problem right away—everything we do requires cooperation in groups larger than a hundred and fifty. Governments. Corporations. Society as a whole. And we are physically incapable of handling it. So every moment of the day we urgently try to separate everyone on earth into two groups—those inside the sphere of sympathy and those outside. Black versus white, liberal versus conservative, Muslim versus Christian, Lakers fan versus Celtics fan. With us, or against us. Infected versus clean. “We simplify tens of millions of individuals down into simplistic stereotypes, so that they hold the space of only one individual in our limited available memory slots. And here is the key—those who lie outside the circle are not human. We lack the capacity to recognize them as such. This is why you feel worse about your girlfriend cutting her finger than you do about an earthquake in Afghanistan that kills a hundred thousand people. This is what makes genocide possible. This is what makes it possible for a CEO to sign off on a policy that will poison a river in Malaysia and create ten thousand deformed infants. Because of this limitation in the mental hardware, those Malaysians may as well be ants.
David Wong (This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It (John Dies at the End, #2))
death by drowning, death by snakebite ... death by memory loss, death by claymore ... death by paper cuts, death by whoreknife, death by poker game ... death by authority, death by isolation, death by genocide, death by Kennedy ... death by signature, death by silence ... death by performance
Colum McCann (Let the Great World Spin)
Like Leontius, the young Athenian in Plato, I presume that you are reading this because you desire a closer look, and that you, too, are properly disturbed by your curiosity. Perhaps, in examining this extremity with me, you hope for some understanding, some insight, some flicker of self-knowledge – a moral, or a lesson, or a clue about how to behave in this world: some such information. I don’t discount the possibility, but when it comes to genocide, you already know right from wrong. The best reason I have come up with for looking closely into Rwanda’s stories is that ignoring them makes me even more uncomfortable about existence and my place in it. The horror, the horror, interests me only insofar as a precise memory of the offense is necessary to understand its legacy.
Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families)
For most of my life, I would have automatically said that I would opt for conscientious objector status, and in general, I still would. But the spirit of the question is would I ever, and there are instances where I might. If immediate intervention would have circumvented the genocide in Rwanda or stopped the Janjaweed in Darfur, would I choose pacifism? Of course not. Scott Simon, the reporter for National Public Radio and a committed lifelong Quaker, has written that it took looking into mass graves in former Yugoslavia to convince him that force is sometimes the only option to deter our species' murderous impulses. While we're on the subject of the horrors of war, and humanity's most poisonous and least charitable attributes, let me not forget to mention Barbara Bush (that would be former First Lady and presidential mother as opposed to W's liquor-swilling, Girl Gone Wild, human ashtray of a daughter. I'm sorry, that's not fair. I've no idea if she smokes.) When the administration censored images of the flag-draped coffins of the young men and women being killed in Iraq - purportedly to respect "the privacy of the families" and not to minimize and cover up the true nature and consequences of the war - the family matriarch expressed her support for what was ultimately her son's decision by saying on Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? I mean it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" Mrs. Bush is not getting any younger. When she eventually ceases to walk among us we will undoubtedly see photographs of her flag-draped coffin. Whatever obituaries that run will admiringly mention those wizened, dynastic loins of hers and praise her staunch refusal to color her hair or glamorize her image. But will they remember this particular statement of hers, this "Let them eat cake" for the twenty-first century? Unlikely, since it received far too little play and definitely insufficient outrage when she said it. So let us promise herewith to never forget her callous disregard for other parents' children while her own son was sending them to make the ultimate sacrifice, while asking of the rest of us little more than to promise to go shopping. Commit the quote to memory and say it whenever her name comes up. Remind others how she lacked even the bare minimum of human integrity, the most basic requirement of decency that says if you support a war, you should be willing, if not to join those nineteen-year-olds yourself, then at least, at the very least, to acknowledge that said war was actually going on. Stupid fucking cow.
David Rakoff (Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems)
...Five out of 6 children who had been in Rwanda during the slaughter had witnessed bloodshed... Imagine what the totality of such devastation means for a society and it becomes clear that Hutu Power's crimes was much greater than the murder of nearly a million people. Nobody in Rwanda escaped direct physical or psychic damage. The terror was designed to be total and enduring, a legacy to leave Rwandans spinning and disoriented in the slipstream of their memories for a very long time to come, and in that it was successful.
Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families)
Under the crust of that portion of Earth called the United States of America—"from California . . . to the Gulf Stream waters"—are interred the bones, villages, fields, and sacred objects of American Indians. They cry out for their stories to be heard through their descendants who carry the memories of how the country was founded and how it came to be as it is today. [opening lines of the Introduction; ellipsis sic].
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History, #3))
To depart without giving a reason why is to leave a curse on those you leave behind. Questions linger: Why didn't i realize something was wrong? What could I have done differently? Was it my fault? And, of course, the dead don't reply. So there's basically no way to lift the curse. Time is a great healer, but an imperfect one, as anyone who has ever been assaulted in the dead of night by uneasy, shameful feelings knows. Even those memories consigned to oblivion by the conscious mind may still be in there somewhere, lurking, never completely forgotten by the unconscious mind.
Project Itoh (Genocidal Organ)
Like Leontius, the young Athenian in Plato, I presume that you are reading this because you desire a closer look, and that you, too, are properly disturbed by your curiosity. Perhaps, in examining this extremity with me, you hope for some understanding, some insight, some flicker of self-knowledge—a moral, or a lesson, or a clue about how to behave in this world: some such information. I don’t discount the possibility, but when it comes to genocide, you already know right from wrong. The best reason I have come up with for looking closely into Rwanda’s stories is that ignoring them makes me even more uncomfortable about existence and my place in it. The horror, as horror, interests me only insofar as a precise memory of the offense is necessary to understand its legacy.
Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families)
there's a sickness worse than the risk of death and that's forgetting what we should never forget.
Mary Oliver (American Primitive)
Within a decade or two, all Holocaust survivors will likely have passed away so a ticking clock is in effect in this battle between the truth and lies. Keep in mind even those survivors born in a concentration camp during WW2 would be at least 71 years-of-age when this book (the one you are reading now) was released. Those survivors old enough to clearly recall the events of that nightmare will, of course, be older and have much less time left. As the memory of the Holocaust begins to fade away, it will become easier to deny the genocide even occurred unless those of us who are truthseekers are able to embrace the memory of the genocide and educate others do the same. What’s needed in this propaganda war is for the true stories of Holocaust survivors – as well as those of the Nazi perpetrators, their associates and others who witnessed the genocide – to be told loudly and clearly so that there will never, ever be room for doubt in generations to come. After all, nothing is more powerful, credible or damning than eyewitness accounts.
James Morcan (Debunking Holocaust Denial Theories)
At the end of this journey, it seems to me that reconciling the long shadows cast by the uneasy past may ultimately depend on elements so basic that they bring to mind a simple Slav proverb I once came across and never forgot: Eat bread and salt and speak the truth. They are the recovery of fact, public accountability and the instituting of fair trials of one sort or another, to help mark ends and beginnings and to return the moral compass as close to the centre as possible.
Erna Paris (Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History)
Overriding all of them, however, was the memory of 1918, the belief that the Jews, wherever and whoever they might be, threatened to undermine the German war effort, by engaging in subversion, partisan activities, Communist resistance movements and much else besides.
Richard J. Evans (The Third Reich at War (The History of the Third Reich, #3))
We all know, either implicitly or explicitly, that all we really have is our place in the memories of others. We exist to the degree that we know and remember one another. Even the most isolated among us. We share a collective understanding that we are all part of a greater whole. Perhaps
Eric Bogosian (Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot that Avenged the Armenian Genocide)
This is sacred space. Libation . . . instead of pouring water on the ground, I pour words on the page. I begin with this libation in honor of all of those unknown and known spirits who surround us. I acknowledge the origins of this land where I am seated while writing this introduction. This land was inhabited by Indigenous people, the very first people to inhabit this land, who lived here for thousands of years before the Europeans arrived and were unfortunately unable to cohabitate without dominating, enslaving, raping, terrorizing, stealing from, relocating, and murder- ing the millions of members of Indigenous nations throughout Turtle Island, which is now known as North America. I write libation to those millions of Indigenous women, men, and children; and those millions of kidnapped and enslaved African women, men, and children whose genocide, confiscated land, centuries of free labor, forced migration, traumatic memories of rape, and sweat, tears, and blood make up the very fiber and foundation of all of the Americas and the Caribbean.
Aishah Shahidah Simmons (Love WITH Accountability: Digging up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse)
The desertion of Rwanda by the UN force was Hutu Power’s greatest diplomatic victory to date, and it can be credited almost single-handedly to the United States. With the memory of the Somalia debacle still very fresh, the White House had just finished drafting a document called Presidential Decision Directive 25, which amounted to a checklist of reasons to avoid American involvement in UN peacekeeping missions. It hardly mattered that Dallaire’s call for an expanded force and mandate would not have required American troops, or that the mission was not properly peacekeeping, but genocide prevention. PDD 25 also contained what Washington policymakers call “language” urging that the United States should persuade others not to undertake the missions that it wished to avoid. In fact, the Clinton administration’s ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright, opposed leaving even the skeleton crew of two hundred seventy in Rwanda. Albright went on to become Secretary of State, largely because of her reputation as a “daughter of Munich,” a Czech refugee from Nazism with no tolerance for appeasement and with a taste for projecting U.S. force abroad to bring rogue dictators and criminal states to heel. Her name is rarely associated with Rwanda, but ducking and pressuring others to duck, as the death toll leapt from thousands to tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, was the absolute low point in her career as a stateswoman.
Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families)
There’s no dignity in this place, thinks Seda. No privacy either. Some fool is always poking his or her head into your doorway. And as if the residents and nurses aren’t bad enough, lately all kinds of people keep showing up, waving their tape recorders in her face, asking her questions about the past. Everyone is an amateur historian. They use words like witness and genocide, trying to bridge the gap between her past and their own present with words. She wants nothing to do with it. But the other residents have fallen under a confessional spell. They’re like ancient tea bags steeping in the murky waters of the past, repeating their stories over and over again to anyone who will listen. Who can blame them? Driven from their homes not by soldiers this time, but by their own loved ones, to this place so cleverly labeled “home,” a second exile. In some ways, Seda thinks it’s worse than the first: to the lexicon of horrific memories is added the immense shame of surviving, of living when so many others did not. Yet they all bask in their rediscovered relevance. But all the words in every human language on earth would not be enough to describe what
Aline Ohanesian (Orhan's Inheritance)
The idea that an understanding of the genocide, that a memory of the holocausts, can only lead people to want to dismantle the system, is erroneous. The continuing appeal of nationalism suggests that the opposite is truer, namely that an understanding of genocide has led people to mobilize genocidal armies, that the memory of holocausts has led people to perpetrate holocausts. The sensitive poets who remembered the loss, the researchers who documented it, have been like the pure scientists who discovered the structure of the atom. Applied scientists used the discovery to split the atom’s nucleus, to produce weapons which can split every atom’s nucleus; Nationalists used the poetry to split and fuse human populations, to mobilize genocidal armies, to perpetrate new holocausts.
Fredy Perlman (The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism)
no memory of sexual abuse is as horrifying as the conversations overheard in the Underground pertaining to implementing the New World Order. I learned that perpetrators believed that controlling the masses through propaganda mind manipulation did not guarantee there would be a world left to dominate due to environmental and overpopulation problems. The solution being debated was not pollution/population control, but mass genocide of "selected undesirables.
Cathy O'Brien (TRANCE Formation of America: True life story of a mind control slave)
You do devour. Isn’t that what we’re talking about? A war of annexation.” “It’s not—devour would be if we were xenophobes or genocides, if we didn’t bring new territories into the Empire.” Into the world. Shift the pronunciation of the verb, and Three Seagrass could have been saying if we didn’t make new territories real, but Mahit knew what she meant: all the ways that being part of Teixcalaan gave a planet or a station prosperity. Economic, cultural—take a Teixcalaanli name, be a citizen. Speak poetry.
Arkady Martine (A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1))
THE ANTHEM OF HOPE Tiny footprints in mud, metal scraps among thistles Child who ambles barefooted through humanity’s war An Elderflower in mud, landmines hidden in bristles Blood clings to your feet, your wee hands stiff and sore You who walk among trenches, midst our filth and our gore Box of crayons in hand, your tears tumble like crystals Gentle, scared little boy, at the heel of Hope Valley, The grassy heel of Hope Valley. And the bombs fall-fall-fall Down the slopes of Hope Valley Bayonets cut-cut-cut Through the ranks of Hope Valley Napalm clouds burn-burn-burn All who fight in Hope Valley, All who fall in Hope Valley. Bullets fly past your shoulder, fireflies light the sky Child who digs through the trenches for his long sleeping father You plant a kiss on his forehead, and you whisper goodbye Vain corpses, brave soldiers, offered as cannon fodder Nothing is left but a wall; near its pallor you gather Crayon ready, you draw: the memory of a lie Kind, sad little boy, sketching your dream of Hope Valley Your little dream of Hope Valley. Missiles fly-fly-fly Over the fields of Hope Valley Carabines shoot-shoot-shoot The brave souls of Hope Valley And the tanks shell-shell-shell Those who toiled for Hope Valley, Those who died for Hope Valley. In the light of gunfire, the little child draws the valley Every trench is a creek; every bloodstain a flower No battlefield, but a garden with large fields ripe with barley Ideations of peace in his dark, final hour And so the child drew his future, on the wall of that tower Memories of times past; your tiny village lush alley Great, brave little boy, the future hope of Hope Valley The only hope of Hope Valley. And the grass grows-grows-grows On the knolls of Hope Valley Daffodils bloom-bloom-bloom Across the hills of Hope Valley The midday sun shines-shines-shines On the folk of Hope Valley On the dead of Hope Valley From his Aerodyne fleet The soldier faces the carnage Uttering words to the fallen He commends their great courage Across a wrecked, tower wall A child’s hand limns the valley And this drawing speaks volumes Words of hope, not of bally He wipes his tears and marvels The miracle of Hope Valley The only miracle of Hope Valley And the grass grows-grows-grows Midst all the dead of Hope Valley Daffodils bloom-bloom-bloom For all the dead of Hope Valley The evening sun sets-sets-sets On the miracle of Hope Valley The only miracle of Hope Valley (lyrics to "the Anthem of Hope", a fictional song featured in Louise Blackwick's Neon Science-Fiction novel "5 Stars".
Louise Blackwick (5 Stars)
Thus the pace, justification and mode of implementation of the genocide changed repeatedly from its inception in the summer of 1941. Examining the origins of 'the final solution' in terms of a process rather than a single decision uncovers a variety of impulses given by the Nazi leadership in general, and Hitler and Himmler in particular, to the fight against the supposed global enemy of the Germans. Overriding all of them, however, was the memory of 1918, the belief that the Jews, wherever and whoever they might be, threatened to undermine the German war effort, by engaging in subversion, partisan activities, Communist resistance movements and much else besides. What drove the exterminatory impulses of the Nazis, at every level of the hierarchy, was not the kind of contempt that stamped millions of Slavs as dispensable subhumans, but an ideologically pervasive mixture of fear and hatred, which blamed the Jews for all of Germany's ills, and sought their destruction as a matter of life and death, in the interests of Germany's survival.
Richard J. Evans (The Third Reich at War (The History of the Third Reich, #3))
Recent psychological research on grief favors meaning making over closure; accepts zigzagging paths, not just linear stages; recognizes ambiguity without pathology; and acknowledges continuing bonds between the living and the dead rather than commanding decathexis. But old ideas about grief as a linear march to closure still hold powerful sway. Many psychologists and grief counseling programs continue to consider “closure” a therapeutic goal. Sympathy cards, internet searches, and friendly advice often uphold a rigid division between healthy grief that the mourner “gets over” and unhealthy grief that persists. Forensic exhumation, too, continues to be informed by these deeply rooted ideas. The experiences of grief and exhumation related by families of the missing indicate something more complex and mysterious than “closure.” Exhumation heals and wounds, sometimes both at once, in the same gesture, in the same breath, as Dulce described feeling consoled and destroyed by the fragment of her brother’s bones. Exhumation can divide brothers and restore fathers, open old wounds and open the possibility of regeneration—of building something new with the “pile of broken mirrors” that is memory, loss, and mourning.
Alexa Hagerty (Still Life with Bones: Genocide, Forensics, and What Remains)
Finally, Europe’s post-war history is a story shadowed by silences; by absence. The continent of Europe was once an intricate, interwoven tapestry of overlapping languages, religions, communities and nations. Many of its cities—particularly the smaller ones at the intersection of old and new imperial boundaries, such as Trieste, Sarajevo, Salonika, Cernovitz, Odessa or Vilna—were truly multicultural societies avant le mot, where Catholics, Orthodox, Muslims, Jews and others lived in familiar juxtaposition. We should not idealise this old Europe. What the Polish writer Tadeusz Borowski called ‘the incredible, almost comical melting-pot of peoples and nationalities sizzling dangerously in the very heart of Europe’ was periodically rent with riots, massacres and pogroms—but it was real, and it survived into living memory. Between 1914 and 1945, however, that Europe was smashed into the dust. The tidier Europe that emerged, blinking, into the second half of the twentieth century had fewer loose ends. Thanks to war, occupation, boundary adjustments, expulsions and genocide, almost everybody now lived in their own country, among their own people. For forty years after World War Two Europeans in both halves of Europe lived in hermetic national enclaves where surviving religious or ethnic minorities the Jews in France, for example—represented a tiny percentage of the population at large and were thoroughly integrated into its cultural and political mainstream. Only Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union—an empire, not a country and anyway only part-European, as already noted—stood aside from this new, serially homogenous Europe. But since the 1980s, and above all since the fall of the Soviet Union and the enlargement of the EU, Europe is facing a multicultural future. Between them refugees; guest-workers; the denizens of Europe’s former colonies drawn back to the imperial metropole by the prospect of jobs and freedom; and the voluntary and involuntary migrants from failed or repressive states at Europe’s expanded margins have turned London, Paris, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan and a dozen other places into cosmopolitan world cities whether they like it or not.
Tony Judt (Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945)
It must be said here, however, that among the activities that all LTTE members, both men and women, enjoyed most was reminiscing about events of the past. Watching them enjoying such conversations, one would think that they were the happiest people on earth because the interactions would be filled with laughter. They would discuss dead comrades, past battles, instances of near capture by the Lankan Military, receiving punishment from superiors, etc. But all of these subjects were discussed with a sense of humor. One SLMM member, who had noticed this without being able to understand the language, once commented that for a set of liberation fighters they did spend an awful lot of time talking and laughing. All of them indeed carried with them a great deal of painful memories and this, it seemed, was their therapy
N. Malathy (A Fleeting Moment in My Country: The Last Years of the LTTE De-Facto State)
Multi-generational sexual child abuse is such a common cause of the proliferation of pedophilia that Hitler/Himmler research focused on this genetic trait for mind control purposes. While I personally could not relate to the idea of sex with a child, I had parents and brothers and sisters who did. I still believe that George Bush revealed today’s causation of the rapid rise in pedophilia through justifications I heard him state. The rape of a child renders them compliant and receptive to being led without question. This, Bush claims, would cause them to intellectually evolve at a rate rapid enough to “bring them up to speed” to grasp the artificial intelligence emanating from DARPA. He believed that this generation conditioned with photographic memory through abuse was necessary for a future he foresaw controlled by technology. Since sexual abuse enhanced photographic memory while decreasing critical analysis and free thought, there would ultimately be no free will soul expression controlling behavior. In which case, social engineering was underway to create apathy while stifling spiritual evolution. Nevertheless, to short sighted flat thinking individuals such as Bush, spiritual evolution was not a consideration anyway. Instead, controlling behavior in a population diminished by global genocide of ‘undesirables’ would result in Hitler’s ‘superior race’ surviving to claim the earth. Perceptual justifications such as these that were discussed at the Bohemian Grove certainly did not provide me with the complete big picture. It did, however, provide a view beyond the stereotyped child molester in a trench coat that helped in understanding the vast crimes and cover-ups being discussed at this seminar in Houston.
Cathy O'Brien (ACCESS DENIED For Reasons Of National Security: Documented Journey From CIA Mind Control Slave To U.S. Government Whistleblower)
That day changed the history of the 20th century, that day changed everybody's life in Europe, it changed all of Europe, it also brought about Pearl Harbor and the involvement of the United States in the World War. It was a watershed in history, a point where we think of "before" and "after." The 50 million people, who lost their lives and had their fate sealed on that day. Our Jewish people were almost wiped out in Europe and the ones, like my parents and myself, who survived, fought desperately to keep alive. This World War invented the obscenity of genocide on a grand scale and the horror that was Auschwitz. How fortunate that people don't exactly know what they are about to confront, for they would not dare go through it.
Pearl Fichman (Before Memories Fade)
There is a psychological dimension to the deniers’ and minimizers’ objectives: The general public tends to accord victims of genocide a certain moral authority. If you devictimize a people you strip them of their moral authority, and if you can in turn claim to be a victim, as the Poles and Austrians often try to do, that moral authority is conferred on or restored to you. -- Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, pages 7-8
Deborah E. Lipstadt (Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory)
In his recent guest editorial, Richard McNally voices skepticism about the National Vietnam Veteran’s Readjustment Study (NVVRS) data reporting that over one-half of those who served in the Vietnam War have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or subclinical PTSD. Dr McNally is particularly skeptical because only 15% of soldiers served in combat units (1). He writes, “the mystery behind the discrepancy in numbers of those with the disease and of those in combat remains unsolved today” (4, p 815). He talks about bizarre facts and implies many, if not most, cases of PTSD are malingered or iatrogenic. Dr McNally ignores the obvious reality that when people are deployed to a war zone, exposure to trauma is not limited to members of combat units (2,3). At the Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centre of the Canadian Forces in Ottawa, we have assessed over 100 Canadian soldiers, many of whom have never been in combat units, who have experienced a range of horrific traumas and threats in places like Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. We must inform Dr McNally that, in real world practice, even cooks and clerks are affected when faced with death, genocide, ethnic cleansing, bombs, landmines, snipers, and suicide bombers ... One theory suggests that there is a conscious decision on the part of some individuals to deny trauma and its impact. Another suggests that some individuals may use dissociation or repression to block from consciousness what is quite obvious to those who listen to real-life patients." Cameron, C., & Heber, A. (2006). Re: Troubles in Traumatology, and Debunking Myths about Trauma and Memory/Reply: Troubles in Traumatology and Debunking Myths about Trauma and Memory. Canadian journal of psychiatry, 51(6), 402.
Colin Cameron
What is certain: it’s good that those deeds have been marked and preserved. Imagine a world where the greatest crimes ever committed were consigned to dust. Where nothing acknowledged racist terror of any kind—the Holocaust, the genocides, the lynchings were left without a trace. Whatever helps us escape oblivion is welcome.
Susan Neiman (Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil)
As Charles points out, this quote gets to the heart of both nations’ problems with race: our citizens do not share a common memory. People of white European ancestry remember a history of discovery, open lands, manifest destiny, endless opportunity, and American exceptionalism. Yet communities of color, especially those with African and indigenous roots, remember a history of stolen lands, broken treaties, slavery, boarding schools, segregation, cultural genocide, internment camps, and mass incarceration.4 This is the choice that lies before us both as a nation and as individuals: Will we continue to live in denial and allow our home to be built on the weak foundation of myths and half-truths? Or will we have the courage to live up to the truth and allow God’s holy fire to burn down the old and erect a new home that can hold us all?
Daniel Hill (White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White)
The Lebanese government has officially recognized the Armenian genocide, but nowhere is there any official memorial to the victims of the World War I famine.
Louis Farshee (Safer Barlik: Famine in Mount Lebanon During World War I)
One would think that a cataclysm that reportedly claimed tens of thousands of lives through starvation and disease would have been as traumatic to the Lebanese as genocide was to the Armenians and would have warranted some sort of public memorial.
Louis Farshee (Safer Barlik: Famine in Mount Lebanon During World War I)
I had been privy to some of her intense sensory images, to her telescopic memory, to Genocide flashbacks. This was how she told me about her past. I think it was the only way she knew to speak to me about something she wanted to say, but couldn't say in any other language to a young boy, her eldest grandson.
Peter Balakian (Black Dog of Fate: An American Son Uncovers His Armenian Past)
Had I been a witness to a memory of hers so terrible that it could only be said to me, an eleven-year-old, half delirious with fever, lying in bed between darkness and light? My grandmother had spoken so emphatically that day, in clipped, deliberate speech, as if to say, 'This is a moment to listen.
Peter Balakian (Black Dog of Fate: An American Son Uncovers His Armenian Past)
Nothing remains of all that now. The killers attacked the house until every last trace was wiped away. The bush has covered everything over. It's as if we never existed. And yet my family once lived there. humiliated, afraid, waiting day after day for what was to come, what we didn't have a word for: genocide. And I alone preserve the memory of it. That's why I'm writing this.
Scholastique Mukasonga (Cockroaches)
Children were forced to translate English to their parents. Their parents had no one to help them understand English. Bosnian children also drove parents to places like work, stores, doctor’s appointments, etc. because of their physical handicaps. Due to a lack of understanding English, their parents could not get a driver’s license. Imagine barely escaping a genocide, going to a foreign country, leaving everything you own behind, having memories of war and murdered family members, your identity practically destroyed, and then having to figure out where grocery stores, department stores, and malls are in an alien culture. Essentially, they did not have resources and access to information that was trivially available to other people around them.
Aida Mandic (Justice For Bosnia and Herzegovina)
This Catholic assault on the Third Republic and Jews looked directly forward to Vichy cooperation with Nazi Germany during World War II and was a potent instance of the manner in which Catholic anti-Semitism prepared the context for abetting genocide.
Jeremy Black (The Holocaust: History & Memory)
We haven’t had an annexation war since before I was born.” “I know,” said Mahit, “we do have history on the stations. We were enjoying Teixcalaan being a quiescent neighboring predator—” “You make us sound like a mindless animal.” “Not mindless,” Mahit said. It was as close as she could bring herself to an apology. “Never that.” “But an animal.” “You do devour. Isn’t that what we’re talking about? A war of annexation.” “It’s not—devour would be if we were xenophobes or genocides, if we didn’t bring new territories into the Empire.
Arkady Martine (A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1))
There was something else about Tuol Sleng that was important, though, beyond the ghosts and the darkness. At night, after it closed to tourists, it opened as a parking garage. Boeung Keng Kang III was not a neighborhood built for cars, and many homes had nowhere at night to park their cars. It was not unusual to see Camrys and Daelim motorcycles parked for the night in someone’s living room. But at Tuol Sleng, for two thousand riel, or fifty cents, you could park from eight o’clock at night until eight in the morning, an hour before the gates opened for tourism. Paul and I each had a motorcycle for the first three years that we lived in Phnom Penh, but eventually I sold mine and we bought a cobbled-together SUV, a Kia Sportage body with a Mitsubishi engine and air-conditioning. Then we, too, became nighttime patrons of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum parking lot. We’d pull in to the gate and hand money to one of several guards hanging out in hammocks as a soccer game played on an old television hooked up to a car battery. At first it was hilarious, and then an odd fact we’d share among our friends, and eventually just part of our daily routine. There was the horror and the memory, there were the ghosts and the darkness, but there was also the absolute utilitarian need to go on.
Rachel Louise Snyder (Women We Buried, Women We Burned: A Memoir)
Libation . . . instead of pouring water on the ground, I pour words on the page. I begin with this libation in honor of all of those unknown and known spirits who surround us. I acknowledge the origins of this land where I am seated while writing this introduction. This land was inhabited by Indigenous people, the very rst people to inhabit this land, who lived here for thousands of years before the Europeans arrived and were unfortunately unable to co-habitate without dominating, enslaving, raping, terrorizing, stealing from, relocating, and murder- ing the millions of members of Indigenous nations throughout Turtle Island, which is now known as North America. I write libation to those millions of Indigenous women, men, and children; and those millions of kidnapped and enslaved African women, men, and children whose genocide, confiscated land, centuries of free labor, forced migration, traumatic memories of rape, and sweat, tears, and blood make up the very fiber and foundation of all of the Americas and the Caribbean.
Aishah Shahidah Simmons
The Omarska geological region is rich in iron ore and has been historically lucrative for mining companies. After the Bosnian Genocide, The Mittal Steel Company bought the rights to extract iron ore from the camp site. In 2005, they announced plans to build a memorial replacing one of the camp buildings. Due to active political hostility from Serbs against building a memorial, the idea was abandoned. Bosniaks argue that the bodies of all victims should first be extracted and respectfully cremated before the memorial construction to avoid desecrating dead bodies. 20 years after the Omarska genocidal nightmare, there was no progress for building a memorial.
Aida Mandic
A world of meaning is lost when these views of racial ideology, the brutalization of war and the state-run process of extermination dominate our understanding of the Holocaust because the question "Why did the Nazis and other Germans burn the Hebrew Bible?" demands a historical imagination that captures Germans' culture, sensibilities, and historical memories.
Alon Confino (A World Without Jews: The Nazi Imagination from Persecution to Genocide)
Israeli national identity oscillates between the poles of the Holocaust and the Six-Day War, victim and vanquisher - the latter is the antidote too the former. Permanently vulnerable, Israel must respond to any attack with massive force. For a nation with genocide as a central political referent, security is paramount, and it trumps all other considerations. "Never again!" puts Israel's militaristic policy choices into a place beyond debate.
Jo Roberts (Contested Land, Contested Memory: Israel's Jews and Arabs and the Ghosts of Catastrophe)
The high profile now enjoyed by the Holocaust or Shoah in public memory of the Second World War has contributed to the assumption that a major factor in waging the war against Germany and its European Axis allies was to end the genocide and liberate the remaining Jewish populations. This is largely an illusion. The war was not fought to save Europe’s Jews, and indeed the governments of all three major Allied powers worried lest the public should think this to be the case. Liberation when it came was a by-product of a broader ambition to expel the Axis states from their conquests and to restore the national sovereignty of all conquered and victimized peoples. Towards the Jews, the attitude of the Allied powers was by turns negligent, cautious, ambivalent or morally questionable.
Richard Overy (Blood and Ruins: The Last Imperial War, 1931-1945)
Even if we, as northerners, choose to ignore this history, the victims’ descendants will not
William R. Polk (Crusade and Jihad: The Thousand-Year War Between the Muslim World and the Global North)
Of course, according to the deniers, the answer to this question is quite simple: German officials were forced into a false admission of guilt by “the Jews,” who threatened to prevent Germany’s reentry into the family of nations. But this, too, makes little sense. German leaders had to know that admitting to a genocide of such proportions would impose upon the nation a horrific legacy that would become an integral part of its national identity. Why would a country take on such a historical burden if it were innocent? Moreover, seventy years after the end of the war, with Germany now a global political and economic leader, it could have proclaimed that “it’s not true; the Jews made us say this back in 1945.” Instead, the German government created a massive memorial in Berlin to the murdered Jews.
Deborah E. Lipstadt (Antisemitism: Here and Now)
In private life as well as we have difficulties talking about genocide. When we encounter descriptions of extermination, whatever our temporal distance, our first reaction is to push that knowledge away. Our memory keeps that knowledge in some distant and dark corner, and moves a different history into the forefront: the history of human heroism, of solidarity. The Shoah reminds us not only of death but also of human bestiality. Yet human bestiality is taboo. This is one of the reasons for the constant return to the theme of the inexpressibility of the Shoah: speaking about it is always awkward; the moment for it is never right, the one never proper. The topic is so scorching that touching it can only burn.
Jan Tomasz Gross (Złote żniwa)
contemporary Indonesian cultural/historical memory is in fact quite short.14 Thus the New Order discourse of channeling the “ancient” Javanese artistic past—a realm of tradition claimed to have been barely touched by the long ravages of history—of course fails to “remember” that artistic change has consistently followed the diverse cultural, economic, and religious exchange that Java has always engaged in. The exploiting, colonizing Europeans (whose full-to-bursting museums provide much of the contemporary evidence of historical Indonesian contact with outsiders) were relative latecomers to this process, following millennia of local trade with other parts of Asia as well as the entrance of Hinduism from India, bringing with it, among many other things, the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics that continue to figure hugely into what is now referred to as “traditional Indonesian dance.
Rachmi Diyah Larasati (The Dance That Makes You Vanish: Cultural Reconstruction in Post-Genocide Indonesia (Difference Incorporated))
The Nazi genocide is conventionally thought to exceed all “normal” conceptions of justice and to estrange familiar categories such as “guilt”, “punishment”, and even “the human.” Yet, invocations of the genocide in the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict tend to reference the Holocaust as the bearer of shared norms of human rights and clear-cut moral distinctions. In scenarios of equation, not only is the past anachronistically rewritten from the vantage point of a very different present (a rewriting that characterizes many acts of memory), but as a result, the present loses its potential as a locus of novelty [.…] Regardless of the complexities of the Nazi genocide as a historical phenomenon, the images of the genocide that circulate in the present reduce it – as well as the contemporary cases to which it is analogized – to a stereotypical scenario of good and evil, innocence and absolute power. A discourse based on clear-cut visions of victims and perpetrators or of innocence and guilt, evacuates the political sphere of complexity and reduces it to a morality tale. Even in the case of Genocide, a seemingly exceptional situation of polarized innocence and guilt, the most thoughtful responses have been forced to reflect on uncomfortable questions of complicity and ambivalence in “the gray zone” first described by Primo Levy. P139 [….] Ultimately, the goal of a radical democratic politics of multidirectional memory today is not only to move beyond discourses of equation or hierarchy, but also to displace the reductive, absolutist understanding of the Holocaust as a code for “good and evil” from the center of global memory politics. This task is time- and place specific and demands a vision of reflective justice.
Michael Rothberg (The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators (Cultural Memory in the Present))
Memories of war are strangely positive, because to have them you must have survived.
Atef Abu Saif (Don't Look Left: A Diary of Genocide)
Visvaviking (Sonnet 1504) Smiling through my martyrdom I took the world into my care. Ice cold currents of catastrophe are no match for my asgardian dare. Swimming through a tsunami of sneer, I found my peace in world's welfare. Beware, o merchants of malice and hate, Better not force your fate out of layer! Crushing all memorials of invading scourge, Parting the ocean to deliver from divide, Rushing as apocalypse to right the wrong, I am Sapiothunder to all genocidal pride. I don't need invite from some puny paradise; Cosmos, my Shangri-la - me, the Servant King. Odin doesn't wait up for Valhalla to call - Valhalla is my empire - I am Visvaviking!
Abhijit Naskar (World War Human: 100 New Earthling Sonnets)
I think I learned the most about the value of ordinary from interviewing people who have experienced tremendous loss such as the loss of a child, violence, genocide, and trauma. The memories that they held most sacred were the ordinary, everyday moments.
Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are)
for Falasteen the boy i adored at sixteen gifted me his keffiyeh feeling guilty for living when others were killed simply for existing i haven’t seen him in sixteen years but think of him often these days his grandmother’s purse still carrying keys to their home believing they’d return in weeks can it even be called a key if what it unlocked is no longer there? we’d sneak onto mall rooftops & pretend shooting only happened with stars! 'we have a duty of memory,' he said, 'so they’ll kill us all until only the soil is witness' how could i reply? i sat in my liquid silence today there are nurseries of martyrs they bomb babies for they fear enemies hiding between pacifiers & tiny wrists bomb hospitals because enemies hide in ICU bedpans bomb schools because enemies hide in children’s bags bomb the oldest mosques & churches because enemies hide in rosary beads & votive candles they bomb journalists because enemies are hiding under their PRESS vests & helmets bomb poets because enemies hide in pages of peace poems the elderly are bombed because enemies hide under their canes the disabled are bombed because they harbour enemies in their artificial limbs they raze & burn all the ancient trees because enemies make bombs from olives they bomb water treatment plants because enemies are now water & so it goes: justification provided exoneration granted business as usual & the boy I adored has green-grey eyes the colour of fig leaves we don’t speak but i wish to tell him 'i’m sorry the world is a blade i’m sorry home is blood & bones i’m sorry music is sirens & wails i’m sorry night is infinite' but the boy I adored has grey-green eyes the colour of forgotten ash
Kamand Kojouri
There is a hidden materiality to texts—a word that originally meant “weaving,” a connection seen in “texture.” Forests haunt writing: The English word for “book” is related to “beech tree” by its Germanic root, and “library” comes from the Latin for “the inner bark of trees.” In most Indo-European languages, “writing” comes from carving and cutting. Language carries the memory of words etched into wood tablets, tree trunks, and bones.
Alexa Hagerty (Still Life with Bones: Genocide, Forensics, and What Remains)