Genocide Memorialization in the Modern Era: Communal Mourning Through Institutions and Culture

By Emily Bennett
2020, Vol. 12 No. 12 | pg. 1/1

Abstract

Genocide Memorialization focuses on the community after a genocide in what they choose to remember and how they achieve that goal of memorialization. Memorialization efforts are museums, institutions, policy, law, education, documentaries and first person accounts and testimonies. By examining the precedent set by the aftermath of the Holocaust and the Genocide Convention of 1948, future survivors of genocide are able to expand the precedent or potentially ignore the precedent by no longer recognizing a genocide. After introducing the Holocaust I examine three modern genocides: The Indonesian genocide 1965-66, The Khmer Rouge regime genocide 1975-1979, and the Rwandan genocide April- July 1994 comparing to the Holocaust precedents to see how genocide memorialization has evolved as well as how different communities and cultures choose to preserve the memory of a genocide.

Introduction

In the post-Holocaust world the international community created tribunals, organizations, and museums as a preventative tool for future genocides. However, the despair and heaviness that comes with a genocide is difficult to process, the global community slowly turns away from genocide memorialization. As Saul Friedlander wrote in his book, Memory, History and the Extermination of the Jews in Europe that this history is “too massive to be forgotten, and too repellent to be integrated into the normal narrative of memory.”1 What this paper questions is whether or not genocide historical memory is too repellent to be integrated into the accepted narrative. I have proposed three dimensions of genocide memorialization to prove this point; institutional, personal, and international. These will be explored through the lens of film, art, museums, law and individual memory. I will be investigating the similarities and differences of the Holocaust and three modern genocides: the Indonesian genocide of 1965-1966, the Cambodian Khmer Rouge genocide of 1975-1979 and the Rwandan genocide April-July 1994. While each of these genocides deserves their own papers, I will be focusing on what happens after a genocide has been committed.

An important aspect of genocide memorialization is recognizing how mass murder is a crime of genocide. If the state and/or the international community refuse to acknowledge a genocide as such, the victims are unable to move forward after the genocide. Labeling a mass murder, a genocide not only allows for legal intervention on the behalf of the victims but it also legitimizes the crimes against them, giving them a voice of empowerment. Without this recognition, there would be no museums, no books from the victims, no art, and no collective mourning. Recognition of genocide means that the stories that were buried with the victims and forgotten are finally brought into the light. This paper attempts to not only shine a light on the stories of genocide but to argue that a collective, cultural memory is necessary for the memorialization of genocide.

Terms and Methodology

Raphael Lampkin a Polish-Jewish lawyer created the word genocide combining the Greek word geno meaning race or tribe and the Latin word cide meaning killing. Prior to 1944 the word genocide did not exist; the United Nations took this definition when they created the Genocide Convention of 1948. In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.2

Many perpetrators of genocide take a great deal of care in getting rid of and/or destroying documents that could incriminate them in a state sponsored genocide. This makes it difficult to find any records before and during the genocide. These records are vital to the understanding of how a genocide is started and who they targeted. For communities without these records there are no burials, more missing than found, and a lack of information. When grief and mourning is denied many societies are unable to move forward, I will be exploring the difference between societies who are allowed to mourn and those who are denied.

Primary and secondary sources are difficult to ascertain for any genocide seeing as many of the records are destroyed or lost with time. The focus on this paper will be primarily on cultural resources through the lens of documentaries, movies, museums, and individual perspective. Through these sources I will explore not only the individual genocides but how genocide memorialization is achieved through these mediums. Genocide is a contested term and has become hyper politicized making it difficult to define past genocides but even more difficult to stop current genocides. Due to these factors at no point will these genocides be referred to as anything other than a genocide, they are not mass killings these were systemic cleansings of specific groups of people with the intent to erase them completely. To call them anything other than a genocide would be irresponsible and unethical.

The Holocaust 1933-1945

In order to study modern genocide memorialization one must look back to the moment genocide was defined, the Holocaust. Seeing how the Holocaust, or Shoah , was memorialized and studied can be used as a preventative tool but also shows how communal memory can help heal the afflicted community. Beginning with The Nuremberg Trials, this allowed for the international body to create tribunals in order to prosecute perpetrators of genocide. These trials set the precedent for an international organization to be formed, such as the United Nations with the International Criminal Court, as well as the authority to charge members of a different country with genocidal crimes.3 While the Nuremberg Trials were predicated on the basis that any German citizen charged with a crime must be tried in Germany meant that Nazi war criminals were being tried and acquitted by Nazi judges. This was not always the case but the United Nations did learn that there has to be international cooperation and laws as well as allowing for each individual state to conduct the prosecution of those who commit such heinous crimes. The Nuremberg Trials allowed for victim testimony and for further investigations of those who were not prosecuted by the premier tribunals. The stories of victims became public record and evidence to support what had happened in each of the concentration camps.

After the Nuremberg Trials were finalized, world leaders asked what came next in an attempt to prevent future genocides. The formation of the UN and the writing of the Genocide Convention of 1948 gave institutional protections and safeguards against future genocides. The legal battle was only the beginning for the survivors of the Holocaust, the next step was cultural memorialization. Prominent Jewish leaders began work with several countries for the formation of memorials and museums. Chief among them was Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who wrote the book Night and was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Wiesel worked with the United States to help create a Holocaust museum that fully encapsulated the Holocaust and was used as an educational tool for genocides. The difficulty of creating a museum was overshadowed by political games with the museum being built in what is known as America’s front lawn: The National Mall. The nearly 100-million-dollar museum became the largest commemoration of the Holocaust and was completed in 1993. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum serves as an educational tool for crimes that the Nazis committed in World War II as well as teaching on genocides that came after. In the beginnings of the museum the leaders were unsure what exactly to memorialize or if the United States was the best place to have what would essentially be the world’s Holocaust museum. Some of the leaders only wanted to focus on the Jewish extermination attempt others wanted to include everyone who was sent to the concentration camps as well as including past and present genocides.4 What ensued was the United States dubbing itself the official leader in Holocaust remembrance which meant they had to struggle with the political issues of creating a museum about genocide.

When a genocide is officially recognized by the international community the victims are able to not only prosecute the perpetrators, they are also able to create museums and other commemorations. In the case of the Armenian genocide, the board of the USHMM was approached by Armenian officials to be recognized in the museum to have their people be memorialized in this institution as well. When Turkish officials found out that this had happened, they threatened United States military cooperation within the country as well as the safe haven for Jewish people in Turkey.5 The difficulty of having a Holocaust museum were the countries with their own genocides who would rather they stay left in the past, the USHMM was established and opened in 1993, the National Museum of African American History and Culture was not opened until 2016. Both museums are located on the National Mall in our nation’s capital and both focus on horrible crimes against humanity but only one is considered necessary curriculum. The formation of an official Holocaust museum highlighted the struggles survivors face post genocide, people do not always want to be reminded of these horrible crimes. Genocide may be too difficult to process but the creation of museums not only created by victims but created for victims set the precedent that would allow for future victims to create their own museums to process their grief.

Though the Holocaust Museum had it struggles getting started its exhibits provide a lens in which to view the Holocaust, it is however mostly an American lens. The exhibits of ordinary objects stacked with no real organization allows for visitors to understand one of the most horrific systemic killings in history.6 The museum was built to honor the victims as well as offer a place of reflection, away from the rest of the world in order to focus on the objects within the museum itself. The museum’s architecture is meant to distract the visitors from the outside world, so much so that once inside it is difficult to see back outside.7 Unlike other museums this incredible feat of architecture was a bill passed in Congress, receives federal and individual funding, and is a museum dedicated to an event that did not take place on its soil. Many genocide museums take a simpler approach to memorialization while the USHMM created a massive institution dedicated only to the study of genocides. The USHMM is a vocal institution on social media and in the political realm, it is usually one of the first to comment on developing stories on genocide and on issues such as Anti-Semitism and White Supremacy. It has become the foremost leader in the world of genocide studies and a dominant force in memorialization.

Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the Memorial to the Murdered Jew of Europe in Berlin, and the concentration camps that have been preserved perfectly for the memorialization of the crimes committed there these institutions exist outside of the realm of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The USHMM dominates the field of Holocaust memorialization and how future crimes should be memorialized. Each of these museums show the different attributes of how museums are formed and what they stand for, in the digital age each of these institutions strive to reach the new generations and teach about the horrific crimes committed against Jews in Europe as well as current crimes against humanity.

Museums are an institutional route to memorialize genocides and allow for a safe place to store resources and art from genocides. As an educational tool museums allow for scholars and survivors to work together to establish the narrative post genocide. Museums are a part of the institutional route of genocide memorialization, the international and individual communities films and documentaries can be a more accessible way for people to educate themselves on genocides. Documentaries and film are a new wave of memorialization as history and media become more intertwined.

There have been many groundbreaking documentaries on the Holocaust, chief among them is the documentary Shoah published in 1985. Director Claude Lanzmann spent eleven years putting together footage and collecting stories. When Allied forces began to close in around Germany, those in charge began to erase the evidence of concentration camps and the victims of those camps. When it came time to prosecute the perpetrators of this genocide, witness testimony was vital because the concentration camps themselves were nearly emptied of any incriminating papers and/or evidence of plans. Lanzmann in his documentary not only used the victim's testimony but the absence of any evidence as evidence to what had happened.8 “Tracing Shoa,” reviews Lanzmann’s approach and provides a timeline for the events of Shoah as well as quotes from victim’s diaries and from German officials themselves.9 The diaries from the victims share the stories of the Holocaust while the German officials diaries show not only the blueprints for the Holocaust but the struggles officials faced with the extermination effort in Europe. Shoah worked to establish a narrative of what happened in the Holocaust as well as showing how the events of the Holocaust came to fruition.

Shoah began a long history of documentaries and films that featured the Holocaust. Films such as The Pianist are renowned for their humanist approach to the Holocaust, while other films such as Schindler’s List are criticized for appropriating the Holocaust and focusing too much on a movie about Nazis rather than the genocide they perpetrated. Films can misappropriate the historical narrative in an attempt to memorialize the event, these attempts show what is acceptable for memorialization and what is only for show. While it is important to keep the memory alive it is clear that not all films are created equal, some will miss the mark when it comes to preserving the memory of genocide in favor of entertainment.

The amount of footage left over from Shoah made it possible for documentaries such as We Shall Not Die Now to continue the legacy. We Shall Not Die Now gets its title from a brave woman who wrote the following in her notebook before she died; “Tell our brothers, our nation, that we went to meet our death in full consciousness and with pride. The history of our nation shall immortalize us, our initiative and our spirit are alive and flourishing. The lines she wrote characterizes the strength of those who were sent to the concentration camps. We Shall Not Die Now.”10 We Shall Not Die Now combines leftover footage from Shoah, follow up interviews with Holocaust survivors who are still alive and interviews with scholars who outline how the Holocaust happened and the architecture behind one of the largest losses of life in history.11 We Shall Not Die Now combines the victims voices with the scholars as a reminder that there is no greater evidence of a genocide than those who lived through it.

Indonesia 1965-1966

Turning from the Holocaust which is heavily memorialized and in constant headlines, the Indonesian Genocide is in almost every facet the opposite. The paramilitary group that perpetrated the genocide remains in power today, meaning that the institutional privileges afforded to the Holocaust do not apply for this particular genocide.

An integral part of the memorialization of genocide is the laws that are created in order to punish perpetrators. Since the Holocaust the UN and other international organizations have worked not only to implement these laws but to expand them to fit the modern pretenses of genocide. If a genocide has been committed and the perpetrators never prosecuted the community affected will be unable to grieve or comprehend the atrocity committed. In Indonesia specifically, those who committed the 1965-66 genocide are still largely in power and use the celebrations of the genocide as a tool to brainwash the public and control the families of the victims.12 When a community is not allowed to prosecute those, who committed the genocide they are living in continuous fear of retribution and a continued genocide. The next generation is left with a community who has never been allowed to heal, similar to that of enslaved individuals in America.

Memorialization in a country that unilaterally denies a genocide taking place applauds the decisions of the military and the event that kick started the genocide. The Indonesian genocide began after a failed coup by the communist party which allowed for the Indonesian government to step in and “restore” peace by fabricating a genocidal plot turning the people against the communists and allowing for the Indonesian military to put an end to the problem.13 This fabrication of pre-dug graves and of rumors of a communist uprising allowed for the military to have complete control of the narrative. The propaganda that spread rampant through Indonesia created the lie and fear the military was looking for in order to commit a genocide, it was revealed through diplomatic cables that the Indonesian government was looking for an excuse in order for the military to take control of the government.14 The Indonesian military took advantage of a failed coup attempt for their own means, post genocide this allowed for a tight control of the narrative and a burying of the story.

Instead of an annual mourning period or a statue commemorating the nearly one million lives taken by the military during the genocide there is a Sacred Pancasila Day ceremony. A large golden eagle that embodies the ideology of the Indonesian Revolution in 1945-49 with the five principles of Indonesian Nationalism which has become sacred to the New Order military regime, at the fiftieth anniversary a journalist asked President Jokowi if he planned on using this event to apologize to the survivors and victims’ families to which he responded he had “no thoughts of apologizing.”15 Since there are no institutions dedicated to memorializing and honoring the deaths of the victims, people have to go elsewhere to commemorate the Indonesian genocide. The International People’s Tribune for 1965 attempted to bring transnational justice for those who experienced violence it was however, only symbolic justice for the victims’ families.16 Activists and scholars took over in the search for justice, such as Tempo magazine published “Requiem for a Massacre” in 2012 which was a detailed report of the killings and demanding for justice after more than fifty year since the genocide.17

With the lack of institutional justice and museums different avenues for memorialization were explored to expose the truth. The documentary The Act of Killing, takes an intimate look into the genocide of alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, Javanese peasants, Balinese Hindus, while this particular is still known as a “mass-killing” the suspected number of people murdered range from 500,000 to over 1 million, the amount of people killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau was 1.1 Million. When watching the Act of Killing documentary it is evident that the people of Indonesia cannot express their fear of paramilitary groups or the ruling government. There is no way for the people to speak out against what happened to the afflicted groups, the narrative that is presented to them is there was a riot and the government acted accordingly in order to stop the riots. The societal determinants are clear, if there is no communal memory or international recognition of a genocide taking place, there will be no advancements or loyalty or mourning. Grief allows for the mourners to move forward, when grief is not allowed the community is stuck forever reliving the torture they went through.

Cambodia Khmer Rouge 1975-1979

The Holocaust prioritized the narrative of victims with the perpetrators still a large part of the narrative, in Indonesia the narrative is exclusively controlled by the perpetrators, and in Cambodia the victims and perpetrators are in close proximity nearly forty five years later. Post-genocide Cambodia has benefited from the UN and ICC organizations in the search for justice, but some perpetrators have evaded justice which hinders not only international law but the prevention of future genocides and crimes against humanity.18 The institutional and cultural memorialization shows how the Genocide Convention of 1948 has successfully been upheld and where there is room to make improvements for future genocides.

After the genocide in Cambodia at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, the government faced difficulty in tracking down the preparatory and prosecuting the amount of people who needed to face judgement for their crimes. It is believed that over 1.7 million people were killed between 1975 and 1979 by execution or forced labor and starvation.19 The end of the Khmer Rouge period was followed by a civil war which ended in 1998, a year prior to that Cambodia asked for assistance from the United Nations in trying senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge. Until the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1990s, Cambodia was unable to process the crimes that had happened, which meant survivors lived under fear of persecution. In 2001 Cambodia passed into the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) which created a body of courts to try the serious crimes that took place in the Khmer Rouge period.20

Similar to the Nuremberg Trials, the government of Cambodia wanted the trials to take place in Cambodia with their courts and judges. Understanding their own weaknesses and a different take from the Nuremberg trials Cambodia welcomed international help and justice standards, considering the international aspect of these crimes it was necessary for there to be an international court standard.21 The ECCC was split into two divisions, the first were senior democratic leaders in the Kampuchea and the second were those found to have violated international law as well as national law.22 These divisions allowed only for people who fall into those two categories to be prosecuted by Cambodian Courts. The ECCC is still working through cases that took place during the Khmer Rouge period mostly dealing with new investigations, appeals, and dismissals.

Along with the international judicial dimensions of memorialization’s, there are institutions such as museums who take over after the trials are over to continue the effort of making sure that the genocide never happens again. Cambodia has transformed the Killing Fields and prisons into memorials and museums to preserve the graves and the memory of the lives that were lost. S-21 Prison and Choeung Ek Killing Fields are amongst the most famous and well visited memorials in Cambodia. The mission of the Killing Fields Memorial and Museum of Cambodia is to educate Cambodians, Americans, students, journalists and provide access to scholars to continue their goal of education of the Khmer Rouge holocaust.23 The Killing Fields not only preserved the mass graves but they also have photographs, artwork, names, documents, and literature for visitors to learn as much as they can about the genocide. The museum works tirelessly to educate everyone in the hopes that what happened in Cambodia does not happen to another community.

The Killing Field museums create a space for the Cambodian museum to be commemorated, film explores the more contested areas of the narrative. Because of the Khmer Rouge’s communist leanings films about the genocide tend to focus on the communist regime rather than the victims of the genocide. First They Killed My Father explores how the Khmer Rouge took power through the eyes of a five year old girl. The reign of terror led by the Khmer Rouge shown through a Cambodian child’s experience versus the traditional Americanized hero version. First They Killed My Father takes the same vein of The Killing Fields, a movie created in 1984 telling the story of an American journalist and his interpreter. The American is able to leave Cambodia but his interpreter elects to stay and is eventually imprisoned. In this version of the story the American view is only seen through written letters while in New York while a majority of the film focuses on the interpreter’s struggles through prison camps and tries to survive the Khmer Rouge.24 This movie’s perspective chooses not to focus on the American side of the story in order to preserve the story of survivors and refugees of Cambodia. Films are often a medium used to explore the narrative of what happened, some of these films feature the American narrative savior complex. First They Killed My Father and The Killing Fields offer a counter narrative by exploring the narrative from the point of view of those who experienced it most intimately.

Rwandan Genocide April-July 1994

Twenty six years ago over one million people lost their lives in a campaign started by the government to eradicate ethnic Tutsis. Every aspect of society was marred by the genocide in 1994 the perpetrators were neighbors or in-laws or coworkers creating extraordinary circumstances for life post-genocide. The international tribunals could only prosecute so many perpetrators before they were overwhelmed creating the grass courts that would define the Rwandan genocide. The museums of Rwanda were created in order to honor the lives of victims and survivors. Churches, schools, and homes were violated by the genocide so the memorialization efforts expanded on the precedents set by the Holocaust in order to memorialize the genocide.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, known as the ICTR, was formed after the Rwandan genocide was the first international tribunal to punish proprietors of genocide as well as including rape as a crime within the context of genocide.25 The ICTR not only handed down judgments for political and militia leaders, it also targeted religious leaders and media leaders. Not only was it the first tribunal to interpret the 1948 Genocide Convention, it pursued prosecution of media leaders who not only encouraged the killings but told killers where suspected Tutsi’s and Tutsi sympathizers were hiding.26 This angle was never fully pursued before the Rwandan genocide but it set a precedent that included media leaders within the confines of genocide crimes. As well as pursuing media leaders the ICTR included rape and the knowingly transmission of HIV and other STDS, while media leaders was not unheard of the inclusion of rape and STD transmission was entirely unheard of and gave justice to the women who were forcibly raped because of their ethnicity.27 The ICTR finished prosecution in 2012 but is still actively tracking down perpetrators of the genocide, while the only active cases are within the appeals courts the ICTR is confident that their approach was not only successful but will be a beacon for future international tribunals.

The ICTR transformed not only how the Genocide Convention was interpreted but how it can be used within the present context of genocides. Unfortunately, with the modern age crimes against humanity the violence is increasingly heightened and even more difficult to find in enough time to stop it. What the ICTR changes is how governments are able to prosecute such crimes as well as hope for successfully prosecuting the crimes in the future. While it may seem hopeless, the government of Rwanda focused on the legal aspect and prosecuting the perpetrators to give victims closure and justice. This focus allowed for museums, mourning periods, reconciliation groups and education for those who grew up in the aftermath.

Ten years after the heinous 100 days of violence in Rwanda, the book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, was published by Phillip Gourevitch. Gourevitch was one of the first journalists to publish an unabashed telling of the genocide of Tutsi Rwandans. Writing from 1995-1998 he was at ground zero of the Rwandan genocide and did not bother with mincing his words or revealing his own judgment. In an interview with the Guardian, Gourevitch stated that moral ambivalence and a refusal to judge was a “useless notion.”28 A genocide cannot be explored as bad versus good, but in Rwanda as with any genocide there were good people as well as evil present. Gourevitch travelled throughout Rwanda sitting down at restaurants and bars and even going to people’s houses in an attempt to find out what had happened and how the country was healing. The title of the book was taken from a letter that was sent from a Tutsi pastor to the president of the church, Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, the letter was ignored and the church that was meant to be a sanctuary became a host for evil. Ntakirutimana was eventually convicted by the ICTR for his role in helping the genocide leaders.29 The famous story of Paul Rusesabagina was first told in an interview with Gourevitch during his travels to Rwanda. This story was later told in a dramatized version in the film Hotel Rwanda, where Don Cheadle portrayed Rusesabagina. Rusesabagina was one of heroes in Rwanda whose story was written and immortalized by Gourevitch.30

Recently as of writing this (April 16, 2020) a mass grave of 30,000 bodies has been found in a valley dam a quarter century after the Rwandan genocide.31 There are differing opinions on how many people lost their lives, ranging from 800,000 to 2 million, this mass grave proves that the numbers are higher than originally reported. It is also true there are more mass graves in Rwanda which will help with the official numbers from the Rwandan genocide. The Coronavirus Crisis is the first time since the genocide that the mourners were unable to make the pilgrimage to honor their dead. With the military guarding the empty streets with survivors saying it is reminiscent of the genocide. 2020 marks the 26th anniversary of genocide of Tutsis and the Hutus who protected them.

Conclusion

In war there are declarations, decorum and treaties in genocide those do not exist. In war there is hate for the enemy; in a genocide the hatred for one’s neighbor consumes the society and tears it to the ground. A genocide is not like war, in a war people try to stop the war, people want to bring peace a genocide does not have the same rules or decorum for peace. The treaties that put a stop to war do not exist for a genocide. The western powers and the United Nations have ignored and failed to stop crimes against humanity such as genocides. The Genocide Convention of 1948 is a legally binding treaty in which all state parties must follow and uphold the Convention’s rules. The signing parties must not ever let this happen again they have failed to do so. Today there are concentration camps in China of Uyghur Muslims who were forcibly removed from their homes, their organs harvested from their bodies and their children kidnapped. In Myanmar the Rohingya crisis continues causing one of the largest refugee crises in history as well as two known genocides in the past ten years.

The purpose of this paper is show how we remember these horrific events and what is necessary in order to memorialize a genocide. The more the stories of victims are told the more inclined people are to believe them and work to stop the abuse and persecution. In order for the Genocide Convention to be truly upheld what needs to change are refugee laws, asylum laws, and for crimes against humanity to be properly and thoroughly prosecuted. The victims of genocide need their stories to be told with the dignity and respect that was ripped from them by the government. When the victims are allowed to remember and memorialize their genocide without fear of persecution the society is better educated and is able to heal from the great injustice done to them. When victims are allowed to mourn, they are able to move forward and create a better society for the next generation and stop the generational post-traumatic stress disorder and communal grief. When laws are upheld and museums formed and movies made and books written society recognizes that something terrible has taken place and it should never happen again. When genocides are memorialized, the problem has a name, it can be diagnosed and it can be cured. People are no longer forced to forget and are allowed the right to grieve and mourn; they are able to rebuild and create a society that values life over hatred.

Prior to the Second World War the narrative of justice was controlled from the top with the victims unable to speak for themselves. This bureaucratic machine tightly controlled the narrative until the Holocaust transformed justice by giving voice to the victims. The narrative was now written and controlled by those who experienced it, safeguarding the truth and allowing the right to grieve. Saul Friedlander wrote that genocide was “too massive to be forgotten, and too repellent to be integrated into the normal narrative of memory,” it is the job of a good society to not let the second part of that quote remain true.32 If the promise of never letting a genocide happen again remains true than it must not only be remembered but it has to become the normal narrative of memory. It can no longer be buried away within books that only academics read, it must be understood in every level of life and it must be taught. There cannot be a difference between what is memory and what is history, the memory of victims is the history of the genocide. When the genocide is recognized as a crime and justice is given to those who were suddenly and violently silenced the world can mourn together and remember together. When we remember we preserve more than the history of the event, we preserve the memory of those who lost their lives because we did not save them. When a genocide is memorialized we do not forget, we do not leave it in the past we consciously choose to preserve that memory and never let it happen again.


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“S21 Victims.” The Killing Fields Museum of Cambodia - Welcome. Accessed March 31, 2020. http://www.killingfieldsmuseum.com/s21-victims.html.

“United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law.” United Nations. United Nations. Accessed January 30, 2020. https://legal.un.org/avl/ha/ictr/ictr.html.

“United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.” The ICTR in Brief | United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Accessed January 30, 2020. https://unictr.irmct.org/en/tribunal.

“United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.” United Nations. United Nations. Accessed March 31, 2020. https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide-convention.shtml.

Vincent, Philippe. 2019. “From Lemberg to Phnom Penh: About the Recognition of the Genocide of the Vietnamese in Cambodia and Muslim Chams by the Khmer Rouge Regime Between 1975 and 1979,” January.

We Shall Not Die Now, 2019.

Wilt, Harmen van der. 2012. The Genocide Convention : The Legacy of 60 Years. Leiden: Brill | Nijhoff.

“Yale University.” Welcome | Genocide Studies Program. Accessed March 31, 2020. https://gsp.yale.edu/.


Endnotes

1.) Friedländer Saul. Memory, History and the Extermination of the Jews in Europe. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

2.) https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/volume% 2078/volume-78-i-1021-english.pdf,

Bemporad, Elissa, and Joyce W. Warren. 2018. Women and Genocide : Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators. Indiana University Press.

Moses, A. Dirk, and Donald Bloxham. 2010. The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford: OUP Oxford.

“S.1851 - 100th Congress (1987-1988): Genocide Convention Implementation Act of 1987 (the Proxmire Act).” Congress.gov, November 4, 1988. https://www.congress.gov/bill/100th-congress/senate-bill/1851.

“United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.” United Nations. United Nations. Accessed March 31, 2020. https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide-convention.shtml.

“Yale University.” Welcome | Genocide Studies Program. Accessed March 31, 2020. https://gsp.yale.edu/.

3.) https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/volume% 2078/volume-78-i-1021-english.pdf

“United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law.” United Nations. United Nations. Accessed January 30, 2020. https://legal.un.org/avl/ha/ictr/ictr.html.

4.) Miller, Judith. “HOLOCAUST MUSEUM: A TROUBLED START.” The New York Times. The New York Times, April 22, 1990. https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/22/magazine/holocaust-museum-a-troubled-start.html

5.) Miller, Judith. “HOLOCAUST MUSEUM: A TROUBLED START.” The New York Times. The New York Times, April 22, 1990. https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/22/magazine/holocaust-museum-a-troubled-start.html

6.) Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl. "Understanding the Holocaust through the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum." Journal of Architectural Education (1984-) 48, no. 4 (1995): 240-49. Accessed March 3, 2020. doi:10.2307/1425386.

7.) Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl. "Understanding the Holocaust through the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum." Journal of Architectural Education (1984-) 48, no. 4 (1995): 240-49. Accessed March 3, 2020. doi:10.2307/1425386.

8.) Brinkley, Robert, and Steven Youra. "Tracing Shoah." Publications of the Modern Language Association of America (1996): 108-127.

9.) Brinkley, Robert, and Steven Youra. "Tracing Shoah." Publications of the Modern Language Association of America (1996): 108-127.

10.) We Shall Not Die Now, 2019.

11.) We Shall Not Die Now, 2019.

12.) Melvin, Jess. 2017. “Mechanics of Mass Murder: A Case for Understanding the Indonesian Killings as Genocide.” Journal of Genocide Research 19 (4): 487–511. doi:10.1080/14623528.2017.1393942.

13.) Melvin, Jess. 2017. “Mechanics of Mass Murder: A Case for Understanding the Indonesian Killings as Genocide.” Journal of Genocide Research 19 (4): 487–511. doi:10.1080/14623528.2017.1393942.

14.) Melvin, Jess. 2017. “Mechanics of Mass Murder: A Case for Understanding the Indonesian Killings as Genocide.” Journal of Genocide Research 19 (4): 487–511. doi:10.1080/14623528.2017.1393942.

15.) Melvin, Jess. 2017. “Mechanics of Mass Murder: A Case for Understanding the Indonesian Killings as Genocide.” Journal of Genocide Research 19 (4): 487–511. doi:10.1080/14623528.2017.1393942.

16.) Melvin, Jess. 2017. “Mechanics of Mass Murder: A Case for Understanding the Indonesian Killings as Genocide.” Journal of Genocide Research 19 (4): 487–511. doi:10.1080/14623528.2017.1393942.

17.) “Requiem for a Massacre.” Magz Tempo. MAGZ.TEMPO.CO, October 2, 2012. https://magz.tempo.co/read/25496/requiem-for-a-massacre.

Robinson, Bruce, David Puttnam, Roland Joffé, Sam Waterston, Haing Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands, et al. 1984. The Killing Fields.

18.) Kiernan, Ben. The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.

19.) “ECC.” Drupal. Accessed March 31, 2020. https://www.eccc.gov.kh/en/about-eccc.

20.) “ECC.” Drupal. Accessed March 31, 2020. https://www.eccc.gov.kh/en/about-eccc.

21.) “ECC.” Drupal. Accessed March 31, 2020. https://www.eccc.gov.kh/en/about-eccc

22.) “ECC.” Drupal. Accessed March 31, 2020. https://www.eccc.gov.kh/en/about-eccc

23.) “S21 Victims.” The Killing Fields Museum of Cambodia - Welcome. Accessed March 31, 2020. http://www.killingfieldsmuseum.com/s21-victims.html.

24.) Robinson, Bruce, David Puttnam, Roland Joffé, Sam Waterston, Haing Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands, et al. 1984. The Killing Fields.

25.) “United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.” The ICTR in Brief

United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Accessed January 30, 2020. https://unictr.irmct.org/en/tribunal.

26.) “United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.” The ICTR in Brief

United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Accessed January 30, 2020. https://unictr.irmct.org/en/tribunal.

27.) “United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.” The ICTR in Brief

United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Accessed January 30, 2020. https://unictr.irmct.org/en/tribunal.

28.) Stewart, Rory. “Genocide in Rwanda: Philip Gourevitch's Non-Fiction Classic.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, March 21, 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/21/genocide-rwanda-we-wish-to-inform-you-that-tomorrow-philip-gourevitch.

29.) Gourevitch, Philip. 2004. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families : Stories from Rwanda. Picador/Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

30.) Resighini won the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his actions during the Rwandan Genocide.

31.) Ssuuna, Ignatius. “Rwanda Finds Genocide Grave That Could Contain 30,000 Bodies.” AP NEWS. Associated Press, April 5, 2020. https://apnews.com/92881561cc0fc78dd4cb50842c76e5d0.

32.) Friedländer Saul. Memory, History and the Extermination of the Jews in Europe. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

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