Thursday, April 14, 2011

Never Again

This post has been a long time coming. It has been ruminating for awhile and I’m not sure I’ve got it all straight, but there’s only 1 way to really figure it out – write it down!

I was in Walmart recently and had a poor experience. The staff themselves were fantastic (I have an awesome favorite cashier guy that it would be total digression to go into detail about him now, but he makes my day!) It was all the customers! Wow! I walked into a store of very unhappy people. Grouchy faces, rudeness to others in line, people totally snarking at their kids in a way that made me wonder how they treat their kids when they are NOT in public. Stuff like that. I walked out wondering what manner of reason would cause a store full of people to be in such horribly foul moods.

I have referred to myself in the past here as a perpetual grump. NOT something I’m proud of. I’ve snarked more than a few times at unsuspecting store people. Meany that I am! I AM self aware though and this IS an area I do work hard at. I think sometimes I’m actually over friendly – likely freaks people out a bit. Oh well, a bit of friendly freak never hurt, right?

I recently watched a BBC documentary called “Worse than War”, featuring the book of the same title and its author - Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. It was an eye opening film exploring the phenomenon of genocide. Chilling. The author himself is of Jewish decent and his father’s personal story was shared of his own holocaust experience.

Things I didn’t know:

• Genocide has killed more than 100,000,000 people worldwide in the last 100 years and is actually considered one of the leading causes of death globally.
• There have been many genocides worldwide in the last 100 years (I think I only knew of Rwanda & the Holocaust).
• Genocide is defined as the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.
• Genocide is a top down affair. People follow the cues of their leaders. People in power with a dislike, distrust or even hate of a group of people, have used their influence to encourage & foster prejudice

The film laid it out in such terms that would help one realize there is no simple solution. When there is crisis, the world turns to the United Nations for support. As well as the USA who are leaders in this sort of diplomacy. (As a Canadian, I need to put in a plug for us too – Canadians are right in there much of the time, but in terms of sheer numbers, the USA is a stronger force). However, the UN and other world leaders need to choose between morality & diplomacy.

Morality would state that if people are being harmed and we all know about it, there should be something in place that allows the world to jump in and put an immediate HALT to it.


Diplomacy is where we’re stuck. World leaders historically have not intervened until months and sometimes YEARS after the atrocities have begun. They must talk to the target country’s leaders, the neighbouring country’s leaders, etc etc. They must make every diplomatic effort to determine that what is happening is IN FACT genocide.

Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment
of the Crime of Genocide
Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948.

I don’t want to knock the UN – I don’t envy the leader’s their job AT ALL, but my heart breaks for those who are hated and discriminated against for something so inconsequential as skin color, ethnicity, tribal lines etc.

For the leaders who are establishing a need to eradicate another group of people, they weigh the cost vs. benefit. Obviously these political leaders feel there is benefit. They do not expect to be stopped or have outcry from the international community so there is no cost for them – no desire to stop

This film showed demonstrators picketing and protesting outside parliamentary buildings. Signs and voices together shouting “NEVER AGAIN”. The irony of that is that governments in hindsight will agree. The atrocities should never have happened and policy should be put in place so that it will never happen again.

Until the NEXT time. This is happening right now.

See a pattern?

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