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Chapter 2 addresses early Christian justifications for organised violence and demonstrates the inherent risk of links between religion, politics, and violence. It then examines early justifications for colonisation, where conceptions of non-Christian inferiority justified expansion and transatlantic slavery. In that context, the chapter assesses the emergence of closed institutions run by church and state actors as a key development in how social orders responded to those individuals and groups that were deemed a problem, based on religious and secular motivations. The chapter concludes by documenting the available evidence and estimates of historical abuses available for harms that can today be recognised, if controversially, as gross violations of human rights.
When Never Let Me Go was published in 2005, Ishiguro indicated that he ‘remain[ed] fascinated by memory’, and that his next challenge was to examine the themes of national memory and forgetting. The Buried Giant, published in 2015, represents Ishiguro’s unique meditations on collective memory, understanding, and the complexities of forgetting. Utilizing a third-person narrative voice, Ishiguro orchestrates a post-Arthurian landscape of buried slaughter and collective amnesia, whilst engaging in a critical enquiry into the nature of shared memories in relationships. This chapter will begin by considering Ishiguro’s memory work in his earlier novels, before an investigation into the fallibility of memory and understanding precipitated by the enigmatic mist. This is followed by an exploration of the question of culpability and the complexities of collective memory. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the figure of the boatman, the island of forgetting, and the implications of an enforced forgetting.
Under the leadership of the Baʿthists, in 1983, the Iraqi state arrested some 5,000-8,000 members, all male, of the Barzani tribe of Kurds and subsequently killed them. The mothers, wives, and children of these men were put into compounds controlled by Iraqi security forces. As a result, thousands of children were left without their fathers and hundreds of wives were suddenly left widowed. In a society where patriarchy dominates the homelife, single mothers were left with the challenges of taking up the role of their male partners. The very definition of motherhood transformed as they rose to meet the incredible tasks ahead of them, and indeed, the experience dismantled stereotypical images of motherhood, but not without untold pain and suffering. In this study, an attempt is made to shed light on the experiences of these lonely Barzani mothers and how they were affected by their altered gender roles.
This article investigates the collective memory that occurred as a result of the chemical attack on Halabja, on March 16, 1988. In light of discussions that deal with memory and reconciliation in post-genocide societies, we look at how collective memory and “postmemory” are formed among the survivors and their descendants. The merit of the article is that it brings together the victim's accounts and creates a bottom-up perspective that challenges the official accounts created by Kurdish and non-Kurdish elites as part of top-down narratives on what happened that day in Halabja and how it should be commemorated. The interviewee narratives illustrate that people of Halabja consider the memory of the chemical attack as an enduring trauma that creates a shared rendering of the past and continues to shape their collective identity. While each generation transfers this collective memory to the next, they also seek justice via shared commemoration practices outside official discourses. In their narratives, reprobation is not directed solely toward the Saddam Hussein regime, but also toward the current rulers of the Kurdistan Region as well.
Although the North Atlantic was plunged into crisis in the early 1970s, radicals proved unable to seize the opportunity as they entered a crisis of their own. In France, to a degree unparalleled elsewhere, prominent former radicals not only disavowed anti-imperialist internationalism but rallied behind the rival human rights internationalism. In so doing, they brought with them a set of experiences, which strengthened human rights activism. Despite their fading fortunes, and the growing strength of their rivals, radicals struggled to reinvent anti-imperialist internationalism. But they found themselves trapped in an uphill battle facing one obstacle after another. One of the most devastating blows was the internecine war between China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Revolutionaries in all three countries had developed a revolutionary strategy based in Leninism, joined hands in the struggle against imperialism, and claimed they were transitioning to communism together. Now they slaughtered each other in the name of national self-determination. Although the Third Indochina War did not destroy radicalism, it severely destabilized radical politics. While much of this failure can be traced to deeper histories of colonialism, imperialism, and American intervention in the region, revolutionaries, and the ideas that guided them, played a role as well. In this context, the idea of the right of nations to self-determination specifically, and the Leninist problematic more generally, suffered a terrible blow. The horrific events in Southeast Asia deepened the gnawing crisis of Leninism, which would ultimately bring down the project of anti-imperialist internationalism as such, creating a perfect opportunity for the rival human rights internationalism to take the stage.
This article examines the gacaca trials of women accused of perpetrating the Rwandan genocide, asking whether and how ideas about their gender impacted their defences, testimonies and experiences as defendants. It uses court reports of the trials of 91 accused women; a set of sources that provides novel insights into the role of gender in an African transitional justice system. These sources reveal that ideas about gender – particularly female peacefulness and passivity – were commonly invoked by both accused women and wider trial participants. These gendered ideas not only helped women to achieve acquittals, but they also contributed to the Rwandan state's construction of a ‘truth’ narrative that ordinary Rwandan women are not capable of genocide violence. Additionally, women's trials reveal a further function of the gacaca process: as a political tool that made moral judgements about contemporary Rwandan women's domestic roles and place within the household.
This chapter lays out key questions and concepts in the book. It discusses the author’s concept, the atrocity of hunger, the intentional starvation of a group through the denial of access to food, and it includes more than just the embodied experience of starvation: the physical and mental suffering that humans undergo due to the physiological effects of starvation, as well as the transformation and breakdown of families, communities, and individuals whose lives and core beliefs are shaped by starvation. It is also the process as experienced by individuals, households, and communities as they move from food insecurity to a state of starvation. It outlines that the coping mechanisms employed by the Jews during this experience provide a window into their everyday life during the Holocaust. This chapter lays out the role of food access as a key factor of survival and frames this question squarely within the framework of genocidal famine. It lays out the differences between the three cities under consideration: Lodz, Warsaw, and Krakow.
This chapter discusses the conclusions of the book including examining the connection between surviving the Holocaust and food access in the ghettos. It discusses the challenges to core values that people in the ghetto faced as they sought adequate food for survival.
During World War II, the Germans put the Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland into ghettos which restricted their movement and, most crucially for their survival, access to food. The Germans saw the Jews as 'useless eaters,' and denied them sufficient food for survival. The hunger which resulted from this intentional starvation impacted every aspect of Jewish life inside the ghettos. This book focuses on the Jews in the Łódź, Warsaw, and Kraków ghettos as they struggled to survive the deadly Nazi ghetto and, in particular, the genocidal famine conditions. Jews had no control over Nazi food policy but they attempted to survive the deadly conditions of Nazi ghettoization through a range of coping mechanisms and survival strategies. In this book, Helene Sinnreich explores their story, drawing from diaries and first-hand accounts of the victims and survivors. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
The criminological dimension of crime generally does not arouse great enthusiasm from researchers in Arab countries, unlike Anglo-Saxon- or French-speaking countries. Admittedly, Western criminology is more advanced, but it is more interested in common crimes than in mass crimes such as crimes against humanity, genocide, human trafficking or terrorism. However, the rare existing studies reveal the emergence of a criminology of massive human rights violations and expose some particularities of this criminal phenomenon. These include the often transnational nature of the crimes, the geographical, socio-economic and political disparity of criminals, the high number of victims, and more. The relationship between criminal law, criminology and human rights should be examined to determine the complementarity of the law and the empirical criminal sciences in crime prevention.
Ethnicity was supposed to become less and less important, as modernization and globalization take place. This chapter discusses how ethnicity has continued to be central to the lives of humans in the twenty-first century, and in some respects has become even more important. Ethnicity is often confused with race, even in academic research. Ethnicity is a social construct, whereas race is based on biological characteristics. Since the 1970s there has been ethnic mobilization and collective action in order to improve the conditions of disadvantaged ethnic groups. There has also been ethnic conflict and discrimination against ethnic minorities. Psychological research using the minimal group paradigm, as well as case studies of ethnic groups such as the Tutu and the Hutsi of Rwanda, demonstrates that there need only be minor or trivial differences between groups in order for individuals to show bias in favor of their ingroup. The arrival of large numbers of dissimilar others in North America and Western Europe has also added fuel to the fire of ethnic conflict.
Ibrahim and Tabbert continue on the topic of victims with an exploration of a selected passage by Iraqi Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas’ The Small Mirrors. The authors employ the framework of Critical Stylistics (Jeffries 2010) that is particularly suited to detect ideological meaning in texts.
Most people are caring and will exert great effort to rescue individual victims whose needy plight comes to their attention. These same good people, however, often become numbly indifferent to the plight of individuals who are “one of many” in a much greater problem. Why does this occur? The answer to this question will help us answer a related question that is the topic of this paper: Why, over the past century, have good people repeatedly ignored mass murder and genocide? Every episode of mass murder is unique and raises unique obstacles to intervention. But the repetitiveness of such atrocities, ignored by powerful people and nations, and by the general public, calls for explanations that may reflect some fundamental deficiency in our humanity — a deficiency that, once identified, might possibly be overcome. One fundamental mechanism that may play a role in many, if not all, episodes of mass-murder neglect involves the capacity to experience affect, the positive and negative feelings that combine with reasoned analysis to guide our judgments, decisions, and actions. I shall draw from psychological research to show how the statistics of mass murder or genocide, no matter how large the numbers, fail to convey the true meaning of such atrocities. The reported numbers of deaths represent dry statistics, “human beings with the tears dried off,” that fail to spark emotion or feeling and thus fail to motivate action. Recognizing that we cannot rely only upon our moral feelings to motivate proper action against genocide, we must look to moral argument and international law. The 1948 Genocide Convention was supposed to meet this need, but it has not been effective. It is time to examine this failure in light of the psychological deficiencies described here and design legal and institutional mechanisms that will enforce proper response to genocide and other forms of mass murder.
What is the basis of status in world order? Status is assumed to come from strength, even if strength is reconfigured to be social and normative, not just material. Status, however, can also come from perceived weakness – it is conferred to those recognised as ‘victims’. We make four theoretical contributions to the scholarship on status in world affairs. First, we examine how the category of victim is produced. Two, we expand the possible sources of status in world affairs by adding the category of victim. Three, focus on victimhood status further demonstrates that status is independent of material power. Lastly, victimhood as status exhibits the paradox that power depends on perceived powerlessness. We illustrate these arguments with three features of victim status in modern international politics: the changing desirability of victim status in Israel, the gendered construction of ideal victim in the Congo, and the hierarchy of victimhood in Bosnia.
Chapter 4 documents and analyzes China’s domestic policies aimed at countering Uyghur violence. We discuss the broad securitization of Xinjiang, including budgets and the forces involved. Drawing on the best available data on Uyghur-related political violence and China’s public security expenditure in Xinjiang, we present the first rigorous assessment of the feedback loop of violence and repression in Xinjiang. We demonstrate that government repression is not systematically followed by increased Uyghur violence and that increased security expenditures are excessive and inefficient, especially in the long run. This chapter also traces the recent strategic shift in China’s policies from postattack securitization toward actively and forcibly promoting ethnic mingling and “de-extremification.” While this policy reorientation has been attributed to Beijing’s intolerance of instability, our analysis shows that it is a result of a more complex set of competing priorities within the Chinese government.
How does international law protect human rights? We trace the development of human rights, focusing on the international response to the atrocities of World War II and the rapid pace of human rights conventions. We demonstrate how the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights started a wave of other conventions designed to codify the treatment to which every human is entitled. Not every state can achieve the wide array of protections these documents outline, but the UN has established methods for reporting violations that provide some minor satisfaction. The last half of the chapter is devoted to a discussion of regional human rights mechanisms, focusing on the European, Inter-American, and African systems and noting their jurisdictional differences. Finally, the development of mechanisms to respond to genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity are detailed, including the criminal tribunals set up for specific atrocities and the International Criminal Court.
Dehumanisation is one of the most invoked factors in analyses of mass atrocities with many scholars focusing on its crucial role in enabling perpetrators to inflict violence on their victims. However, while its application is widespread, its relevance is often assumed a priori, with claims regarding its empirical relevance often asserted rather than argued for. Not only does its meaning, nature, and function remain amorphous, current scholarship also lacks a general conceptualisation of the basic features that bind the manifold appearances of dehumanisation together. It is this paucity of sustained reflection and particularly the lack of conceptual clarity that the present article seeks to address. Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt, it aims to deliver a more thoroughgoing appraisal of the nature of dehumanisation as a fundamental violation of plurality to conceptually consolidate and ground its meaning and bind together its diverse manifestations across cases of mass violence.
Despite the fact that persons with disabilities comprise, according to current statistics, a significant portion of conflict-affected communities and are disproportionately affected by armed conflict, the lack of inclusion in accountability mechanisms for acts amounting to crimes under international law is notable. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) provides a framework for mainstreaming inclusive investigation practices and promoting greater accountability, through application of the principles of autonomy, non-discrimination and accessibility. This article makes suggestions for the operationalization of this CRPD framework through specific recommendations for accountability mechanisms, alongside legal opportunities for recognition of crimes affecting persons with disabilities and crimes resulting in disability. A case study of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and persons with disabilities in Iraq is used to illustrate the application of recommendations to ensure that persons with disabilities are no longer the “forgotten victims of armed conflict”.
Before the 1915 Genocide of Ottoman Armenians, the region of Van, in contemporary southeastern Turkey, held hundreds of active Armenian churches and monasteries. After the destruction of the Armenian community, these ruined structures took on new afterlives as they became part of the evolving environments and communities around them. These ruined spaces play a role in the everyday lives of the people who live among them and shape their historical understandings and relationships with the local history and geography. I interrogate the afterlives of one abandoned monastery and examine how local Kurds imagine, narrate, and enact the politics of the past and the present through that space of material ruin. I demonstrate how the history of the Armenian Genocide and ongoing state violence against the Kurdish community are intricately linked, highlight the continuation of violence over the past century, and deconstruct notions of ahistorical victims and perpetrators. This article builds on a critical approach to ruins as it traces how histories of destruction and spaces of material ruin are revisited and reinterpreted by those whose lives continue to be shaped by processes of ruination. It demonstrates how ruins created through violent histories become spaces for articulating alternative senses of history and crafting possible futures.
This chapter explores the scope of application of international criminal law with respect to the repression of international crimes affecting animals during war. It considers how war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide could apply. It then reviews all judgments – up to July 2020 – from the ad hoc/hybrid international criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court where war crime allegations were adjudged and animals featured therein. It thus gives the first ever detailed account of how international criminal law has been used to address and repress international crimes that affect animals during war. The chapter then explores international criminal law’s limits and gaps in this area. It submits that animal cruelty during war should be recognised under international law in the same way that it is during peacetime under domestic law. It proposes that ‘other inhumane acts’ under the heading of crimes against humanity could be a means to potentially achieve this aim.