Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Genocide Education / Genocide Prevention

World Without Genocide Book Clubs: Tackling Tough Questions
By Audra Otto
MinnPost.com, May 3, 2010
"On a recent Tuesday evening, members of a World Without Genocide book club gathered in a Guthrie Theater classroom to discuss Robert Skloot's one-act play, 'If the Whole Body Dies.' World Without Genocide -- a local nonprofit dedicated to global advocacy for human rights and genocide education, awareness and prevention -- launched book clubs in January. Subject-driven book clubs are on the rise, with themes ranging from yoga to Christian marriage to organic farming to lesbianism. Book clubs with themes as weighty and painful as genocide are unusual. Members of this book club have found reading genocide literature and participating in community dialogue about human rights to be valuable learning experiences. With five groups in the Twin Cities and one in St. Cloud, the program seems to be going strong. ...
Referencing well-documented debates over the use of the term 'genocide' to describe atrocities Rwanda and Darfur, members theorized why political leaders and institutions resist the descriptor in favor of 'land conflicts,' 'ethnic cleansing' and 'insurgency and counterinsurgency.' Several members suggested that officials shy away from labeling campaigns of terror as 'genocide' because the designation necessitates responsibility to stop the killing and punish the perpetrators -- a responsibility that may diverge from immediate self-interests. ... By the very of the nature of the book club, conversation among members tends to veer toward larger ideological issues and the relevance of the reading to current events rather than focus on authorial intent, technique, or style. [...]"

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