In this contribution to philosophical ethics, Claudia Card revisits the theory of evil developed in her earlier book The Atrocity Paradigm, and expands it to consider collectively perpetrated and collectively suffered atrocities. Redefining evil as a secular concept and focusing on the inexcusability - rather than the culpability - of atrocities, Card examines the tension between responding to evils and preserving humanitarian values. This stimulating and often provocative book contends that understanding the evils in terrorism, torture and genocide enables (...) us to recognise similar evils in everyday life: daily life under oppressive regimes and in racist environments; violence against women, including in the home; violence and executions in prisons; hate crimes; and violence against animals. Card analyses torture, terrorism and genocide in the light of recent atrocities, considering whether there can be moral justifications for terrorism and torture, and providing conceptual tools to distinguish genocide from non-genocidal mass slaughter. (shrink)
Is there is a moral obligation to militarily intervene in another state to stop a genocide from happening (if this can be done with proportionate force)? My answer is that under exceptional circumstances a state or even a non-state actor might have a duty to stop a genocide (for example if these actors have promised to do so), but under most circumstances there is no such obligation. To wit, “humanity,” states, collectives, and individuals do not have an obligation (...) to make such promises in the first place or to create institutions that would impose a legal obligation of intervention upon them. Nor do states or persons or humanity “collectively” have – originally, without specifically creating such duties by contracts or promises – any pro tanto or special duties to save strangers at considerable cost to themselves or their own citizens (including their soldiers). That is, these costs do not merely override a duty to intervene, but rather there is no such duty to begin with – as shown by the fact that in such cases of non-intervention agents would not owe those they let die any compensation: if I do not save someone’s life because saving him would have cost me my arm or would have come with a high risk of losing my own life or would have forced me to kill innocent bystanders, I do not owe this person compensation. Thus the point of this chapter is that there is no “natural” or “general” or “original” duty to militarily intervene (or to create a legal obligation) to stop a genocide. I will consider and refute a number of arguments to the contrary, for example by Lango, Tan, and Pattison. (shrink)
Genocide is evil or nothing could be. It raises a host of questions about humanity, rights, justice, and reality, which are key areas of concern for philosophy. Strangely, however, philosophers have tended to ignore genocide. Even more problematic, philosophy and philosophers bear more responsibility for genocide than they have usually admitted. In Genocide and Human Rights: A Philosophical Guide, an international group of twenty-five contemporary philosophers work to correct those deficiencies by showing how philosophy can and (...) should repsond to genocide, particularly in ways that defend human rights. (shrink)
Between 1904 and 1908, German colonialists in German South West Africa (GSWA, known today as Namibia) committed genocide and other international crimes against two indigenous groups, the Herero and the Nama. From the late 1990s, the Herero have sought reparations from the German government and several German corporations for what occurred more than a hundred years ago. This article examines and contextualizes the issues concerning reparations for historical human rights claims. It describes and analyzes the events in GSWA at (...) the time. It further explores whether international humanitarian law and international human rights law today permit reparatations to be obtained. The article therefore examines the origins of international criminal law, as well as international human rights and humanitarian law, to determine whether what occurred then were violations of the law already in force. Finally, the article examines and evaluates the Herero reparations cases, as well as the potential impact of the cases on the wider reparations movement that sees an increasing number of claims for events that occurred during colonial times. (shrink)
An imperfect “politics of justice” seems to be inevitable in the aftermath of genocide. In Rwanda, this is especially true, given the scale of the atrocities, the breadth of participation, and the need to build a justice system from scratch while establishing security and restoring the rule of law. Official contexts for survivor testimony and corresponding perpetrator punishment are crucial for establishing shared norms and narratives, but these processes can destabilize social relations in important ways. Accordingly, without development, these (...) justice mechanisms can undermine social stability and emerging cohesion. The converse is also true: without official contexts of testimony and judgment, development is only material support, and has no recognitive force. Learning from Rwanda’s post-’94 transitional justice, broadly construed, I argue that without development, platforms for testimony and the meting out of punishment yield insufficient recognition and so undermine social stability and emerging cohesion. The converse is also true: without official contexts of testimony and judgment, development is only material support, and lacks crucial recognitive force. The crucial interdependence of development, which provides distributive justice, with criminal proceedings, which offer retributive and restorative justice, has the potential to secure a lasting and stable peace. (shrink)
This article discusses how John Dewey's “Report and Recommendation upon Turkish Education” and some of Dewey's related travel narratives reflect “civilizing mission” imperatives and involve multiple utopian operations that have not yet attracted political-philosophical attention. Such critical attention would reveal Dewey's misjudgments concerning issues of diversity, geopolitics, and global justice. Based on an ethicopolitical reading of the relevant sources, the aim here is to expose developmentalist and colonial vestiges, to raise searching questions, and to obtain a heightened view on the (...) stakes of Dewey's utopianism and progressive pragmatism. The article concludes that the acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide constitutes a major challenge to Dewey scholarship. (shrink)
Taking as a test case biblical texts in which the God of Israel commands the destruction other nations, the present paper defends the legitimacy and the necessity of ethical criticism of the Bible. It takes issue with the suggestions of several contemporary Christian philosophers who have recently defended the view that (in Israel’s early history) God had good and morally sufficient reasons for commanding genocide.
There is a common intuition that genocide is qualitatively distinct from, and much worse than, mass murder. If we concentrate on the most obvious differences between genocidal killing and other cases of mass murder it is difficult to see why this should be the case. I argue that many cases of genocide involve not merely individual evil but a form of collective action manifesting a collective evil will. It is this that explains the moral distinctiveness of genocide. (...) My view contrasts with one put forward by Claudia Card, though we both agree that the notion of ‘‘social death’’ plays a significant role here. (shrink)
1. Introduction: a name, not an essence -- 2. Why Jewish thought and what makes it Jewish? -- 3. Deadly philosophical abstraction -- 4. The stranger in your midst -- 5. Nefesh: the soul as flesh and blood -- 6. The environmentalist contribution to genocide -- 7. Torture -- 8. Hunger and homelessness -- 9. Philosophy, religion, and genocide -- 10. A concluding reflection on body and soul.
Philosophers of religion have written a great deal about the problem of evil. Their reflections, however, have not concentrated, at least not extensively or sufficiently, on the particularities of evil that manifest themselves in genocide. Concentrating on some of those particularities, this essay reflects on genocide, which has sometimes been called the crime of crimes, to raise questions such as: how should genocide affect the philosophy of religion and what might philosophers of religion contribute to help check (...) that crime against humanity? (shrink)
Having followed the literature on genocide since the beginning of 1990s I have been often struck that academic writing on genocide is very much like non-professional pursuits in youth sports: anything is considered 'a good try'. The French have a good phrase for what I mean here: n'importe quoi. Works exhibiting no sound methodology, replete with irrational claims without factual basis and beliefs about foreigners adopted on faith limited only by a 'the worse the better' criterion of plausibility (...) dominate the literature on genocide. My only consolation in confronting this literature has been that philosophers, for the most part, had not been the ones taking part in this orgy of nonsense. The book Genocide and Human Rights takes even that solace away as it purports to be 'a philosophical guide' to genocide. (shrink)
The recent literature on genocide shows signs of taking what might be called a “processual turn,” with genocide increasingly understood as a contingent process rather than a singular event. But while this second generation's turn may be clear to those within the literature, the theory guiding the change is insufficiently specified. The theory regarding process and contingency is implicit, and, as such, genocide theory does not realize its full generative potential. The primary goal of this article is (...) to provide a more robust theoretical framework for making sense of the continually evolving dimensions of genocide. It builds on the literature's existing foundations, most notably Mann's (2005) notion of “contingent escalations.” In the spirit of the recent revival of American Pragmatism in sociology, it draws on the work of Dewey, Mills, Follett, and Addams (among others) as part of a theoretical reconstruction using pragmatist concepts such as rupture, perplexity, vocabularies of motive, and experimentation to consider examples from the Rwandan genocide and show how we might explore the potential for non-teleological intentionality on the part of genocidal actors. The result is an enhanced theoretical framework that offers “fresh eyes” for considering one of the worst (and most under-theorized) social problems. (shrink)
Drawing on my recent work using inferential role semantics and elements of speech act theory to analyze the role of derogatory terms (a.k.a. ‘hate speech’, or ‘slurs’) in the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, as well as the role of certain kinds of reparative speech acts in post-genocide Rwanda, this paper highlights key pragmatist commitments that inform the methods and goals of this practical analysis of real world events. In “Genocidal Language Games”, I used conceptual tools (...) from Wittgenstein, Sellars, Lewis, and Brandom, with a nod to Searle’s concept of status-functions, to develop an analysis that helps to make sense of the view that a steady, deep, and widespread derogation of a group can at least partially constitute genocide, not only be an antecedent to it. In this paper, I sketch some of the tools and lessons of this project, with an eye to highlighting their pragmatist roots and the directions to which such real-world investigations lead. (shrink)
Scholarship in the multidisciplinary field of genocide studies often emphasizes body counts and the number of biological deaths as a way of measuring and comparing the severity and scope of individual genocides. The prevalence of this way of framing genocide is problematic insofar it risks marginalizing the voices and experiences of victims who may not succumb to biological death but nevertheless suffer the loss of family members and other loved ones, and suffer the destruction of relationships, as well (...) as the foundational institutions that give rise to and sustain those relationships. The concept of social death, which Claudia Card offers as the central evil of genocide, marks a radical shift in conceptualizing genocide and provides space for recovering the marginalized voices of many who suffer the evils of genocide but do not suffer biological death. Here her concept of social death is explored, defended, and criticized. (shrink)
This article analyzes the claim that “deliberate denial [of genocide] is a form of aggression that ought to be regarded as a contribution to genocidal violence in its own right.” Its objective is to demonstrate that the claim is substantially correct: there are instances of genocide negation that are genocidal acts. The article suggests that one such instance is contained in a letter sent to Professor Robert Jay Lifton by Turkey's ambassador to the United States. The article is (...) divided into three parts. In the first part, it delineates and discusses the unexpected contents of the letter to Lifton. In the second, it primarily deals with three topics: lying, genocide, and Austinian performatives. In the third part, it takes the points made in the second part and applies them to the contents of the letter to Lifton, and demonstrates that the letter is an instance of genocide negation that is genocidal. (shrink)
This chapter, which concentrates on the violent imaginaries that informed the reports and deeds of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, reviews the perseverance of pre-colonial notions of a sacred king whose “wild sovereignty” and inability to promote the flow of imaana earns him fateful sacrifice. The term imaana denotes a supreme being and, in a more generalized way, a “diffuse, fecundating fluid” of celestial origin whose activity upon livestock, land, and people brought fertility and abundance. As imaana's earthly representative, the (...) king channeled fertility to the rest of humanity. The chapter also discusses symbolism of the sovereign's body and its implicit link with the process of liquid flow. Habyarimana is an inadequate conduit of imaana and thus not a worthy king. He is the antithesis of Ruganzu Ndori. -/- . (shrink)
In the wake of the Cold War a characteristic style of genocide narratives emerged in the West. For the most part, philosophers did not pay attention to this development even though they are uniquely qualified to address arguments and conceptual issues discussed in this burgeoning genocide genre. While ostensibly a response to a specific recent article belonging to the genre, this essay offers an outline of an ethics of genocide narratives in the form of four lessons on (...) how not to write about genocide. It is argued that to the extent that works on the subject of genocide are dominated by narrativism, genocidalism, activism, or extreme pacifism, they cannot properly be classified as scholarly endeavors and must be met with resistance per the requirements of academic ethics and proper scholarly methodology. (shrink)
This paper examines the design and teaching of "Genocide and Human Rights," an innovative, higher education course introduced in 2002 to provide training for a new generation of scholars and teachers. The course was developed and funded by a small non-profit organization, the Zoryan Institute, in Toronto, Canada. One purpose of the course is to teach about the Armenian genocide within a comparative genocide and human rights framework. Another goal is to fill a gap in the curriculum (...) in response to increased student interest and research in genocide and human rights. The course serves as a valuable pedagogical model including its comparative framework, teaching by invited specialists, adjusting the curriculum to reflect student interest and new scholarship, and setting up and maintaining formal and informal scholarly networks. Features of critical pedagogy include classroom dialogue and critique and respect for differences in background and opinion. For example, interactions between students of Turkish and Armenian background provide an opportunity to explore issues of stereotypes, memory, denial and reconciliation. The course provides training for a new generation in research, publications, teaching and advocacy in fields related to genocide and human rights. (shrink)
The present article discusses the broadening of the concept of genocide in Lithuanian national criminal law with regard to the principle of nullum crimen sine lege. The broadened definition, which includes two groups, social and political raises serious problems when the national provisions on genocide are applied retroactively. However, in the case of Lithuania, such a broadening of the definition may be interpreted not as an introduction of distinct independent groups, but of groups that closely overlap with the (...) groups defined by the UN Genocide convention of 1948. The article suggests that potential problems with the principle of nullum crimen sine lege may be avoided by qualifying crimes against the Soviet regime as crimes against humanity. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that we need a better understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of the current debates in international law surrounding hate speech and inchoate crimes. I construct a theoretical basis for speech acts as incitement to genocide, distinguishing these speech acts from speech as genocide and speech denying genocide by integrating international law with concepts drawn from speech act theory and moral philosophy. I use the case drawn on by many commentators in this area (...) of international criminal law, the trial of media executives for the roles they played in the Rwandan genocide through public speech acts by media entities insulting an ethnic group or advocating violence against an ethnic group. Each of these men were institutional leaders and were charged with using their positions within Rwandan society to distribute what I call genocidal hate speech, genocidal incitement speech, and genocidal participation speech. I argue for a distinction between these three types of speech, and a difference in individual criminal liability for the dissemination of each type of speech. I also argue that there should be a difference in individual criminal liability for speech acts within the context of an ongoing or recent genocide, and speech acts that can be separated from a site of mass violence. (shrink)
We tend to think that mass atrocities and attempted genocides call for humanitarian intervention by other states. (Nonviolent intervention if possible, military intervention if need be.) In this chapter, I discuss these two related claims in turn. What, if anything, justifies humanitarian intervention in certain states by other states? Ought such interventions, if justified, be pacifist in nature, or is it legitimate in some cases to intervene violently? To discuss these questions, I draw primarily on principles and arguments found in (...) just war theory, pacifism, international relations, and analytic political philosophy more generally. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to interrogate the concept of cultural genocide. The primary context examined is the Government of Canada's recent attempt at reconciliation through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Drawing on the work of Audra Simpson, Glen Sean Coulthard, Kyle Powys Whyte, Stephanie Lumsden, and Luana Ross, I argue that cultural genocide, like cultural rights, is depoliticized, thus limiting the political impact these concepts can invoke. Following Sylvia Wynter, I also argue that the aims of (...) “truth and reconciliation” can sometimes serve to resituate the power of a liberal multicultural settler state, rather than seek systemic changes that would properly address the present-day implications of the residential school system. Finally, I argue that genocide and culture need to be repoliticized in order to support Indigenous futurity and sovereignty. (shrink)
Larry May examines the normative and conceptual problems concerning the crime of genocide. Genocide arises out of the worst of horrors. Legally, however, the unique character of genocide is reduced to a technical requirement, that the perpetrator's act manifest an intention to destroy a protected group. From this definition, many puzzles arise. How are groups to be identified and why are only four groups subject to genocide? What is the harm of destroying a group and why (...) is this harm thought to be independent of killing many people? How can a person in the dock, as an individual, be responsible for a collective crime like genocide? How should we understand the specific crimes associated with genocide, especially instigation, incitement, and complicity? Paying special attention to the recent case law concerning the Rwanda genocide, May offers the first philosophical exploration of the crime of genocide in international criminal law. (shrink)
: Social death, central to the evil of genocide (whether the genocide is homicidal or primarily cultural), distinguishes genocide from other mass murders. Loss of social vitality is loss of identity and thereby of meaning for one's existence. Seeing social death at the center of genocide takes our focus off body counts and loss of individual talents, directing us instead to mourn losses of relationships that create community and give meaning to the development of talents.
Social death, central to the evil of genocide, distinguishes genocide from other mass murders. Loss of social vitality is loss of identity and thereby of meaning for one's existence. Seeing social death at the center of genocide takes our focus off body counts and loss of individual talents, directing us instead to mourn losses of relationships that create community and give meaning to the development of talents.
Dating back to the very beginning of our knowledge of the events that constituted the Holocaust, some historians, social scientists, philosophers, theologians and public intellectuals argue that it was a unique historical, or even trans-historical, event. The aim of this article is to clarify what the uniqueness question should be about and to ascertain whether there are good reasons for judging that the Holocaust is unique. It examines the core meanings of ‘unique’ that feature in the literature and identifies which (...) of these is most apt for considering the possible uniqueness of the Holocaust. It then works out what it would take for the Holocaust to be unique in the appropriately rigorous sense, which is facilitated by inquiring into the nature of genocide. The key question turns on the relation of the Holocaust to genocide: was the Holocaust more than, or different from, genocide? (shrink)
The Rwandan genocide of 1994 occurred due to widespread complicity. I will argue that complicity can be the basis for legal liability, even for criminal liability, if two conditions are met. First, the person’s actions or inactions must be causally efficacious at least in the sense that had the person not committed these actions or inactions the harm would have been made significantly less likely to occur. Second, the person must know that her actions or inactions risk contributing to (...) a harmful enterprise, and must intend that these actions or inactions risk making this contribution. But it is not part of this analysis that the defendant must intend the harmful result. I explore the boundaries between legal and moral complicity and end with a discussion of how the analysis defended in the paper affects such questions as how many people in Rwanda should be prosecuted for the genocide which occurred due to widespread complicity. (shrink)
A narrow conception of who counts among the marginalized can blind ethicists to the precarious position of groups who function as middle agents between elites and the lower class. The imposition of middle agency on such groups is a form of oppression that leaves them vulnerable to abandonment and attack. In Rwanda, discourses emanating from colonialism, classism, and racism obscured the Tutsi as middle agents, despite white Catholics' dedication to the poor. By neglecting to recognize middle agency as a type (...) of marginalization, missionaries contributed negatively to the genocide. Liberatory practices are recommended so that ethicists can expose and challenge the dynamics of middle agency and include all the marginalized in liberation strategies. (shrink)
Review of Final Solutions: Biology, Prejudice, and Genocide, ; Genocide Watch, ; Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, ; Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide, ; The Path to Genocide: Essays on Launching the Final Solution, ; and Why Genocide? The Armenian and Jewish Experiences in Perspective,.
Thoughtful Christians who hold the Old Testament in high regard must at some point come to terms with those passages in which God is said to command what appear to be moral atrocities. In the present paper, I argue that the genocide passages in the Old Testament provide us with a strong prima facie reason to reject biblical inerrancy—that in the absence of better reasons for thinking that the Bible is inerrant, a Christian should conclude that God did not (...) in fact command genocide. I shall also consider and reject the attempts of two prominent Christian philosophers to show that God had morally sufficient reasons for commanding the Israelites to engage in genocidal attacks against foreign peoples. (shrink)
International law has recently recognized that sexual atrocities can be acts of genocide. This precedent was pioneered through a landmark lawsuit in New York against Radovan Karadžić, head of the Bosnian Serbs, a case in which I played a central role. I argue that we may situate this development philosophically in relation to Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. She aims to secure a better understanding of genocide than was achieved at the (...) Nuremberg Trials and at the Eichmann trial. Arendt claims that these trials were limited by formalism because they applied familiar paradigms onto these new experiences in a manner that obscured what was distinctive about them and that demanded original thinking and a new paradigm. Nuremberg obscured genocide by miscasting it as a traditional “war crime,” a problem that the Jerusalem court exposed butcould have better clarified. Through a first-hand account, I show how we too had to secure a new paradigm by treating the facts on their own terms and coining the crime as “genocidal rape.” We had to wrest this paradigm from a prevailing approach that also formally applied the category of “war crimes” onto these experiences in a way that obscured them and interfered with justice. (shrink)
What causes genocide? Why do some stand by, doing nothing, while others risk their lives to help the persecuted? Ethics in an Age of Terror and Genocide analyzes riveting interviews with bystanders, Nazi supporters, and rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust to lay bare critical psychological forces operating during genocide. Monroe's insightful examination of these moving--and disturbing--interviews underscores the significance of identity for moral choice. Monroe finds that self-image and identity--especially the sense of self in relation to (...) others--determine and delineate our choice options, not just morally but cognitively. She introduces the concept of moral salience to explain how we establish a critical psychological relationship with others, classifying individuals in need as "people just like us" or reducing them to strangers perceived as different, threatening, or even beyond the boundaries of our concern. Monroe explicates the psychological dehumanization that is a prerequisite for genocide and uses her knowledge of human behavior during the Holocaust to develop a broader theory of moral choice, one applicable to other forms of ethnic, religious, racial, and sectarian prejudice, aggression, and violence. Her book fills a long-standing void in ethics and suggests that identity is more fundamental than reasoning in our treatment of others. (shrink)
In this paper I explore the notion of collective moral responsibility as it pertains both to nation-states contemplating humanitarian armed intervention in international social conflicts, and as it pertains to social groups perpetrating human rights violations in such conflicts. I take the Rwandan genocide as illustrative of such conflicts and make use of it accordingly. I offer an individualist account of collective moral responsibility, according to which collective moral responsibility is a species of joint responsibility.
This essay explores several moral issues raised by global warming through the lens of Claudia Card's theory of evil. I focus on Alaskan villages in the sub-Arctic whose residents must relocate owing to extreme erosion, melting sea ice, and rising water levels. I use Card's discussion of genocide as social death to argue that failure to help these groups maintain their unique cultural identities can be thought of as genocidal.
The two books discussed here join a current pushback against the concept of genocide. Nichanian focuses on the Armenian “Aghed” , inferring from his view of that event’s undeniability that “genocide is not a fact” . May’s critique assumes that groups don’t really—“objectively”—exist, as individuals do; thus, genocide—group murder—also has an “as if” quality so far as concerns the group victimized. On the one hand, then, uniqueness and sacralization; on the other hand, reductionism and diffusion. Alas, the (...) historical and moral claims in “defense” of both genocide and “genocide” survive. (shrink)
Confronted with Adolf Eichmann, evildoer par excellence, Hannah Arendt sought in vain for any 'depth' to the evil he had wrought. How is the philosopher to approach evil ? Is the celebrated criterion of impartiality ill-equipped to guide judgment when its object is evil - as exhibited, for instance, in the recent genocide in Bosnia? This essay questions the ability of the neutral 'third party' to respond adequately to evil from a standpoint of avowed impartiality. Discussing the different roles (...) of perpetrator and victim, I argue that in any knowledge about evil the victim is the supremely privileged source; this being so, the non-party to the occurrence of evil must privilege the testimony of the victimized - even at the cost of strict impartiality of moral judgment. Key Words: Arendt evil genocide Goldhagen impartiality judgment Kant Levinas. (shrink)
It is a widely shared belief that genocide – the ‘crime of crimes’– is more morally significant than ‘mere’ large-scale mass murder. Various attempts have been made to capture that separate evil of genocide: some have attempted to locate it in damage done to individuals, while others have focused upon the harm done to collectives. In this article, I offer a third, neglected, option. Genocide damages humankind: it is here that the difference is to be found. I (...) show that this understanding has a venerable legal history, and argue that it has the significant benefits of legitimising intervention and justifying universal jurisdiction. (shrink)
This article explores the role of reflective judgement in international relations through the lens of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. It argues that Hannah Arendt's writings on reflective judgement, and the dual perspectives of actor and spectator she articulates, offer us a set of conceptual tools with which to examine the failure of the international community to respond to the genocide as well as more broadly to understand the moral dilemmas posed by such crimes against humanity. Having identified (...) elements which form part of Arendt's concept of judgement, parallels in the case of Rwanda are found, drawing on both empirical evidence and recent interpretations of the genocide. Reflective judgement is offered as both a means of critique and as a source of normative guidance for political actors. (shrink)
Political reconciliation involves the repairing of damaged political relationships. This paper considers the possibility and moral justifiability of pursuing political reconciliation in the aftermath of systematic and egregious wrongdoing, in particular genocide. The first two sections discuss what political reconciliation specifically requires. I argue that it neither entails nor necessitates forgiveness. Rather, I claim, political reconciliation should be conceptualized as the (re-)establishment of Fullerian mutual respect for the rule of law. When a society governs by law, publicly declared legal (...) rules establish clear and practicable standards for behavior which are enforced in practice. Subjects of the law thus can form stable and reasonable predictions of how other citizens and officials will respond to their actions. After explaining why this analysis of political reconciliation is compelling, the third section spells out the implications of my analysis for determining the possibility of achieving and the justifiability of pursuing political reconciliation. (shrink)
Genocide is a violent process that aims at the liquidation of protected groups. Like individuals, groups can be killed in a variety of ways and for many different reasons. Only the intention of the perpetrator distinguishes genocide from other forms of mass violence. The implications of the account given are striking. Genocide is not in any sense distinctively heinous. Nor is it necessarily immoral. Under certain conditions, settlercolonialism, ethnic cleansing, and forced assimilation will count as instances of (...) the phenomenon. While the argument undermines the orthodox view, it can accommodate the idea that the Holocaust was distinctively heinous. (shrink)
In 1994 Rwanda erupted into one of the most appalling cases of genocide that the world had witnessed since World War II. Since genocide is the most aberrant of human behaviors, it cries out for explanation. This article offers an analysis and explanation of the Rwandan genocide utilizing the human materialism paradigm. It addresses the material, demographic, social and ideological elements of the problem.
The fact diat die first formal recognition of die crime of genocide (crimen lesae humanitatis) took place at Nuremberg in 1945 is extremely significant. Those who, to quote Adorno, record the extermination camps as “working incidents” in the victorious advance of civilization, or see “the martyrdom of die Jews as an irrelevant episode in the context of universal history,” fail to grasp die dominating trait of twentieth century atrocities: the perverse secularization of die religious motivations of genocide in (...) modern totalitarian political ideologies. The Nazi regime, with its dystopian vision of a hierarchy of races and societies under German hegemony, represented the most complete expression of diis process of total conditioning of the existence of individuals, with all its genocidal potentials. (shrink)