|Human beings, indeed all sentient beings, have the right to pursue happiness and live in peace and freedom.
|Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration|
|By Robin Marsh|
|Monday, 01 February 2010|
Lawrence Joffe, an author and historian, spoke of the horror of the Holocaust. ‘Genocide is defined as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, by killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.’ Universal Peace Federation's founding purpose, to create an Inter-religious Council, especially at the United Nations, could be a useful forum for dialogue to respond to these tragedies at an early stage. More Photos Original article Dr Hojjat Ramzy on Bosnian Genocide. Rachel Francis-Ingham on Gypsy-Roma Genocide. Included talks on the Rwandan Genocide, Armenian Genocide and the 1984 Sikh Genocide.
This programme was organised by the Universal Peace Federation's Community Cohesion Working Group to promote awareness of the ‘Path to Genocide‘ and to focus attention on the recently passed UN Resolution, the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ soon after the UK's Holocaust Memorial Day. It was held in the House of Lords, Committee Room 4A on 1st February, 2010.
Lawrence Joffe, an author and historian, spoke of the horror of the Holocaust, expressing his fortune at being born of a family whose grandmother was able to escape on one of the last ships from Germany to South Africa before the war. He referred to two types of people who feel guilty: the perpetrator and the survivor. The Germans are very remorseful for the actions of their predecessors. The surviving Jews also feel very guilty for surviving when so many did not. For Ruth Barnett, one of the 10,000 kindertransport children who were saved, the guilt of survival has led her to being a Holocaust Educator.
Lawrence, quoting Raul Hildberg, said that there are only three types of people in these extreme situations. ‘The perpetrator, the victim and the bystander.’ He added that there should also be two other categories: the collaborator and the survivor. He explained the lack of support to receive Jewish refugees in 1935 when only the Dominican republic offered to receive Jewish refugees from many nations of the world was an example of the bystander. He added that it was ironic that the Ashkenazi Jewish people thought that Germany was the most advance nation in the world at that time and had felt very comfortable and accepted in German society. However Hitler in 1920 had said, ‘It is our duty to whip up the instinctive revulsion of the Jews.’ From 9 million Jews in Europe in 1939 approximately 6 million were killed. For example 90% of Jews in Poland were killed. (Useful links suggested by Lawrence Joffe to poetry of the Holocaust and inscriptions by Chagall)
Ruth Barnett since beginning her campaign for greater awareness of the Holocaust has also been active in campaigns for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and other human rights issues.
David Wardrop spoke of the UN Resolution in October 2009 that established the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ as well as the International Criminal Court current situation. He added that both were weak but that at least they were on the agenda and could be strengthened. He explained that ‘We the people’ must challenge Governments to champion the role of ‘Responsibility to Protect’ provisions. He concluded that civil society and media have an important role to play in developing the capacity of the international community to act in the case of an ongoing genocide.
Lord King of West Bromwich in his opening remarks emphasised that UPF believes that humankind is ‘One Family Under God’. He explained that Father Moon had lived to promote a world of peace centred on loving families. Dr Pilikian Khatchatur described the parallels between the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust in which he said one million Armenians are estimated to have died. He quoted Hitler’s comment on the treatment of Armenians, ‘Ataturk has two great students in this world, Mussolini and I.’
Dr Hojjat Ramzy explained the circumstances of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia especially with the genocide of Bosniac Muslims in Srebrenica and the use of rape as a weapon of war. Marie-lyse Numuhoza described her experience of conflict in Rwanda that led to the Rwandan genocidal killings of Tutsi people. Rachel Francis-Ingham (full speech Link) described the suffering of the Gypsy or Roma people of whom 350,000 were estimated to have died in the Holocaust. There are serious health issues in a refugee camp of Roma people in Kosovo currently she said. Mr Paramjit Singh described the ‘premeditated killing of 500,000 Sikhs’ and ‘mass rapes of Sikh women’ in June and October 1984 mainly in the Punjab, India as a Sikh genocide.