Genocide is as old as human society. It is older than the bible, each testament rife with mass vengeance, human and divine. But few centuries have been shaped as profoundly by genocide and its consequences as the twentieth.
Therefore it is no accident that the word itself, genocide, was coined in the middle of the twentieth century – in 1943, 75 years ago this month. For over forty years, I have travelled Europe and the Middle East, meeting witnesses, survivors and perpetrators of 20th century genocides and mass killings. Now these pages, launched in the winter of 2018, will grow as a record of some of these meetings and encounters.
Testimony is at the heart of this work. Without evidence, denial thrives. Denial is the great companion of genocide, and the greatest deniers are governments, who are also the greatest perpetrators of genocide.
But genocide aims to destroy its own evidence, as well as lives. So when no clear testimony is possible, we have to keep asking the questions. As long as we ask questions, there is a hope of finding answers.
Hello world! This is Aya Iyad Salama, a 21 years old, half Palestinian half Algerian girl, based her whole life in the largest open air prison (Gaza). This year was supposed to be my graduation year from university, as I am studying English translation in Al Azhar...
This discussion on genocide in the age of the nation state was first published in Planet, the Welsh Internationalist in March 2015. It is just as relevant today. This year’s centenary of the Armenian Genocide, and seventieth anniversary of liberation of the Nazi death...
British Mandate Palestine policy created today's inequitable Israel-Palestine conflict. Two days before British Palestine became Israel, on 12 May 1948 my uncle’s Palmach brigade conquered and cleared Bureir and neighbouring Najd, Sumsum, Huleiqat and Kaukaba. All...
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Two histories of mass violence collide: The Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba.
Yad Vashem is Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum. New army recruits complete their training, touring the dark underground galleries which chronicle the traumas of Europe’s Holocaust, climbing steadily to this highpoint: a sunlit platform to view Jerusalem Forest and the land of Israel, which these new soldiers are to defend.
The soldiers see the woods, but they don’t see beneath these trees the ruins of the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, where a 1948 massacre by Jewish forces triggered mass Palestinian panic and flight.
Yad Vashem once sacked a museum guide who mentioned that.
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KEYS: A TroublED INHERITANCE
In Keys: A Troubled Inheritance, Mike Joseph investigates a history of genocide and ethnic cleansing in one family – his own. Dramatised in this audio documentary series, through the testimony and voices of two centuries. New episodes released weekly from 6 September 2023. Available on all podcast platforms.