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.