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April and genocide

Gerald Caplan
Globe and Mail Update
Friday, Apr. 30, 2010
 
...Last week I spoke at a memorial service at Tufts University in Boston. Jewish and Rwandan survivors and the granddaughter of Armenian survivors were joined by a survivor of the Cambodian killing fields for a deeply affecting evening. We first remember the past to honour the victims, and every one of the speakers lost a mind-numbing number of family in his or her respective apocalypse...
 
All across the world, memorial ceremonies during April are more common than many know. But Tufts was unusual for this unexpected fact: rarely do the various survivors' communities attend the same memorials. In general, each bears witness in isolation from the others...
 
Time after time the survivors told virtually identical tales: Being classified as some kind of filthy insect that needs to be eliminated in order to cleanse society, to make it pure. The sudden transformation of neighbour, friend or teacher into mortal enemy. Your physical separation from the larger whole. Losing track of other members of your family. Witnessing a beloved relative murdered before your eyes. The peculiarly gruesome, sadistic nature of the killings.
 
 
Author:  Gerald Caplan
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