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All students are required to respond to other student posts each week The goal here is to ENGAGE in respectful dialogue – be supportive of each other, even as you are critical of each other’s ideas.

Gabe:

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UN Convention on the Crime of Genocide: Genocide is defined and condemned.
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1) In a single sentence IN YOUR OWN WORDS (IYOW), provide an OVERVIEW of this section.

This section focuses on defining genocide and the uniqueness of the Holocaust.

2) For each chapter (23-26), provide a THESIS sentence and THREE specific pieces of evidence to support your thesis – what is each writer’s MAIN argument, and how does each writer support said argument? (Use 2-3 sentences for EACH and feel free to number them.)

  1. UN Convention on the Crime of Genocide: Genocide is defined and condemned.
  • “The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 393). Genocide is condemned here no matter what scenario it may occur in.
  • “…genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group…” (Gigliotti and Lang, 393). Genocide, in order to be condemned, must be defined and they undertake the process to do this.
  • “Persons committing genocide…. shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials, or private individuals,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 394).
  1. Helen Fein: She argues that a good definition of genocide is a sustained action of physical violence done unto a collectivity and is perpetual even if that collective is surrendering or not even threatening.
  • She argues that this definition would “cover the sustained destruction of nonviolent political groups and social classes as parts of a national group but does not cover the killings of members of military and paramilitary organizations,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 413). She thinks that this is a good definition because in part it excludes the possibility of certain deaths inevitable from war being considered genocidal.
  • She gives certain propositions that make it easier to find genocide: “There was a sustained attack or continuity of attacks by the perpetrator to physically destroy group members… The perpetrator was a collective or organized actor or commander of organized actors… Victims were selected because they were members of a collectivity… The victims were defenseless or were killed regardless of whether they surrendered or resisted… The destruction of group members was undertaken with the intent to kill and murder was sanctioned by the perpetrator,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 414-15).
  • She gives certain factors that should be looked at in response to genocide and its impacts of such. “Consistency of sanctions for killing group members… Ideologies and beliefs legitimating genocide… Contexts of genocide… Bystanders’ responses… Victims’ responses… Interactions… Effects on victims… Effects on the perpetrators… Effects on the world system,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 415-16).
  1. Mark Levene: The Holocaust is unique as a genocide, but that it served as a sort of perfect model.
  • He addresses the fixation of Jews from the Nazis. The Holocaust was a unique genocide because “it was the most complete and perversely ‘perfect’ model of a genocide: one based entirely on a mental fixation so intense that it demanded a systemic, continent-wide modus operandi not attempted before or since,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 430).
  • Compared to other leaders that were brutal, Hitler was the most radical. The Holocaust was engrained into the economy. “Getting rid of the Jews seemed, moreover, to provide specific additional benefits for all participants: the removal of a particularly problematic ‘high profile’ element in the socio-economic matrix, the freeing up of expropriated capital and resources for national goals, occupational and business openings, much needed housing-in short, a window of opportunity for overall social and economic restructuring. The Holocaust is thus closely linked to the Nazi developmental agenda: forced-pace programme of social and economic transformation, more Running and radical than “anything a Mussolini, a Kemal Atatürk, even a Stalin could have envisioned,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 431).
  • “Though projection, visionary ideology, and a belief in some specially-ordained sanction to expunge the victim group are common, indeed prevalent, features of genocidal pathology, the Holocaust on all these accounts is the model par excellence. But that neither locates the Holocaust outside history nor demands that it be explained by a wholly different framework,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 436). The Holocaust is unique, but unique also as a model of genocide.
  1. A. Dirk Moses: It is counter-productive to mark the Holocaust as ‘unique’ in a historical examination.
  • The title of uniqueness that goes to the Holocaust and other genocides seems rather to be a claim that is not historical, but rather metaphysical or religious. As a result of this, it is not useful to discuss of it like this. “This game has no winner, unless the dreary spectacle of assertion and counter-assertion can pass for innovative scholarship. It is time for historians in the field to play by other rules, namely, those of the community of scholars dedicated to presenting arguments directed to and for the world at large, rather than primarily to and for an ethnic or political group. It is necessary also for them to dispense with the vocabulary of uniqueness they have all appropriated and abused. Uniqueness is not a useful category for historical research; it is a religious or metaphysical category, and should be left to theologians and philosophers to ponder for their respective reading communities. Where historians employ it, they stand in danger of relinquishing their critical role and assuming that of the prophet or sage who offers perspectives for group solidarity and self-assertion,” (Gigliotti and Lang, 457).

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