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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Genocide Panel

I was on a panel last night at Bunker Hill Community College. The program took place from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m., in the Culinary Arts Dining Room (E-421), on the Charlestown campus. I presented on the issues of the Native American genocide, the other panelists were all professors from Boston College with PhD's: Devin Pendas, Zine Magubane (she knew my brother, Erich, and is actually on the same fellowship as him), and Dikran Kaligian. They presented on the Jewish/German, African/African diaspora and Armenian holocausts/genocides. It was fascinating. There was one newspaper there, The Armenian Weekly.

Devin Pendas talked about the four “E’s” of genocide:
  • Exclusion (laws) – not allowing access, citizenship, property taken
  • Emigration (movement and relocation)
  • Enclosure (ghettos, camps, reservations) – no viable economic situation or food
  • Extermination – a historical “process” which occurs over time
We each had approximately 15-20 minutes for our presentations. We all took about 30. We went an hour and a half over their allotted time.  One of the speakers  summed up our thoughts at the end by saying, "You just can’t talk about genocide in fifteen minutes." At program's end, we were going to light candles, take a moment to reflect on what we have heard and to offer our silent prayers or wishes that this kind of destructive behavior ends, but we ran out of time so we went up home with candles and were asked that we begin contemplation as to what each of us can do to help bring peace and justice to the world. I lead the group in the bird survival song.  It's a song from the Southwest which honors the survival of the winged creatures, for if they can't fly, breath, and survice, then humans aren't far behind in failing to thrive.

It was intense and worth it. Genocide towards NA's continues today with oppression through the use of mascots.

UPDATE:  Boarding schools are declared a form of genocide