April is a month where we bear testimony to some of the most gruesome atrocities of the twentieth century. Ironically, the century that brought us the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also witnessed the Holocaust and genocides in Armenia, Cambodia and Rwanda.
Our unique goal at the Genocide Intervention Network is to establish the first permanent anti-genocide constituency. Through our membership program we help to ensure that there is always an educated and determined group of activists who can quickly mobilize to pressure our governments to intervene whenever the threat of genocide arises.
As we remember past genocides and work to end the ongoing genocide in Darfur, you can help the anti-genocide movement grow by asking your friends and family members to become members of GI-Net.
Armenian woman and child flee the genocide.
On the night of April 24, 1915, the Turkish government rounded up the leading Armenian religious, political and intellectual leaders in the capitol of Istanbul and murdered them. These killings were replicated across the country and the entire Armenian community was forced to relocate to the deserts of Syria. In all, at least 1,000,000 Armenians were slaughtered.
Join the Armenian National Committee of America in their "Click for Justice" campaign.
Crematoria at Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich.
April 11, 1933: The Nazis issue a decree defining a non-Aryan as "anyone descended from non-Aryan, especially Jewish, parents or grandparents. One parent or grandparent classifies the descendant as non-Aryan ... especially if one parent or grandparent was of the Jewish faith." This was one in a series of laws that prepared the way for Hitler's "Final Solution" — his attempt to destroy the Jewish people. This year Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, fell on April 16.
Out of an estimated 17,000 people imprisoned at the Tuol Sleng torture chambers in Cambodia, there were only seven known survivors.
On April 17, 1975, after a five-year civil war in Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge entered the capitol, Phnom Penh. Three and a half years later some 2,000,000 people had been killed or had died of starvation, as massacres emptied out entire cities into the countryside and introduced the world to the term "killing fields."
Tools of the Rwandan genocide: machetes.
On the evening of April 6, 1994, Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana's airplane was shot down. The next morning Hutu hardliners killed moderate leaders, beginning a three-month bloodbath that left 800,000 corpses scattered across the "land of a thousand hills" in rivers, homes and churches.
How will history document the genocide in Darfur? What will we tell our children when they ask us what we did to help stop it? When and how will it be commemorated?
The answers to these questions lie in how we choose to respond to the genocide today. The only way we can honor the victims of past genocides is through bearing witness to their suffering. However, in Darfur we have the opportunity to actually prevent more innocents from becoming victims of genocide.
We have the opportunity now to limit the number of dead we remember in the future.
Become a member of the anti-genocide constituency. Help stop the genocide in Darfur. Help the world to remember the genocides of the past. Help prevent genocide in the future.