Friday, 23 February 2007 00:00
Genocide LectureWritten by WGCU Newsroom
“Ordinary people are the weapons of genocide”. That single idea was the underlying principle behind a presentation at Florida Gulf Coast University Friday.
Dr. James Waller is a social psychologist, and a professor in the field of Genocide Studies at Whitworth College in Spokane Washington. He’s also author of the book Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Mass Killings and Genocide.
He says he hopes people leave his lectures with more questions than answers…and an understanding of one fact: ordinary people are the ones who commit genocide.
“I think when we realize that…that’s part of the antidote to also realizing that we can be the end of genocide. I mean, it’s not something out of our control. We’re the ones doing it. We’re the ones committing the killing. And we can be the ones to stop that and to structure a society where…not that it’s never going to happen again, but that it’s less likely to happen than it’s been over the past.”
Waller ways during the 20th century an estimated 60 million people died through acts of genocide.
Waller’s presentation is one of several events surrounding a photography exhibit currently on display at the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida in Naples called Sudan: The Cost of Silence. The exhibit runs through March 9th.
An author and professor of Genocide Studies spoke at Florida Gulf Coast University today – as part of a series of events organized by the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida hoping to draw attention to the current genocide in the Sudan.
He told a packed house that it’s people…just like you and me…who are the killers in every genocide. And until that fact is understood, he says, unthinkable acts of mass murder will continue happening around the world.
Education Director at the Holocaust Museum - Amy Macera (Mass-air-uh) - says while her job can be emotionally difficult…being around the young people who visit helps balance that out.
“Working with students is fantastic, particularly middle school students. They’re really starting to grapple with these questions of what is there place in this world…and what they should be doing to make meaning…and they hook onto this issue of the Holocaust and genocide and it’s really inspiring to see them get fired up about it and say, you know what, this is something I’m going to do something about in my life.”
The Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida in Naples began as a student art exhibit called Out of the Ashes. Today’s lecture coincides with an exhibit of black & white photography at the museum called: Sudan, the cost of silence. It runs through March 9th.