U.S. Markets closed

The Zoryan Institute Reflects on the Regressive Trends in Human Rights during Genocide Awareness Month

Violence against elected pro-Kurdish members of parliamentClick here for high-resolution version

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - April 13, 2017) - The Zoryan Institute reflects on the resurgence of populism and nationalism as regressive trends to Human Rights during Genocide Awareness Month.

Throughout the month of April, the world over commemorates the crimes that cannot be reversed and the irreparable failures of the past. From the International Day on Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda (April 7th) to Holocaust Memorial Day (April 23rd -24th) to Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day (April 24th) to the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare (April 29th), we are reminded of the obligations to prevent the threat of genocide from manifesting itself in the world.

In this month of reflection, we find that around the world denial narratives and hate speech continue to be major challenges to democracy and human rights. For example, earlier this month at a large public gathering, the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, employed strategic dehumanizing language by likening supporters of Fethullah Gulen to a cancer virus:

"We are purging every member of Fethullahist terrorist organization, in the police, and in state institutions, and we will continue cleansing them. ...We will eradicate this cancer virus from the body of the country and the state. We won't give them right to live because they divided the nation and ummah (Islamic community)."

Erdoğan's increasingly dictatorial rule in Turkey illustrates the dangers of a leader and a country that vehemently denies its complicity in the genocidal events of 1915. Through statements such as these, Erdoğan has brought back to life dehumanizing narratives once directed against Armenians in the early twentieth century by physicians and political leaders, such as Dr. Mehmet Reshid, Governor of the Diyarbekir Vilayet, who stated in 1915:

"Even though I am a physician, I cannot ignore my nationhood . . . My national identification takes precedence over everything else . . . Armenian traitors had found a niche for themselves in the bosom of the fatherland; they were dangerous microbes. Isn't it the duty of a doctor to destroy the microbes?"1

Genocide scholar Vahakn N. Dadrian, in his book The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus, cites a series of threatening letters, written by Dr. Nazim, to the Armenian press and the Armenian Patriarch leading up to the Armenian Genocide. Among the many letters and threats was this: "Know that the Turks have committed themselves, and have vowed to subdue and clean up the Armenian gâvurs [infidels] who have become a tubercular microbe for us."2

In the years preceding the Holocaust, medical and pseudo-science metaphors were employed in the Nazis' delegitimization, dehumanization and demonization of the Jews. It has been well-documented that the Nazi Party had a particular focus on associating Jews with scientific and medical terminology such as growths, parasites, microbes, germs:

"The Fuhrer holds the cleansing of the medical profession far more important than, for example, that of the bureaucracy, since in his opinion the duty of the physician is or should be one of racial leadership." Martin Bormann, Personal Secretary of Adolf Hitler, 19413

Here is an interesting union between the immense breakthroughs in scientific knowledge, notably the burgeoning popularity of the field of eugenics and Social Darwinism in the 20th Century, and ideology. This convoluted union of pseudo-science and ideology has had a profound impact on constructing a language of dehumanization, whereby metaphorical repetition manifests into the intent to destroy.

Take for example, the rape centers established in Bosnia from 1992 until 1995 -- centers wherein forced impregnation of Serbian "seed" would biologically displace Bosnian "Muslimness." Under the directorship and medical discretion of Radovan Karadzic, a medical psychologist and poet, Bosnian Serbs re-applied similar dehumanizing language solidified by the Ottoman Empire and Nazi Party. Here, Karadzic implemented a "biological solution" for those who are a "problem" people: the cholera, bacilli, baneful germs, "brute," "gangrenous appendixes," mongrels, and microbes.

The early 1990s were also tragically marked by the Rwanda Genocide, a genocide that was incited by hate propaganda against the Tutsi minority through various radio broadcasts and newspaper articles. Prior to the official outbreak in April 1994, Kangura -- a racist newspaper in Rwanda -- began publishing dehumanizing articles against the Tutsi minority, including this article in March 1993 stating: "A cockroach gives birth to a cockroach … the history of Rwanda shows us clearly that a Tutsi stays exactly the same, that he has never changed….the inyenzyi [cockroaches] who attacked in October 1990 and those of the 1960s are linked ….their evilness is the same." The United Nations would later lament in 2004 on the collective failure to protect 800,000 individuals, primarily Tutsis, from the genocide in Rwanda.

More recently, there has been a spike in violence against Kurdish communities in Turkey, including the imprisonment of 13 elected officials of the pro-Kurdish democratic opposition in Turkish parliament on alleged terrorism charges and the Turkish government's direct control of 82 municipalities in the Kurdish southeast region of the country. Turkey's incapacity to engage with its minorities in an honest historical reckoning is a clear sign of the future to come: one in which state interests and proclaimed self-defence come at the expense of democracy, plurality, and human rights.

Unfortunately, some of these regressive trends are also seen in Western democracies today. Donald Trump's successful campaign for the US presidency was a vivid illustration of this politics of dehumanization and intolerance. Sometimes overtly, sometimes through metaphor and casual banter, he spoke to many Americans' discontent by putting into question basic principles of dignity, equality, and tolerance. Trump garnered support and attention by stereotyping migrants, vilifying refugees, attacking a judge for his Mexican ancestry, mocking a journalist with disabilities, dismissing multiple allegations of sexual assault, and pledging to repeal reproductive rights. In June 2015, while announcing his candidacy for president, Donald Trump publicly and shamelessly likened Mexicans to "rapists":

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best… They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists… And some, I assume, are good people."

These regressive trends and observations serve to remind us that words matter. A century has passed since they served as instruments for legitimizing genocidal policies by turning Armenians into "microbes," Jews into "germs," and Rwandans into "cockroaches." Time and again, discursive tactics of denial, such as proclaiming that genocide was an act of self-defence, manifest into justifications for hate and dehumanization. These tools serve to further divide national, ethnic, racial, or religious groups, sanction perpetrator impunity, and criminalize historical inquiries and testimonies. When the perpetrator denies the crime of genocide and gets away with impunity, then history repeats itself.

1 Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The Role of Turkish Physicians in the World War I Genocide of Ottoman Armenians." Holocaust and Genocide Studies 1, no. 2 (1986): 169-92.

2 In Vahakn N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus, 3rd revised edition (Providence: Berghahn Books, 1997), p. 216.

3 W. Weyers, Death of Medicine in Nazi Germany (Philadelphia: Lippincott Raven Publishers, 1998), p. 45.

Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/4/13/11G135845/Images/Violence_against_elected_pro-kurdish_members_of_Tu-8fde7154c02aac5385c25a073154e5b5.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/4/13/11G135845/Images/Trump_likened_Mexicans_to_rapists-a1e808cb4d81b912a4c9d0939303ef30.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/4/13/11G135845/Images/Erdogan_suggests_purging_Fethulaist_as_cancer_viru-4bae76c9e5a2ad569d8604994e09ce69.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/4/13/11G135845/Images/Erdogan_and_Gulen_-_when_they_were_allies-9e1f3f59746495c2ade029b09530a85c.jpg

  • Autopsies underway for Canadian billionaires found dead
    World
    Associated Press

    Autopsies underway for Canadian billionaires found dead

    Investigators are awaiting the results of autopsies performed on Canadian billionaire Barry Sherman and his wife after they were found dead in their home in what police called suspicious deaths. Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said Saturday the deaths are suspicious based on what they know, but offered no other details. The 75-year-old pharmaceutical magnate and his wife, Honey, 70, were found dead in their north Toronto mansion on Friday.

  • The Trump tax cuts would save me $2,100
    Business
    Yahoo Finance

    The Trump tax cuts would save me $2,100

    Woohoo! Under the final tax bill President Trump is poised to sign within days, my annual tax payment would drop by about $2,100, compared with what I paid in 2016. Instead, I’ll probably save it and try to earn a respectable rate of return, so I have the money on hand in the future if Congress has to raise taxes to fill the budget hole they’re creating by cutting taxes in 2017. House and Senate Republicans have now agreed on a final tax bill Congress seems likely to pass within days.

  • 'Absolutely Grisly.' A Woman Was Mauled to Death by Her Own Dogs
    News
    Time

    'Absolutely Grisly.' A Woman Was Mauled to Death by Her Own Dogs

    A 22-year-old woman was apparently mauled to death by her own dogs, described as pit bulls, according to Virginia law enforcement. Bethany Lynn Stephens’ body was found in a wooded area in Goochland, V.A., with wounds on her hands, arms, throat and face consistent with a mauling, WTVR reports. “It was an absolutely grisly mauling ,” Sheriff James Agnew told WTVR.

  • VIDEO: Beverly Hills nurse files assault lawsuit against prominent doctor
    U.S.
    KABC – Los Angeles

    VIDEO: Beverly Hills nurse files assault lawsuit against prominent doctor

    A local nurse filed a lawsuit after she said her boss assaulted her at a Beverly Hills medical office - and there is surveillance video of the incident.

  • Everything We Learned About Rey's Parents in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
    Entertainment
    Time

    Everything We Learned About Rey's Parents in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Unable to persuade Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to return from exile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is forced to turn to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) as the Resistance grows increasingly desperate in The Last Jedi. Rey leaves Ahch-To convinced that the new Force connection between her and Kylo — which allows them to see, speak and even briefly touch each other from across the galaxy — will help her turn him away from the Dark Side.

  • Philip Morris International Inc (NYSE:PM): Dividend Is Coming In 3 Days, Should You Buy?
    Business
    Simply Wall St.

    Philip Morris International Inc (NYSE:PM): Dividend Is Coming In 3 Days, Should You Buy?

    Shares of Philip Morris International Inc (NYSE:PM) will begin trading ex-dividend in 3 days. To qualify for the dividend check of $1.07 per share, investors must have owned the shares prior to 20 December 2017, which is the last day the company’s management will finalize their list of shareholders to which they will send dividend payments. Should you diversify into Philip Morris International and boost your portfolio income stream?

  • An All-Time Favorite Star Wars Character Makes an Epic Cameo in The Last Jedi
    Entertainment
    Time

    An All-Time Favorite Star Wars Character Makes an Epic Cameo in The Last Jedi

    Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The Last Jedi is filled with callbacks to the original Star Wars trilogy. It happens after Rey, fed-up with Luke Skywalker’s refusal to help the Resistance, leaves Ahch-To determined to find Kylo Ren and turn him from the Dark Side to the Light.

  • Business
    ABC News

    GM shows new Silverado pickup at event in Texas

    General Motors is showing of an all-new version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck at an event in Texas. The company released pictures of the rounded new truck with thin LED headlamps and a blacked-out front grille. GM gave few details ahead of its official debut at the Detroit auto show in January. The company says the 2019 Silverado will be lighter than the current model with a high-strength steel bed. It will have a mixed-metal body — that likely means a combination of aluminum and steel. The truck also will get new engines and transmissions, possibly including a diesel. The changes should help GM gain ground on the aluminum-clad Ford F-Series, the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. Fiat

  • U.S. Fighter Jets Fired Warning Shots at Russian Planes Flying Over Syrian Airspace
    World
    Fortune

    U.S. Fighter Jets Fired Warning Shots at Russian Planes Flying Over Syrian Airspace

    U.S. forces fired warning shots at Russian aircraft Wednesday after a pair of Russian Su-25 aircraft crossed into U.S. coalition airspace over Syria. According to the Pentagon, one of the U.S. pilots had to pull an aggressive maneuver to avoid a mid-air collision. At one point, one of the U.S. F-22s shadowed one of the Russian Su-25 aircraft.

  • Metlife says it failed to pay some pensions, flags hit to reserves
    Finance
    Reuters

    Metlife says it failed to pay some pensions, flags hit to reserves

    Metlife Inc failed to pay pensions to potentially tens of thousands of people and will have to strengthen its reserves because of the costs of finding and repaying them, the New York insurer said. Metlife said in a filing on Friday that it believed the group missing out on the payments represented less than 5 percent of about 600,000 people who receive benefits from the company via its retirement business. When taken, however, the increase to reserves could be material to Metlife's financial results.

  • Barack Obama Dressed Up As Too-Cool-For-School Santa For His Latest Appearance
    Celebrity
    Time

    Barack Obama Dressed Up As Too-Cool-For-School Santa For His Latest Appearance

    Barack Obama has long made it clear that he loves his post-presidency leather jacket. The former president was popping by a branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington in one of his recent visits to local kids, chatting with about 50 students there and dropping off gifts for them as well, the Washington Post reports. Obama may not be in the Oval Office any longer, but he’s been keeping busy: besides launching the Obama Foundation, reporting for jury duty, and making appearances like this one, he also contributed his voice to the recently successful Doug Jones campaign for Senate.

  • Star Wars Haters: Why Some Fans No Longer Feel the Force
    Entertainment
    WSJ

    Star Wars Haters: Why Some Fans No Longer Feel the Force

    It’s been 40 years since the original Star Wars film was released and fans can look forward to a regular supply of new films and merchandise in the coming years. But, with the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” a small band of rebels—who loved the early films—just can’t take it anymore. WSJ’s Mark Kelly reports.

  • UPS Lost a Man's Nearly $700,000 Inheritance—And Here's What Happened Next
    World
    Fortune

    UPS Lost a Man's Nearly $700,000 Inheritance—And Here's What Happened Next

    Lorette Taylor’s father had died and left his children a large chunk of cash, which Taylor, as executor, had to divide between herself and two siblings. When she tried to do so in February, her bank—TD Canada Trust—said it was best to send her brother and sister bank drafts (similar to personal checks, but considered more secure as they are guaranteed by the bank instead of by the person issuing them). One of the drafts, in the order of 846,650 Canadian dollars ($664,850), was destined for her brother, Louis Paul Hebert, who hired UPS to ship it to his local store, 270 miles away from the family lawyer.

  • 3 Stocks That Could Double Your Money
    Business
    Motley Fool

    3 Stocks That Could Double Your Money

    An investment strategy as simple as buying an S&P 500 index fund and reinvesting the dividends has been a money-doubling bet over the past five years. It typically involves investing in younger, less established companies that have lots of growth potential but could give a lot of ground if a few things don't swing their way. Cory Renauer (Spark Therapeutics Inc.): This company is advancing a portfolio of gene-therapy candidates that aim to cure devastating diseases with a single treatment.

  • Democrats Hit Justice Department for Release of Private Anti-Trump Texts
    Finance
    Fortune

    Democrats Hit Justice Department for Release of Private Anti-Trump Texts

    The Justice Department's inspector general said Friday that his office wasn't consulted about the decision to release private anti-Trump text messages between two FBI officials to reporters this week. Democrats said the assertion by internal watchdog Michael Horowitz, which came in a letter to Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, raised new questions about whether public disclosure of the texts was politically motivated. The 375 text messages — sent last year between two FBI officials who later worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe — were the subject of intense partisan questioning at a committee hearing Wednesday where Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified.

  • Roy Moore: 'Battle Is Not Over' in Senate Race
    News
    Time

    Roy Moore: 'Battle Is Not Over' in Senate Race

    Democrat Doug Jones on Tuesday defeated Moore by about 20,000 votes, or 1.5 percent, according to unofficial returns. Moore told supporters that the race was “close” and some military and provisional ballots had yet to be counted. Moore said his campaign is collecting “numerous reported cases of voter fraud” to send to the secretary of state’s office.

  • Indian H-1B spouses may lose employment rights under new Trump rule
    News
    Quartz

    Indian H-1B spouses may lose employment rights under new Trump rule

    Spouses of Indian immigrants in the US may be headed back to their golden cages. Ending months of speculation, the Trump administration disclosed its plans to discuss a proposal to discontinue the work permits of H-4 visa holders in 2018. The notice, titled Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorisation, was posted on Dec. 14 as part of its Unified Agenda, a bi-annual list of regulations by various federal agencies. The H-4 visa is granted to the spouses of long-term H-1B holders. If the Trump administration follows through on the notice, it will be overturning a two-year-old rule introduced after intense lobbying efforts during the Obama-era. The

  • 3 Dividend Stocks That Pay You Better Than ExxonMobil Does
    Business
    Motley Fool

    3 Dividend Stocks That Pay You Better Than ExxonMobil Does

    First off, ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) is an excellent dividend stock. Here's why our contributors suggest that income-hungry investors take a closer look at Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM), Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A) (NYSE: RDS-B).

  • AT&T Tried to Settle With Federal Government Over Time Warner Merger. Here's What Happened
    Business
    Fortune

    AT&T Tried to Settle With Federal Government Over Time Warner Merger. Here's What Happened

    The Department of Justice and AT&T have held unsuccessful settlement talks over the wireless and pay-TV company’s bid to buy movie and TV show maker Time Warner, the two sides said in a court filing on Friday. The Justice Department has sued to stop AT&T, owner of DirecTV and the No. 2 U.S. wireless company, from buying Time Warner for $85 billion because of concerns that it could raise prices for rivals and pay-TV subscribers and hamper the development of online video. The two sides noted in the filing, which set out an agreed schedule leading up to the March trial, that there had been unsuccessful settlement discussions between the two.

  • Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales
    Business
    Autoblog

    Tesla responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

    After years of double-digit growth, home solar installations in the United States are poised to fall for the first time this year, according to a report released on Thursday by GTM Research. An analysis of installation data suggests that most of the slowdown is traceable to a single company: Tesla, which acquired sister company SolarCity about a year ago. For years, SolarCity, with early backing from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, was the biggest player in residential solar and the driving force behind that market's supercharged growth.

  • ‘It’s Just Bigger Than It’s Ever Been.’ Kit Harington on Filming Game of Thrones’ Final Season
    Entertainment
    Time

    ‘It’s Just Bigger Than It’s Ever Been.’ Kit Harington on Filming Game of Thrones’ Final Season

    Game of Thrones star Kit Harington shifts into producing with Gunpowder, a miniseries in which he plays his real-life ancestor on his mother’s side, Catholic rebel Robert Catesby. Catesby was part of Britain’s 1605 Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament. TIME spoke to Harington—currently at work on the final season of Thrones—about coming into his own as a producer and what he learned from his bosses on the Game of Thrones set.

  • A look at some winners and losers under the GOP tax plan
    Politics
    Associated Press

    A look at some winners and losers under the GOP tax plan

    Count President Donald Trump among the personal winners in the $1.5 trillion tax package that congressional Republicans are on the verge of passing. Lawyers and accountants will profit from the advice suddenly needed to guide clients through the tax plan. An estimated 13 million Americans are projected to lose health insurance.

  • What to Expect From Seadrill Ltd in 2018
    Business
    Motley Fool

    What to Expect From Seadrill Ltd in 2018

    At the company's peak in 2013, shares of offshore drilling giant Seadrill Ltd (NYSE: SDRL) traded for more than $45 each, and the company paid investors $3.93 in dividends the last four quarters it made a payout. The short version of Seadrill's problems can be summed up thusly: Too much debt tied to a too-aggressive growth initiative -- compounded by a too-generous dividend -- led to a perfect storm when oil prices collapsed in 2014. Producers slashing spending -- offshore drilling investments have fallen four straight years -- and years of newbuilding by the industry combined to drive day rates for drilling work down by as much as half.

  • Female candidate quits Kansas race over 2005 harassment suit
    News
    Associated Press

    Female candidate quits Kansas race over 2005 harassment suit

    A female congressional candidate dropped out of the Kansas race Friday over a 12-year-old lawsuit accusing her of sexually harassing a male subordinate, an unusual case of a woman facing the sort of misconduct allegations that have forced numerous men out of their jobs in recent weeks. Andrea Ramsey announced in a Facebook post that she was ending her campaign, calling allegations that she harassed her former employee and then retaliated against him "a lie." The employee, Gary Funkhouser, filed the lawsuit against OneLab Inc., the Kansas City-area company where Ramsey worked as a vice president. Ramsey was seeking the Democratic nomination in the 3rd District in the Kansas City area, hoping to win the right to challenge four-term incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder next year.

  • Business
    InvestorPlace

    Here’s What You Need to Know After Micron Technology, Inc. Stock’s Turbulent Month

    MU stock had one more pop left in store for it in November, but shares then dropped 20% following the Thanksgiving holiday. Interestingly, given the huge moves, you’d expect some big Micron Technology news to be breaking. To be clear, there is some Micron-specific news, but at this point, MU stock is largely captive to its sector’s performance.