My heart is governed by striving towards fairness. In this study of holocausts and genocides my heart is tested. I am tested because of my inclination towards law, a code of conduct that changes depending on country, legal status, gender, and time period in history. The unfortunate truth is that binaries make up much of how we judge something. Blackness against whiteness, normality versus abnormality; these binaries can help us understand when our bodies are not feeling normal

Figure 1 : This cartoon portrays the lack of awareness concerning the Armenian Genocide from the Turkish government. (msnbc.com) to learn more about the Armenian Genocide click the link below http://www.armenian-genocide.org/genocide.html

or how light or dark a pigment is. Law works in a similar way, somewhat of a ranking system that includes classifications of felonies and misdemeanors. In law those that practice are bound by oath to uphold the laws of that state in which they are entrusted with a license. In having this licensure they are the few allowed to perform in court to defend those needing defense and challenge those who have been found in need of inquiry. This is where the study of holocausts and genocides is required.

Since World War II, people persecuting others under claims of inferiority or righteous damnation have not disappeared.  I have spent summers in Germany, watching a TV show which translates in English as Turkish for beginners. Since Germany has this growing population of Turkish people, they should be more upfront about their new growing population’s history. Although as anyone should deserve, the people that leave Turkey are not at fault for what their government did if they did not participate. However it is fair to afford the right to this information.  Their government should not be allowed to hide what other countries know. The study of holocausts and genocides needs to be given the same examination as any other field of study in history.

As with any study of history, half the interest is in understanding where we went wrong, and then how to stop it before it can ever happen again. This subject needs continue review in addition to further inquiry as definitions of holocausts and genocide are challenged and expanded.  It should be further noted that we still have a sizeable number of people today who are known as “deniers”.  They specifically doubt the Jewish holocaust of World War II ever happened despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. (To learn more about Jewish Holocaust deniers click this link https://www.ushmm.org/confront-antisemitism/holocaust-denial-and-distortion)

There is no better way to express the continuing study of holocausts and genocides than expressed by philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (https://www.iep.utm.edu/santayan/). The oddity of this subject is how the media and school divisions teach mostly about the holocaust of the Second World War. The laws put in place after it were helpful, however as the years have continued few if any addendums have been made to clarify important definitions needed when classifying different cases of genocidal acts. The unexciting prospect of creating definitions for words that describe these atrocities needs to be brought back to attention.

In law this topic is theorized in exercises to help students think about how to define events that by their very nature are nearly indefinable. But as these inhumane acts have been committed, a definition is required. The task of getting to those definitions likely reveals the reason they have gone so long without revision; for something so repugnant and heinous, a consensus is difficult to achieve. This is where fairness, to the fullness of its extent, needs to reach all aspects of each word needed to define holocausts, genocides, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.


Jackie is currently attending Old Dominion University attaining an English B.A. with a focus in creative writing. She is interested in topics related to the study of law, ethics, human rights and social norms.