The Massacre in History

The Massacre in History

The Massacre in History

The Massacre in History

Synopsis

Chronologically and geographically broad in scope, The Massacre in History provides in-depth analysis of particular massacres and themes associated with them from the 11th century to the present.

Excerpt

The news is awash with bloody massacre. Not a day passes but some atrocity committed somewhere in the world appears in our newspapers or on our television screens to horrify us. Rwanda, Burundi, Algeria, Srebrenicaq; as the stories get closer to home the less able are we to pass them off as something that happens only 'out there'. The massacres near Srebrenica in July 1995, possibly the largest in Europe since the end of the Second World War, might just still be far enough away to dismiss as another of those appalling things that distant, not quite civilized tribes, or clans, or warring peoples do to each other. Politicians and pundits might rationalize them as the unfortunate outcome of one-sided military conflicts. Some might even invoke history. 'The conflict in Bosnia', stated the then Prime Minister, John Major, in a House of Commons speech in 1993, 'was a product of impersonal and inevitable historical forces beyond anyone's control.' Were these his private thoughts too, I wonder, after a lone gunman in March 1996 walked into a school in the Scottish town of Dunblane and shot to death sixteen little children and their teacher? The media, on this occasion, was reduced to clutching for explanations less from politicians, more from psychiatrists or churchmen. People mumbled about evil, many more were reduced to stunned silence.

Dunblane was, of course, not Srebrenica. Nor Srebrenica the Holocaust. The disparities and the dissimilarities between them must limit, if not render dubious any attempt to find common characteristics, common causation. Theorizing, one-sided mass killing would somehow have to take into account all the variables; scale, context, modes of delivery, above all, perhaps, the motivation . . .

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