Watch Narratives of Modern Genocide now on Amazon Prime Video.
As the Nuremberg Trials drew to a close in 1946, Lord Hartley Shawcross famously stated: “There comes a point when a man must refuse to answer to his leader if he is also to answer to his own conscience”. He was, of course, referring to the political power wielded by the Nazi regime. However, he was also making a clear statement on the actions of those who turned a blind eye to genocide, many of whom were everyday folk, who may not have agreed with Hitler’s actions, but also feared retaliation. For these individuals, fear for their own lives held the status quo in place as they watched others being sacrificed.
Following World War Two, politicians and institutions rallied behind a commitment of ‘never again’, the horrors of the Holocaust never to be repeated. However, since then, we have had multiple genocides, from Cambodia to Syria, Somalia, Burundi, Chechnya and Bosnia, to name but a few. In truth, despite commitments made in 1946, genocides continued to be enacted while the world looked on. Additionally, education about genocide and human rights remains largely absent in our schools and colleges.
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Narratives of Modern Genocide has a clear aim of bringing individual stories and accounts into the light, and in doing so, it provides us all with a timely reminder of how hate can lead to genocide, war and abuse. In addition, it speaks directly to the need for governments to provide safety and opportunity to those fleeing persecution and hate, a message that is both timely and urgent, given the state of global politics and increasing global nationalism.
However, the documentary needs more time to explore the personal accounts it brings to the screen. These are urgent accounts that deserve deeper exploration alongside a dissection of the causes of genocide and the world’s continuing slow response to crimes against humanity. However, this does not distract from the powerful messages Narratives of Modern Genocide aims to deliver or the urgency of its call for education.