The aim of this class was to define genocide. To do that we picked up the basic identifiers of genocide according to the module:
(a) killing members of a specific group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
And then we used different multimedia to familiarise the students with the historical facts of a few case studies of genocide, and asked them to identify how and why they would be categorised as such.
The first one we covered was the Armenian Genocide. After a brief oral overview of the history of the region, we used this video to show what exactly happened during the period.
ccccWe then introduced the students to photographs and memorials on the Armenian genocide in order to explain to them why it was important to remember a massacre, and how the admission of a certain incident globally as a genocide is the first step towards justice and reconciliation.
ccccA poignant moment during this class was when we were discussing how the Jewish holocaust happened after the Armenian Genocide, and only because people forgot about this terrible moment in history that it could be repeated. A girl suddenly raised her hand and asked ‘How could people forget this happened? How could people not know?”
ccccWe then tried to understand the power of forgetting in letting injustice prevail, which led us to a different case study that was also considered a genocide in the outbacks of Australia – called the Stolen Generation.
ccccTo study this period, we used poetry and group discussions. We asked the students to sit in a circle and gave them handouts of three poems- One about the plight of the stolen generation, one an account of someone who had suffered because of it and finally a poem by Vicky Roach that underlined how people eventually fought against it and slowly reconciled to a better life. By reading first person narratives of these incidents, the students probably became more familiar with these incidents in history than any paragraph in a history book could have made them. Consequently they could pin point the exact ways it could be considered a genocide very well themselves. Another reason we stopped with the stolen generation was because we wanted to move into reconciliation post genocide, and focus more on what happens afterwards than just the gory details of history.
ccccSince it was a relatively longer class, we did not want to saturate the students much, which is why we came up with an interactive format for testing how far the students were absorbing the materials we had covered up until then. We ended with a BINGO pop quiz, where the students were asked to draw a 4*4 grid and list down sixteen words which were answers to sixteen pop-quiz questions from the classes done so far.
We’ve attached the pop quiz as a reference to the kind of interaction we were looking at.
List of answers:
Ireland, Eurocentricism, stolen generation, propaganda, article 9, magna carta, Jewish Holocaust, genocide, turkey, Rwanda, Blue, New Zealand, Uighurs, MBS, Narendra Modi, 377
- First country colonised by England- Ireland
- “Britain is culturally superior to the rest of the world”- Eurocentricism
- “Oh Australia forgetful nation | Went and lost a whole generation!’ – stolen generation
- “Jews steal from you and gypsies spread diseases”; “Muslims will take over our country”; “ All muslims are terrorists”- propaganda
- Right against arbitrary arrest- Article 9
- Oldest document that enshrines right to life- Magna Carta
- Creation of Israel as a consequence- Jewish Holocaust
- Deliberate extermination of a race/ nation- genocide
- Perpetrated the Armenian genocide- Turkey
- The first conviction for genocide- Rwanda
- Sudan Crisis – blue
- First country to allow women to vote- New Zealand
- Economic benefit from genocide- Chinese Uighur Muslims
- World Leader blamed for death of Journalist- MBS
- World Leader who sanctioned airstrikes into neighbouring country- Modi
- Archaic law criminalising homosexuality.- Article 377
One of the primary reasons the pop quiz model was so successful for us is because human rights was an entirely fresh field these students were approaching with their knowledge in history, geography and general knowledge.
ccccWe used these questions therefore to clarify some very interesting conceptual gaps in the minds of the students. For instance, while most students could answer question 6 or 8, they drew a unanimous blank at question 7. It turns out that despite having the second world war and the Jewish Holocaust addressed extensively in school history books, students rarely ever link it with the formation of the Israel state, which leads them to an interesting position, with even those familiar with the Israel Palestine conflict having no idea that it stems from a very familiar part of history.
ccccThis was one of the most lively and engaging sessions we had so far, and we were excited to continue with the module and explore more ways we could encourage the students to think for themselves.