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Date Line 16 June 2008

Maraba, Rwanda.

This little nation whose genocide shook the world 14 years ago is doing something very right--getting their women to work growing coffee, managing companies, starting businesses. Most are widows of the genocide. What they have going for them is energy, eagerness to work, and creativity. The village cooperatives do the rest. The women have stable incomes upon which their families can rely.
Myths may start out life as proverbs and truisms, obvious or at least soothing to the human psyche. Like hang-ups, they may become dysfunctional as technology and society evolve. This is especially true when the former runs ahead of the latter as it is in our times.
"America and the Age of Genocide"
Samantha Power
Book Review with commentary

A most remarkable book; Power draws a bead on the mindsets of those "watching" as genocidaires hacked people to death; 8000 per day for 100 days in Rwanda, for one example. She gives others.

GENOCIDE

A word not in our lexicon a generation ago
has captured the attention of the world.

Everyone knew him simply as Monsignor. We knew him well during his twelve year tenure as president of La Roche College. Gracious to a fault and accepting of all who came along. He was everyone's friend. At the same time, he cared about the future and had the vision, courage, and energy to do something about it. Monsignor passed away suddenly on 13 May, 2009.

His most singular and enduring achievement perhaps was his founding of Pacem In Terris Institute. He wrote the mission statement:
Gerard Prunier

Book Review

Prunier does a marvelous job of bringing the actors in the genocide to life. Their fears and base aspirations appear in full relief. At root, the most common factor in all the violence from murder, through slaughter to genocide, had to do with land, the primary resource in this tiny over-populated world. Population pressure built to the bursting point.
Revised 03 Apr 2010

Genocide most basically is internecine warfare within a culture and in that sense resembles warfare within and between species over resources and territory. It differs not at all from the competition in the jungles and savannas.
Dispatch from Ground Zero
Harry Rosenberg

Fourteen years, nearly a generation, have passed since those awful days in 1994. From America, we can only know what we read or hear from others about how things are going. When an opportunity arose to spend some time in Rwanda, we grabbed the chance. Were our perceptions right? If not, where did we go wrong, and, more-importantly, why? It turned out that we were missing a great deal of detail--not surprising--except some of it matters.
Wendy Whitworth: Editor

Personal Accounts of Genocide Survivors: Posted 03 July 2009

Book Review - Memorial of wholesale slaughter, murder, rape, torture, obscenities and more.

04 July 2009

15th Anniversary of Fall of Kigali and the nominal end of Bagosoro's monstrous 100-day assault on innocent humanity,

Lest we forget, a decade and a half later literally thousands of survivors still live with scars of body and mind. This book briefly chronicles the genocide beyond all genocide. So thoroughly planned and executed was it that only a fraction survived. This book recounts the tales of 28 survivors some 15 years after the fact.
Rwandan Genocide
Mahmood Mamdani
Book Review with commentary

The Rwandan genocide has become a Metaphor for post-colonial political violence. It fits certain historic molds but with unique features. Genocide in our book is the extreme expression of the Authoritarian Personality.
Fourteen years, nearly a generation, have passed. From America, we can only know what we read or hear how things are going from the media and others. Necessarily, such accounts are limited at best, biased at worst. So when the opportunity arrived we decided to visit and find out for ourselves. We interviewed dozens of individuals: subsistence farmers, diplomats, business people, physicians, students, cab drivers, public servants, hospital administrators, office clerks, hotel keepers, research scientists, corrections officers and housewives. Not all were employed. A common consensus emerged. "Things are better, we are healing."
For most of his tenure as Secretary of Treasury, Henry Paulson reassured us that our financial system was basically healthy.

Indictment One: He was wrong, consistently wrong. Make that compulsively wrong if you like. Only after the meltdown gathered enough steam to hit all the financial pages did he act. His proposed bail-out, much of which Congress bought, saved the scoundrels who brought on the crisis, not the people on the street. He was more than too-little too-late. His proposal leads to two further indictments.
"The grave is only half full. Who will help fill it?"
RADIO MILLE COLLINS, Rwanda, April 1994

The "best of humanity" turned away from its grossest expression. If the Rwanda experience cannot motivate a grass-roots response toward something better, what can? Could this be what happened to the Neanderthals? Their brutish appearance may have evolved with personalities too peaceful to counter an aggressive Neandercide whenever resources became an issue.
The Ordeal of a Rwandan Refugee in Zaire
Marie Beatrice Umutesi
Book Review with commentary

Umutesi is a sociologist who was working in rural development when the genocide broke out. As a well-educated moderate, and Hutu, pgs 13-16, she related easily to both groups. Nevertheless, she was chased by both sides during the civil war after president Habyarimana was assassinated. Her story is a searing account of the hardships both groups of refugees underwent. Her first-hand account adds dimension and depth to our knowledge of both the goodness and awfulness of humankind at its best and worst.

Why is there so much violence?

  • Historic events in our era attest to the fact that we know little of ourselves—as individuals or societies:
    • The Holocaust: (German citizens supported Hitler's mad eradication of Jews)
    • Genocide:
      • Rwanda (Hutu slew Tutsi; neighbor slew neighbor; children killed their parents)
      • Kosovo (Ethnic cleansing of Muslims by Catholics)
      • Darfur (Ethnic cleansing of African farmers by nomadic Muslim Arabs)
    • Abu Ghraib: (Revolting indecencies arose consistent with presidential signing statements. Other military prisons suffered as well. Ref: Major General Taguba or Phillip Zimbardo.)
23 Oct 2006 Update

Researchers at John Hopkins along with Iraqi physicians have conducted two surveys of the death toll in Iraq. The first one, eighteen months after the invasion, was repeated with this one with the same result as before, about 100,000. This year, 2006, they found some 600,000 deaths that were war related. This is 20 times more than the official White House line of 30,000.

Those overseeing the study feel it is valid because not only was it conducted scientifically, it validated their earlier results.
Romeo Dallaire The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
Book Review With Commentary

From assassination, through slaughter upon slaughter of both Hutus and Tutsis to a ghastly genocide, General Dallaire led the UN peacekeepers from crisis to crisis in attempting to save humanity from itself. From neither the UN nor the great powers did he receive anything like adequate support -- until the tide had turned.
The United Nations and Rwanda
Book review with commentary
Michael Barnett - Professor of Political Science, Univ of Wisconsin - Madison.

All who care about the future of humanity should read this book. We give this book four stars on content, three on style -- it could be presented in a more dramatic fashion to attract more readers, and more readers is what this book deserves. It also misses the boat in terms of what can be done about it. Admiring the man who stands his ground and his principles is simply not enough. Dallaire could not do it alone, and neither can anyone else. A movement may well be required.
First came the Germans: a result of the Berlin Conference of 1885 at which European imperial powers carved up Africa among themselves. Until 4 May 1894, Rwanda had been a mountain kingdom of many hills and lush valleys. It was a Garden of Eden to many.
Book Reviews

In this area we bring you contemporary book reviews of books dealing with terror or counter terror.

Selected current books that record history in the making are reviewed.
Its Roots and Implications

Dixon K Kamukama

Extended Book Review

This little book fills out the pre-genocide history of Rwanda nicely. Other books reviewed on this site neglected or glossed over this important period. It is important for it traces the true origins of the Hutu / Tutsi divide. Further, it is important because it shows that Rwandan cultural developments paralleled the histories of other feudal states that threw off feudalism by one means or another, but typically by violence. Rwanda was no exception. The Germans, then the Belgians, complicated that process.
Ashutosh Varshney, "Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life," illustrates that ethnic integration at all levels provides positive results.
FWS

25 Nov 2004


This post was made in an honest and direct format on our earlier forum. We feel the points made need exploration in the author's spirit.

[Ed in bracketed italics].
Updated 5 mar 2010

Since much of our information on this site came via books by many authors we thought it appropriate to list the books here by title.

1776 - David McCollough

Abraham - Bruce Feiler

A Nation of Sheep - William J Lederer
The Hedgehog and the Fox Isaiah Berlin

Extended Book Review

”The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
Archilochus.

This metaphor for creative and conventional applies in our time, just as it did in the eras of Tolstoy and Berlin. In employing this metaphor, Berlin pays brilliant homage to Tolstoy’s greatness in this little book of just 81 pages of text. Berlin’s little book became a classic in its own time; it is a masterful presentation of Tolstoy’s views on history. Tolstoy was ahead of his times, yet we wonder what he would think today--faced with the huge advances in physics, bioscience, and psychology. What would he think of a world that is probabilistic at its core, where biochemists are on the verge of creating life from inert matter, and where the psyche has been deciphered,
Several Individual Pages Updated 2006 Sept, 13 Dec 2012, 09 Sept 2013 and 2 Mar 2016.

MACHINE TRANSLATE: This or any other page: Download Babylon

Each page toggles to its neighbors, resources, and back here.

    Arising in antiquity, before mammals, before the atmosphere became what it is, genes were mutating in makeup and/or organization leaving their creations to survive or not as selection would have it for their particular niche. The advent of civilization and its exponential development came so fast, [in geologic time], that genes preferred for peaceful living have yet to be selected. They may never be if humanity persists along its present path. Yet there is Hope, lots of it. Nature itself provides it. And there are avenues for action, provided we can read the Tea Leaves.
Those opposing Hitler were certainly justified in opposing him. Even so the world still reverberates from his dirty work that left some fifty million dead. So also for the Japanese who raped Nanking (now Nanjing) not to mention similar atrocities everywhere they went. So WWII, to any reasonable mind, began as a justified war--on the defender's part.
Posted 23 June 2006; Updated 17 Mar 2007

The play acting was supposed to be benign, as play acting usually is. As if by the stroke of a magic wand, Philip Zimbardo proved otherwise in 1971 in his now-famous Stanford Prison Experiment. His two-week study of the psychology of incarceration had to be called off on the sixth day because the conditions of Abu Ghraib had developed of their own accord. For some of his later commentary see: Stanford News Service.
Surely there are as many avenues for radicalization as there are terrorists. This page deals with the myths surrounding terrorism -- countering with what we now know.
On 9/12, RoadtoPeace.org began researching the origins of terror toward facilitating dialogue among people of different cultures, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic background. It soon grew into an awesome task.
Bart D. Ehrman

Extended Book Review.

The subtitle directly addresses a quandary of our age:

"Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)"

Ehrman is one of those rare people for whom the pendulum of faith has swung in both directions, but not to such extremes that he lost touch with either pole, religious or secular. Jesus, Interrupted, like his "Misquoting Jesus", contains biographical detail. Unlike the extremists on either side of the divide, Erhman is quite respectful of believer and atheist alike. Like a growing number of people, Ehrman characterizes himself as an agnostic, one who can rejoice in understanding both the worlds of faith and logic. His telling point is that the bible is the most influential book ever written, however its writing came to be in and by human hands. For that very reason it deserves deep study--the kind he has devoted his career to and reports here.

It is becoming more and more obvious, that it is not starvation, not microbes, not cancer, but man, himself, that is mankind's greatest danger. Carl Jung
Editorial

We have made much of the Authoritarian Personality and have found persuasive evidence for its existence and its connections with terror.
It is clear from their statements that the participants in the summit of last October hoped and intended that the outbreak of violence, then less than a month old, would soon end.
An Alternative Future for mankind – Eugene Minard Extended book review

In short, our destiny is in our own hands. But such control cannot come soon for even under the best conditions nature may require a thousand generations to bring a new species into being. But progress in our knowledge now enables the possibility that Homo sapiens can indeed significantly become more God-like. Moreover, gene manipulation has the potential to drastically reduce the time line to a higher state of behavior. Minard has an insightful approach: join the hands of religion and science in a new religion able to grow and move with the tides and times.

Monotheism has been a guiding light for part of humanity for some 3500 years. It arose several millennia after agriculture enabled a sedentary lifestyle that gave humanity time for leisure and thinking:
Conceived on 12 Sept 2001, RoadtoPeace is a web site individuals can use and study in trying to make a difference in our violent times. We also provide extensive internal and external links to sites and pages pertinent to the subject at hand. As a friendly site linking to us put it:

[RoadtoPeace:] "Seeks reasons for terrorism in various aspects of religion, economics, history and psychology, stressing the complexity of the issue. The way out appears to be seen in equalizing opportunities, remedying historical injustices, and advancing independent thinking."
Robert O Paxton

Extended Book Review

As a distinct form of dictatorship in implementation, Fascism has much in common with other totalitarian forms. Unlike most other total dictatorships, Fascism begins as a movement. It originated in France prior to WWI and found its first national expression in Italy soon after the war ended. In both Italy and Germany, fascists came to power by legitimate means, a key distinction. They only showed their true colors after taking power. Paxton does an admirable job in defining classical Fascism as practiced in Italy and Germany. He did that by describing the conditions that brought the movements into being followed by gaining and wielding power. That process is best understood as proceeded through five steps, quoting Paxton:

  • “The creation of movements.
  • Their rooting in the political system.
  • Their seizure of power.
  • Their exercise of power.
  • The long duration, during which the fascist regime chooses either radicalization or entropy.”
IL DEVIENT DE PLUS EN PLUS EVIDENT QUE CE N’EST PAS L’INANITION, LES MICROBES, OU LE CANCER, MAIS PAR CONTRE L'HOMME LUI-MEME EST LE SUPPREME DANGER CONTRE L’HUMANITE. CARL JUNG
Revised Dec 2005

Terror has always embraced multiple spheres, religious, secular, economic and special interests. Jihad movements of recent history have sent religious terrorism to historic highs. Al Qa'ida and especially 9/11, have provided a blueprint that bodes ill for humanity. That blueprint was responsible for the Casablanca, Madrid, and London attacks among others. These were the works of locally inspired and organized cells. There was no wide-area network, only private communications.
Updated 11 Feb 2007

This project is beginning to illuminate the basic human ills that we and our children face. If it looks like it will take generations to banish terror from earth, that is all the more reason why we need to get on with it.

"Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures." John F. Kennedy

Fifty years on we could not agree more.
Humor; but not so humorous in our times!

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time
and your government when it deserves it.
Mark Twain
Since much of our factual information was generated by others publishing important books we list them all here for your convenience.
25 May 2007

This excerpted article is being posted at the special request of an interested and valuable critic. It turned out to have complexities arising from the ever present Neocon movement. Our comments adjoin.

"Yes, it is central to the fight against Islamic radicalism."

BY BOB KERREY - in the Opinion Journal from the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
Voltaire

Many essays from Voltaire’s hand were published anonymously. This is one of them where he writes on the role of a society president who leads the prayer and preaches the sermon. For brevity, we excerpt and paraphrase:

    “My brethren, religion is the secret voice of God speaking to men. It ought to unite men, not divide them; hence every religion that belongs to one people only is false.”
A Basic Cause of Terrorism
[Jungle/Savanna Heritage Roots]

"When the nations on this planet fight for existence-when the question of destiny, 'to be or not to be,' cries out for a solution-then all considerations of humanitarianism or aesthetics crumble into nothingness; for all these concepts do not float about in the ether, they arise from man's imagination and are bound up with man." Adolph Hitler
Updated 27 Feb 2010

Most of the basic literature we have relied upon to find a road map for peace can be found in the references below. To briefly summarize: Our genetic endowment contains genes for violence, aggression, and conventionalism. Countering those expressions are genes for parenting and altruism. The latter are vital for only they can save humanity from perpetual violence and war.
Most Recent Update: 14 Mar 2010

Return to Natural History

Natural history, evident at first only from fossils of earlier times, became more readable with the advent of the scientific method. Social evolution evolved apace among the more advanced eukaria, in that survival of a species depended in part upon its behavior.
Stanford Prison Experiment
Understanding How Good People, in Their Blind Obedience, Turn Evil.
Philip Zimbardo
Book Review with commentary: by Harry Rosenberg

(Zimbardo's results predicted Abu Ghraib!)

The Problem Is Not About Bad Apples In A Barrel,
It Is About Bad Barrels.

Philp Zimbardo in reference to Abu Ghraib
Updated 23 July 2009

Roots of Terror Briefly and Some Avenues Now Apparent

Reading recorded history is a heavy trip. Through all of it, terrorism, wars, and genocide surface again \ again. These repeat themselves in an endless ebb and flow of charades. Like complex rows of dominoes, each event triggers further events, becoming ever more intense with time. What is it about humanity that it never learns from history?

For a quick peek at what might be done see: Peace Via Nature's Way