Failures of the 20th Century Aug 12, 2009
The comedian Eddie Izzard, in his "Dress to Kill" performance, manages to have a very funny but biting look at genocide, saying, among other things, that we don't seem to have a problem with governments killing their own people. "We've been trying to kill you for years," he cracks.
Samantha Power's book gives a sweeping overview of the times we have attempted to intervene in internal genocides, as well as discussing the Holocaust. I love this book, but it's so depressing I had to take it one horror at a time with extended breaks between atrocities.
Power does a fabulous job of looking at the bipartisan faliures of the US in dealing with genocide, starting with the Armenian massacres of the early 20th century and working her way through Kosovo, where she was an eyewitness to various events.
Not all is doom and gloom, however. Power makes recommendations for better strategies of dealing with genocide without becoming overly entangled in the internal politics of the nation involved. I found it cheering when I saw Power was one of the people who testified before Congress regarding Darfur, and it seems as a people we may actually learn something from her.