Crimes against Humanity
Scholars, lawyers, and governments will no doubt weigh in on whether or not the residential schools experience in Canada officially constitutes a cultural form of genocide. In the meantime, it is important to create a cultural and intellectual climate in this country that is flexible and sensitive enough to recognize the depth of suffering experienced by traumatized people and their children without ranking it on a destructive hierarchical scale.
Slavery is real. According to Boko Haram, the terrorist group wreaking havoc in Nigeria, the nearly 300 girls that it abducted from school are to be sold in a market. This is an outrage, an affront to every notion of our individual and shared humanity. But it's only a drop in the bucket.
In the annals of human evil, Rwanda's genocide takes a special place. With a kill rate of about six people a minute for more than three months, it's likely one of the fastest mass slaughters of humans in history. Most were hacked to death by machete, partly because the perpetrators found it cheaper than using bullets.
The political leadership must also consider the consequences of its actions in light of the fact that the cries of justice for these and other crimes will not be silenced without some form of accountability. How can the Iranian people have confidence in a government that places a symbol of injustice in charge of justice? A new generation of Iranian leaders must re-define the meaning of power. A man who beats his wife and children and then silences them when they complain is not a powerful man. He is a coward that cannot even admit his cowardice to himself. In the same manner, a leadership that imprisons, tortures, and executes its citizens, is not a powerful Government.
The arguments for reconciliation, while commendable in principle, have mutated into a rather immoral and circular conversation-stopper. In its present form, reconciliation is a kind of post-war pacifism that is too convenient for the victor, and ultimately disrespectful to the innocent.