Living Ubuntu volunteer, Alicia Buly, has been meeting with survivors of genocide and interviewing them for our blog. These pieces are absolutely essential reading. Many of these survivors will be speakers at the April film series events. Three of the interviews are below.
When we heard that the international soldiers were leaving the country, it was a disappointment. We were discouraged then. It was like a betrayal. They were betraying us. – Edith Umugiraneza
Finding Strength in Testimony – An Interview with Edith Umugiraneza (April 1 – Rwanda)
My grandmother asked: “Are there any Armenians left?” What she and her companion had witnessed during the deportation made them think they were the only Armenians left in the world. – Levon Marashlian
Activism Through Education – An Interview with Levon Marashlian (April 2 – Armenian)
My grandmother talked about how peaceful life was before the genocide… …after the Khmer Rouge, everything changed. – Zaklin Phat
Cambodia’s Past Shapes America’s Future – An Interview with Zaklin Phat (April 3 – Cambodia)
We can’t do it alone. We’ve already done the best we can alone.
– Robert Hilton
Here’s a scenario familiar to many psychotherapists. A client seeks help after having been abused by someone in their history. Either the abuse has never been discussed, or the perpetrator denies it. The client feels powerless as if healing can only progress by getting the perpetrator to acknowledge and own up to their destructive actions. Therapists deal with this all the time and support clients through the many agonizing stages of rage, grief, and heartbreak toward taking back a healthy sense of self-empowerment. Ultimately, for most, much healing is possible without any involvement from the perpetrator. The therapist becomes the much-needed emotionally present witness and validator of the pain and damage done.
How is it similar or different when generations of genocide survivors and their children have never received acknowledgement from the perpetrators of genocide? Continue reading
Humankind would not have endured and cannot continue without the capacity to form rewarding, nurturing, and enduring relationships. We survive because we can love. And we can love because we can empathize — that is, stand in another’s shoes and care about what it feels like to be there.
– Bruce Perry & Maia Szalavitz
June 25, 2009 is a date of great historical significance. It is the day Michael Jackson died. Seeking to process the shock and heartbreak brought on by the suddenness of his passing, people spoke of little else that day, especially in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, also on that day, Martina Knee, of the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition, flew in to LAX, as I drove up from Orange County (and got distinctly, profoundly lost), in order to meet with Peter Marcus, of Jewish World Watch, in his Los Angeles law office. As Carl Wilkens Fellows (an anti-genocide leadership program) our meeting was to discuss a possible statewide initiative: to get the state of California to pass legislation for April to receive the official designation, Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. Continue reading
April 2014 Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month
It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of the pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering.
– Judith Herman
Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future
A free six-event commemorative film series featuring stories of survivors and the children
Living Ubuntu, in collaboration with Amnesty International-Irvine, additional community partners and the below academic institutions, presents a six-event commemorative film series featuring the stories of survivors and their children. April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, and each film commemorates a genocide that started during April. Living Ubuntu provides education about global traumas as part of its mission to heal trauma in order to promote peace.
All events are free and open to the public.
For complete details on each event, see links below. Continue reading