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Violating Sanctions

An American Woman’s Listening Tour Through the Axis of Evil

The London Logs: The Imperial War Museum’s “Crimes Against Humanity”

The Author By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | August 24th, 2012 | Comments No Comments

At the beginning of the last century, 90% of WWI’s casualties were soldiers. At the end of the century, 90% of war casualties were civilians, a statistic recited in the Crimes Against Humanity exhibit at the Imperial War Museum by writer and historian Michael Ignatieff. Ignatieff cites the desire to create new states though ethnic cleansing as a partial explanation. It occurred to me that there’s been a shift in warfare from controlling land to controlling people.100_0413.jpg

After describing genocides from the 1915 Armenian “cleansing” to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the film exhibit examines the impacts of genocide from several angles. It describes the impossibly delicate need to “move on” vs. the need to “remember” — a tension I write about in my book — when half the affected were victims and half were perpetrators.

In an attempt to explain (but not justify) genocide, Ignatieff observes, “A society pulverized by war is susceptible to genocide.”

He continues: “For genocide to happen, it requires indifference that allows it to happen as well as the evil that makes it happen.” …Another theme in my book.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Imperial War Museum (http://www.iwm.org.uk), and I was surprised by the art exhibits that depicted war in all its glory and gory, by the victims’ experiences, by the soldiers’ experiences. Of course, there are the requisite WWII war planes, 100_0414.jpgbut the museum displays far more depth. From this piece of the Berlin Wall outside the museum to these warplanes inside, the museum in unpredictable.100_0417.jpg

Here’s the searing last painting by Albert Adams called Abu Ghraib.100_0415.jpg

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Category: London
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