Background to GMD
GMD began in January 2010 with the convergence of two ideas. The first necessity was to counter the idea that some genocides are more extraordinary than others and therefore worthy of greater attention. The second necessity was that this wouldn’t just be a theoretical remembrance but begin to identify current genocidal practices with a view to stopping them. A genocidal act had taken place in Gaza, Palestine with Operation Cast Lead, which finished in January 2009 the previous year. This was a representative example of a longstanding environment of destruction of the Palestinian people and their way of life in Palestine, where these steps towards a climate of genocide became easy to take. In order to remind people that remembrance ceremonies without a current practical application are not enough, we have decided to hold GMD to coincide with the end of Operation Cast Lead, and for pragmatic reasons the third Sunday of January has been chosen as a time to hold this event.
As IHRC is a campaigning organisation, we believe it is important for us to not just commemorate the past but also to recognise the genocides and/or genocidal acts taking place in the modern era, with a view to stopping these from happening in the present or the future. In order for this to happen, it is important for us to use this commemoration as a springboard to analyse the climate that leads to an environment where ordinary people can become part of a genocidal machine. In this respect, every society needs to introspect and consider whether it is creating an environment where the steps towards genocide become easy for it to take.
The GMD project has created a platform where we can consider the impact not just of the physical genocide but also of other processes which contribute to genocidal destruction e.g. cultural genocide. In order to extend the platform and create awareness amongst the youth, we have held annual poetry competitions on the theme of genocide for eleven to eighteen year olds, in which the first prize is to visit Bosnia to witness first hand a very recent example of genocide in Europe. Further details for the poetry competition currently running can be found HERE
We have produced a short documentary about the fifteen year old winner of the poetry competition in 2012, Frano Vainio-Doiseul, who went to Bosnia to see the impact of the Bosnian genocide. Watch the video ‘Visiting the Genocide’ about this boy’s journey.
Consisting of a variety of short presentations on the world’s many victims, GMD will next take place on 20 January 2019
If you are not based in the UK, watch the event live online on IHRC.TV – you can send questions to the panel via Twitter @ihrc using the hashtag #GMD2019 or by posting on our Facebook page.