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Contents – Hatred and Mass Violence: Lessons from History (Issue 49)

Contents - Hatred and Mass Violence: Lessons from History (Issue 49)

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Contributors

Contributors

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Guest-Editorial: Our Struggle against Hatred and Mass Violence

By Navras J. Aafreedi
In spite of all our efforts, we have failed to end mass violence. There are, of course, a number of reasons for this failure of ours, ranging from the arms industry to the concept of state sovereignty which poses a big obstacle when it comes to international intervention with the aim of stopping the occurrence of genocide or ending an ongoing genocide. Along with prevention, several other issues remain highly problematic, such as, conflicting narratives, remembrance and memorialization, some of the aspects to which this issue of Café Dissensus draws our attention.

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Prevention of Mass Violence and Promotion of Tolerance

By Sarva-Daman Singh
Dayā, dāna and dama, compassion, charity and self-control, dictated by Upaniṣadic wisdom, must guide and discipline our action. We must ceaselessly strive to end man’s inhumanity to man. We have to cultivate an all-inclusive, more human “religion” like Aśoka’s Dhamma, or Akbar’s Din-e-Ilahi, a mode of thought and practice that bridges the chasms that divide us; that harmonizes our differences with the compelling consciousness of our common human identity.

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The 2002 Alexandria Summit and Its Follow Up

By Rabbi David Rosen
Amidst the worst violence of the second intifada in 2002, religious leaders of the Three Faith communities in the Holy Land were brought together for the first time ever in human history – in Alexandria, Egypt – to raise the voices of their respective Traditions in a call for an end to violence and for the promotion of peace and reconciliation.

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Antisemitism in Bangladesh

By Richard L. Benkin
In Bangladesh, however, there is a knee-jerk tendency to conflate being an Israeli with being a Jew; and I am Jewish so, ipso facto, that makes me a potential Mossad agent in many Bangladeshi minds. I like being associated with Israel, love Israel and admire the nation and its people; it’s just that I am not an Israeli. I am Jewish, which for many Bangladeshis in and out of the government, equates to being Israeli; and the accusation is not meant as a compliment.

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Preventing continuation of genocide

By David Matas
Falun Gong began in 1992 with the teachings of Li Hongzhi. 1992 was a time of intellectual, spiritual and moral ferment in China because of the shift by the Communist Party from socialism to capitalism. Communist socialism had a simple moral line – from each according to his means; to each according to his needs. The disappearance of that morality left Communism in China in a moral vacuum.

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Holocaust Studies in Australia: Moving from family and community remembrance to human rights and prevention of mass violence

By Suzanne D. Rutland and Suzanne Hampel 
Around 35,000 Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors found a safe haven in Australia before and after the war. Most embraced their new homeland but they were reluctant to speak about their experiences. Thus, Australian Jewry is largely a post-Holocaust community, with Melbourne having the highest percentage of survivors on a pro-rata population basis. From 1936 to 1941 around 9,000 pre-war Jewish refugees, including German and Austria Jewish internees sent out by the British, settled in Australia.

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The Genocide of 1971 in Bangladesh: Lessons from History

By Srimanti Sarkar
For Pakistan, recollection of 1971 has always been an arduous episode of genocide denial; whereas for Bangladesh, till date, the recollection of the Genocide of 1971 is as much a celebration of her struggle for independence as it is an anguished rumination of her national devastation. However, this recollection of the much eulogised nationalist history, impregnated with barbaric violence, is rather problematic.

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Conflicting Historical Narratives and the Perpetuation of Trauma

By Reuven Firestone
Coming soon...

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Holocaust, Propaganda, and the Distortion of History in the Former Soviet Space

By Charles E. Ehrlich
Since the USSR had integrated locals in occupied territories as its own citizens during the period before the German invasion in 1941, they ended up with additional consequences. First, that the local (non-Jewish) populations became victims of two occupations. Second, they themselves collaborated varyingly with the Russians and the Germans. Where they collaborated with the Russians between 1939 and 1941, they had to cleanse their guilt, which made killing Jews for the Germans easier.

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Outraged and Ostracized: The Bangladesh Genocide Retold

By Nabanita Mitra
Women and nation have often been viewed as related concepts. Thus, when the West Pakistani militia, together with Bihari and Bengali Razaker militias from the Jamaat-e-Islami group, failed to break the backbone of the East Pakistani nation, it sought to clamp down on the best alternative it had – that of launching diabolical pogroms on its womenfolk.

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Holocaust Commemoration in Museums: Teaching Unique or Universal Lessons?

By Stephanie Shosh Rotem
The debate on universal vs. particular commemoration is ongoing, active, and heated. While it began as an academic discussion, it has pervaded into the public sphere and Holocaust museums have become participants in the dialectic. This question was explored in the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC (USHMM), which was conceived in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter as a gesture of reconciliation toward the Jewish community, following a deep rift between his administration and the Israeli government.

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The Failure of Secular Publics and the Rise of the Jewish Religious Public in Nathan Englander’s ‘For the Relief of Unbearable Urges’

By Fuzail Asar Siddiqi
Englander questions the thesis whether it is possible to participate as equals in a public setting, as subjects that are nothing more than the rational arguments that they posit. This form of abstraction can be problematic because it assumes one’s participation in the public sphere as devoid of any recourse to arguments based on religious resources unless purged of its religious significance.

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Contents: Revisiting the Partition of India, 1947 (Issue 48)

Contents: Revisiting the Partition of India, 1947 (Issue 48)

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Contributors

Contributors

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Guest-Editorial: Past in Present: Partition of India

By Kamayani Kumar
Much of the exhibits on display are material in nature, objects that displaced people sought to carry with them, “like a trunk, a water pot or a lock, or they’re very emotional objects... so a wedding sari, a favourite dress, a father’s pocket watch,” says Ahluwalia (CEO and Curator, Partition Museum) and which they have held on to not because of their utilitarian value but because of the memories they are steeped in.

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Poem: Home

By Somrita Ganguly
I hear the historians discuss history
I hear the linguists discuss etymology
I hear politicians talk about patriotism and nationalism
And wonder where my allegiance lies
বাংলাদেশ/مشرقی پاکستان/ हिंदुस्तान
Bharat/ India/ Hindustan.

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Poem: Partition, 1947

By Varsha Sundriyal
Wives tearing their hair out.
Not sindoor but blood on heads. 
Clutching their tattered clothes running for their lives. 
Hiding children on their breast shielding them from the bullets. 

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Poem: Home as Home

By Sourav Debnath
Never have I thought home as home
Until I was dragged out from mine own.
In that unconscious, uncertain turn,
I left my home to burn.

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Short Story: They showed partition

By Shivesh
We keep silent and hidden from the outside world for our safety, but it is getting harder every day. Toilets are clogged and some are overflowing, full bellies are a thing of past and so is sound sleep, I feel that my father’s return will improve things a little but I know it is unlikely.

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Talking Partition with Children: A Herculean Task or Not?

By Anurima Chanda
Children’s literature has forever battled with these anxieties, mostly falling prey to becoming a representative of the author’s overpowering ideological system and seeping into the child’s psyche without being adequately filtered. This can have harmful ramifications in the way a child perceives the world, feeding into its system with unwarranted prejudices. Sabnani’s text is one of those rare instances which has been able to steer away from such ideological manipulations.

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Children as victims of Partition, 1947

By Shrila Pokhriyal
Some men boarded the train to unload the bodies. Khushwant Singh was one of them. He was looking for some life amidst the dead when he found Jeet too afraid and traumatized. He picked her up, wiped her tears and said, “Don’t worry child, take the name of god, we too have sent a train loaded with dead on the side.” A child, who didn’t even know the meaning of religion, community, partition, saw her family and thousands being ripped away by these things.

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