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Genocide, Human Rights

From Revolution to Civil War to Genocide: The Case of Syria

An Interview with Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, President Genocide Watch, and Rebecca Tinsley, Director & Founder, Waging Peace at the ICD Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy 2012 (Berlin, December 13th – 16th, 2012)


Gregory Stanton and Rebecca Tinsley share their views on the on-going conflict in Syria. Dr. Stanton informs us that the international community had been warned about this blow up two years before the crisis even began. He tries to depict the situation and how it has developed from a civil war into a full-scale genocide and massacre. Dr. Stanton clarifies that genocide very often occurs during civil or international wars, when people are “singled out because of their religious group”. He identifies eight stages of genocide, namely: classification, civilization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, extermination and finally denial. A stalemate occurs when there is  uncertainty regarding whether something is genocide or not, like the case of Darfur. Rebecca Tinsley adds that “we were slow in reacting to what was happening in Syria”. In her opinion, there is lack of unanimity within the international community.

What are alternative measures? What can be done?

Dr. Stanton refers to the General Assembly ‘Uniting for Peace’ Resolution, which was adopted before the Korean war. While he emphasizes the importance of global humanitarian aid, Rebecca Tinsley draws attention to “non-financial” methods of assistance – she says that people can always “make their voice heard” by writing, sending letters and emails, or making phone calls. Another step is taking actions such as boycotting a company by refusing to buy its product unless it intervenes and helps. Rebecca Tinsley closes the discussion with the statement that “people have power”.


Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy


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