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Jamsheed Marker on Genocide Education

Jamsheed Marker, United Nations Special Envoy to East Timor

I think the education of children in terms of genocide is something very important -- but not in terms just of the horrors of the genocide, but in terms of what causes genocide, what brings about genocide, which is basically hatred and unthinking feelings of superiority, and these are something that can be inculcated into a child. And to know that -- to tell the children that, you know, there but for the grace of God go you, and that you are not immune from this and you should be very much aware of what is happening and you should do what you can to stop it.

It's the -- it's a difficult thing, even morally, to fight; and when one talks about, for example, peacekeeping troops, which are sent in in situations of this kind, what do you mean? A soldier is trained for war fighting, and you're sending him there to do peacekeeping, which is exactly the opposite of what he's been trained? Is it easy to deprogram a marine from all the things that he's been taught to do to suddenly say, "You want to become a" -- how do we reconcile the two?

And yet one has to, because I think, as Nietzsche said -- Nietzsche said a lot of rotten things, but he also said some very wise ones. "He who fights monsters should take care not to become a monster himself." Now, how do you do that? I think this is the perennial question on issues like genocide.

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About Jamsheed Marker