November 8, 2009


Roy, Arundhati, Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2009) (From the essay, “Listening to Grasshoppers: Genocide, Denial, and Celebration”: “Genocide Denial is a radical variation on the theme of the old, frankly racist, bloodthirsty triumphalism. It probably evolved as an answer to the somewhat patchy dual morality that arose in the nineteenth century, when Europe was developing limited but new forms of democracy and citizens’ rights at home while simultaneously exterminating people in their millions in her colonies. Suddenly countries and governments began to deny or attempt to hide the genocides they has committed. ‘Denial is saying, in effect,’ Robert J. Lifton observes, that ‘the murderers didn’t murder. The victims weren’t killed. The direct consequence of denial is that it invites future genocide’.” Id. at 147 (citing talk by Robert J. Lifton, Center for the Study of Violence and Human Survival, John Jay College, City University of New York, January 29, 1996. Transcript available from Alternative Radio, See Robert J. Lifton and Greg Mitchell, Hiroshima in America: A Half Century of Denial (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996). “Of course, today, when genocide politics meets the free market, official recognition—or denial—of holocausts and genocides is a multinational business enterprise. It rarely has anything to do with historical fact or forensic evidence. Morality certainly does not enter the picture. It is an aggressive process of high-end bargaining that belongs more to the World Trade Organization than to the United Nations. The currency is geopolitics, the fluctuating market for natural resources, that curious thing called future trading, and plain old economic and military might. Id. at 147-148.).