More UH students should be able to learn about genocide

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

When it comes to education surrounding genocide, the importance of learning about our history cannot be understated. Unfortunately, UH is one of the many colleges that do not prioritize this.

UH should provide more educational resources for students to learn about genocide and the devastating effects it brings.

Have you ever heard of the United Nations Genocide Convention? The Genocide Convention is known for establishing the initial worldwide pact to define genocide, contributing to preventing genocide and bringing justice to those responsible.

The Holocaust is one of the most well-known genocides, but many struggle to define key information about it.

According to the Pew Research Center, most adults in the United States have general knowledge of the Holocaust but struggle to respond accurately when asked the precise number of Jews who tragically lost their lives during this horrific event.

We have all heard the phrase “never again” when discussing past genocides. Despite the lessons of the Holocaust and the “never again” moment that led to the aforementioned Convention, genocide has taken place again and again ever since, inflicting intolerable harm and suffering.

At the University, The Honors College offers an exceptional but limited class called 20th Century Genocides. In the course, students learn to define the word genocide, as well as its origins and implications. The students are taught about the creation of the United Nations and the persecution of crimes against humanity. The course also covers examples of genocides that took place in the 20th century.

The class brings attention to a topic that is not discussed as much as it should be. With the correct understanding, genocide is preventable. Understanding genocide as a step-by-step process and being able to identify it in its early stages is crucial. By doing so, we can intervene and prevent the loss of innocent lives before it’s too late.

Considering it’s such an important topic, why do we have only one class to teach about it?

The current conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people has shed light on the term genocide in more recent times. Worldwide, we have seen the solidarity of others with the Palestinian people, and comparisons to the Holocaust have been a large topic of discussion.

Now, why is this?

Genocide is a series of acts seeking to exterminate human beings for being part of a group, whether it is a national, ethnic, racial or religious one. Genocide is a process, not an event. It takes detailed planning and a government force to carry one out.

The genocidal process is classified into 10 stages referred to as The 10 Stages of Genocide. All genocides follow these same stages and therefore can be relatively compared.

A university campus is where students learn skills such as critical thinking and individualism that they will use in the future. Genocide prevention is also an essential skill that all students should have the privilege to learn.

In order to educate the masses and help prevent tragedies such as the Holocaust or the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, UH should provide more classes outside The Honors College for students to be informed about genocide.

Samantha Torres-Lozano is a senior interpersonal communications major who can be reached at [email protected]

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