Night Will Fall/Cries from Syria: Comparison/Contrast Essay/Research Paper Assignment – Length: Two-three pages of text, in addition to the following:
Format: MLA-style writing, references, including cover page, in-text citation and correctly formatted reference page. Paper MUST be double spaced, have properly indented paragraphs, be peer-reviewed, spell and grammar checked, etc. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE IN-TEXT CITATION, YOU WILL EARN AN INSTANT “F.”
Due Date: Final, perfected draft due February 12, 2020 (rough draft due February 5th – bring a printed copy to class on this day. The final paper will be electronically submitted through turnitin.com)
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana
Though the Holocaust and the documentary Night Will Fall are disturbing reminders of an atrocity committed against millions of people, as time goes by, it gets easier for many to deny it happened at all, or forget the most important lesson of all: It’s happening again.
The United Nations uses the following definition to classify acts of genocide: “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
For this assignment, you will be viewing both documentaries in class and will participate in a discussion about the film; you will then be writing a comparison/contrast essay about genocide.
Read the attached briefing and think about it and what you saw in the films. As you can see in the first documentary, the Nazis attempted and very nearly succeeded in efforts to commit an act of genocide against the Jewish people, as well as Gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally retarded and anyone else they believed were ‘undesirables’, or an estimated total of roughly 11,000,000 people killed. This is happening on a smaller scale now in numerous places, including Syria, which has been embroiled in a bitter, bloody civil war for many years, and is on the verge of becoming a full-blown genocide in Myanmar.
Genocides have happened many times in the recent past (Rwanda – approximately 1,000,000 deaths; Cambodia – 3,000,000; Armenia – 1,500,000; Russia -7,500,000; Bosnia Herzegovina – 38,000, etc.) There is, even now in the 21st century, still rampant antisemitism and a rise of violence and hatred against others of many faiths and ethnicities. Consider also the actions of ISIL, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups active today as well as current policies to restrict immigration by the current United States political administration and how such policies could conceivably foster hate.
Students will respond to the following prompt in their essay:
Compare and contrast the past attempted genocide of European Jews and others whom the Nazis declared ‘undesirables’ with the atrocities taking place today in Syria and Myanmar.
Be sure to answer the following questions completely and in essay form, using examples and support from multiple, reputable, academic and scholarly sources (NOT WIKIPEDIA!):
What similarities and differences do you find between the attitudes and actions of the victims, as well as leaders, local citizens and military members who perpetuated past and present genocides?
What, if anything, do you believe can be done to curb such behavior in the future? (This is a research paper, not a personal journal. Find experts who share your opinions and both refer to them and be sure to cite any utilized quotes, information and ideas using MLA-style references – also use in-text citations.)
Be prepared to do some intelligent research into the past and present and both form a thesis and give solid examples which revolve around your comparing the events of history and what you believe is necessary to stop it from happening again. This is going to take some serious thinking and discussion, but, it is possible. This will most probably be the most difficult assignment in this class, but I believe you have the power to make it happen.
The Eight Stages of Genocide
By Gregory H. Stanton, President, Genocide Watch
Classification Symbolization Dehumanization Organization Polarization Preparation Extermination Denial
Genocide is a process that develops in eight stages that are predictable but not inexorable. At each stage, preventive measures can stop it. The process is not linear. Logically, later stages must be preceded by earlier stages. But all stages continue to operate throughout the process.
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