I awoke this morning with the vague awareness that today was Yom HaShoah, and I had this strange thought floating through my brain about “Genocide Bingo.” Now there’s two words I never thought I’d put together, and the idea weirded me out just a little. I poked around just a little, and discovered that the term “Genocide” was coined first in 1943 by Polish-Jewish legal scholar Raphael Lemkin from the Greek root génos (family, tribe or race – gene); secondly from Latin -cide (occido—to massacre, kill). He wrote,
Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.
Earlier this week my wife and I attended a demonstration to raise awareness for Darfur, so this was on my mind a bit this week. A significant point brought out by one of the speakers is that in remembering the Holocaust, we do no service to the memory of those who died to remain silent while others die. There have been more instances of genocide obliterating people by the tens or hundreds of thousands than we would at first realize or admit. The bingo thing played out strangely… I had these images of different dictators and other symbols arranged on a grid in my brain. How many of these can you identify?