Preventing Genocide? What? Who is Ellen Kennedy?
By Andrew Richter
OK, people who follow this blog know I’m not a fan of city Human Rights Commissions. I don’t see what legitimate city-wide purpose they serve. What these commissions are now up to reinforces that belief. The Human Rights Commissions of Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope, and Robbinsdale are promoting an event to “prevent genocide” at the Crystal Community Center on April 18. View the flyer HERE
Now, if you’re like me you’re scratching your head. What does this have to do with city government? I don’t know the answer but I decided to do some research; both on this speaker and this group that our cities are promoting.
First let me say something; when I think of genocide I think of the Holocaust, Stalin, Pol Pot, Communist China, Rwanda, or Bosnia. But, upon reading information on the guest speaker and this group, I must live in a different world. The special guest speaker is the Executive Director of World Without Genocide, Dr. Ellen Kennedy. Now who is Ms. Kennedy? Well, you can read the groups’ WEBSITE talks about her vision, values, and goals (and notice that she serves on Keith Ellison’s Foreign Affairs Roundtable). but I found an interview with her that shed a different light.
She was spotlighted in an article about international NGO’s (non-profit organization) in Minnesota.
The full article can be seen HERE
Focus on the bottom part of the article and check this out;
Here is Kennedy talking about the need for genocide awareness;
“I believe that most people want to be upstanders,” Kennedy said, “but they don’t feel like they know enough about genocide or what they can do about it. But people can help.”
OK, I’m somewhat lost already. I’m not sure the problem with genocide is that people don’t know enough about it. But wait until you hear her “suggestions” to prevent genocide in the future;
1) Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
No folks, I’m not making this up!
The reasons why genocide happens can be hard to decipher. Kennedy distinguishes between proximate and ultimate causes. Proximate causes are race, religion, nationality, or ethnic origin — “the causes that allow us to point a finger,” she said. But the ultimate causes are more complex and have to do with “people’s access to what sustains their lives” like food, water, and fuel.
“When people are hungry, that’s when we see violence, when we see a psychology of violence accepted. People are more reluctant to engage in violence when they feel like they have a future.” She notes that the genocide in Rwanda occurred a year after the country experienced a drought that wreaked havoc on agriculture and caused caloric intake to plummet. Other genocides have followed similar patterns.
So the Hutus and Tutus started attacking each other because of a drought?
Because global climate change leads to droughts, floods, and extreme temperature change — things that make food, water, and fuel scarce — it can exacerbate violence and, hence, genocide.
You have to be kidding me!
As a result, individuals can help by reducing their carbon footprint — via carpooling, use of mass transit.
Oh I see so the genocide in Rwanda could have been prevented if the people had more bike paths, high density housing, and light rail! It sounds like Ms. Kennedy is using “genocide” and all the images we associate with that term, to push a left-wing agenda.
Here is suggestion number 2!
2) Buy Conflict-Free Electronics
Again folks I’m not making this up!
The Democratic Republic of Congo has seen intense conflict, including genocide, for over a decade. The country is rich in minerals like tin, coltan, tungsten, and gold, which are used in consumer electronics. Buying these electronics often indirectly funds armed groups that use violence, child slavery, and other atrocities to extract the minerals.
World Without Genocide supports the Enough Project, which has a national campaign that encourages consumers to be selective about the electronics they buy. The project has ranked electronic companies on their efforts to manufacture “conflict-free electronics.”
Better check where you got the IPhone 6! You might be supporting genocide!
Now, reason number three is a but more relevant:
3) Think Locally
Gender violence, including sex trafficking, “is a systematic problem that’s always at the heart of genocide,” Kennedy said. And whatever crimes exist globally also exist locally, in our own communities.
Minnesota has one of the nation’s highest rates of sex trafficking. The FBI has identified the Twin Cities as one of 13 US cities with a high incidence rate of child prostitution. The reasons are multifold: a computer-savvy population (perpetrators often lure people via the Internet), a large northern border, an international airport, the Mall of America, and more.
Now, folks I’m 100% against human trafficking, prostitution, and violence against women, but those things are crimes not genocide. This is why we have law enforcement.
The typical victim is a 12 to 14-year-old female runaway. Once trafficked, she may remain trafficked for years, even a lifetime. Some stay mired in trafficking due to financial necessity; victims often have minimal education and job skills. Additionally, traffickers use drugs and threaten violence to control or ‘break’ their victims. “For many women and girls, a life of being trafficked will be nearly impossible to escape,” Kennedy said.
One way to help is to refer to those being trafficked as “someone who’s being prostituted,” not “a prostitute.” This simple wording change aids in efforts to prosecute traffickers and to see those who are trafficked as the victims that they truly are.
Yup, even here we have to deal with the language police.
Raising awareness of this issue, especially in high school settings, is also important; World Without Genocide routinely does outreach to educators, telling them about warning signs to look for like a student who’s suddenly alienated herself or is acting out or dressing differently. “People who suspect trafficking need to call 911 and report it,” Kennedy said.
Perhaps we should police our border, deport criminal illegal aliens, or lock up these sex traffickers for life! Wouldn’t that be better?
Kennedy says she is “optimistic” about the future but strangely she seems to believe the problem is the United States!
Looking ahead, Kennedy would like to expand World Without Genocide’s reach by creating regional offices. She’s committed to continue changing the way America views and responds to genocide.
“No American president was ever forced out of office for failing to prevent genocide,” Kennedy said, describing ways that the United States lags behind other countries on human rights issues: America hasn’t ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or the Ottawa Convention (to ban landmines). Neither is the United States a member of the International Criminal Court. But this could change.
No international treaty will prevent genocide or war. If you don’t believe me look up the Kellogg-Briand Pact. People who want to kill mass amounts of people don’t respond to words. Got back to the Nazis; The Allied nations tried to negotiate with Hitler, they tried to appease him, they passed resolutions at the League of Nations. Any of it work?
“Genocide happens because we let it happen,” Kennedy said. “Genocide is not a tsunami or an earthquake. Genocides are manmade crimes; they can be prevented. Everyone can be an upstander.”
We let it happen? It’s our fault? Hmm, not a word about Iran, or Syria, or ISIS? Why am I not shocked? If you want to prevent genocide Ms. Kennedy, and you’re serious about it, why don’t you go talk to the people who are committing the genocide? Take some nice vacations to the Middle East rather than criticize people who buy electronics.
Now, of course, Ms. Kennedy is entitled to her views. Nobody here is trying to shut her up. But this is more than that. This lady was invited to speak here (I assume anyway) and her organization is being promoted by four cities in our area! She has the same free speech rights that I do but we don’t have to give her a platform. Imagine if a christian group was promoting ending genocide and Pat Robertson or Gary Bauer was the guest speaker? I bet that would NEVER be promoted my any human rights commission.
So who is this group Ms. Kennedy represents and what are they advocating for? Find out in our next post!