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Editor’s Introduction We are very pleased to enter our third year of publication. The editors hope that you found the first two volumes of Genocide Studies and Prevention stimulating and innovative. Our purpose has been to publish the most important, relevant, and interesting material related to the study and prevention of genocide. We will endeavor to maintain what we think has been a successful effort as we enter our third volume year. Accordingly, GSP 3:1 is a general issue with an eclectic array of articles covering important and controversial topics in genocide studies. The lead article, ‘‘The Three ‘Switches’ of Identity Construction in Genocide: The Nazi Final Solution and the Cambodian Killing Fields’’ by Maureen Hiebert, is an addition to some of the theoretical concepts most integral to the study of genocide. Hiebert argues that ‘‘elites decide to commit genocide, and not some less catastrophic policy of repression or violence, when three conceptual ‘switches’ concerning the identity, interests, and future actions of the victim group are ‘turned on’ by the perpetrators.’’ These are closely related to some of the traditional conceptualizations of earlier genocide scholars. For example, the first ‘‘switch’’ involves ‘‘the victim group’’ losing its ‘‘status within the political community and [being] constructed as outsiders to whom rights and obligations are no longer owed.’’ This is really another version of the famous idea Helen Fein first discussed in her pioneering work Understanding Genocide when she coined the term ‘‘the universe of moral obligation’’ and noted that victim groups are often defined as being outside that universe. They are then viewed, as Hiebert notes, as ‘‘dangerous enemies’’ and finally as subhumans ‘‘who can be killed without compunction.’’ Hiebert’s ‘‘switches’’ are very close to the process of dehumanization that has been a consistent component of many theories concerning the genocidal process; in the end, her view of the process also involves a trigger related to economic and political crises. The second article in this issue, ‘‘Value Hierarchies of Holocaust Rescuers and Resistance Fighters,’’ is an empirical examination comparing participants in armed resistance movements with individuals who rescued Jews from the Nazi Holocaust. Using quantitative measures and thematic content analysis, Peter Suedfeld and Stefanie de Best compare forty-seven members of resistance movements and fifty Holocaust rescuers. Finding both differences and similarities, they also examine the implications of their research for the study of altruism in extreme circumstances. As there are few such empirical examinations, this study forms an important building block in the continuing research on helping behavior. In the third contribution, ‘‘Kurds in Turkey and in (Iraqi) Kurdistan: A Comparison of Kurdish Educational Language Policy in Two Situations of Occupation,’’ Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Desmond Fernandes compare what they call ‘‘linguistic human rights.’’ Using this term to refer to the right to study the language of the culture of a person’s birth, they accuse Turkey of committing ‘‘linguistic and cultural genocide (according to definition of genocide in Articles 2b and 2e in the UNCG) in relation to the Kurdish nation/minority.’’ The authors examine the different educational outcomes in Turkey and Iraq and discuss some of the reasons for the differences and similarities. Herb Hirsch, ‘‘Editor’s Introduction,’’ Genocide Studies and Prevention 3, 1 (April 2008): 1–3. ß 2008 Genocide Studies and Prevention. doi: 10.3138/gsp.3.1.1 As a result of this comparison, this is a controversial and interesting analysis with important political and educational consequences. Robert McCormick’s ‘‘The United States’ Response to Genocide in the Independent State of Croatia, 1941–1945,’’ examines an incident of genocide that has received little scholarly attention. Focusing on the role of the United States in the genocide engineered in Croatia by Ante Pavelić and his Ustaše Party, McCormick points out that the atrocities received public scrutiny but were largely ignored by US policy makers, a phenomenon he attributes to the concern that public commentary might ‘‘foster violence in the United States that would weaken the domestic war effort, especially in heavy industry where Yugoslav immigrants tended to work.’’ McCormick concludes that genocide was committed in Croatia while American authorities decided to remain silent and engaged in ‘‘exceedingly pragmatic decisions designed to maintain a peaceful...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1911-9933
Print ISSN
1911-0359
Pages
pp. 1-3
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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