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Editor’s Introduction The editors of Genocide Studies and Prevention are pleased to offer this general issue for volume 3, number 3. The next year will bring us to volume 4, our fourth year of publication. GSP has, we believe, offered some unique and interesting articles on the traditional topics of genocide studies, and we think we have published some new and innovative material. This issue continues that trend. The first article, ‘‘Rape as Cultural Control: Consequences of Sexual Violence against Women during Genocide’’ by Allison Ruby Reid-Cunningham, is one of the first scholarly articles on rape during genocide to appear in a genocide journal. That this is a salient and important contemporary concern is evident in continuing revelations of the use of rape as a weapon of intimidation both in the Darfur region of Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Responding to this type of situation, ReidCunningham argues that ‘‘rape is used as a tactic of war and genocide because of its physical and psychosocial consequence on individuals, families, and communities.’’ She examines the cases of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, Darfur, and the DRC and notes that the impact of rape spreads to the entire community. In particular, ‘‘forced impregnation . . . represents a symbolic conquest of the woman by the rapist and, by extension, of the raped woman’s community, family, and culture.’’ This article is interesting and important because it points out how rape is a ‘‘regulation of power through sexual means,’’ as well as ‘‘an instrument to inflict damage through sexual means.’’ In this sense, it is an integral part of genocide. ReidCunningham fits her analysis into a theoretical framework and explicates the complicated relationship between rape and genocide. Her exceptional analysis moves genocide studies much farther along the path toward understanding how crimes against women are a major part of crimes against humanity. It is also our hope that this article will help to focus attention on this important and perennially relevant topic. The second article in this issue highlights another important and often ignored aspect of genocide. Through his analysis of ‘‘Churchill in Munich,’’ Robert Melson asks whether a ‘‘catastrophe averted is likely to be viewed as a catastrophe.’’ As Melson argues, ‘‘politicians hesitate to act to prevent catastrophe in general, and genocide in particular, because if they act decisively and yet fail to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe they can be blamed for failure, while if they succeed at prevention they are unlikely to be rewarded for their success.’’ To illustrate this idea, Melson poses this question: If Winston Churchill instead of Neville Chamberlain had gone to meet Adolf Hitler in Munich, and if he had succeeded in averting World War II, would he have been accused of bringing the world to the brink of war? Melson calls this the ‘‘the paradox of genocide prevention.’’ As he notes, the trouble is that no generation seems to know how to learn from the past and avoid the catastrophes of the future. In the context of uncertainty, ambiguity, and unintended consequences that is the future, political leaders do not wish to incur the costs of prevention. These costs may be too high, endangering their political survival, while the political benefits may be too low or even nonexistent. While Melson’s essay raises important and interesting questions about genocide prevention, it does not directly address the problem of proving a negative. That is, how Herb Hirsch, Editor’s Introduction, Genocide Studies and Prevention 3, 3 (December 2008): 275–277. ß 2008 Genocide Studies and Prevention. doi:10.3138/gsp.3.3.275 can one ever know what was prevented, and how does one know what might have occurred? Such speculation is, of course, at the heart of the modern debate over genocide prevention. The third article in this issue, ‘‘Theorizing Destruction: Reflections on the State of comparative Genocide Theory’’ by Maureen Hiebert, is a needed review of some of the recent literature in what Hiebert refers to as the ‘‘young discipline that seeks to understand an ‘old scourge.’’’ Hiebert’s focus is on the ‘‘comparative analysis of multiple cases of genocide’’ and, in particular, on ‘‘comparative genocide theory.’’ Hiebert believes, in fact, that the focus on definitions...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1911-9933
Print ISSN
1911-0359
Pages
pp. 275-277
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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