As heirs of the Enlightenment, we in the West tend to view ourselves as humane, rational and reasonable. Genocides are atrocities that ‘others’ commit, so revealing their backwardness and essential ‘otherness’.
Colin Tatz’s study of genocide exposes this Enlightenment-based self-image as dangerous complacency...especially in its examination of colonial genocides (what ‘we’, in Australia for example, got up to not so long ago) and the Holocaust (what some of ‘us’ did within the lifetimes of many of us).
A South African-Australian-Jew, Tatz provides a personal yet analytical and critical account of racism and anti-Semitism, and the termini to which such policies and practices have led in Germany, Turkey, South Africa and Australia. In so doing, he reveals how widespread is the (genocidal) propensity to resort to biological solutions to resolve social or political ‘problems’. In addition, he raises general questions on the matter of denial...asking why, rather than what, denialists deny...and concludes with his reflections on many years of teaching about genocide.