shrouded themselves in iron silence over who had actively or passively participated in the Holocaust: nothing seen, nothing heard, nothing known, nothing done. They acted as if the perpetrators had always been the ‘others’. These ‘others’ were the prominent
Human Rights, Transitional Justice, and Memories of Resistance in Post-Conflict Timor-Leste
This article examines the effects of human rights and transitional justice on memories of Timor-Leste’s resistance to the Indonesian occupation, which lasted from 1975 to 1999. Data comes from ethnographic fieldwork in Timor, centered around remembrance of two major acts of resistance: an armed uprising in 1983 and a peaceful demonstration in 1991. The article argues that in Timor, an “apolitical” human rights has caused a post-conflict “democratization of perpetration”, in that similar culpability is assigned to all those who caused suffering in the conflict with Indonesia through physical violence, irrespective of context. Transitional justice has thus expanded the category of perpetrator in Timor, to include some who legally used armed resistance against Indonesian rule. Studies of violence have belatedly turned toward examining perpetrators of state terror; this article examines how discourses of human rights and transitional justice shape perceptions of those who resist state terror with violence.
Local responses to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
Johanna Mannergren Selimovic
This article juxtaposes local understandings and narratives on justice and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina with those of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). By looking at notions of collective innocence/guilt, the development of victim identities, and the relativization of the suffering of the other, it explores the failure of the ICTY to offer a convincing model of transitional justice in Bosnia. Although the ICTY disciplines the boundary between victim and perpetrator through measures for shared truth and individual justice, local discourses resist or transform these representations, thus tending to entrench rather than transcend national divisions. The findings of this article challenge prevalent instrumentalist understandings of transitional justice and its role in facilitating reconciliation. The article focuses on the communities of Konjic and Srebrenica and the ICTY outreach conferences held in these towns in 2004 and 2005.
Jeffrey A. Sluka
The ethnography of state terror is “high risk” research and there are real personal dangers for anyone who conducts fieldwork on this issue. Managing such dangers has particularly become an issue for those conducting primary research with perpetrators of state terror—the “rank and file” who apply the electric cattle prods and pull the triggers—and all of the researchers I know who have taken this path have been threatened in one form or another. Th is article reviews the core literature and latest developments in managing the physical dangers inherent in the ethnography of political violence and state terror, particularly fieldwork or primary research with the actual perpetrators themselves, makes practical recommendations for managing such dangers, and presents some ideas for developing risk management plans or protocols for researcher survival in perilous field sites.
Kathleen M. Blee
Interpretive and ethical frameworks circumscribe how we study the perpetrators of politically motivated violence against civilian populations. This article revisits the author’s studies of two eras of white supremacism in the United States, the 1920s and 1980s–1990s, to examine how these were affected by four frameworks of inquiry: the assumption of agency, the allure of the extraordinary, the tendency to categorical analysis, and the presumption of net benefit. It concludes with suggestions on how scholars can avoid the limitations of these frameworks.
From Silence to Knowledge and Back Again
. What I want to draw attention to here is the existence of another, very different set of riders, another group of people struggling to find the language in which to speak of what had occurred. I am referring here to the perpetrators of the Holocaust
Germans and Jews Re-enacting Aspects of the Holocaust
it does not remain a repressed and unthought experience prone to re-enactment later in life. It is precisely because the Holocaust was felt by many survivors and perpetrators to be inexpressible that it is transmitted to their children in an
Mbororo Nomads Facing and Adapting to Conflict in Central Africa
their herds” (2009: 6). Hostage taking across the CAR has become a regular phenomenon over the past 15 years, and kidnappings often end with the perpetrators (zarguina or rebels) killing their hostages: “In addition to the loss of their property, the
Elaine Feinstein, Jason Ranon Uri Rotstein, Daniel Weissbort, Philip Fried, and Steven B. Katz
Rechitsa (After R. B. Kitaj, Babel Riding with Budyonny)
No Great Artist Perpetrators (Adapted from Zbigniew Herbert)
Death stills things down Sunday Immigrant
Nathan Sees the Whole Synagogue God’s People
The Human Genome Rebekah in the Modern World
The Holocaust in Czortków and Buczacz, East Galicia, as Seen in West German Legal Discourse
This article examines the way in which West German courts confronted the case of low-level, former Nazi perpetrators who conducted mass killings of Jews in isolated towns in Eastern Europe. Using the example of the towns of Czortków and Buczacz in eastern Galicia, the article argues that such trials, conducted in the late 1950s and 1960s, sought both to recreate the historical reality of genocide on the local level, where killers and victims often knew each other by name, and to identify a type of perpetrator who differed essentially from "ordinary" Germans, even as he was himself invariably defined as a "victim of the circumstances of that time."