Here in New England, people look forward to April as the days turn longer, and warmer and the first signs of Spring emerge. The young, and young at heart, often recite the old standard, "April showers bring May flowers." Unfortunately, in far too many parts of world, April is not a month to look forward to, as April is well on its way to becoming known as a month of tragedy; one with a strange and deadly history.
In the last century, all of the six major genocides that have been perpetrated -- Armenia, the Holocaust, Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur and Rwanda -- all have major anniversaries that take place in the month of April, an eerie and unsettling coincidence.
With this in mind, survivors from these genocides have joined together and declared April "Genocide Prevention Month," and are observing the 30-day span to remember and mourn the many friends and family that they lost in their struggle to escape systematic extinction.
Activists around the world have taken this a step further and organized nearly 50 events so far globally for the month to raise awareness of these atrocities.
The Genocide Prevention Project, a foundation created to watch for warning signs of mass-scale atrocity crimes, is calling on the public and organizations to make a pledge to observe Genocide Prevention Month and further implement the harsh reality of the past and present into the social consciousness.
Filmmakers Michael Pertnoy and Michael Kleiman are utilizing Genocide Prevention Month to premiere their documentary, The Last Survivor, a film featuring first-hand stories from one survivor of each of the six genocides. A 20-minute version premieres online tomorrow. If you haven't seen any of the previews that they've posted here, go have a look.
Additionally, over 50 organizations from ten countries are using the month of April to call for a global movement to implement policies that prevent genocidal situations from occurring and also to take major action on the current escalating chaos in Darfur.
Considering that the situation in Darfur is still going on after six years, and the government of Turkey still refuses to acknowledge their actions in the Armenian Genocide, it is vital that the public around the world speak up and demand that their governments take more action in preventing and stopping genocide.
Many of us have remained relatively untouched by the genocides of the past century, but we can all do something this month to remember those who lost their lives. Please take a moment to head over to www.genocidepreventionmonth.org and pledge to commemorate the victims of these atrocities this April; and learn more about what we can do to return April to its place as a month of hope and rebirth.