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Unlike widely reported genocides - such as those in Nazi Germany, Rwanda, and Cambodia - some atrocities remain unacknowledged, denied, and excluded from history textbooks. Yet, the buried past is important. Not only because perpetrators of gross human rights violations should be held accountable, but also because victims and their descendants warrant recognition. Unacknowledged atrocities breed resentment, taint the collective identity of a nation, and cause divisions when future generations challenge the sanitized versions of history. Official silence about past misdeeds suggests complicity and promotes impunity. Above all, non-acknowledgement prevents learning from past injustices. Hushed Voices - now in paperback - analyzes 15 key cases of forgotten mass political violence from around the world. These include: a) in Africa: Zanzibar, Zimbabwe's Gukurahundi, Biafra, the Algerian Harkis, and the Mau Mau anti-colonial rebellion; b) in the Middle East: Armenia, the Palestinian Nakba, and Hama in Syria; c) in Asia: Suharto's slaughter of half a million Indonesians, Imperial Japan, and Gujarati Hindu nationalism; d) in Europe: the Ukrainian Holdomor, the Spanish Civil War, Dresden, and the ethnic cleansing of Germans in Poland and Czechoslovakia after World War II. Theories of ethnic conflict, reconciliation, truth commissions, and post-conflict reconstruction are reviewed in the book's conclusion.
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Heribert Adam is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and also holds annual visiting appointments at the University of Cape Town. Born in Germany and educated at the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, he has published extensively on conflict resolution in divided societies. His books, co-authored with Kogila Moodley, include South Africa Without Apartheid (1986), The Opening of the Apartheid Mind (1993), Comrades in Business (1997) and Seeking Mandela: Peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians (2006).
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