Show Less
Restricted access

Through a Lens Darkly

Films of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing

Edited By John J. Michalczyk and SJ Raymond G. Helmick

While the ashes of the Holocaust were still fresh, Polish Jewish attorney Raphael Lemkin put a name to the tragedy that had decimated his family – genocide. The twentieth century was brutally scarred by the massive scale of genocide and its manifest forms of ethnic cleansing, massacres, and atrocities. We ask how these horrors can be visually translated to the screen while both maintaining their authenticity and serving as commercial «entertainment». Through an analysis of a series of poignant films on the plight of the Native Americans, the controversial Armenian genocide, the Holocaust and its legacy, the killing fields of Cambodia, and the Hutu-sponsored massacres in Rwanda, the reader can grasp the driving mechanisms of genocide and ethnic cleansing. The oft-repeated, «Never again» rings hollow to our ears in the wake of these tragedies in a post-Holocaust era. The films discussed here, both features and documentaries, are set in an historical context that sheds light on the dark side of humanity and are then discussed with the hope of better understanding our frailty. In the end, however, we ask can the «unrepresentable» ever be represented?
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007): The Epic Fall of the American Indian: Nancy Lynch Street

Extract

Nancy Lynch Street

When I was a boy, the Sioux owned the world. The sun rose and set on their land; they sent ten thousand men to battle. Where are the warriors today? Who slew them? Where are our lands? Who owns them? What White Man can say I ever stole his land or a penny of his money? Yet they say I am a thief. What white woman, however lonely was ever captive or insulted by me? Yet they say that I am a bad Indian. What White Man has ever seen me drunk? Who has ever come to me and left me unfed? Who has ever seen me, beat my wives or abuse my children? What law have I broken? Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red? Because I am a Sioux? Because I was born where my father lived? Because I would die for my people and my country?

—Sitting Bull, Teton Sioux1

Like the famous Sioux chief and shaman Sitting Bull, HBO’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee2 attempts to portray American Indians as collateral damage in the bloody Westward Movement and the concept of “Manifest Destiny.” As the film depicts, the US government used its self-imposed mandate by the Monroe Doctrine to expand westward (with a continental railroad) to either: (1) put the “recalcitrant, rebellious savages” out of the way onto reservations, far from any amenities; (2)...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.