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Wild Flowers: Unfinished Thoughts on Privilege and Intention

“What is your connection to genocide?” he skeptically asked me.

“My connection to genocide?” I stammered for the first time in our conversation.

“Yes, your connection. You are not Armenian, you are not Palestinian, Iraqi…You are Canadian. So why are you here? What is your connection to genocide? Are you a scholar?”

We are standing at the back of an auditorium where scholars, students and activists from around the world have gathered for a conference entitled: After Genocide: From trauma to Rebirth - A Gendered Perspective.

I want to tell this man that I have seen children changed by the violence they had no choice but to bear witness to. I want to tell him that I have seen state policies of violence and discrimination seep into a city’s buildings and make a home within their foundations, claiming the buildings, and by extension the entire city, as their own. I want to remind this man that I am human and my tie to genocide, to violence, is simple: humanity binds me to the pain of …

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