Mass graves in post-war Malaysia

10 Remembering the Japanese occupation massacres: mass graves in post-war Malaysia Frances Tay The violence visited upon British Malaya during the Japanese occupation of December 1941 to August 1945 has prompted several historians to evoke comparisons with the atrocities that befell Nanjing.1 During this time, numerous civilians were subjected to mass killings, summary executions, rape, forced labour, arbitrary detention, and torture. In particular, the shukusei (cleansing) or daikensho (big inspection) operation of February to April 1942 – known locally as the

in Human remains and identification

THIS CHAPTER EXPLORES, through a discussion of one instance, how the principal categories of the Lockean narrative can shape the context for the understanding of and response to political injury. In the case of much Western response to the Beijing massacre the conceptualisation of man and the state is particularly important, as is the related articulation of the realms of ethics and politics. The following discussion of the Beijing killings also questions the adequacy of the terms of the debate between citizenship rights and human rights

in Human rights and the borders of suffering

This essay analyses the literature on the foibe to illustrate a political use of human remains. The foibe are the deep karstic pits in Istria and around Trieste where Yugoslavian Communist troops disposed of Italians they executed en masse during World War II. By comparing contemporary literature on the foibe to a selection of archival reports of foibe exhumation processes it will be argued that the foibe literature popular in Italy today serves a political rather than informational purpose. Counterpublic theory will be applied to examine how the recent increase in popular foibe literature brought the identity of the esuli, one of Italy‘s subaltern counterpublics, to the national stage. The paper argues that by employing the narrative structure of the Holocaust, contemporary literature on the foibe attempts to recast Italy as a counterpublic in the wider European public sphere, presenting Italy as an unrecognised victim in World War II.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

This article describes the brutalisation of the bodies of Tutsi and Jewish victims in 1994 and during the Second World War, respectively, and contrasts the procedures adopted by killers to understand what these deadly practices say about the imaginaries at work in Rwanda and Poland. Dealing with the infernalisation of the body, which eventually becomes a form of physical control, this comparative work examines the development of groups and communities of killers in their particular social and historical context. Different sources are used, such as academic works, reports from victims organisations and non-governmental organisations, books, testimonies and film documentaries.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

This paper traces the massacres of Jews and Soviet prisoners of war in November 1941 in the city of Bobruisk, Eastern Belarus. Sparked by a current memorial at one of the killing sites, the author examines the historic events of the killings themselves and presents a micro level analysis of the various techniques for murdering and disposing of such large numbers of victims. A contrast will be shown between the types of actions applied to the victims by the German army, SS, police personnel and other local collaborators, reflecting an imposed racial hierarchisation even after their death.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

From 1945 until around 1960, ceremonies of a new kind took place throughout Europe to commemorate the Holocaust and the deportation of Jews; ashes would be taken from the site of a concentration camp, an extermination camp, or the site of a massacre and sent back to the deportees country of origin (or to Israel). In these countries, commemorative ceremonies were then organised and these ashes (sometimes containing other human remains) placed within a memorial or reburied in a cemetery. These transfers of ashes have, however, received little attention from historical researchers. This article sets out to describe a certain number of them, all differing considerably from one another, before drawing up a typology of this phenomenon and attempting its analysis. It investigates the symbolic function of ashes in the aftermath of the Second World War and argues that these transfers – as well as having a mimetic relationship to transfers of relics – were also instruments of political legitimisation.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles

tribes that … follow their brute instincts without a second thought, while civilized nations … seek to humanize it’ ( Moynier, 1888 ). This goes to show that humanitarian principles, far from being a timeless good, are not immune to prevailing stereotypes or political power relationships. As a treaty aimed at an emblematic nineteenth-century battle was being signed, the conflicts and massacres of civil wars and imperial conquests were foreshadowing the twentieth century’s mechanised and industrialised total wars. Dunant himself anticipated the evolution of armed

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

SouthSudanNation.com, stated that a general was planning to ‘massacre Equatorians’. The story spread through WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook as well as offline networks, and was used ‘to mobilize others to take up arms to counter the “attack”’ ( Reeves, 2017 ; see also Lynch, 2017 ). Finally, false news has made it more difficult for relief organisations to operate. Organisations working with migrants in the Mediterranean, for example, have been targeted in fake-news attacks ( Magee, 2018 ). Sean Ryan, Director of Media at Save the Children, describes

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Mass violence, genocide, and the ‘forensic turn’

Human remains and identification presents a pioneering investigation into the practices and methodologies used in the search for and exhumation of dead bodies resulting from mass violence. Previously absent from forensic debate, social scientists and historians here confront historical and contemporary exhumations with the application of social context to create an innovative and interdisciplinary dialogue, enlightening the political, social and legal aspects of mass crime and its aftermaths. Through a ground-breaking selection of international case studies, Human remains and identification argues that the emergence of new technologies to facilitate the identification of dead bodies has led to a “forensic turn”, normalising exhumations as a method of dealing with human remains en masse. However, are these exhumations always made for legitimate reasons? Multidisciplinary in scope, the book will appeal to readers interested in understanding this crucial phase of mass violence’s aftermath, including researchers in history, anthropology, sociology, forensic science, law, politics and modern warfare.

Setting the precedent

This book is an attempt at a comprehensive presentation of the history of humanitarian intervention in the long nineteenth century, the heyday of this controversial doctrine. It starts with a brief presentation of the present situation and debate. The theoretical first part of the book starts with the genealogy of the idea, namely the quest for the progenitors of the idea in the sixteenth and seventeenth century which is a matter of controversy. Next the nineteenth century ‘civilization-barbarity’ dichotomy is covered and its bearing on humanitarian intervention, with its concomitant Eurocentric/Orientalist gaze towards the Ottomans and other states, concluding with the reaction of the Ottomans (as well as the Chinese and Japanese). Then the pivotal international law dimension is scrutinized, with the arguments of advocates and opponents of humanitarian intervention from the 1830s until the 1930s. The theoretical part of the book concludes with nineteenth century international political theory and intervention (Kant, Hegel, Cobden, Mazzini and especially J.S. Mill). In the practical second part of the book four cases studies of humanitarian intervention are examined in considerable detail: the Greek case (1821-1831), the Lebanon/Syria case (1860-61), the Balkan crisis and Bulgarian case (1875-78) in two chapters, and the U.S. intervention in Cuba (1895-98). Each cases study concludes with its bearing on the evolution of international norms and rules of conduct in instances of humanitarian plights. The concluding chapter identifies the main characteristics of intervention on humanitarian grounds during this period and today’s criticism and counter-criticism.