Is it this color that makes me look crazy or what?

Maybe it's the collection of Holocaust and genocide literature littering the coffee table.  Or because when asked for titles for some light airplane reading my list included: Night, Machete Season, and King Leopold's Ghost.  Perhaps it's the fact that I have been known to holiday in death camps and torture centers throughout the world in an ongoing effort to keep the first world better informed about what has and continues to happen outside their bubble.  Or that my roommate and I have a collection of photos of ourselves in front of various human rights sites giving goofy thumbs up poses.  (I should probably explain that we only choose the most appropriate of sites to throw our thumbs up.  We're not celebrating the gas chambers but we do like Eva Peron's tomb.  Because she was cool.  And Schindler's Factory.  You know, because he saved people.) 

I have always been a history fanatic.  I remember checking out the Diary of Anne Frank from the school library in 3rd or 4th grade, which, in retrospect, is probably where my obsession began.  I loved going to my friend's house for dinner and talking to her dad about his experiences in WW2.  I took AP European History for fun.  My elective courses in History during undergrad were so numerous I nearly earned a second minor.  I spent Spring Break my senior year in El Salvador learning about the atrocities perpetrated by graduates of the School of the Americas on Jesuit priests at the University of San Salvador and the town of El Mozote.  I believe my fascination with the ill behavior of countries throughout the world stemmed from the fact that they are rarely, if ever, discussed in American mainstream media or even general history classes.  As such it also instigated my enrollment in a masters program that allowed me to focus on human rights and global studies and led me to where I am today. 

So I ask you, is this interest abnormal?  The coffee table books get some odd looks and offhand remarks and I have been told the fascination with genocides is a bit morbid.  However, I truly believe that it is important for people to visit the sites of these atrocities and keep the memory alive of the people who died there.  It's not enough for just the survivors to remember, we all need to know our world's history so one day our governments will stop killing their people based on their ethnicity, religion, or political beliefs.  I know there aren't many other people out there that share this interest and I do get excited when I get the opportunity to discuss such topics but I'm not completely alone in this.  Right?  A little affirmation here, please. 

1 comment: