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Sources of Contemporary Genocide by John Bart Gerald, graphics by Julie Maas. Gerald & Maas / Tablo Pty Ltd., 2020. ISBN 9781922439604, paper. 458 pages. ISBN 9781922439598, e-book.


A radical look at the risks of contemporary genocide, focusing on France, the U.S. South, Myanmar, Libya, Canada, Guatemala, South Africa, Sudan, Greece, Central African Republic, Ukraine, Israel/Palestine, Cameroon, Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela, among other countries, and how the risk of genocide has become normalized in our thinking. In 1989 Gerald & Maas published the United Nations Convention on Genocide with supporting documents when it fell out of print at the U.N..

"It is perhaps inappropriate to call a book about genocide breathtaking, but this broad and ambitious work is nothing short of stirring. Sources of Contemporary Genocide author John Bart Gerald quickly admits that no amount of writing can be up to the task of stopping the heinous acts "so deeply part of western civilization, of colonialism, of capitalism, of tribalism" that they are almost beyond our comprehension. Gerald nonetheless goes further than most at chronicling the historic and contemporary events of human terror inflicted upon one another. To fathom the enormity of the scope of Gerald's work, one look no farther than the book's expansive Table of Contents - taking the reader from Libya to the Sudan, Congo, and Ambazonia/Cameroons; from Canada and Indigenous struggles of the northern Americas; to Venezuela, Guatemala, the Rohingya people of central Asia, and beyond.

"Gerald's writings, deftly illustrated by the talented Julie Maas, present many challenges, to governments who remain the main perpetrators of genocide and to non-governmental actors as well. In perhaps the most poignant and cutting series of observations, the question of intent vs. impact including the role of the bystander is examined both from a moral as well as an international human rights/legal framework. Gerald asks those of us at the center of the current though waning empire: "How deeply have North Americans responded to the massive death caused by our inception, our wars, armaments, economic needs, when our survival has had so many options other than war?" Indeed, how guilty are those who, despite being "good, peaceful activists", take little or no time to understand or stand between the genocides being conducted in our names? Gerald doesn't attempt to answer that in a blaming or guilt-inducing fashion, but this essential book does provide a vital roadmap for all justice-loving people: to move with greater earnest towards creating a world for all its peoples."

- Matt Meyer, Secretary General, International Peace Research Association

"One aspect of peacemaking is the struggle to keep one's eyes open and be aware of efforts being made, especially through propaganda of various kinds, to make us regard war and genocidal actions as inevitable and necessary....For years John Bart Gerald has been closely following current genocidal campaigns around the world and has now published a book, Sources of Contemporary Genocide, that provides a compendium of carefully researched reports that anti-war campaigners will find valuable." - Jim Forest

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june 7, 2020
update september 22, 2020