Skip to content

Martha Minow, Naming Horror: Legal and Political Words for Mass Atrocities, 2 Genocide Stud. & Prevention 37 (2007).

Abstract: We live at a time when journalists coin phrases like ‘‘compassion fatigue’’ to describe failures of ordinary outrage and human action against massive killings, famines, and plagues. Our is a time when mass media and the Internet offer unprecedented connections among people—and when the top ‘‘hits’’ for Internet searches of ‘‘atrocity’’ and ‘‘nameless crime’’ each produce the Web sites of rock bands,1 even as the ongoing and vicious brutalities in the Darfur region of the Sudan escalate and Rwanda, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and still other regions stagger to recover from the legacies of their own mass atrocities. Other nations participate in the creation and operation of ad hoc and longterm international criminal institutions, and at times use the United Nations’ cumbersome mechanisms to name and even condemn mass violence, but fail to provide swift and effective action to prevent or mitigate mass atrocities.