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Investigative Author Edwin Black Headlined Conference, Received First 'Moral Courage' Award

October 30th 2011

Contributors / Staff - Edwin Black
Edwin Black

An extraordinary conference designed to recognize and promote “moral courage” convened in San Diego late in October. The Initiative for Moral Courage held its first annual conference on the campuses of San Diego State University and California State University at San Marcos. The conference topics of the inaugural session focused on various twentieth century genocides, authors who have exposed them, and individuals who stood up to them against the odds. Hence, the salute to moral courage, and the awards given to carefully selected recipients.

To salute brave survivors and chroniclers, this year’s conference featured presentations by award-winning author and investigative journalist Edwin Black on the connection between American and Nazi eugenics and Richard G. Hovannisian on the Armenian genocide orchestrated by the Turks. It also covered a host of other mass murders, from Bosnia-Herzegovina to Rwanda to Cambodia.

The first major event was on October 29 and included a graphic presentation of panels titled “The Rescuers.” This was an exhibition of photographs and extraordinary stories from the Holocaust, and the genocides that occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, and Cambodia. Remarkable stories emerged of ordinary heroes who resisted overwhelming tides of prejudice and violence and risked their lives saving people from enemy groups. It helps to understand the presence of rescue behavior during genocide or mass violence. The exhibition’s rationale was to design ways to build in protective measures against this type of violence

Then, on October 30, an afternoon series explored “Genocides Past and Present.” Opening the day was award-winning investigative author Edwin Black, whose book War Against the Weak has changed the face and course of society’s understanding of the dark links between American and Nazi eugenics. Based on selective breeding of humans, eugenics began in laboratories in the U.S. but ended in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. War Against the Weak is described by the program as “the gripping chronicle documenting how American corporate philanthropies launched a national campaign of ethnic cleansing in the United States, and helped found and fund the Nazi eugenics of Hitler and Mengele. Winner of the Best Book of the Year, International Human Rights.” Black demonstrated moral courage in standing up to the power of the Carnegie Institution and Rockefeller Foundation, which funded, orchestrated, and inflicted both American and Nazi eugenics.

Author Black commented, “In an era of increasing focus on political expediency, the effort to revive and foster the notion of moral courage is sorely needed.” He credited the vision of organizer Jackie Gmach in bringing the effort to national attention.

Black was followed by a lecture on the Armenian Genocide by Richard G. Hovannisian, professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History, University of California at Los Angeles. Hovannisian, is the author of numerous scholarly studies of Armenia and the Armenian Holocaust. The Armenian genocide, which occurred after World War I, was the occasion for massacres, deportations, and other crimes perpetrated against the Armenian people by the Turks. This was one of the first recorded genocides in modern history. Hovannisian has demonstrated moral courage in standing up to intense Turkish national efforts to deny the genocide and politically punish those who chronicle it. His lecture is co-sponsored by The Department of Armenian and Near Eastern History, UCLA.

The third presentation focused on African genocides. Rose Mapendo, a global activist for peace, will discuss the war on women and children in Africa. Her experience protecting her seven children during the war between Congo and Rwanda led to the formation of a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping refugees in war-torn countries. Ms. Mapendo’s presentation was followed by a question and answer session. Her lecture was co-sponsored by The Mapendo Foundation.

The next day, Black reprised his presentation on War Against the Weak for the campus at California State University at San Marcos. From there, Black drove directly to California State University at Fullerton for a whirlwind day of 4–5 lectures and presentations detailing numerous examples of corporate collusion with the Nazis, pervasive academic fraud and misconduct, the alliance between the Arabs and Nazis during and after the Holocaust, and oil addiction. From Fullerton, Black again delivered his award-winning account of corporate complicity in the Holocaust, this time at the San Jose State University, sponsored by the local Hillel.

See EdwinBlack.com for further information about his current book tour and speaking schedule.


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