Genocide and/or ethnic cleansing role play
Type of activity: A role-play exercise to help groups
- understand the dynamics of genocidal conflict
- understand their role in responding to genocide
Grade level: Middle school and high school
Setting: Can be adapted for use in public schools, Christian schools, other private schools, homeschools, and other groups
1. Choose a conflict for your class to study:
- The Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda (1987-present)
- Serbian ethnic cleansing conflict in the Balkans, specifically Kosovo (1999)
- Darfur (2003-present)
- Nazi Holocaust (1938-1945)
- Pol Pot in Cambodia (1975-1979)
- Hutu/Tutsi conflict in Rwanda (1994)
2. Identify the various groups (factions and/or players) in the conflict, and assign each to a group of students.
- Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
- Ugandan military (Uganda People’s Defense Force—UPDF)
- The Achholi people of northern Uganda
- Abducted children
- Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative
- Humanitarian aid groups
- The Ugandan church
- (Add other groups if you choose)
3. Assign these questions to each group:
- Who is your group?
- What role does your group play in the conflict?
- What impact does (has) the conflict have (had) on your group?
- What steps have been taken to end the conflict?
- Have these steps been successful?
- What should be done about the genocide now?
- How should the perpetrators of the genocide be treated?
- If peace accords succeed, should the former members of the LRA be allowed to return to their villages and resume normal life among the people?
4. Give participants time to research their group and prepare a presentation in which they “become” the group and represent its point of view and experience in a persuasive way. This includes having the “LRA” defend its actions in a convincing way. Ask the groups to make sure that their presentation responds to as many questions as are relevant.
5. Presentations: Give each group 5 minutes to represent their assigned group.
6. Allow five minutes after each presentation for the rest of the group to cross-examine the presenting group.
7. Discuss the following questions with the group:
- How can people learn to live together in a peaceful, nonviolent way?
- How can future acts of genocide be stopped?
- What role can humanitarian groups like Medical Teams International play in conflict situations?
- What role can the church play in reconciliation?
- What role can education play in teaching a different way of living and relating to one another?
- What biblical passages speak to the root cause of genocide, to the injustices done to people, and to the process of peace, healing, and reconciliation?
- What can we as American students do
- to speak out about genocide?
- to stop future genocides from happening?
- to help people who are currently victims of genocide?
- to help people heal from the trauma of genocide?
- to help organizations who work on the frontlines of genocidal conflict?
I’m only one person, but I can make a difference
I can ACT
Give a voice to those who have no voice by writing our leaders, encouraging them to support efforts that will address the conflict.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice. Proverbs 31:8
- To send an e-mail message to your congressional representative, go to www.house.gov/writerep, enter your ZIP code, and follow instructions.
- To send an e-mail message to your U.S. senators, go to www.senate.gov/, enter the name of your state, and follow the instructions to identify the names of your senators. Click on the name of the senator to whom you want to send an e-mail message, and write a message.
- For information on how to send a letter or message to President Barack Obama, click on www.whitehouse.gov/contact, or write President Obama directly at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500.
- If you wish to send letters to governmental leaders, adapt one as simple as the following sample, or create your own:
Dear [Leader’s name],
I am distressed about the lives of children who are captured by the LRA in northern Uganda and forced to be soldiers—and worse. No one should have to live that way. Please do what you can to stop the LRA, to establish peace in the region, and to release the child soldiers. Please help find ways to rehabilitate the children so that they can have a normal life again. Do what you can to send humanitarian aid to the families in the camps.
Thank you for your service,
[Your name—and age, if you wish]
[Your city, state, and ZIP code]
I can PRAY
War and conflict are man-made disasters. Peace comes only after the hearts of embittered people are touched with the need for reconciliation. Only God has the power to change hearts and bring peace. Here are a few ways you can pray for people affected by conflict:
- Pray for peace in the 21 countries in our world affected by conflict.
- Pray for safety, health, and hope for millions of innocent people affected by these conflicts.
- Pray that political leaders on opposite sides of the conflicts will set aside selfish interests and truly do what is in the best interests of their people.
- Pray for the children of conflict—those who are being forced to fight, those who have lost family members, those who cannot go to school or have a normal life.
- Pray that staff members of organizations working to care for those affected by conflict will not be attacked for their humanitarian efforts.
- Pray that God will use churches and church leaders located in conflict areas to be instruments of peace and compassion for those who are affected.
- Pray for those working to promote justice and reconciliation for those involved in the conflict.
- Pray that those affected by conflict can put aside bitterness and the need for revenge so that people can experience peace.
- Pray that God will accomplish His purposes and show His power and love to those who are affected by conflict in our world.
I can GIVE
Plan a fundraiser that will not only inform others about the victims of conflict but also raise funds that will help organizations like Medical Teams International respond with compassionate aid that will bring hope and healing to thousands of people caught in the crossfire of conflict.