November 26, 2020

Kathy Lass speaks out against genocide

While watching a documentary on television about the Rwandan Genocide, one fact startled
Kathy Lass.
“800,000 people were killed in 100 days with machetes,” Lass said. “No gas chambers, no high tech, with machetes. That would put Hitler to shame in terms of mass murders.”
Lass, a representative from the American Red Cross Holocaust War Victims Tracing Center,
lectured about preventing genocide to students and faculty on Tuesday, March 20 in the Sunnen
Lounge.
Lass talked about spreading awareness of genocide and a project she supports called One Million Bones. One Million Bones is an ongoing art collaboration that seeks to build awareness of the millions of people killed from genocide around the world. It raises funds to help the victims of these events.
In May 2013, the plan is to spread one million fabricated “bones” made by artists at the national mall in Washington, D.C.
“It’s going to be a very dramatic site,” Lass said. “They had a 50,000 bone trial in Albuquerque
and it was quite amazing.”
The former director of International Services for the St. Louis Chapter of the American Red
Cross said the bone making process was easier than she expected — low-fire clay put into a kiln to
turn the harden clay white.
“When you get many of these together, it’s quite a wake up call,”
Lass said.
The bones are also made of biodegradable materials that will contain seeds inside.
“At the end, they will be distributed throughout communities to be buried with the foreseeable future of growth,” said
Naomi Natale, creator of the One Million Bones movement. Natale gave a TED Talks lecture in 2010 to propose the movement.
Kelly McBride, a representative from the History, Politics & International Relations department, worked on creating this event with Lass after they met. Lass wanted to share the One Million Bones project with Webster University students.
“Anytime you meet someone with an expertise in such areas, you want to give them a platform
and a voice to be heard, so we got together and figured out how we could make that work,” McBride
said.
Lass hopes this movement receives enough attention that something can be done about it.
“(I want to) get people to see that it’s partially our fault even though we’re half a world away,”
she said.
The event was co-sponsored by the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies, the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, the European Studies Committee and the Multicultural Studies Committee.

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