World Affairs Day 2017 covered some very sensitive and mature topics, namely capital punishment, genocide and then a presentation from Amnesty International where four volunteer representatives spoke to us about the inspirational life changing work that they do.
We began with a session on capital punishment, the general attitude of the group was that capital punishment was a bad idea and that to bring it back is a ridiculous solution to preventing crime. Some of the reasoning behind this opinion was that the death penalty does not work as a deterrent, it is better to risk saving a guilty person than murdering an innocent one, we shouldn’t revert back to the ways of the olden days and why would we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong? It makes no sense. A couple of counter arguments are ‘an eye for an eye’ and that to keep someone for life in prison is an unnecessary expense. A few facts about capital punishment are that China is the world’s biggest executioner, there were 3117 executions in 53 countries in 2016, and the last execution in the UK was in 1964 shortly followed by the abolishment of capital punishment in the UK in 1965.
The next talk was on genocide which particularly covered information on the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide. Questions were brought up about whether genocide is still possible today and how much the government can impact the way we think regarding the prejudice and isolation of specific groups which can ultimately lead to genocide. The total estimated number of deaths during the Holocaust is 6,000,000-11,000,000 which is roughly the same as the whole population of Portugal. A few more shocking facts are that more people died in Auschwitz than the combined British and American losses of WWII. In Auschwitz, an SS guard fell in love with a Jewish prisoner; he saved her life multiple times and she testified on his behalf during his post-war trial, and that over 1.1 million children died during the Holocaust. During the Rwandan genocide, the larger ‘Hutu’ population of Rwanda slaughtered up to 800,000 of the minority ‘Tutsi’ population, the ratio of Hutu to Tutsi was 85:15. This genocide is an example of how the government can manipulate the way that people think as government influence was at the epicentre of the Rwandan genocide.
The last section of the day was an assembly from Amnesty international where 4 guest speakers gave individual presentations on Anne Frank, the current situation in Palestine, the death penalty and the refugee crisis facing the world, with over 65,000,000 displaced worldwide. They gave us an insight into how valuable their work is and how your signature could permanently impact the life of others for the good. 100000 signatures are required for the government to pay attention to a petition and by taking a few minutes to sign your name, it could do a world of good. A big thank you to David, Keith, Raul and Jan who took the time out of their lives to selflessly educate us on their amazing work which they feel so strongly about.
By Jess, year 12.