“After the genocide happens, many people who have hatred and prejudice toward those who are associated with the genocide,” Conway said. “But, after they hear some of these stories of courage, maybe they are less likely to perpetuate the cycle of violence in those communities.”
During his sabbaticals, Conway went to Rwanda and Bosnia, conducted interviews and studied the records from the 1994 genocide. He gathered stories about the people who were rescuers, he said.
Conway said that there are some patterns in societies where genocides happen.
“People are marginalized because of ethnicity, race, religion and are stereotyped and vilified in the communities they live in,” he said. “This leads to isolation of a particular group followed by the subsequent attempted destruction of that group.”
Conway found that in researching and teaching courses about genocide, he had many questions about genocide and courage that he wanted to answer.
“Can we teach ourselves that courage is important?” Conway asked in one of his papers.
“You really have to make a conscious effort to try to do the right thing and face danger even if it means that you might lose your job or lose your position in society,” he continued.
“(Conway is) talking about courage because he himself, in his own quiet way, is courageous,” Wilcox said.
For more information about the upcoming discussion at the Cooperstown Library or future Sunday afternoon programs go to the Friends of the Village Library website, http://www.villagelibraryofcooperstown.org/friends.html.