13th Annual Genocide Memorial Service

Photo by Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash

Members of all faiths and ethnic groups were invited to participate in the 13th Annual Genocide Memorial Service, on Zoom at 10:30 Sunday, July 11, 2021, sponsored by the Unitarian Church of Edmonton, The Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action, and the Westwood Unitarian Congregation.

The Genocide Memorial Service began with Treaty Six acknowledgement.  Representatives from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, First Nations and other faiths are invited to tell us how genocide affected their people.  Prayers, songs and readings are interspersed throughout the program.   Inscribed memorial stones along with their stories were presented to the audience. Later, they were placed in a memorial garden at 9916-154 Street, where they can be viewed.   The stones witness, honor and name those who died violent deaths because of wars, racism, gender identity, greed, slavery, ethnic cleansing and appropriation of Indigenous lands.

Genocide is unacceptable.  There are ways to resolve conflict other than mass destruction of human beings in the name of politics, greed and exploitation of resources.  Powerful killers still incite hate, and carry out intentional attacks on populations to take resources, destroying communities and lives.  The stories of loss and grief cause by the denial of human rights will be heard and recognized at this service.

Albert Einstein said, “Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be kept by understanding…all my life I have hated war; it is the greatest curse of man’s history. It comes from absolute ignorance, absolute greed, and absolute cruelty…some paths a man takes cannot be retraced. Some acts can not be undone.”