Words and Actions: Contexts and Consequences of Propaganda Classroom Exercise
Goal: To explore the kinds of information necessary for a citizen to seek and have in order to understand that genocide is occurring and to make decisions about how best to respond.
Skills to Be Learned: The ability to identify the nature of informed, active, and compassionate inquiry and listening necessary for engaged citizenship.
Format: Students view several short video excerpts, one at a time, from the Fred Friendly Seminar DVD; the viewing of each excerpt is followed by small group work. The exercise concludes with a plenary discussion.
Set up the lesson and explain how a Fred Friendly Seminar works.
Watch the first excerpt, in which journalists talk about how they do their job.
Divide into small breakout groups and hand out the transcript of this excerpt for discussion.
Discussion Question: What do journalists need to tell citizens about this developing situation?
Challenge Activity: Make a list of the kinds of facts the journalists in this excerpt need to seek out and report. What problems do they encounter? Have the journalists missed any facts that citizens may want or need to know? Have the journalists done their job?
Return to the larger group. Ask each breakout group to report its findings, followed by discussion.
Repeat these steps with the second (diplomats) and third (victims) excerpts, following the viewing of each with a specific discussion question and challenge activity that help the students analyze and respond to the issues raised in the excerpts.
Close with a summary plenary discussion of the following:
How do we know that genocide is occurring? When does genocide begin? When the death toll reaches a certain number? With the first hateful words?
Some countries ban hate speech and punish it by law. Should we curb our free speech in order to prevent genocide? How can we use our free speech to prevent and combat genocide?
As a citizen, what is your responsibility for preventing and combating genocide?