Take a look at the distant past with the help of “Two stories from ancient history.”
Then read about a civilization from your own continent’s past, and prepare a report that answers the question:
- How did they treat a defeated enemy?
Collect a news item (press or television) about an armed conflict that makes you feel “There should be a law against that.” Write down what that law should be.
Bring in a news story about a situation to which the rules of international humanitarian law (IHL) apply.
For each situation, write an explanation giving the rule and how it was or was not followed. Prepare a wall display of the news stories to which additions can be made over time.
Set up a group statue (or ‘freeze frame’) based on the photo “Blindfolded captive,” with other students as the figures in the scene. When you are ready, all the participants should ‘freeze’ in silence for a minute or so.
Meanwhile, other students should stand behind each figure in the statue. These students should reflect for a few minutes about the thoughts of the person (captive or captor) behind whom they are standing.
End your activity with the second group of students describing what they imagine are the thoughts and feelings of the figures in the group statue. All the students can then record their impressions in their journals and share them with the class.
Use a powerful work of art that depicts a violation of, or adherence to, a rule of war. Respond to it through writing or dramatic interpretation. Examples of such works include Pablo Picasso’s Guernica or John Singer Sargent’s Gassed.
- What has happened? What else is happening in the painting?
- What is the artist’s message?
Contrast the work of art with a military recruiting poster or with images in recruitment advertisements or TV commercials.
Read poetry written by soldiers during or after a war.
- What is the poet’s message? How is it similar to, or different from, the rules you suggested or from the artist’s message in the work of art you studied?
Create ways to raise awareness of the basic rules of IHL by turning the phrases or slogans developed in the exploration into posters or by performing radio spots, songs or raps.
Brainstorm about ways of publicizing these ‘basic rules’ to the school or community. Choose one as a project.