Blog Post by Dennis Sithoo

Earlier today I was watching a travel show on television where the hosts were visiting Cambodia. They visited an old school that was converted into a detention and torture centre for the Khmer Rouge. The stained floors, rusted relics and memorial photos of the victims made it very clear what happened here only 32 years ago.

I wondered what it would be like to live in a country where my existence and views were deemed undesirable by my government. I wondered what I would be able to do to protect my family, friends and myself. I guess I would probably be scared and hoping someone out there knew what was happening to us.

Because genocide is such an extreme act of violence on an entire population of people, it seems unreal. We think of it as something that happens so rarely and so far away, that it has little to do with us. It seems too big and evil to understand.

Genocide is an everyday crime. It’s probably happening right now in some form and some where. Just look at the news and you’ll see alarming headlines about violent conflict in Syria and massive protests in Egypt — stories about governments exercising extreme control over its people.

I joined the Sentinel Project about a month ago, and since then the reasons for volunteering have started to become more than just theoretical to me. Being part of the Sentinel Project and helping it to achieve its goals meant being that life-line to people trapped in terrible circumstances.

Genocide is a dark and depressing subject, but the Sentinel Project is about hope and taking action to defend the vulnerable. It’s about working together to identify people at risk, and applying clear and honest study of their abusers to expose their crime before it happens.

I’ve enjoyed my introduction to the Sentinel Project, its talented and compassionate volunteers, and the work at hand.