This concluding essay contextualizes what happened in Guatemala in the early 1980s within the larger context of genocides that took place over the course of the twentieth century in other parts of the world. Although Guatemala does not compare in scale to what happened in places like Germany, Cambodia, or Rwanda, the horror of what happened there a mere quarter century ago nonetheless forces us to examine questions of agency, complicity, terror, and collaboration. This chapter concludes that genocides are not merely the results of “bad leaders” or “bad governments” but also stem from the inaction of a complacent population that, at some level, concurs with its government’s program. This chapter offers a sharp engagement with the existing secondary literature on genocide, authoritarianism, and terror.
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