I have just had a chance to dip into a fascinating book, Genocide and the Europeans, by Karen E. Smith (Cambridge University Press). Smith explores the European approach to genocide, reviewing government attitudes towards the negotiation and ratification of the 1948 Genocide Convention and analysing responses to purported genocides since the end of the Second World War. She considers why ‘some European governments were hostile to the Genocide Convention and why European governments have been reluctant to use the term genocide to describe atrocities ever since.’ (In some part, fear of retroactive condemnation for colonial policies is part of the reason why some countries did not ratify the convention until the 1970s and 1980s.) Through the book I learnt that we owe the very term ‘genocide’ (from the Greek word, genos, for race, tribe and the Latin word, cide, for killing) and the UN Resolution and Convention itself to Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), a Polish-Jewish refugee in the United States and a fascinating individual. Coming back to the book, I’m afraid we Europeans don’t come out of it very well, not least because we don’t yet have a concerted European foreign policy but doubtless also because our histories are still too close.