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Armenian Golgotha

July 11, 2010 10:41:36.846

I picked up Armenian Golgotha for my iPad (via the Kindle app - as a side note, the way it synchs between my iPad and iPhone is awesome). It's a highly disturbing book, and perhaps the most disturbing part about it is reading it now, after the 20th century and the much more well known Holocaust.

Why do I say that? Well, reading Balakian's first person account is looking at "version 1", if you want to run the risk of trivializing it with a bad analogy. Roving death squads? Check. Using cover of war to hide what you're doing? Check. Run at the highest levels of govenment? Check. The only real difference between what happened in Anatolia and what happened 30 years later in central and eastern europe is how blame was assigned (or not).

The Ittihad government was the end of the Ottomans, and a revolution and successor state took over. I'm not going to get into the continuing attempts to deny reality; a few Google searches should tell you everything you need to know about that. No, the thing that realy strikes me while reading this book (I'm only partway through) is how prototypical the Turkish effort was for later genocides, whether you're looking at what the Nazis did in Europe, or at what the Pol Pot regime did in Cambodia. It seems pretty clear to me that an educated elite studied this earlier attempt, and took notes.

posted by James Robertson

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