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Pondering the Past

July 25, 2010 10:53:58.846

I finished reading Armenian Golgotha on my iPad about 2 weeks ago; it's taken me some time to fully wrap my head around it. (I have my early review of the book here) The genocide perpetrated against the Armenians of Turkey really looks (in retrospect) like a trial run for what happened in Germany 30 years later. Many of the same tactics were used, just in a less "factory-like" setting. In some ways that made the outcomes more terrible to read about; imagine a group of exiles, marching away from everything they've known - only to be set upon with axes and other tools by the inhabitants of the region they were passing through - who then robbed the bodies after desecrating them.

The entire period is filled with things that should have created a "never again" movement. First there was the Armenians, and then, after the ill fated Greek invasion of the early 20's, there was the murder of the remaining Armenians (and Greeks) in Smyrna (et. al.). For the latter incident, various European navies sat in the harbor and watched. During the Armenian genocide, the German wartime government knew what was happening, but stayed quiet - in order to get the rail line to Baghdad built. Afterwards, the architects of the horror were granted asylum in Germany; the Entente powers, after a brief show of arresting a number of lower officials who were complicit, let them all go.

There were various points in the book where I really wanted to just put it down, but I ended up feeling like I owed the author - who wrote the book as both a first hand survivor and remembrance for those who wer lost. After reading that, I had to move on to a light science fiction book.

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posted by James Robertson

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