Tag Archives | Genocide

The Armenian Genocide, and the Supreme Evil of Human Stubbornness

The Armenian quarter of Adana left pillaged and destroyed after the massacres in Adana in 1909.

The Armenian quarter of Adana left pillaged and destroyed after the massacres in Adana in 1909.

Last Friday was the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, an event which, if you’re a Turkish government official, you’re much more likely to refer to with some nauseating euphemism like “the 1915 hostilities with Armenia” or “the period of mutual Turkish-Armenian suffering.” But no matter what name you put on it, it was an event where 1 million or more people died, nearly all of them Armenian, as a direct result of deliberate planning by the government ruling Turkey at the time.

I’m not Armenian, nor have I even been to Armenia. But in my life so far, I’ve come across my fair share of Armenians. My freshman year roommate in college was a native-born Armenian. His family had left the country and set up camp, as many others before them had, in Glendale.… Read the rest

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Armenians Remember First Modern Genocide

Armenians are remembering what they deem the first modern genocide, 100 years ago at the hands of the Turks, reports USA Today. Needless to say, Turkey doesn’t see it quite the same way:

Armenians from around the globe are in Istanbul for Friday’s commemoration of what’s been called the first genocide of modern times, when up to 1.5 million Armenians died in the massacres and deportations that began in 1915.

Armenians marched by Turkish soldiers, 1915.png

Armenians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Turkish soldiers. Kharpert, Armenia, Ottoman Empire, April, 1915


A century later, the bitterly contested history is hardly a thing of the past. Turkey continues to insist that the wartime killings were not genocide, while Armenians say Turkey’s denial is an affront to a core part of their national identity.

“There is a question of political recognition of the genocide, but ultimately, it’s about the Armenian story and history being incorporated into the collective memory of the countries where we live,” said Nicolas Tavitian, director of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, who flew in from Brussels for the centennial.

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People as Livestock: The Cult of Fundamentalist Materialism and the Cheapening Life

Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Dan Mage, writing at OpEdNews, from 2011:

I first encountered the term “Fundamentalist-Materialism” in the work of Robert Anton Wilson; it appears in several of his non-fiction works, including “The Cosmic Triggger” series. As far as I know R.A.W. was the originator of this philosophical designation.”

 Is there any inherent value to an individual human life? 

Authoritarians of the left, libertarians of the right, objectivists, conservatives and even liberals and progressives fixated on “jobs” and “rehabilitation” of the socioeconomically dysfunctional give the answer “no; ” sometimes directly (as in the case of the Stalinist and the American conservative) and other times through actions, policies, and preferences (as in the case of elements of the “occupation” movement distancing themselves from “homeless bums,” “drug users,” and “ex-cons”).

Most of all, those with the power to set wages, prices, working conditions and societal expectation for those who have nothing left but their time and “docile bodies”*(Foucault) to sell, control and trade in human lives as commodities.

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The Act of Killing (review)

“Behind every work of art lies an uncommitted crime”
The Act of Killing

Fiction can often get us closer to reality than the approach of non-fiction. Narratives so often conceal, and the very meaning of the word myth has been subsumed by this idea of the “narrative that is a lie.” But, as we’ve so often explored on this site, this isn’t the whole picture.

In fact, it’s deeply misleading. Because the reality we live most intimately inside is the world of our own narrative, it is through narratives that we can be brought closest to the prima materia, without ever being able to fully say what it is outside its own context. A narrative exists only on its own terms. The further you are removed from that, the less vital it is likely to be. The more removed, the more easy to use it as a tool of deception.… Read the rest

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In Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide: How Christianity Came to Armenia, Myth vs. Fact, Two Tales from a Priest

Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-_The_Christian_Martyrs'_Last_Prayer_-_Walters_37113_thumbvia chycho

Last year, in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, I shared a story from my father. This year, I would like to share the account of how Christianity came to Armenia as told by a priest.

A few years ago I attended an Armenian dinner function. A number of friends and family were in attendance including two Armenian priests. As usual, the conversations were lively and the food and drinks abundant – merriment and passionately uninhibited exchange of ideas is the norm in these gatherings.

Post dinner, while everyone was taking delight in what appeared to be an endless supply of sweets and bottomless cups of coffee and tea, one of the priests asked a question: “who here knows how and why Armenians adopted Christianity?”

All Armenians, even the atheists, are aware and will proudly share the fact that the Armenian Apostolic Church “is the world’s oldest national church”; Armenia being “the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in AD 301.” That Etchmiadzin is considered to be “the oldest cathedral in the world”, and that the Armenian Christian order is unique on the religious landscape and has thus been granted stewardship of a quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem.

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United States Refusing To Extradite Bolivia’s Ex-President Facing Genocide Charges


Compare and contrast with other ongoing asylum controversies. Via the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald writes:

In October 2003, the intensely pro-US president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, sent his security forces to suppress growing popular protests against the government’s energy and globalization policies.

Using high-powered rifles and machine guns, his military forces killed 67 men, women and children, and injured 400 more, almost all of whom were poor and from the nation’s indigenous Aymara communities. Dozens of protesters had been killed by government forces in the prior months when troops were sent to suppress them.

The resulting outrage drove Sanchez de Lozada from office and then into exile in the United States, where he was welcomed by his close allies in the Bush administration. He has lived under a shield of asylum in the US ever since.

The Bolivians, however, have never stopped attempting to bring their former leader to justice for ordering the killing of indigenous peaceful protesters in cold blood (as Time Magazine put it: “according to witnesses, the military fired indiscriminately and without warning in El Alto neighborhoods”).

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A debate, a lecture, an interview, and some ethnic cleansing: Chris Hedges vs. Black Bloc, Victor Sebestyen on the Collapse of Soviet Empire, Joshua Oppenheimer on ‘The Act of Killing’, and some Israeli Ethnic Cleansing

via chycho

Chris Hedges Debates the Black Bloc

“In his article “The Cancer in Occupy” posted on Truthdig in February, Chris Hedges criticized Black Bloc activists, saying their use of violence in the streets would alienate the Occupy movement from mainstream Americans and legitimize the use of police violence in the eyes of the public. Black Bloc supporter Brian Traven debate[s] him in New York City.”

Revolution 1989: what exactly happened?

“How did the mighty Soviet empire collapse so quickly, so completely – and so peacefully? Victor Sebestyen is an author and journalist. This lecture marks the launch of his latest book, Revolution 1989: the fall of the Soviet Empire.”

“The Act of Killing”: New Film Shows U.S.-Backed Indonesian Death Squad Leaders Re-enacting Massacres

“We spend the hour with Joshua Oppenheimer, the director of a groundbreaking new documentary called ‘The Act of Killing.’ The film is set in Indonesia, where, beginning in 1965, military and paramilitary forces slaughtered up to a million Indonesians after overthrowing the democratically elected government.… Read the rest

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The Five Stages of Destruction as it Relates to America’s War on Drugs: “The House I Live In”

via chycho
drug arrests
At approximately 1:27:00 into the following amazing documentary, The House I Live In, reflecting on the work of Raul Hilberg , Richard Lawrence Miller provides a summary of the step-by-step process of destruction as it relates to America’s War on Drugs (relevant video segment follows the full documentary):

1. Identification – a group of people is identified as the cause of the problems in that society. People begin to perceive their fellow citizens as bad or evil. Their lives become worthless.

2. Ostracism – we learn how to hate these people, how to take their jobs away, how to make it harder for them to survive. People lose their place to live and are often forced into ghettos where they are physically isolated, separated from the rest of society.

3. Confiscation – people lose their rights, they lose civil liberties. The laws change so that it becomes easier for people to be searched and for their property to be confiscated, and once you start taking people’s property away, it makes it easier to start taking people away.

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The U.S. Media’s Silence On The Landmark Guatemalan Genocide Trial

genocideThe Center for Economic and Policy Research wrote last month:

Ten days ago Guatemalan courts convicted former dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt, to 80 years in prison for charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Though the ruling has just been overturned on technical grounds (the trial is expected to backtrack to where it stood on April 19, before again resuming), it was the first time that a country has been able to use its own criminal courts to try a former head of state for genocide, arguably making it one of the most important court decisions in decades.

Despite the significance of the ruling, not just for what it represents for the more than 200,000 victims of the genocide and their families, but also for human rights worldwide, the mass media in the U.S. has mostly ignored the U.S. role in contributing to and supporting the genocide.

The New York Times provided a couple of exceptions in the last week.

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