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Comparison of genocides

Michael Tran, Staff writer

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When the word genocide is spoken, not many think of the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian Genocide lasted roughly 8 years. In that span of time, over 1.5 million Armenians, many of them being intellectuals, community leaders and Christians, were systematically murdered by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923. It took place before the Nazi-Germany Holocaust, but is rarely mentioned or known in the public consciousness of the general population.

The obscurity of the genocide is mainly in part to people and history books “comparing” genocides—as if one genocide was worse than the other. The Armenian genocide, like the Holocaust, Cambodian, Darfur, Rwandan, Bosnian, Ukrainian, and Nanking, genocides have a large population of genocide-deniers, people who, in the face of hard facts and evidence, actively believe in the disbelief that genocide happened or is still occurring.

Genocide Watch, an international organization that actively surveillances the world for genocide or the beginnings of it, defines genocide by 8 stages or criteria for genocide: classification of a distinguished people, symbolization of the distinguished people, and dehumanization of the distinguished people, organization of genocide—when the state or military are used to restrict human rights, polarization—the raise of radicalized groups that attack the distinguished people, preparation and the rounding-up of the distinguished people, extermination of the distinguished people, and finally, the denial that these events occurred.

Wait a second. Denial? Yes, genocide is still occurring today, because in large part, there are still deniers that genocide has occurred. Genocide can never truly end, unless acceptance of the genocide occurs.

This month marks the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.  The genocide began when the Ottoman Empire’s Committee of Union and Progress, took a new approach to their government when it merged with many radicalized members known as the “Young Turks.” This group took power and much control of the government and preached the ideology of Turkish nationalism.

With the raise of the political group, many key figures rose to power. These people were Ahmed Izzet Pasha, Talaat Pasha and Enver Pasha. From the inside of the Ottoman government, they quickly set out to eliminate the Armenian people.

Talaat Pasha openly expressed his hatred to the Armenian people, “If I ever come to power in this country, I will use all my might to exterminate the Armenians.” The people of the Ottoman Empire, spurred by ignorance and hatred created by years of conflict, discrimination and prejudice, gave him the power to kill.

Extreme nationalism, key figures rising to power and targeted hatred: Does this ring a bell?

There are a few takeaway messages this anniversary of the genocide, or from any anniversary of any genocide—that people are still highly fallible.

Human beings are still prone to huge errors in thinking and judgment. The recipe for much of the evil committed in the world is 1) a group of angry 2) ignorant human beings 3) with similarities 4) gathers to discuss their anger. BUT, they’re not there to think or discuss or find solutions, they’re there to point fingers and blame.

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The independent student news site of California State University San Marcos
Comparison of genocides