01.10.2003 || 03h32

A few thoughs on holocausts and genocides

Yeah, so the Love and I went to see Atom's latest last night. It's an important film, and it's about time that the issue stopped being ignored. There wasn't much in there about the genocide that I didn't already know. I'd heard a lot about the genocide and about its role as the blueprint for Hitler's attempted genocides of the Poles, Romany and Jews (as well as the wholesale slaughter of gays and other elements of European society at the time). You learn a lot about this stuff when there's an Armenian after your tail.

But I find it interesting that we don't revile the memory of Talaat these days even though his genocide was almost completely successful; the name 'Hitler' tastes like shite in the mouth, though his genocide was thankfully unfinished. Is it really that time turns every genocide into a footnote? Is it because not enough Armenians survived to bring their pain as clearly to our eyes as do the Jews? Is it because the erasure of the Armenians was made complete by the West's 1923 recognition of the Turkish nation without making any allowance for the occupied Armenian lands?

The 20th century saw more genocides and holocausts than had any previous century, but they'd been a long time coming: exterminations of peoples on the scales we've seen is only possible in the Age of Reason. Richelieu made them possible when he laid out the plan for the modern nation-state by re-jigging France and Europe along strictly rational lines (and centuries later, Robert MacNamara would perfect the practise of using perfectly rational thought to create utter chaos). The rational then displaced the moral as the pre-eminent mode of thought, opening the door for the nightmarish holocausts that swept the New World at the hands of European mercantilism, the later exterminations of the Armenians (both at the start of the 20th century and its end), the disgusting massacre of Jews and Romany at the hands of the Nazis, the Rwandan massacres, and the Jugoslav mess. And I'm not even halfway down the list. It goes a long way to show why I took Mystie to task last semester over her naļve paper about 'the Holocaust,' when no matter how much we wish that not one of these events ever took place, anyone who's even remotely world-literate nowadays *must* ask 'which one?'

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