Denial

The Armenian Genocide as a Prototype
  • Richard G. Hovannisian
Chapter

Abstract

The year 2000 ushers in a new century and new millennium; it also marks the eighty-fifth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. That calamity completely altered the course of Armenian history as well as the geopolitical, economic, and ethnographic complexion of the Middle East. At this particular threshold of time, the Armenian Genocide, like the Holocaust and the genocidal massacres in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Balkans, and elsewhere, now belong to a past century and in the minds of many may not seem to have much significance for current generations. Yet the lessons from those crimes remain compelling and need to be passed on. In the Armenian case, more than anything else, it is the trauma that is especially enduring because of the refusal of the perpetrator regime or its successors to acknowledge the crime and to seek redemption. Instead of apologies and educational programmes to face their history and themselves honestly, the Turkish government and most Turkish intellectuals continue along a path of self-righteous negation. In this dissimilation they are joined by sympathetic academics abroad, thereby only compounding the trauma of the victims. In fact, the case of the Armenian Genocide has become the prototype of denial of modern premeditated mass killing, with particular relevance to negation of the Holocaust. It is not coincidental that, the Holocaust excepted, there has been no admission of responsibility by any genocidal regime in the 20th century.

Keywords

Europe Transportation Flare Assure Turkey 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See Richard G. Hovannisian, ‘The Armenian Genocide and Patterns of Denial’, in The Armenian Genocide in Perspective, ed. R.G. Hovannisian (New Brunswick, NJ, and Oxford: Transaction Books, 1986), pp. 111–34.Google Scholar
  2. For bibliographic essays on this subject, see Roger W. Smith, ‘Denial of the Armenian Genocide’, in Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, ed. Israel W. Charny, vol.2 (London: Mansell, and New York: Facts on File, 1991), pp.38–62, 63–85.Google Scholar
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  4. 2.
    See, for example, Clive Foss, ‘The Turkish View of Armenian History: A Vanishing Nation’, in The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics, ed. Richard G. Hovannisian (New York: St. Martin’s Press, and London: MacMillan, 1992), pp.250–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 3.
    Kamuran Gürün, The Armenian File: The Myth of Innocence Exposed (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985), p.36.Google Scholar
  6. 4.
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  7. 10.
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  8. 12.
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  9. 13.
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  11. 31.
    See Vahakn N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide (Providence and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1995), pp.303–43. See also Dadrian’s bibliographic essay, ‘Documentation of the Armenian Genocide in Turkish Sources’, in Charny (1991), pp.86–138.Google Scholar
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  14. 40.
    See Richard G. Hovannisian, ‘The Armenian Diaspora and the Narrative of Power’, in Diasporas in World Politics, ed. Dimitri C. Constas and Athanassios G. Platias (London: MacMillan, 1993), pp. 192–97. For the Congressional debate in 1990, see 101st Congress, 2d sess., Congressional Record, 136 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1990), pp. 1208–36, 1312–57, 1416–88, 1692–1716, 1731–32.Google Scholar
  15. 41.
    See the detailed account of conference organizer Israel W. Charny, ‘The Conference Crisis: The Turks, Armenians and Jews’, in The Book of the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide, vol.2: The Conference Program and Crisis (Tel Aviv: Institute of the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide, 1983), pp.270–330.Google Scholar
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  17. 46.
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Richard G. Hovannisian

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