Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Denial of Genocide

Not much blogging lately. I may have something to say about Naomi Cumming's The Sonic Self: Musical Subjectivity and Signification (btw IU Press is having an online sale of overstocks through June), but I'm taking my sweet time making detours through Barthes, Kristeva, Pythagoras, Helmholz and so on.

Anyway, last night I watched The Armenian Genocide on PBS (ht Eugene). The documentary, by Andrew Goldberg, turned out to be more about the Turkish denial of genocide than a history of the events of 1915--though enough history was covered to make the case that indeed a genocide had taken place, and enough background was provided so the original motivations for the genocide were comprehensible. But it seemed that once the genocide began, the original causes were outstripped by events. And continue to be to this day. In the context of the film and all that was shown, the denials of the genocide by Turkish government officials and some Turkish scholars were truly bizarre. As I viewed it, Goldberg was exploring the annihilation of memory as an aspect of genocide. This is strange to contemplate, strange to encounter in people who otherwise appear to be perfectly rational.

Unfortunately, PBS opted to air a companion discussion after the film, presumably because they believe that it is controversial to talk about the Turkish denial of the Armenian genocide, and that one can't do justice to the topic without giving those who deny that a genocide took place yet another opportunity to deny that a genocide took place. The discussion was about as far from edifying as a discussion can be. It didn't introduce relevant information, or even have the value of further substantiating Goldberg's point, which was in no need of further substantiation. The discussion did reveal, to look on the bright side, how, by reducing every truth to a point of view and treating all points of view as equal, news media nurture a space for our collective dehumanization.

posted by Fido the Yak at 11:40 AM.


Blogger Mental Meanderings said...

The position and role of the Turks in West Asia has been a sensitive one for many years and though not spoken of often is very important in relation to the outcome of the political process in Iraq. Turkey does not acknowledge the their oppresion of ethnic minorities (thus the denial of the Armenian genocide) while being very clear about their reaction to any hint of autonomy. The biggest danger from a partition of Iraq is not necessarily the Iranian influence in the South with the Shia, but rather the war of obliteration Turkey could very well launch against the Kurdish north. I suspect that fear of the Turks is one major reason why the Kurds have been as accomodating as they have towards this process. Turkey does not want to allow any encouragement to the PPK at home by allowing the establishment of an independent Kurdish state next door.

April 20, 2006 1:09 PM  

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