posts 1 - 15 of 16
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 288

Read: Chapters 1 and 2, from Samantha Power, “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 2001), pp. 1-29.


We will have been looking at the Armenian genocide this week, so I would like you to break open your “virtual copy” of former UN Ambassador from the United States (and current USAID chief, playing a significant role in help for Ukranian refugees) Samantha Power’s 2001 book, “A Problem from Hell”: America in the Age of Genocide. Here’s the link to the reading.

Power begins her volume by talking about the Armenian situation before there was a word “genocide” in the English language. She the introduces Based on what you read in her account, I would ask you to consider the following, based on what you read in this chapter AS WELL AS what you see in the materials we look at in class. Make sure you support your observations with specifics. (In other words, vague generalities not accepted.)

Did we --the United States--and our allies act as bystanders during the Armenian genocide?

Admittedly, between 1914 and 1918, most of Europe was caught up in World War I; the United States joined the war in 1917, after remaining steadfastly isolationist in the preceding years. The Armenian genocide occurred between 1915 and 1923, with the bulk of events occurring between 1915-1917. Needless to say, folks were busy during that period. So maybe it’s unfair to ask this question.

But I’m asking it anyway.


What could we/should we have done? Should the U.S and/or other nations take a stand when an entire population is being destroyed? On principle? Wherever and whenever it happens? No matter what? Always? Sometimes? Rarely? (Whoa, quite a few question marks here…)

In short, what sort of role would you advocate for the United States and other nations witnessing this (and by extension, any other) genocide?

Do you think world nations behaved differently during the Armenian genocide than they did during the carnage in Africa—specifically what we saw in German South West Africa (Namibia)--in the late 19th and early 20th centuries? Why or why not?

cnovav
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 25

The Armenian genocide and bystanderism

While I don't know exactly what the United States should have done, I do know that what the United States did while the Armenian Genocide took place is what should not have been done. It is so painfully clear that the United States and other nations have an obsession with fitting the idea of neutrality in any situation that involves a genocide of innocent people. and this is almost always because a certain Nation does not want to lose their ties or relationships with another Nation. Throughout history countries have refused to help innocent people in fear that they would hurt their own economy, fear that they would lose more than they would gain, etc. Rarely does a country like the United States refuse to interfere because they don't want more people to get hurt. But if that was a reason, the US used, would it even be a good reason? In some ways, I do understand why the United States at the time may have not felt that it was best to interfere but I do not understand why it took until 2021 for the United States to stay one word, to label the Armenian Genocide what it was, a genocide. So although I do not think that a country should always interfere in a matter like this one, I think that it is very possible for a country to do so if they truly wanted to and if they truly cared about the lives that were being lost.


When comparing the Armenian Genocide to the genocide in Namibia I do think they're very similar but I also think that they are very different. I believe that the thing that is the most different is that people from around the world knew the Armenian Genocide was taking place. It was written about constantly, especially in the United States. However with the Namibian genocide, the events were not common knowledge and the information wasn’t as easilly accesible. However, even though the knowledge of the events were different, nations still reacted and acted the same way for both. They ignored the situation for the most part and when they chose to acknowledge it, it wasn't acknowledged because they wanted to help, or anything around that realm.

red
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

The Armenian genocide and bystanderism

Yes, we did. The United States, Britain, France, Germany, and the whole world watched as the Armenian genocide took place. The simple fact is that we knew, and we chose to do nothing. There is no forgiving the active ignorance, as Powers states, “The ‘international community’, such as it was, did little to contest the Turkish horrors.”


We should’ve helped defend the Armenian people, either through military aid, safe transportation, or asylum taken in the US. I believe that the United States at the very least should’ve helped Armenians find refuge in surrounding countries or in the US through swift and safe transportation. They also should’ve supplied troops in order to aid Armenian forces in defense against the Turks. Sadly, “because the Turks had not violated the rights of Americans, Wilson did not formally protest,” ans the genocide received received little media coverage and struggled to gain awarenss among the WWI powers. There is a moral responsibility despite the lack of “violating American rights”, the Turks violated the innate global set of human rights. A violation of human rights demands the attention and protection of humanity itself If the world doesn’t acknowledge or defend human rights, then they no longer hold significance. With a moral obligation as humans to protect humanity, the United States should’ve used military force to ally itself with the Armenians and help defend against the Turks.


I think that the world nations showed similar reactions and responses to the Armenian genocide and the ‘carnage in Africa’ becuase the same strategy to obstruct and dilute the true horrors of the genocides from the public was used. Just like in Africa, little was known to the public about the crimes against humanity taking place, yet the leaders of the world nations remained bystanders. Sadly the trend of ignoring genocides globally was perpetuated into the Armenian genocide.



booksandcandles
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 22

The Armenian genocide and bystanderism

Like in most any situation, one should not simply jump in without first weighing the consequences. Will my actions do more harm than good? Am I willing to risk the effects? Is it worth it in the long run? When we're talking about war, those risks and consequences happen on a much larger scale than what we, as normal Americans, have to deal with daily. However, when an entire population is being destroyed, like the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, and so many others, people and their countries should never sit back and do nothing. Again, there are consequences to every action, and if standing up to a bully means that you are going to get hurt, then the time you take to evaluate the situation would mean more, and demonstrate something about you. Now, the United States is not a person, nor are the Armenians simply the victim of a bully. The risks and consequences are different. The U.S. has a history of stepping in to help the little guy when it is convenient for them, as does any self-preserving country. I can't really say if we should have done more, and the possible consequences that the leaders of this country saw during the time must have been worth enough to do what they did, at the time.

Like I said before, America likes to see itself as a protector of the helpless, because that inevitably makes us look like a really powerful good guy who helps our allies. However, we only help those who help us, which is probably what any country would do to protect themselves. We learned about how the New York Times was staying extremely active during this time, trying to get as much information out about the things that were happening during the war, so the U.S. didn't do nothing, per se, but they were trying to maintain their neutrality in these beginning stages of the war. I also think that yes, the world's nations acted differently with the Armenian genocide than they did with the Namibian genocide in German South West Africa in the late 19th century. It might have something to do with the fact that every major power, that is the ones in Europe, was doing something similar in order to seize control of their split portions of Africa. I also want to draw attention to the fact that the denial that these instances were in fact "genocides" didn't come up until the word was actually invented. Both of these apparent genocides, along with the Holocaust, happened before the word was even in the dictionary, according to Samantha Powers. The ability to accept that they were indeed genocides, truly a systematic erasure of a specific race or group, is the first step in a long road before people can begin to heal.

pink12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 25

The Armenian genocide and bystanderism

Throughout history, countries refuse to get involved even when people are at great risk, because of the economy. Rulers fear that if they get involved then their economy would be at great risk, meaning that if they helped it would only cause more issues than solve. I feel that no matter what countries should look out for each other but I do understand that it goes to an extent. Today, the US can't send troops to Ukraine as that would make matters worse causing a world war, but instead, we can help Ukraine by sending them supplies and support. This is an example of how countries can get involved but to an extent where it won't make matters worse. However, the Armenian genocide took years to actually be labeled as genocide and so many people today still don't know the true history behind it. For the Armenian genocide, I think the United States and other countries should have interfered as millions of innocent lives were taken. Since "the Turks had not violated the rights of Americans, Wilson did not formally protest". The Turks violated innocent people's lives and stripped Armenians of their rights, and yet it was not spread on the media even though it was in fact a genocide.

During the Namibian and Armenian genocides, these nations reacted differently, but after they happened, they actually behaved somewhat similarly. In German southwest Africa, not many people were made aware of what was happening and nations remained silent. For the Armenian genocide, people were extremely aware of what was happening and wanted to spread awareness and end this genocide. After both genocides happened people went silent and didn't do anything about the inhumane actions that people did to innocent lives. Almost 200 years after the Namibian genocide happened, it was finally formally acknowledged. After the Turks fell out of power, many nations wanted to side with Turkey, so they ultimately ignored what happened for a while, but recently made it more known. In both genocides religion and racism played a big role on who was targeted.

strawberry123
Chestnut Hill, MA, US
Posts: 28

The Armenian Genocide and Bystanderism

Adolescents are persistently told to stand up in dire situations where others need their help most. Whether it is in terms of bullying based on race, gender, sexuality, religion, or ethnicity, over the years the bystander effect has come into play more and more casually, normalizing independent suffering. The United States has controversially remained an isolationist state while intervening at times when necessary; economic interests in Latin America, the start of WWII, and after the Great Depression. Although an interventionist country comes along with benefits of relief for those weaker such as the aid during the Holocaust or establishing peace and recognizing Kosovo as an independent nation for the first time, the United States, unfortunately, left this posture of using their superior powers for others advantage during the Armenian genocide.

Alike what is happening in today's world -- the Ukrainian and Russian war -- the United States and other countries have acknowledged what is happening, with unlimited information through President Zelensky digitally uploading videos of the horrors himself, the U.S. refused to do anything now and during the Armenian genocide. Although the renowned newspaper, the New York Times, spoke on the genocide during 1914-1918, showing that at minimum the U.S. knew what was somewhat happening in the eastern European country, America proceeded to do nothing. Alongside this, in a letter from President Woodrow Wilson (one of the documents viewed in class), he stated his concern for the protection of only American citizens in Armenia. He also enlisted that Turkey is to continue with their matters so long as America is left alone. In Samantha Power's 2001 book, "A Problem from Hell", she expanded on Wilson's opposition to become involved as "it was better not to draw attention to the atrocities". As a nation with great connections, advanced military, and fast-growing technology, the United States should have sent troops to Armenia and fought Turkey. It is not a matter of economic or political benefits, rather a matter of mass murder of civilians which isn't what war should be.

The Namibian genocide differs in some ways from the Armenian genocide in terms of common knowledge. The outreach and widespread information of what was happening to the hundreds of thousands of people in Armenia was much more apparent than the events we saw in German southwest Africa in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Additionally in the Namibian genocide, Germany has officially recognized what happened whereas Turkey still denies the genocide in Armenia -- even after U.S. president Biden acknowledged it publically.

watermelon2
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 28

During the Armenian genocide, where more than 1 million Armenians were massacred, a majority of the world stood and watched. Although bystanderism and neutrality related to the Armenian genocide were the worst in the United States, other countries also failed to do what they could to protect the Armenian people. Both Britain and France publicized the atrocities because, at the time, they were at war with the Ottoman empire. Despite this, few believed that these atrocities were actually so severe. Many of the European nations thought that the best solution to the Armenian genocide was to defeat the German-Austrian-Turkish alliance, and they, therefore, declared that the Turkish government would be held “personally responsible” for the massacres. These, however, were failed efforts that came because European countries were too busy, preoccupied with other worries and responsibilities regarding the war that related more directly to them.


In the United States, this lack of acknowledgment, care, or action towards the Armenian genocide was even worse. A major factor in genocide means the hiding, denial, justification, and euphemisms provided by the perpetrators, who in this case were the Turkish government. Some living outside of Turkey thought that information regarding the Armenian genocide was based on rumors, and there was great uncertainty about the facts. Even the idea of genocide was unfamiliar. As Raphael Lemkin explained, the world was “in the presence of a crime without a name.” Genocide wasn’t a term that existed or that people knew about. Despite this intentional covering up of the massacre of Armenians, the outside world still knew what was going on. Therefore, using their lack of knowledge is a weak excuse in attempting to justify the United States’ lacking effort to help the Armenians. Talaat Pasha, one of the leading perpetrators in the Armenian genocide, made it clear that Turkey was going to target its Christian subjects. The New York Times even published 145 stories in the year 1915 alone about the genocide, using headlines like “800,000 Armenians Counted Destroyed” and “Million Armenians Killed or in Exile.” Therefore, it was clear amongst other countries, particularly the United States, that hundreds of thousands of innocent Armenian people were being murdered, yet, “the ‘international community,’ such as it was, did little to contest the Turkish horrors” (Samantha Power, A Problem From Hell).


The United States was a country that stands out because of its desire to maintain its neutrality throughout World War I. Staying neutral also meant that they couldn’t get involved in the matter between Turks and Armenians. When many European countries created the Allied declaration, holding the Turkish government accountable for their actions, the United States refused to join. President Woodrow Wilson chose not to pressure those that backed Turks or Germans because he didn’t want to draw attention to the matter. He feared that increased public opinion could lead to a demand for US involvement. After all, the American sentiment was that since the Armenian genocide wasn’t violating or affecting American rights, they didn’t need to care. US ambassador Henry Morgenthau, who was a great advocate for Armenians, explained, “Turkish authorities have definitely informed me that I have no right to interfere with their internal affairs.” Similarly, there was no US military intervention either, even though the United States had the power to help the Armenians. The United States government failed to help the Armenians simply because the matter didn’t concern them, and this is exactly what a bystander does. It is a selfish decision, in which the US government only cares about itself, while it is ok simply watching more than a million Armenians get murdered before them. Being a bystander means you didn’t take action, which is almost just as bad as being the perpetrator.


During the Armenian and Namibian genocides, the knowledge that other nations had of what was happening differed. Knowledge of the Armenian genocide was much more known and widespread compared to the Namibian genocides. Countries during the Armenian genocide understood what was going on. Nevertheless, during both genocides, other countries failed to help out and do what they could to stop the genocide. In both cases, there also continued to be a failed recognition of the genocide amongst countries throughout the globe.


Rather than being bystanders, the United States should have helped and stood up for the Armenians during the war. Rather than valuing themselves and nothing else, they should have seen the matter as something they could fix and something that they should therefore be concerned about. Even today, there are still ways that the United States can do things differently. The US government needs to do a better job of recognizing the genocide and holding Turkey accountable. Even though the Armenian genocide took place in the early 1900s, it wasn’t until Biden’s inauguration in January of 2021 that the United States president recognized the Armenian genocide. Once again, this is because of the fear of the ramifications or consequences it could have on the United States. Power points out, “The United States would offer humanitarian aid to the survivors of ‘race murder’ but would leave those committing it alone” (Samantha Power, A Problem From Hell). Our country needs to stop caring so much about ourselves and our successes and instead look towards helping others.


Raphael Lemkin posed a good point, which was, “If women, children, and old people would be murdered a hundred miles from here, wouldn’t you run to help? Then why do you stop this decision of your heart when the distance is 3,000 miles instead of a hundred?” Taking a stand during genocide means recognizing that even if it isn’t perfectly convenient or easy to help, you must– because that is what being an ally is all about. We need people like Morgenthau who, despite being in a country that discouraged standing up for Armenians, continued to stand up, using his voice even if it meant he would have to face the consequences. The Armenian genocide is one of the many problems that the United States has when it comes to bystanderism. As Power explains, “America’s nonresponse to the Turkish horrors established patterns that would be repeated” (Samantha Power, A Problem From Hell). Everything that happens in history is connected, and unless we do something to address these problems, history will continue to repeat itself.

user01135
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 25

The Armenian genocide and bystanderism

The United States and many other major countries acted as bystanders during the Armenian genocide. This is a case where the rest of the world was too worried about themselves. The United States did not do anything about the Armenian genocide because they were more worried about their success than the lives of these innocent Armenians.

The United States should have been helping Armenians from the start. The genocide did not receive very much attention because of other events around the world. The United States should have been the ones to draw attention to the Armenian genocide. I think that the United States should always take a stand when a population is being destroyed like this. We could have saved innocent lives and given people their freedom. This is something we should always be doing. Our country should not only be working in our best interest, but we should be working towards world peace and success for others too.

I think that there are many similarities between the Armenian genocide and the carnage in Africa. Both times a group of innocent people was being exterminated and the rest of the world ignored it. World nations have become too self-centered. They are so worried about their own success that they will allow innocent people to be slaughtered if it means they don't lose money. Even today, Turkey is not admitting or apologizing for their actions, and that is what makes this so awful.

SlicedBread
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 27

The Armenian Genocide and Bystanderism

The United States and its allies absolutely played the role of a bystander during the Armenian Genocide, and it wasn’t because they didn’t know it was happening. Articles were running in the New York Times, as we saw from the documents in class, The British Foreign Press in England, and in France. WW1’s set of Allies were well aware and did deliver a joint declaration that condemned the Turkish government’s actions and said they would be held personally accountable for them, but that didn’t really amount to much of anything since they were more focused on winning WW1. While, on the other side, Germany, who was allied with Turkey during the war, backed the Turkish government and mostly covered up the genocide. When looking at all of this, there seems to be a common theme of a lack of action and a lack of action due to political reasons. Even to this day we still see countries hesitant to recognize the Armenian genocide as a genocide because of the political ramifications with Turkey. Therefore, recognizing genocide can be quite a complicated situation when you factor in the affects it can have on international relations. That said, unless the falter in international relations is absolutely detrimental I think it is absolutely imperative that nations take a stand when they see acts of genocide being committed. The more nations that stand up, the more impact it will have.


The kind of role nations witnessing genocides should take definitely shouldn’t be passive. They should be assuming a position that intends on and actually makes a real difference in the treatment of those affected. As stated in my early paragraph, the Allies did deliver a joint declaration condemning the actions of the Turkish government, but that’s all they really did. They didn’t do anything to actually stop the heinous acts being committed. While Russia did at one point try to get its fellow allies to join in on a public threat to the Turkish government, it never actually happened. In the case of genocide I would hope that nations would actually be willing to band together and actually deliver on creating meaningful change to a situation and genuinely putting in the effort to do something. Similar to how many countries are banding together all over the world today to help aid Ukraine in its efforts to fend of Russia, we need to see nations band together to help put an end to horrible injustices like genocide.


World nations did behave differently during the Armenian genocide than they did in Namibian genocide, but still inaction seems to be a similarity between both. The Namibian genocide was considered the first genocide of the 20th century, which would make you think there would be a lot of press around the world going on about it, but it certainly didn’t get as much press coverage as the Armenian genocide did. Regardless, even with the press coverage that the Armenian genocide did receive, not much was done about it. On the other hand, several decades earlier when pictures got out about the brutalities going on in the Congo, the world actually did come together and help put an end to King Leopold’s actions. Then, of course turning to the Holocaust, there was definitely a lot of news that garnered worldwide attention and aid. It’s strange to see such a big span of inconsistency throughout history of response to genocide, and this is even continued with the world’s very minimal response to the Uyghur Muslims in China. The reason for this inconsistency? I’m not sure, but it needs to end.

OverthinkingEnigma
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 28

What could we/should we have done? Should the U.S and/or other nations take a stand when an entire population is being destroyed? On principle? Wherever and whenever it happens? No matter what? Always? Sometimes? Rarely? (Whoa, quite a few question marks here…)



Considering the Armenian Genocide was at its most severe and intense between 1915-17, the U.S shouldn’t have been reluctant to stray from its state of neutrality. Henry Morgenthau, the United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, not only informed the nation of the genocide at play in Turkey, but also provided the U.S with multiple options as to how they could put an end to the Armenian Genocide, or at the very least, aid the survivors; yet, the United States still found it best to remain neutral during this event. To stand idly by and remain neutral, knowing full well that an entire population was being destroyed in horrific ways is gut-wrenching. Morgenthau was one of the greatest advocates for the U.S to stop the Armenian genocide as he had “pleaded with his superiors to throw protocol and neutrality aside and to issue a direct government-to-government appeal “ on behalf of humanity” to stop the killings. He also urged the United States to convince the German Kaiser to stop the Turks…and he called on Washington to press the Turks to allow humanitarian aid deliveries to those Armenians….but because Americans were not endangered by the Turkish Horrors and because American neutrality in WWI remained fixed, Washington did not act on Morgenthau’s recommendations.” (quote) After reading this paragraph, I felt extremely disappointed in this nation’s actions as they not only allowed Morgenthau to become depicted as a fool and a loose cannon but also claim to be an avid defender of human rights while not trying their hardest to accomplish some of Morgenthau's well-thought-out recommendations for their courses of action. Standing up for a population that is undergoing genocide is necessary, otherwise, those executing these genocides would be gaining power and control by the minute; sadly, at this point, getting involved in such matters has come down to whether a nation is willing to sacrifice losses in areas such as social reputation or the economy. These factors should be set aside since if a horrid event like the Armenian Genocide could be prevented, it's the duty of other nations to ensure that said events won't happen. The U.S--as well as other nations--had the chance to stride forward and live by their principles by providing aid to the Armenians and potentially ending the genocide, but, the pressures of WWI and the consequences it entails only established the bystander effect in which the "what ifs" took full control over the U.S's decision to not attempt to end the genocide.


In short, what sort of role would you advocate for the United States and other nations witnessing this (and by extension, any other) genocide?



I would advocate for the United States to take action by aiding the Armenians both directly in Turkey and within the U.S. This could come in the form of military intervention that would aid fleeing Armenians as well as those who are in critical condition (those who were on the death marches, etc). Other nations should also contribute to this intervention by sending additional military troops as well as resources, such as food, clothes, and so on. Additionally, those who aren’t in the military should be expected to contribute to this aid through donations considering, at the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, “the Congregationalist, Baptist, and Roman Catholic churches made donations. The Rockefeller Foundation gave $290,000 in 1915 alone.” Additionally, all nations (especially those near the country in which the genocide is taking place) should open their borders to the victims of this genocide as well as provide them with economic, social, and emotional hope. Nonetheless, the United States and other nations who witness this genocide shouldn’t remain a bystander as they are all fully capable of providing sufficient aid in various fields.


Do you think world nations behaved differently during the Armenian genocide than they did during the carnage in Africa—specifically what we saw in German southwest Africa (Namibia)--in the late 19th and early 20th centuries? Why or why not?



It seems that the world was less aware of the carnage that took place in German southwest Africa compared to the Armenian Genocide. When it came to the Armenian Genocide, news flooded surrounding the death of thousands to millions of Armenians and their horrible treatment from the Ottoman government. However, when it came to areas of Africa such as Namibia, any hint of genocide was well-concealed, if not utterly ignored, by other nations; this was likely the result of the dehumanization of Africa’s inhabitants to the point that any hate or violence towards Black people was normalized. The African continent and its inhabitants were put on the same pedestal as real estate and slaves as one considers the European powers’ casual division of and expansion into Africa. However, Armenians and their resources weren’t being exploited of their resources, they were being targeted on account of their religion and their government’s insecurity during WWI. When it came to nations’ reactions, nations such as the U.S and Britain became increasingly aware of the full extent of the Armenian genocide, thus people from all over the world became to push for intervention and aid for Armenians. This advocacy for the protection of Armenians from a harmful government is seldom seen from nations when it came to the genocide of Africans in Namibia. Moreover, nations, especially the European powers, have had already been exposed to various examples of mass genocide, such as that of the Congo under King Leopold’s rule, and yet, their reaction to Namibian genocide was never as sincere, kind, and worried as it were for the Armenian genocide.

iris almonds
Posts: 29

The Armenian Genocide and Bystanderism

The Armenian genocide, one where millions of Armenians were killed with the justification that the Armenians were “attempting to destroy the peace and security of the Ottoman state” left many in shock, but it also left most to do nothing much (bystanders). The Turks claimed that the Armenians were leading a threatening “revolutionary uprising” against them which, in the Turkish people’s point of view justified the killing of millions of Armenians. The United States and many of our allies most definitely acted as bystanders during the Armenian genocide. For example, chapter 1 of the text, states that when France and Britain were at war with the Ottoman empire, they knew that this atrocity was happening. The British Foreign Office would dig up photographs of massacre victims and there was news coverage about it in these countries. But many in these countries had trouble believing that this actually happened, which I don’t necessarily blame them for because it probably seemed like another war crime as this took place during WWI and there were millions killed on a daily basis. The United States and many other European nations had coverage as to what was happening, but many decided not to interfere unless it directly affected its own people. In addition, since this took place during the time of war, many were occupied by war and the goal of trying to win and survive. They could care less about the Armenian genocide at the time given the number of strategies and crimes committed during the war, which I think is why many were bystanders.


The U.S and other nations should most definitely take a stance when entire populations are being wiped out solely for who they are. Though easy to say, this is hard for many countries to do either due to economic reasons or international affairs. For example, the U.S Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Morgenthau, had urged its superiors to break their neutrality as he witnessed the terrors of the genocide. I am not entirely sure as to what the United States should have done during that time period, but we can see this idea of trying to maintain foreign relationships coming in as a top priority. For example, we learned in class that it took the U.S such a long time to recognize that this was genocide because it feared that it would weaken its ties against the Turkish country, a country so vitally important to the U.S in terms of military action, which is what makes it hard to break neutrality. Although it seems right to jump right in, I also think that it is vitally important to take a step back and look at where you are at. The U.S should most definitely involve itself when necessary and take a look at what is going on in the wider world when trying to take action.


In terms of the United States and other nations witnessing this, I feel that it is important for the nation to inform people within their own nation as to what is going on. I think educating people and letting people know that this event is happening is also very important. Even the act of the New York Times reporting on this issue is a step in the right direction. The fact that many countries had news outlets and newspapers about the genocide, tells us that the genocide wasn’t completely unrecognized which is a step forward. I think the main part of this is that the United States was trying to remain neutral, which is preventing it from taking big steps, again relating back to international relations and not wanting to risk the economy.


Countries should always take action in defending those who are in need. Yes, this might involve risks and the death of your own soldiers. But I think that nations should always stand up for each other especially when a whole population is being wiped out. It is hard, but I think it is necessary a lot of the time.


In terms of what happened between the Armenian genocide and the Nambia genocide, they were very different because of the amount of information spread. The Armenian genocide is widely spread across many countries. Like I mentioned, the New York Times covered it, and many news outlets in different countries covered it. In regards to Nambia, there was little to no coverage and no immense amount of information spread. But in terms of what happened after both of these genocides, they both are left to be forgotten and they go unacknowledged. During both of these genocides millions of lives were lost and both times it was between people of different races or belief systems. I think something everyone can do is to learn about this history and the history of much other forgotten genocide. I find it very shocking that schools in Turkey don’t teach the Armenian genocide on purpose and I think that is an area to look into and one thing to change. In addition, these genocides need to be recognized and those of future generations can never fully heal until the descendants of the perpetrator recognize this genocide. For the Armenian genocide, it is not recognized by Turkey where as the Nambia genocide is recognized by the Germans.

Bluekoala
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 28

The Armenian genocide and bystanderism

We --the United States--and our allies absolutely did act as bystanders during the Armenian genocide. It was widespread news that systematic killing was taking place in Armenia. The New York Times published news regarding the Armenian genocide constantly 145 times in 1915. American ambassadors heard first-hand accounts from those in Armenia telling the horrible things that they were seeing and things that their families were put through. Morgenthau explicitly warned Washington that “there seems to be a systematic plan to crush the Armenian genocide” (Samantha Power, A Problem From Hell). Despite the government being fully aware of the events that were unfolding in this genocide, the United States and our allies did not intervene because of the desire to maintain diplomatic relations for a strong economy.


Although the U.S. was occupied by World War I, we should’ve spoken out and intervened. The U.S. should not have tried to maintain neutrality while innocent people were being killed. Henry Morgenthau, the United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, tried to convince the United States to take action, but the U.S. continued to refuse. One of my classmates, pink12, pointed out a great connection to the Ukraine-Russia news going on now. Even though the U.S. is trying to avoid conflict with Russia, we are still sending weapons and food to Ukraine. This is exactly what the U.S. should have done during the Armenian genocide. The U.S. should’ve, at the very least, condemned the actions of the Turks because then it would indicate that the U.S. was not okay with it.


In any genocide where innocent people are being killed, the United States and all other nations should speak out on principle. Even if speaking out against the perpetrator will hurt diplomatic relations, it doesn’t matter because the lives of innocent human beings should be more important than money. The act of staying silent automatically means that the countries are on the perpetrators’ side because they are not fighting against the genocide. As Samantha Powers said, “Time and again the U.S. government would be reluctant to cast aside its neutrality and formally denounce a fellow state for its atrocities.” This repeated history needs to be ended because this reluctance has cost the lives of millions of innocent lives and will continue to do so if the U.S. and other countries do not speak up and take action against atrocities.


There was a big difference between the information that was available to the public about both genocides. The genocide that took place in German South West Africa (Namibia) was not mentioned very often in media and among the government, whereas the Armenian genocide was. However, even now countries avoid calling the Armenian genocide a genocide whereas Germany has acknowledged that a genocide took place because of diplomatic relations just like when the genocides were taking place.

facingstudent8
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 29

The US and its allies absolutely acted as bystanders in this conflict. This has been made even more clear to me when looking through the resources we were given in class. It was powerful to see different newspapers like the New York Times and the Independent reporting on the Armenian genocide and calling it a massacre. I would’ve found it hard to believe any major country that said they weren’t aware of what was going on because it was such a huge event but the worldwide reporting of it shows how it was public knowledge. Since it was public knowledge the leaders of these countries had to have known what was going on but chose to do nothing. This ignorance continues today with countries refusing to recognize the genocide officially. Powell talked about this saying that “Berlin would not offend its Turkish ally” (Powell 5). I think this quote is quite interesting because it shows how stubborn these governments are. The quote very purposefully says “Berlin would not offend” not that it “didn’t want to” or “preferred not to” but that it would not offend.

It is incredibly difficult for one to prescribe what the US or other countries should always do because these issues are always so case-dependent. What further complicates things is that when the US and other countries get involved, especially militarily, it can make things tremendously worse, especially for those affected. When an entire population is being destroyed it is obviously vital that others step in. Others stepping in, however, never happens unless they have something to gain from stepping in. This is largely why the Uighar muslims have gone so long without any international help. I want to say the US should always step in and save the day but that is too easy of an answer and wouldn’t be true because the US hardly if ever saves the day. This quote from Powell also perfectly encapsulates and sums up the United State’s position on these issues: “The United States would offer humanitarian aid to the survivors of the ‘race murder’ but would leave those comitting it alone” (Powell 14). That said there should always be measures taken when an atrocity is happening and people are in danger and need help.

World nations behavior in relation to the Armenian genocide is quite similar to their behavior during the Namibian genocide. During both events there was complete ignorance on the side of western nations. The Namibian genocide was different though in the sense that during that event some of the nations in question were actively committing the genocide and others were committing atrocities in the colonizing of Africa.

Powell’s writing was extremely interesting and I found it especially compelling when she talked about how Tehlirian, the “Armenian survivor, knew little of international treaties or geopolitics. He knew only that his life had been empty since the war, that Talaat was responsible, and that the former minister of the interior would never stand trial” (Powell 12). I think this quote really brings light to the pain of the Armenian people and the anguish that Tehlirian would have been feeling which drove him to murder Talaat.


apples21
SOUTH BOSTON, MA, US
Posts: 25

the armenian genocide bystanderism

I think that the situation with the Armenian genocide and how it is has played itself out in politics in other countries into the 21st century is complicated. At the very least though, I think we all owe Armenian people the acknowledgment of the Genocide that happened. For such a horrible series of events to have happened around one hundred years ago, and the question of Weather these events constitutes a genocide is still being asked, is simply ridiculous and horrible to the Armenian people who’s ancestors may have had to endure this. I understand why some former US presidents refused to call the situation a genocide, like Bush and Obama for example, as they did not want the US relations with Turkey to be tarnished. The US uses Turkey extremely often to bring stuff in and out and uses the country as a connection point to the ears we have been fighting in the Middle East. On the other hand, I do think that the US and other major countries acknowledging it as what it is, genocide, then I think that would be a great help. I think this is true because it would confirm the beliefs of the Armenian people and prove to them that other countries and people see this, not just them. I think that The Turks did act slightly differently than the carnage that took place in Africa in the early 20th century. From what i have seen and read, I think that the two different situations involved pretty different actions, although both should still be considered genocide. The things that happened in Africa seemed like they came off of pure greed from the Europeans, and they felt that the people in Africa were below them, so they could use them to help get the things that the Europeans wanted. The things that the Turks did during the Armenian genocide, seemed to be done simply because they felt higher than them for reasons that may include race and religion.

Karma
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

The Armenian genocide and bystanderism

The United States definitely acted as bystanders during the Armenian genocide but I don't think it was solely their fault. Not only was the US trying to remain neutral, most of the United States was never even informed about about the Armenian genocide by the government at first because President Woodrow Wilson didn't want the public to begin calling for action. When the British Ambassador Viscount Bryce pleaded for the United States to speak up, they also refused to do so. Even Henry Morgenthau Sr., the ambassador of the Ottoman Empire, wasn't completely sure about the genocides that were occurring at first because of Turkish attempts to suppress knowledge of their actions. I don't believe our allies acted as bystanders, however, simply because Britain and France publicly declared the genocide as a crime against humanity.

If the United States used morality instead of the intent to remain neutral in this situation, I believe they could have made a big impact. The fact that the US was as powerful as it was and that it was a neutral nation just means its influence is also very intense as well. At the same time, however, I understand the difficulty of this situation and the thought process behind the government at the time. Although this happened much later than the Armenian genocide, this kind of reminds me of the Vietnam war which is a prime example of a situation the US should have stayed out of. On the other hand, we are talking about the destruction of a whole population. Its easy to say that the United States and all other nations should always take a stand against these atrocities, but in reality most nations don't want to make enemies (which was the case with the United States during the Armenian Genocide).

The main difference between the Armenian genocide and what happened in Namibia is the fact that Namibia's genocide was kind of ignored by the rest of the world whereas the Armenian genocide was recognized by a few nations. There was powerful figures advocating to fight against what the Armenians were experiencing but I don't remember any nations speaking out against what was happening in Namibia.

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