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seraphine
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Bystander-ism and the Armenian genocide

Did we act as bystanders? Absolutely, without a doubt. We stood by as people were killed, and didn't help them. It wasn't as if we didn't know what was going on; the New York Times tried cover as much as they could about what was happening, so it really isn't excusable as "Oh, we didn't know" (We as in multiple countries, as it was not just the US that acted as bystanders, it also included Britain, Germany, France, and many, many other countries, basically the rest of the world as well).

However, I think it gets more difficult when asking what we could have done but it doesn't when discussing what we SHOULD have done. Clearly, we should have helped in some way; people are being killed, why should we not help? We should have provided any type of aid to the Armenian people. However, the US tends to want to stay as neutral as possible with things so not to make any enemies (I suppose? I'm not exactly sure) and really just stayed out of it despite knowing that a genocide was happening. This even extends to recent times as the Armenian genocide was only recently recognized as a genocide, because the US wanted to maintain relations with Turkey. While I understand not wanting to make enemies, I think that in the context of a genocide, ordinary rules should be at least bent, if not broken. Human rights violations deserve attention from all of humanity regardless of relation. Rights lose their importance if the world does not recognize or defend them. With a commitment to protect mankind, the US should have used done anything to side with the Armenians and assist them in defending themselves against the Turks.

It's really very sad, though, that even with genocides America wishes to stay neutral. It goes against what a lot of us are taught in school about defending others from bullies when we see someone being cruel towards someone, or homophobic, or transphobic, or racist or any form of discriminatory. And I suppose that America might prioritize helping a country which will give them something in return, which I suppose makes sense in the view of politics but I think that's not right (If I were to ever have any say).

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