The United States did act as bystanders during the Armenian genocide. It is well known that compliance is taking the side of the oppressor, and global relationships like Armenia and the U.S. is no exception to this line of reasoning. Now the question of what could we or what should we have done is a difficult one to tackle. I believe that the U.S. should always intervene when the conflict is a calculated and direct effort to exterminate a minority group of people, and this was the case in the Armenian genocide. There is a difference between two countries or two groups in a conflict and a genocide, and it is vital that the U.S. recognizes each situation and responds accordingly. For two countries in a conflict, I believe that the U.S. should take a more isolationist approach. Yes, there is violence and most likely human loss, but unless the U.S. is directly involved, I believe the U.S. should stay out of it in order to limit the amount of lives lost, and mitigate the most likely already violent situation. However, in a genocide such as the Armenian genocide, the U.S. has a moral responsibility to get involved. As a part of the global community, when the U.S. sees injustice, even on a global scale, it is important that we get involved in order to protect the lives of minority groups who are being forced out of their country or mass murdered. The U.S. has no excuse for their inaction during the Armenian genocide. As we know, the U.S. and the rest of the world knew about the genocide. Studying old newspapers from major American news sources like the New York Times tells us that we had a very good idea of what was going on. The genocide was covered in detail and for a long amount of time. As a global power, the U.S. has an obligation to step in. We have economic power such as the ability to cut off a country from a vital trade system. We have the ability to recognize genocide today, as we have a huge influence on how historical events are perceived. If we raise awareness, through education and showing solidarity for Armenians domestically, we will start to move towards a world of understanding, acknowledging, and preventing another Armenian genocide.
The Armenian genocide and bystanderism
I think that it is crucial for us as a human race to act when others cannot act for themselves. When we are seeing crimes against humanity and violence I think we have an obligation to do or say something. The United States, Britain and Germany were already fighting in a war, and though their resources for help were scarce there could have been more acknowledgement and upstanding behavior from these places. It is seen here that there was some self serving decision making and a lack of consideration for humanity. It was unfortunate to see the US having alternate priorities than to assist in the ways that they could. Some attitudes of unacknowledgement are still seen today where there are still some trying to prevent the recognition of a genocide.
In my opinion this genocide was treated and responded to differently than that of the one in Namibia. There was not the same recognition nor enough attention drawn to the atrocities that had happened. They did not receive the same support or assistance. There was not aid given when it was needed even though it was given at other points. It is hard to compare things like this because they are always so different and the context and events are all very different so it is hard to decipher comparisons that can fairly be made. The Armenians happened to be Christian, which was and remains to be a very dominant religion, so more attention was paid to them and their suffering was more well known. Resulting in them receiving more assistance. In my opinion I think there would have been a very different response if it did happen to be a less prominent religion or group of people. In comparison to this the Herero and Nama people were African and they were consequently ignored and less information was spread and there seemed to be less care. This can be seen reflected in where Ukrainians, who are largely a white people and mostly Christian, have much more sympathy and support from the rest of the world, however in the middle east there has been little to no attention granted and certainly not close to the same amount as what Ukraine has.