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Geoffrey Robertson QC’s book, An Inconvenient Genocide

Geoffrey Robertson QC has won ‘The Polemic of the Year’ Award for “ An Inconvenient Genocide: Who Now Remembers The Armenians? ” at the 2015 Political Book Awards held on 28th January 2015 , in London. The Polemic of the Year Award was presented to the author of a book deemed to have presented the most important case of debate. The book had to show a thorough and complete argument of its case and will have sparked discussion, been covered widely, be persuasive, show personality and have the power to bring readers round to its way of thinking.

Ideally it will have covered previously uncharted ground, or presented a familiar issue in a fresh light. The book should strike a balance between being informative and sustaining its line of argument

Having considered all of the eminent works shortlisted in this category, the judges decision to present the award to “ An Inconvenient Genocide:Who Now Remembers The Armenians? ” was made with the following comments:
“The judges felt that this book was outstanding. It put forward a powerful case for a neglected argument, and they were very impressed by the primary source research. The case was marshalled and deployed in powerful, convincing language.”
Book Review:
The Holocaust and Genocides in Europe
by Benjamin Lieberman
Focusing on the major cases of genocide in twentieth-century Europe, including the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust and genocide in the former Yugoslavia, as well as mass killing in the Soviet Union, this book outlines the internal and external roots of genocide. Using the voices of the human actors in genocide, often ignored or forgotten, this volume aims to provide arresting new insights into the discussion of genocide in other continents and historical periods. Caroline Varin would have liked to see more content suitable for advanced readers and students, but would recommend this book to readers looking for a quick overview of the subject of genocides in Europe.
The Holocaust and Genocides in Europe. Benjamin Lieberman. Bloomsbury Academic. April 2013.
Europe in the twentieth century was arguably the most dangerous place in the world to be among the minority. The collapse of European empires, the emergence of national identity, and the wave of migrations across the continent all contributed to a growing hostility towards minority groups who could be easily identified and blamed for the ills of the nation. In The Holocaust and Genocides in Europe , Professor Benjamin Lieberman examines the causes that led to the targeted killing of entire groups of people who were perceived to be ethnically or religiously different.
The book presents four cases studies of genocide: the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, and the killing of Kullaks in the Soviet Union. The book is fast-paced and easy to read, with study questions at the end of each chapter and suggestions for further reading. Although Lieberman develops several interesting ideas and the book appears factual – offering anecdotes and accounts from various sources – it is poorly referenced, which weakens the message of the author. Furthermore, it is difficult, if not impossible, to fully cover four European genocides in the space of one book. Lieberman’s narrative style makes assumptions about the reader’s previous knowledge on the subject, without really going into enough details to interest or be credible to a student of European history. I would recommend this book to readers who want a quick overview of the subject of genocides in Europe with the caveat that it is more descriptive than analytical.
Lieberman begins his study by examining the trends in European history that led to genocide across the continent in the space of just 80 years. Europe’s record of violence is anchored in its history of colonialism and imperialism, which led to the destruction of entire civilisations. This was justified through the politics of nationalism and the emergence of racial sciences. In several European countries, including the United Kingdom, governments infused these ideas into the population through the manipulation of the press and radio, enabling them to manipulate and influence popular sentiment.
One of the most interesting ideas developed in this study is the role of bystanders. Although Lieberman argues that an inner core of perpetrators were responsible for carrying out genocide, a broader circle of perpetrators that includes bystanders and even victims enabled these events to take place. In Bosnia, for example, paramilitaries of ordinary citizens would come together during weekends to perpetrate their crimes; during the Holocaust, Jewish ‘U boats’ were encouraged to collaborate with the Nazis and search and denounce fellow Jews in hiding. Lieberman does an excellent job unveiling the myths that populations were not aware of the killings going on around them, and aptly demonstrates what he calls the ‘gray zone’, where ignorance and passivity of ordinary citizens turned into forms of compliance. Finally, Lieberman also shows that victims attempting to resist or escape genocide faced enormous challenges, not least the rejection by other nations who refused to offer sufficient assistance: Switzerland accepted approximately 30,000 Jews into the country, but it also turned away about the same number. In a famous episode in 1939, the United States refused entry to 900 Jews seeking refuge.
In the concluding chapter, Lieberman draws an interesting parallel between European genocides and genocides in other parts of the world. The author argues that most genocide takes place during times of war: anti-Jewish policies became increasingly deadly after 1942 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union; ethnic cleaning in Yugoslavia took place among the break-up of the nation and a secessionist war among its sub-groups; the Armenian genocide began during the First World War One in 1915; whereas the purging of the Kullaks in the Soviet Union did not take place exclusively during a war, it was facilitated by the conditions of two World Wars that framed and accelerated the government’s policy. This would suggest that the threat of genocide is increased in times of war. The inclusion of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, however, disproves this theory and instead underlines the importance of ideological trends such as radicalisation as the crucial factor in targeted group killings. Ideological pursuits of nationalism and ethnic purity, Lieberman argues, is facilitated during times of war, but is often rooted in the events of the past. This is evident in African genocides, where colonial politics set a trend of violence and inequality among local populations. Anti-Semitic sentiment, which has persisted in Europe since at least the Middle Ages, was exacerbated by significant movements of Jewish populations from the East to the West in the nineteenth century. More recently, anti-Western sentiment, which drove the Khmer Rouge in the Cambodian genocide, continues to inspire radical Islamist groups today in North Africa and the Middle East.
The Holocaust and Genocides in Europe puts forward several interesting theories on the causes and processes of genocide, which deserve further examination. The comparative method enables Lieberman to put forward his ideas by narrating events in different cases, but I feel he would have been more convincing if he aimed this study to a more advanced audience, which would allow him to be more analytical and persuasive.
Remembering the Armenian Genocide 1915-2015
by Canon Patrick Thomas
published by Carreg Gwalch
Book launch on 24 April at the National Assembly, Wales
The government sanctioned extermination of over a million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during the First World War is sometimes described as the ‘forgotten genocide’. For a variety of geopolitical and economic reasons it was ignored by governments and air-brushed out of history books from the 1920s onwards. As a result it provided the blueprint for later atrocities.
It was no accident that in 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, Adolf Hitler remarked “Who now remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?”
2015 is the centenary of the Armenian Genocide. In this moving and powerful account of the suffering undergone by Turkish Armenians, Patrick Thomas draws on eye-witness material from a wide variety of sources. He shows why it remains profoundly important to acknowledge and remember this first major genocide of the twentieth century.  Recent events in the Middle East have underlined the threat of violent annihilation that still faces many vulnerable minorities there. The fate of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire provides a warning that should never be forgotten.
Patrick Thomas is the author of several books, including Carmarthen to Karabagh: a Welsh Discovery of Armenia. He has spent much of the past ten years studying Armenian history, culture and religion. In 2013 he was designated ‘Honorary Pastor to Armenians in Wales’ by the Armenian Primate of Britain and Ireland. Dr Thomas is Vicar of Christ Church, Carmarthen, Canon Chancellor of St David’s Cathedral, Pembrokeshire, and a member of the Anglican Oriental Orthodox International Commission.
Chapter 1: The Airbrushing of History
a)     The Pastor’s Mission
b)     Genocide: ‘Annihilation of the Race’
c)     “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”
Chapter 2: Caught Between Empires
a)     The First Christian Nation
b)     Progress and Reaction
c)     The Armenian Dilemma
Chapter 3: Commencing Genocide
a)     Paranoia and Preparation
b)     Zeytun and Van
c)     Decapitation: 24 April 1915
Chapter 4: The Descent into Hell
a)     Portraying Genocide
b)     Arrests and After
c)     “Let them see what deportation is”
Chapter 5: “Armenia without Armenians”
a)     Women and Children
b)     Resistance
c)     Towards the ‘Final Solution’
Thomas de Waal’s book ‘Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the
Shadow of Genocide’ released
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has posted a book
entitled ‘Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of
Genocide’ by eminent scholar and reporter Thomas de Waal.
The destruction of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1916
was the greatest atrocity of World War I. Around one million Armenians
were killed, and the survivors were scattered across the world, says
an announcement on the carnegieendowment.org website.
Although it is now a century old, the issue of what most of the world
calls the Armenian Genocide of 1915 is still a live and divisive issue
that mobilizes Armenians across the world, shapes the identity and
politics of modern Turkey, and has consumed the attention of U.S.
politicians for years.
In Great Catastrophe, the eminent scholar and reporter Thomas de Waal
looks at the aftermath and politics of the Armenian Genocide and tells
the story of recent efforts by courageous Armenians, Kurds, and Turks
to come to terms with the disaster as Turkey enters a new
post-Kemalist era. The story of what happened to the Armenians in
1915-16 is well-known. Here we are told the “history of the history”
and the lesser-known story of what happened to Armenians, Kurds, and
Turks in the century that followed. De Waal relates how different
generations tackled the issue of the “Great Catastrophe” from the
1920s until the failure of the Protocols signed by independent Armenia
and Turkey in 2010.
The devising of the word “genocide,” the growth of modern identity
politics, and the 50th anniversary of the massacres re-energized a new
generation of Armenians. In Turkey the issue was initially forgotten,
only to return to the political agenda in the context of the Cold War.
Turkey has started to confront its taboos. In an astonishing revival
of oral history, the descendants of tens of thousands of “Islamized
Armenians,” who have been in the shadows since 1915, have begun to
reemerge and reclaim their identities.
Drawing on archival sources, reportage and moving personal stories, de
Waal tells the full story of Armenian-Turkish relations since the
Genocide in all its extraordinary twists and turns. He looks behind
the propaganda to examine the realities of a terrible historical crime
and the divisive “politics of genocide” it produced. The book throws
light not only on our understanding of Armenian-Turkish relations but
also of how mass atrocities and historical tragedies shape
contemporary politics.
In The Shadow of the Sultan
by R. P. Sevadjian 
A historical coming of age novel
available from Amazon.co.uk
or from Moufflon Bookshop in Nicosia.
ISBN is 978-0-9931339-0-9
It is the story of a boy in his early teens, who leaves his home and journeys 200 miles to his grandmother’s town. He makes the 21 day journey in the company of his beloved dog (Kaylo) and a mule (Vartoug). The story is set in the late summer of 1896, during the height of the Hamidiyan Massacres in Asia Minor. These were a prelude to the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and the story shows that the seeds of Genocide were sown long before then.
The story is written in the hope that it will be read by teenagers, young adults and those who have little or no familiarity with Armenian history of the period.
The narrator grows from a happy, pampered boy into a mature youngster who can make hard decisions for himself. It is a coming of age story, and a story about irredeemable loss. His old life ends, and he is pushed by events into taking a certain path in his life. This is an adventure story of survival and self-discovery.
From the catalogue of the Society of Friends
Smyrna’s ashes : humanitarianism, genocide and the birth of the middle east / by Michelle Tusan
Berkeley, Ca. : Global, Area, and International Archive ; : University of California Press , 2013
Includes bibliographical references and index
Contents: Humanitarianism and the rise of the Eastern question — Mapping the Near East — Humanitarian diplomacy — Missionary philanthropy — The Armenian genocide and the Great War — Smyrna’s ashes — From Near to Middle East
The Library has also received the archives of the Friends Armenian Mission (MSS Acc
11287), established in 1881 to relieve the suffering of the persecuted Armenian populations in Asia Minor under the Ottoman Empire. The Mission‟s quiet but insistent work with the trials of massacre, earthquake, fire and war began in Constantinople, continued in Corfu, and moved to Nea Kokkinia, Piraeus (Greece). To this work in 1888 came Ann Mary Burgess, who gave over 50 years of service to the Armenian cause.
New book on Armenian Genocide published in Norway
26 Jan 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan
On January 22, the branch of “P.E.N.” Association organized presentation of the book “Armenian Genocide” by prominent Norwegian correspondent, writer, Professor of Oslo University, Jahn Otto Johansen at the hall of Norwegian the Fritt Ord Foundation in Oslo. The book gives an opportunity to the Norwegian society to be acquainted with the documentary data and analytical comments.
Well-known public figures and politicians, diplomats, scientists, representatives of Norwegian Armenian community, and journalists attended the event.
Lawyer Hanne Sophie Greve, historian, expert at leading Norwegian analytical centre “Sivita”, Bord Larsen, writer and expert in Turkey Eugene Shulgin delivered separate speeches.
In his address, Jahn Otto Johansen mentioned that his book is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and despite Turkey denies the Armenian Genocide aggressively the book is not against the Turks.
In his speech Bord Larsen noted, that what Armenians underwent is unambiguously Genocide, which is legal category, ensuing legal consequences.
In her speech former judge of the European Court of Human Rights Hanne Sophie Greve mentioned, “The Armenian Genocide must not be denied. That was a Genocide in its most severe expression.”
Armenian Genocide Graphic Novel “Operation Nemesis”
To Be Published  on 22 April
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Devil’s Due Entertainment is publishing a graphic novel “Operation Nemesis: A Story of Genocide & Revenge” with major media coverage planned.
The novel is based on the true story of Soghomon Tehlirian , a lone man who in 1921 killed the former leader of Turkey on the streets of Berlin and walked away a free man. Why? Because the murdered man Talat Pasha was the architect of a nationwide massacre of over one and a half million people. The assassination was part of a secret operation named after the Greek goddess of divine retribution, Nemesis.
Operation Nemesis was a covert operation by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) carried out from 1920 to 1922, during which a number of former Ottoman political and military figures were assassinated for their role in the Armenian Genocide. The secret operation was headed by Armen Garo, Aaron Sachaklian and Shahan Natalie.
After the end of World War I, the Ottoman military tribunal condemned to death the principal Young Turk leaders responsible for planning and execution of the Armenian Genocide. However at the conclusion of the trials the condemned were freed. They fled to European capitals living under assumed names. In the early 1920s, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) at their 9th World Congress held in Yerevan approved a secret resolution called The Special Mission (Haduk Gordz) to punish the main perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide. Between 1920-1922 the perpetrators were located and assassinated by the Armenian avengers. The graphic novel follows the story of Soghomon Tehlirian who killing the main architect of the Armenian Genocide, Talat Pasha.

Make sure to pick up a copy! It’s now available on Amazon for pre-order.

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