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Genocide & Modernity + The Armenian Holocaust

Program #BALP004-BAAR-FISR001.

First Program: Peter Balakian - Genocide & Modernity

Stalin, once cynically remarked, If you kill one person it is a tragedy, but if you kill a million, it is a statistic. It is difficult to comprehend large-scale horror. The crime of genocide in some ways has defined modern times. With technology, states have become more efficient at mass murder. But the term genocide is sometimes promiscuously used. Take for example the case of Libya. Supposedly its now murdered leader Qaddafi was going to launch a genocidal campaign against his opponents. The media compliantly whipped up fears of wholesale slaughter. The charge had little substance but it was used to justify U.S. and NATO military intervention in that oil-rich country. In other instances, there are deniers of actual genocide, such as Turkey, which continues to deny what it did to its Armenian population.

Second Program: Robert Fisk & Araxie Barsamian - The Armenian Holocaust

In 1915, the Turkish government launched a premeditated organized campaign to eliminate the millennia-old Armenian people from their traditional homeland in what is now southeastern Turkey. The Turkish officials responsible for the genocide were never brought to account. This was not lost on Adolf Hitler. Just days before launching World War Two he told his generals, "Who today, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?" What makes the 20th century's first holocaust unique is that Turkey refuses to acknowledge it ever happen. And that denial is the final stage of genocide: closure and justice is denied to the victims and their descendents.


Peter Balakian

Peter Balakian, historian, poet, and professor at Colgate University, is the author of  Black Dog of Fate and The Burning Tigris, and translator of Armenian Golgotha. In 2016 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his collection Ozone Journal.

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