Why was the Armenian Genocide Forgotten?
By definition genocide is the organized killing of a people for the express purpose of putting an end to their collective existence (Webster's dictionary).As a rule, the organizing agent is the nation, the victim population is a domestic minority, and the end result is the near total death of a society. The Armenian genocide generally conforms to this simple definition.
The Armenian genocide is a hidden, almost lost part of world history, pretty much eclipsed by the more publicized genocide of the twentieth century, the Holocaust. The question is why. I could take a poll of this room and I am willing to bet that 95% of the students have ever even heard of the Armenian Genocide and those who have couldn't tell me more than a couple sentences about it. This is pretty scary, considering the statistics of the Armenian Genocide.
The Ottoman Empire was ruled by the Turks who had conquered the land from across West Asia, North Africa to Southeast Europe. The Ottoman government was based in Istanbul and was headed by a sultan who was given absolute power. The Turks were Islamic and were a harsh disciplinary civilization. The Armenians, a Christian minority, lived as second class citizens subject to legal restrictions (Graber 119). These restrictions denied them normal safeguards. Neither their lives nor their properties were guaranteed security. As non-Muslims they were also obligated to pay discriminatory taxes and denied participation in government.
In its prime of the sixteenth century the Ottoman Empire was a powerful state. Its minority populations really benefited with the growth of its economy, but by the nineteenth century, the empire was in serious decline(Graber 121). It had been reduced in size and by 1914 had lost virtually all its lands in Europe and Africa. This decline created enormous internal political and economic pressures which contributed to the increasing…