The modern world contains many inconveniences and annoyances. Between grand-standing politicians, annoying TV personalities, and rising gas prices, it seems like there’s no shortage of ways in which society can bring me down. That being said, nothing quite sticks in my craw like the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.
For instance, it was recently reported that Steven Spielberg has withdrawn as an artistic adviser to the 2008 Olympics, due to China’s inaction in regards to Darfur. Way to go genocide! Now he’ll probably be replaced with Michael Bay or something, and the Opening Ceremonies will culminate in the torch being lit by an RPG fired by Josh Hartnett.
Unfortunately, genocide is nothing new, and although historians have debated about when exactly the first genocide occurred, it is generally agreed upon that the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917 was the first genocide of modern times. The genocide began when the Ottoman Empire was defeated by Russian forces in the early days of World War I, and the Ottoman military blamed the loss on Armenians who collaborated with Russian forces. Now right now you’re all probably thinking: “They were collaborating with the enemy. They had to be destroyed. What else could they have done?”. Now normally I’d agree with you, but here’s the thing: THEY WEREN’T REALLY TO BLAME FOR THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE’S LOSSES. THEY WERE JUST BEING SCAPEGOATED BY THE MILITARY TO DEFLECT BLAME FROM THEMSELVES. All of a sudden genocide doesn’t sound like such a good idea, huh? Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed just because the Turkish military didn’t want to accept responsibility for their failures. Talk about an overreaction!
Another annoying thing about genocide is that it’s so awful that other atrocities get overlooked. People may suspect that the days before genocide were a simple, peaceful time. However, this simply isn’t the case. Society was replete with all sorts of terrible crimes that struck horror in the heart of men. Things such as stagecoach robbery, pretty girls being tied to railroad tracks, and muttonchopicide (the forcible removal of mutton chops). However, nowadays, you don’t hear as much about these things because the public can only process so much horror before it grows indifferent. But does that make a man being ambushed by a band of Comanches any less tragic?
Helpful Hint: To find the nearest genocide, go to a local college campus and find a liberal arts major. He/she can give you a long-winded spiel about the nature of the conflict, and make you feel guilty about not donating money to help.
Fun Fact: Everyone knows about the Holocaust, but did you know that there have been plenty of other not-nearly-as-interesting genocides? For example, in Rwanda in the 90’s, tensions between the Hutu majority and Tutsi minority escalated to the point where…oh fuck it, it’s too boring.
Silver lining: The ending to “Future Legend” off of Diamond Dogs, where David Bowie goes “This ain’t rock n’ roll! THIS IS GENOCIDE!!” is pretty sweet.
Author’s Note: Although Kate Nash has no known ties to genocide, I found the picture irresistibly adorable.