"It's not a coincidence that the political party that carried out the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, was called the Committee for Union & Progress. 'Union' (racial/ethnic/religious/national) and 'Progress' (economic determinism) have long been the twin coordinates of genocide."
~ Arhundhati Roy.
~ Arhundhati Roy.
Indian novelist and activist Arundhati Roy on genocide and armed resistance:
I never met Hrant Dink, a misfortune that will be mine for time to come. From what I know of him, of what he wrote, what he said and did, how he lived his life, I know that had I been here in Istanbul a year ago I would have been among the one hundred thousand people who walked with his coffin in dead silence through the wintry streets of this city, with banners saying, "We are all Armenians", "We are all Hrant Dink". Perhaps I'd have carried the one that said, "One and a half million plus one".
[ . . . ]
The day I arrived in Istanbul, I walked the streets for many hours, and as I looked around, envying the people of Istanbul their beautiful, mysterious, thrilling city, a friend pointed out to me young boys in white caps who seemed to have suddenly appeared like a rash in the city. He explained that they were expressing their solidarity with the child-assassin who was wearing a white cap when he killed Hrant.
The battle with the cap-wearers of Istanbul, of Turkey, is not my battle, it's yours. I have my own battles to fight against other kinds of cap-wearers and torchbearers in my country. In a way, the battles are not all that different. There is one crucial difference, though. While in Turkey there is silence, in India there's celebration, and I really don't know which is worse.
[ . . . ]
It's an old human habit, genocide is. It has played a sterling part in the march of civilisation. Amongst the earliest recorded genocides is thought to be the destruction of Carthage at the end of the Third Punic War in 149 BC. The word itself-genocide-was coined by Raphael Lemkin only in 1943, and adopted by the United Nations in 1948, after the Nazi Holocaust. Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines it as:
"Any of the following Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [or] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
Since this definition leaves out the persecution of political dissidents, real or imagined, it does not include some of the greatest mass murders in history. Personally I think the definition by Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, authors of The History and Sociology of Genocide, is more apt.
Genocide, they say, "is a form of one-sided mass killing in which a state or other authority intends to destroy a group, as that group and membership in it are defined by the perpetrator." Defined like this, genocide would include, for example, the monumental crimes committed by Suharto in Indonesia (1 million) Pol Pot in Cambodia (1.5 million), Stalin in the Soviet Union (60 million), Mao in China (70 million).
All things considered, the word extermination, with its crude evocation of pests and vermin, of infestations, is perhaps the more honest, more apposite word. When a set of perpetrators faces its victims, in order to go about its business of wanton killing, it must first sever any human connection with it. It must see its victims as sub-human, as parasites whose eradication would be a service to society.
[ . . . ]
Genocide Denial is a radical variation on the theme of the old, frankly racist, bloodthirsty triumphalism. It was probably evolved as an answer to the somewhat patchy dual morality that arose in the 19th century, when Europe was developing limited but new forms of democracy and citizens' rights at home while simultaneously exterminating people in their millions in her colonies. Suddenly countries and governments began to deny or attempt to hide the genocides they had committed. "Denial is saying, in effect," says Professor Robert Jay Lifton, author of Hiroshima and America: Fifty Years of Denial, "that the murderers did not murder. The victims weren't killed. The direct consequence of denial is that it invites future genocide."
Of course today, when genocide politics meets the Free Market, official recognition-or denial-of holocausts and genocides is a multinational business enterprise. It rarely has anything to do to with historical fact or forensic evidence. Morality certainly does not enter the picture. It is an aggressive process of high-end bargaining, that belongs more to the World Trade Organisation than to the United Nations.
The currency is geopolitics, the fluctuating market for natural resources, that curious thing called futures trading and plain old economic and military might.
In other words, genocides are often denied for the same set of reasons as genocides are prosecuted. Economic determinism marinated in racial/ethnic/religious/national discrimination. Crudely, the lowering or raising of the price of a barrel of oil (or a tonne of uranium), permission granted for a military base, or the opening up of a country's economy could be the decisive factor when governments adjudicate on whether a genocide did or did not occur.
Or indeed whether genocide will or will not occur. And if it does, whether it will or will not be reported, and if it is, then what slant that reportage will take. For example, the death of two million in the Congo goes virtually unreported. Why? And was the death of a million Iraqis under the sanctions regime, prior to the US invasion, genocide (which is what Denis Halliday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, called it) or was it 'worth it', as Madeleine Albright, the US ambassador to the UN, claimed? It depends on who makes the rules. Bill Clinton? Or an Iraqi mother who has lost her child?
[ . . . ]
The history of genocide tells us that it's not an aberration, an anomaly, a glitch in the human system.
[ . . . ]
Impunity is an essential prerequisite for genocidal killing.
India has a great tradition of granting impunity to mass killers. I could fill volumes with the details.
In a democracy, for impunity after genocide, you have to "apply through proper channels". Procedure is everything. In the case of several massacres, the lawyers that the Gujarat government appointed as public prosecutors had actually already appeared for the accused. Several of them belonged to the RSS or the VHP and were openly hostile to those they were supposedly representing. Survivor witnesses found that, when they went to the police to file reports, the police would record their statements inaccurately, or refuse to record the names of the perpetrators. In several cases, when survivors had seen members of their families being killed (and burned alive so their bodies could not be found), the police would refuse to register cases of murder.
[ . . . ]
The struggle for lebensraum, Friedrich Ratzel said after closely observing the struggle between Native Indians and their European colonisers in North America, is an annihilating struggle. Annihilation doesn't necessarily mean the physical extermination of people-by bludgeoning, beating, burning, bayoneting, gassing, bombing or shooting them (Except sometimes. Particularly when they try to put up a fight. Because then they become Terrorists).
[ . . . ]
People who have taken to arms have done so with full knowledge of what the consequences of that decision will be. They have done so knowing that they are on their own. They know that the new laws of the land criminalise the poor and conflate resistance with terrorism. (Peaceful activists are ogws-overground workers.) They know that appeals to conscience, liberal morality and sympathetic press coverage will not help them now. They know no international marches, no globalised dissent, no famous writers will be around when the bullets fly.
[ . . . ]
The Prime Minister has declared that the Maoist resistance is the "single largest internal security threat". There have even been appeals to call out the army. The media is agog with breathless condemnation.
Here's a typical newspaper report. Nothing out of the ordinary. Stamp out the Naxals, it is called.
This government is at last showing some sense in tackling Naxalism. Less than a month ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked state governments to "choke" Naxal infrastructure and "cripple" their activities through a dedicated force to eliminate the "virus". It signalled a realisation that Naxalism must be stamped out through enforcement of law, rather than wasteful expense on development.
"Choke". "Cripple". "Virus". "Infested". "Eliminate". "Stamp Out".
Yes. The idea of extermination is in the air. And people believe that faced with extermination, they have the right to fight back. By any means necessary.
The entire thing is brilliant and is highly applicable to the Kurdish situation in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. Read it all at ZNet.
For more on the legitimacy of armed resistance against colonialist and/or racist states, see UN Resolution 3103 (.pdf).
Meanwhile, the modern day Committee for Union & Progress meets this week in Washington (Thanks to the Saker for the link):
Gen. Ergin Saygun, deputy chief of the Turkish General Staff, will hold talks with Gen. James Cartwrigtht, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, later this week mainly to discuss intelligence sharing between the United States and the Turkish Armed Forces in the fight against PKK terrorists, officials said.Saygun is also expected to meet U.S. Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman and Gen. John Craddock, commander of U.S. forces in Europe (EUCOM) and supreme commander of NATO Allied Forces in Europe, as part of anti-PKK talks. EUCOM coordinates the U.S. military's intelligence-sharing mechanism with its Turkish counterparts.In the wake of the PKK's attacks on Turkish targets that escalated in September and early October, Ankara warned that it might send its army into neighboring northern Iraq where the PKK has bases.
[ . . . ]
Saygun, Cartwright and Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the coalition forces in Iraq, have been designated as point men in coordinating the U.S. and Turkish armed forces' anti-PKK work.Today and Wednesday, Saygun and Mary Beth Long, U.S. assistant secretary of defense for international security, will co-chair the annual meetings of the U.S.-Turkish High-Level Defense Group, a mechanism used by senior officials and generals to review the military and defense relationship of the two countries.
[ . . . ]
Saygun is scheduled to return to Turkey on Feb. 7 after visiting several U.S. bases throughout the country.
Remember that the intensification of operations in September was the direct result of Abdullah Gül's visit to Turkish military bases in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, proving the close cooperation between the AKP and the Turkish military in its joint program of continued genocide of the Kurdish people.
Also, the Saker is carrying an article from Dissident Voice by Gary Leupp on Sibel Edmonds and focusing on Marc Grossman, to include a timeline of key dates in Sibel's story from 2001 to present. Reading the timeline, you'll see that Grossman is far more of a neocon than he's let on.