Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Turkey? More like Stupid-o! (part 1)

As some of you may remember Tasha and I served missions in Armenia. And also as some of you may remember, no one cares about Armenia. So you can imagine our surprise when, as part of the the "Diverse Voices" Film and Discussion Series put on at the City Library, Tuesday's film was about....ARMENIA! It was specifically about the Armenian Genocide and as so, the documentary was creatively named: The Armenian Genocide (though just to prove no one cares about Armenia, I couldn't find a web site or any information on the whole internet about the film itself...roast on Armenians!).

But the KUED site summed it up like this:
The International Association of Genocide Scholars affirms that the number of Armenian deaths at the hands of the Ottoman Turks during World War I was more than a million. Featuring extensive never-before-seen footage, this program shares one of the largely untold stories of the 20th century, detailing what happened and why. The documentary also explains why, to this day, the Turkish government denies that the Armenian genocide took place.

So yeah, it was a pretty big, huge, awful deal. The Turkish government sent all the strong bodied Armenian men to the army where they were actually killed, then they killed all the intellectuals and professional men in Constantinople, and then they marched all the woman and children through the desert and mountains until they died. Oh, and anyone who didn't die in one of the first three ways was killed some other way. And since Turkey claims it didn't happen Armenians are still pretty upset about it. And Turkey is stupid and I'd rather cut of a finger than ever go there. I know that isn't a nice thing to say, but Hello Dumbs! You can't systematically try to exterminate a whole race and then deny it! That part makes me furious. In fact, it makes me almost as furious as genocide makes me.

Afterwards there was a Q & A with Professor Keith David Watenpaugh who studies Middle Eastern culture and religion...and he's married to an Armenian, so he totally scored points with the couple old Armenian grandmas in the audience. He talked a lot about genocide in general and how it keeps happening in the world. He brought up the interesting point that the Armenian Genocide is so important to study because as genocides have happened other places (oh you know, like Darfur for example), more often the way these exterminations are actually carried out are more similar to the way the Turkish government did it than the way Hitler did it (Hitler is also stupid).

As of right now, the American government doesn't officially recognize the Armenian Genocide because they get heat from Turkey whenever it comes up, but 37 states have recognized it, though unfortunately Utah isn't one of those. I know what you're thinking- who cares if a state recognizes the Armenian Genocide of 1915? And probably most people don't, but I care about the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and so does Tasha (and so does this weird-o crazy guy at the film last night, but that is another story...), so we figure some investigating and some questioning and some letter writing should fix that up and it's something that we can do to show that you know, 2 people do care about Armenia.

It was heavy stuff, but really great too. During the film I kept finding my thoughts getting caught up in thinking about genocide as it's happened in other places in the world, and about what I know and saw specifically with Armenia and Armenians, and about the heartache of the generations that follow a people who have been so deeply wounded. And that led to thinking about the Atonement and healing and such and while I don't know if I have any concise thoughts gathered yet, it's still all milling around in my head, so I hope I can make some sense outside of myself about it eventually.

And since this post has been about serious things, tomorrow I will post pictures of us going to dinner after the film because dinner pictures = yay!


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