As I finished this book “They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else” A History of the Armenian Genocides, I fond myself in a repeat of the same information I read about again and again. It is a tragedy to read about genocides, but these readings do not impact me as much as they used to. I have become accustomed to reading about the violence at this point. It seems as though every culture follows a similar pattern to these killings, there’s the rape, the gradual start with increasingly more violence, then the mass murders and graves full of stick thin bodies that were shot or starved to death.
Despite this repetitiveness, the quotes that each book has always grips me the most. Also, each genocide always has something somewhat different from the last that was read about. But, in this book the quote that struck me the most was on page 235. This quote described the treatment of some Armenians, it stated “kicked me in the face and shot my husband with six bullets… ordered that the corpses be spread with excrement. In the following days the dogs ate the corpses”. The disrespect of deceased people will always surprise me, and these personal accounts and wittiness of the violence make me think about the situation more and understand the victims pain.
I believe that the Armenian genocide was one of the more interesting genocides to read about. The extremely gradual occurrence, taking place through years of race and religious conflicts, is fascinating. Also, the support from the Young Turks, and the belief that some people have today of this genocide as a “military necessity” also make it more interesting to learn about. This genocide, with both its similarities and uniqueness, was a very page turning historical event to discover. I couldn’t help but to compare this “military necessity” to the actions of the USA in Hiroshima.
I want to end this blog post on a quote in the conclusion of the book that I believe represents genocides, or even represents events that occur today. “The people is like a garden. We are supposed to be its gardeners! First the bad shoots are to be cut. And then the scion is to be grafted” (357).
How many genocides have occurred through not direct killing, but through isolation, starving, dehydration, etc? Do cultures view this as more moral?
Why has the man always been viewed differently, more independently, as women and children? Why do men always get targeted, and sometimes even shot in isolation? How does this change the extent of the violence and killing?
Is the class system in the Ottoman Empire equivalent to separation of races today?