“They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else” A History of the Armenian Genocides – Chapter 1-6

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In “They can live in the Desert but Nowhere Else” A History of the Armenian Genocide there is detailed explanations of the Armenia Genocide, in terms of the different cultures, the gradual start of the genocides, and the reasoning for the violence. Most of this violence occurred from envy of different classes, especially when the lower class started to have a better organized and thriving society than the upper class. This cause doesn’t surprise me, because arguments over classes (or races) occur today.

One quote that describes where these arguments and beginnings of violence occurs relates the empires, on page 8 it states “Empires were almost always built on principles of hierarchy, inequality, and institutionalized difference”. ┬áIt could be inferred that these inequalities between the Ottoman’s and Armenians would build up to an violent end, especially after envy caused the Ottoman’s to view the Armenians as “loyal and commercially endowed” to “dangerous and disloyal” (49).

As the build up to the genocide occurred there were moments of false hope, such as the changing and renewing of the constitution, but still a continuous feeling of doubt. Also, hate towards the Armenians grew as they were framed to be the true cause of their own deaths. The news would lie about Armenian’s actions, such as stating they blew up a mosque, to justify the killings. This lengthy process building up to the Armenian genocide surprised me, but also amazed me about how much jealousy and envy impact humans actions.

Lastly, the first six chapters of the book concludes with the idea that the Turks will now start “Turkification”. This decision was made after years of differences in reform, politics, and power with almost every country being somewhat involved with the empire and the situations in the empire at that time. The Turks decided “Turkish race is the foundation stone of the Ottoman Empire…. In its origins the Ottoman Empire is a Turkish creation” (207). I am excited to continue learning about this topic, despite the violence and genocide that I will be reading about next, this topic is fairly new to me and I like learning about the deep roots that end up leading to this genocide.


What causes humans to be competitive? Is this competitive nature related to violence?

If the Armenians never rebelled would the Armenian genocide still have occurred?

What caused the rise of empires? What caused the fall of empires?

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