WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES, July 9, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — The 20th century was an age of enormous genocide. More people have died in genocides committed after 1945 than in all the wars since.
Dr. Roger Winston Smith is a Professor Emeritus of Government at the College of William & Mary. He is one of only a small number of scholars who helped pioneer the field of genocide studies.
“How is it possible for human beings to commit these terrible acts?” asks Dr. Smith. “The problem of genocide is that it is a collective crime, requiring sustained organization and abstraction. Only human beings commit genocide. It's not one of the qualities we share with animals. It's undeniably human.”
Dr. Smith is a distinguished authority on the denial of the Armenian genocide of 1915.
Approximately 40,000 Armenians still live in Turkey today. There used to be 2 million. In 1912, the Ottoman Empire had begun to dwindle in size and influence having lost all of its European territories through war and revolt. There was this great fear that the empire was collapsing. In searching for different ideologies that could revive and sustain the empire, they cast the Turk as the embodiment of the empire sparking a rise in nationalism. As this nationalist fervor intensified, the feeling was that if Armenians had some degree of autonomy, the empire would be destroyed, and Turkey would be no more.
“The European territories the empire had lost were on the periphery, but the Armenians lived in the heartland of Turkey. They were second-class citizens with fewer rights looking toward some degree of equality,” explains Dr. Smith. “As a culture that resolves problems through force rather than through negotiation or inclusion, the early massacres were an attempt to keep Armenians in their place. It was repression. By 1915, it wasn’t repression anymore, it was elimination.”
The radicalization of the Young Turk movement led to the seizing and killing of intellectuals as well as the deportations of men, women and children into the desert where they were killed or starved to death.
“So much of the denial of genocide and mass atrocities that have been committed relies on counterinsurgency,” says Dr. Smith. “There are scholars writing whole books saying there was no genocide, they were just putting down an incipient revolt. It was all self-defense. That's part of the denial.”
A founding member of International Association of Genocide Scholars, Dr. Smith remains deeply committed to educating new generations of scholars to study the problem of genocide through prevention and tolerance.
“One of the reasons genocide studies is so interesting to us is because it gives us an understanding of what's going on today,” says Dr. Smith. “Victims of this kind of hideous crime—some would call it the ultimate crime—need to stand together and show solidarity and support. When you do that, you have a more convincing voice.”
CUTV News Radio will feature Dr. Roger Winston Smith in an interview with Jim Masters on July 11th at 3pm EDT.
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Source: EIN Presswire