01.05.2006 23:54 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Two recently published books "The Armenian
Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide" by Guenter Lewy
and "The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and
the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians" by Donald Bloxham attempt
tackle the complex subject: The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey:
a Disputed Genocide strives to demonstrate how elusive history can
be when scrutinized closely; The Great Game of Genocide explores
the causes and legacies of the 1915 massacres in an international
context. Guenter Lewy, professor emeritus of political science at
the University of Massachusetts-Amherst asserts that scholars on
both sides of the debate have used data selectively. It should be
noted that similar accusations have been leveled at him: in 2005 Lewy
published articles summarizing his Armenian massacre findings in the
Middle East Quarterly and in the journal Commentary - findings for
which he was taken to task by the eminent Armenian genocide scholar
Vahakn Dadrian. Dadrian accused Lewy, who does not speak Turkish or
Armenian, or read Ottoman Turkish, of being out of his depth; Lewy
riposted; and the scholarly "chewing" goes on.

Lewy's digressions help color in that turbulent period: [p.57]
"If the Turkish authorities were unable or unwilling to provide
adequate clothing, decent hygienic conditions, and appropriate
medical attention for their Muslim soldiers, why should one expect
them to be concerned about the fate of the Armenian deportees, whom
they regarded as a fifth column?" And: [p.61] "...A government as
callous about the suffering of its own population as was the Young
Turk regime could hardly be expected to be very concerned about the
terrible human misery that would rise from deporting its Armenian
population, rightly or wrongly suspected of treason."

In The Great Game of Genocide, Donald Bloxham (a lecturer in 20th
century history at the University of Edinburgh) shows how the
"clean sweep" of 1915 was, in a sense, the culmination of a series
of tragic events.

Bloxham points to the fact that Ottoman Turks massacred masses of
Armenians not once but several times: throughout the empire in 1894-96,
and in Cilicia in 1909. By this time, 19th century Armenian communities
had gained exposure to western education and philosophical trends
- such as nationalism - and had grown increasingly restive under
Ottoman rule. Nor was 1915 the end to violence: Turks and Armenians
continued to commit atrocities against each other for the next few
years, with no group enjoying a monopoly on suffering. The Great
Game of Genocide examines the international context of the Armenian
tragedy, and the response (or non-response) by other countries
to what was looming as an ethnic disaster of unprecedented scale:
[P.5] "...Great power involvement in Ottoman internal affairs was
a key element in exacerbating the Ottoman-Armenian dynamic towards
genocide while Turkish sensitivity about external intervention on
behalf of the Armenians - whether directed towards reforms before
1914 or independence after 1918 - was a vital contributory factor to
the emergence of denial," reported Eurasianet.