Why are some genocides incessantly remembered while others are tossed to the trash heap of history? In ‘Forgotten Genocides: The Sin of Silence’, airing April 23, RT America asks these questions and more.
The Armenian Genocide left a million and a half dead Christians littered across the remains of the Ottoman Empire. But it took a century for the United States to formally call these events a genocide. So what changed?
“Geopolitics is king,” said RT producer and historian Nebojsa Malic. Turkey was once NATO’s bulwark against the Soviet Union, but by the time of recognition of the genocide in 2019, the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had irked the United States by buying Russian weapons and invading northern Syria.
The Armenian community was jubilant about achieving recognition, but not everyone believes the situation on the ground will change. Armenian Archbishop Vicken Aykazian says what is happening today “is a continuous genocide, until they stop it.”
While the Armenian Genocide has finally been recognized, another massacre has been aggressively forgotten. The murder of a half million Orthodox Serbs, Jews, and Roma during World War II by Croatian fascists (“Ustasha”) is little known in the West. But the fact of the genocide is without dispute.
So why recognize the Armenian Genocide but ignore another equally valid and historically factual massacre in the Balkans? The answer is in geopolitics, again. In the words of Serbian activist Dragana Tomasevic, governments show little “respect for the victims and their descendants.”
This lack of respect translated into a brutal US-led coalition war against the remnants of Yugoslavia following its breakup in the 1990s. The Serbs were labeled enemies; thus the Croatians, Bosnian Muslims, and Albanians became the victims. Of course the narrative of the Serbian Genocide in World War II put the Serbs in the place of victims, and this wouldn’t do for the propaganda war that accompanied the aerial bombardments of Serbia.
“It was right about the time the US recognized the Armenian Genocide that I learned about the death camp for Serbs at Jasenovac,” said author of the documentary and RT producer Dr. Joseph Ricci. “I kept asking myself, why are we recognizing one genocide and pretending like another one never happened… and could there be some ongoing today that we are actively ignoring?”
The problem of forgotten genocides and the sins of silence that accompany them is indeed happening at this very moment. According to Dr. Joseph Khalil, a Lebanese Christian and refugee, what is happening with Christians in the Middle East after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq has been a “genocide” for sure. Will the future see another forgotten genocide with the disappearance of Christians from the Middle East, their original homeland?
Watch ‘Forgotten Genocides’ on RT America, airing April 23, to learn more.
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