In this chapter, Naimark discusses the two major genocides that occurred in the beginning half of the twentieth century: The Holocaust in 1936 to 1945 and the Armenian Genocide in 1915 to 1917. I really have nothing to say about this chapter.
Why you ask? Because I have heard of these genocides before, although his description of the Armenian Genocide was a nice summarization and explanation of the nearly four hundred pages of They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else. I did notice in my second skim that Naimark fails to mention the Rape of Nanjing, an atrocity committed by the Japanese at the Japanese-Chinese border in which women were raped and family members were forced to rape each other and their dead family members, in addition to committing mass killings. I wish that he would have exposed his readers to that and other genocides that occurred under the cover of World War II.
Otherwise, I have nothing to say about chapter 5. Naimark’s explanation of the characteristics of modernity which facilitate genocide and made it deadlier. I thought that he could have discussed in more depth the role of trains and steamboats in the mobilization of militaries for genocide in the same way that he identified telegraphs, teletypes, and telephones.
In other news, the Rohingya in Myanmar are being massacred by the Burmese military and civilians acting in tangent with security forces (Gowen 2017). The Rohingya are a Muslim minority group in Myanmar that have no citizen status and are unable to leave Myanmar without a permit. Anyway, these atrocities are drawing international consternation towards Myanmar’s prime minister, Aung San Suu Kyi’s, who has stayed relatively silent on the matter (Gowen 2017).
I was discussing this topic last week in International Relations Organization club and exploring the various avenues of which the international community could respond, some which include military intervention—which I think is a terrible idea—economic sanctions, and UN resolutions. In the course of this discussion—which got pretty lively, I might add—I realized that international relations is not easy, and despite all of the laws being made and the sanctions being thrown down, people are going to do whatever they want. And in reading the books in this course, I realize what bullshit artists the leaders of this country were, especially Talat and Hitler. And in exploring these crises, I feel almost hopeless because there is no avenue, short of invading a country and creating even more drama, that can be pursued that deters or mitigates the situation. And while I’m unsure about Suu Kyi’s role in the matter, I’m pretty sure that despite whatever measure the international community takes, there will still be a handful of rogue apples that will continue to persecute the Rohingya, whether or not she takes a stand against them. I just hope that she and others will be brave enough to stand up for the Rohingya, damning the consequences.
If you would like to read more, here’s an article: