I will start with a general impression of the book six chapters in. First, I thought that his book would be more analysis based, similar to “Killing Civilians”, but to my surprise, Suny assumed a more descriptive structure, much like a history textbook, which at times could be overwhelming, especially for someone like me, who was unfamiliar with the general specifics of the Armenian Genocide. While Suny did provide a simplified recapitulation of the genocide in his introduction, I feel as though the information he provided quickly disappeared following the first few pages of the first chapter—but then again, this feeling might just be a result of my lack of background knowledge.
I thought Suny did a thorough job illustrating how events occurring within the Ottoman Empire contribute to the creation of false narratives “Armenian treachery” and thus cause hate to burrow into the hearts of ordinary people. His description of this process is relevant in regards to our current situation with Muslims and Islamic terrorism, with certain people in power, namely Islamaphobes, who exaggerate terrorist attacks and misinformation to convince and exploit otherwise the fear of their citizens to alienate and/or persecute non-violent Muslims because they [Muslims] are deemed to be “unpatriotic”, “homicidal” because of the actions of those who claim to be a part of their religion. In my opinion, it is unfortunate that our leaders manipulate our emotions and use them to advance their own ideology, in effect depriving others of their ability to decide their emotions based on fact and contributing to the spread of hate based on ignorance. And this trend applies to all historically marginalized groups such as Latin, Japanese, African, LGBTQ, etc. Americans. And one thing that I wish could happen is that everyone could take their opinions from the truth instead of from the self-serving lies of someone else. And unfortunately, in the Ottoman empire, the press was heavily censored by the government so there was little truth allowed to be disseminated to the public.
If you would like to have more background knowledge than I did on the Armenian Genocide, here is a video for you visual and auditory learners and a reading for you visual learners. For the kinesthetic learners, I’ve got nothing for you. Sorry: