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A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (Anglais) Broché – 21 août 2007


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A Shameful Act In 1915, the Turkish government systematically organized the wholesale slaughter of a complete race, the Armenians. Under the cover of World War-I, through the secret organization of unofficial gangs of Kurds, released prisoners, German officers and Turks who had lost their lands in the war against Balkans, over 1 million Armenians were murdered. Full description


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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Very helpful 26 janvier 2013
Par Rudyard - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
The reviews I read seem very partisan. I can appreciate a bias in Akcam's writing: the Armenian seizure of the Banc Ottoman and its effect on public opinion in Constantinople get very little attention, for example. But Akcam is very careful in the details he presents - and they are comprehensive - and he puts them together in a way that makes what happened quite clear: The Young Turks regarded the existence of a large and subjugated Armenian minority with aspirations of self-determination as a threat to the territory they claimed as their own, so they destroyed the Armenian population, systematically. The responses one hears - that Turks also suffered, sometimes at the hands of Armenians; that Turks are not bad people; that others have done bad things (the destruction of native Americans by the US and Canada, for example) - are reasonable, but they don't change the fact that this was a strategic genocide.

The book is replete with detail - so much so that it's sometimes it's hard to keep all the names straight. For this reason, the narrative isn't as reader-friendly as it might be. But without the detail the author's conclusion about Turkish responsibility would be less convincing, so I think the detail is actually necessary.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A needed, thorough study of available documents 1 novembre 2013
Par D. D. LeDu - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Any work on the Ottomans and Armenians in 1915-1916 runs into three major problems: Turkish denial, Armenian intransigence, and lack of documentation. Taner Akçam attempts to address the third. In doing so, he has become the hero of the second and the victim of the first.

I have traveled extensively in Turkey, speak some Turkish, and love the Turkish people. I am always dismayed, though, at the lack of understanding many Turks have of their own history. When the alphabet was changed from Arabic to Latin in 1928, most Turks became instantly "illiterate". After a generation, there were few who could read their own history or the documents that it produced. Turkish school books were written to sanitize and idealize the founding of the Republic. The Armenian "genocide" was rewritten to mean a period in which Turks were victims of Armenian terror and massacres. I have visited museums in Turkey that proclaim that the only "genocide" was that attempted on the Turks by the Armenians.

On the other hand, the most vocal of those publicly taking the Armenian side are almost hysterical in their hatred of all things Turkish. They vituperously attack writers who point out that, indeed, there were many Armenians who sided with the Russians, or that there were some Armenian terrorist groups, or that Ottoman incompetence created many of the problems, or that not all Turks agreed with the actions against the Armenians.

Akçam has made an admirable effort to sort through the available Turkish documents (most of which have been cleansed by the various governments - Ottoman, Young Turk and Republic). He also reviewed German, French, English, Russian and American documents to compare with the Turkish. It is unsatisfactory in that there are gaps and discrepancies that leave the reader yearning for something more definite. Still, his work confirms the extent of the genocide and the active part the government played.

When I first began to delve into the subject of Ottoman Armenians I tended to attribute most of the horrors to government incompetence. I read a German officer's account of waking one morning to find that there was no activity. Upon investigating, he found that the depleted Turkish division he was visting had all froze to death overnight. A government that incompetent with respect to its own soldiers can hardly be expected to be more efficient in its treatment those of its citizens that it considered traitors and inferiors.

I have come to understand that beyond this incompetence there was a political motive for what occurred. After the loss of most of its territory and population, the Turkish politicians of the early 20th Century determined that further partition would eventually relegate all of the Turkish people to be minorities in new nations ruled by those that the Turks had previously treated with great harshness. The solution in their minds was to populate Anatolia with Muslim refugees from lost territories and to evict or eliminate the non-Turkish, non-Muslim elements.

Akçam's work shows that the Young Turks had a deliberate policy to reduce the percentage of non-Turks to 5% to 10% in all regions. This was to be accomplished by deportation and relocation. The excess was to die.

This whole subject is discouraging to me, beyond the horrible fact of loss of life and the dispersion of a culture. I deeply believe that the Republic of Turkey cannot solve many of its own problems without facing the truth of its past, and without realizing that its own definition of "nationhood" is its greatest obstacle to joining the modern world. For example, it is a treasonous in Turkey to speak or write disparagingly of the Republic. Since the ruling politicians represent the Republic, to criticize them can become a crime at the politicians' whim. This has created an environment in which discussion occurs within in a surreal atmosphere in which debaters must speak in euphemisms. Direct debate is not only discouraged, but often criminal.

Turkey's greatest chance of addressing its past lies with its young people. I am truly impressed by the educated young folk I meet when traveling in Turkey. They are by no means unanimous, but a growing number are taking a more objective look at their history and Turkey's place in the world. Any optimism I have rests on my faith in Turkey's young men and women.
8 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An important and needed work 9 mai 2012
Par Arresto V. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book provides a succinct and clear summary of the Armenian genocide, and its consequences for thinking about national responsibility. The author's subsequent books, The Young Turks' Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012) and Judgment at Istanbul: The Armenian Genocide Trials, with Vahakn Dadrian (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011) are more detailed and probably better suited for those readers who are interested in the historiographical details of research on this genocide.

Read this book.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Essential book 11 septembre 2012
Par Minnesotan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Prof. Akcam's work is an essential book in the field. I use it for teaching the topic in general, and also to discuss the politics of history and how evidence runs up against official narratives of the type espoused by the Turkish government. Prof. Akcam has done the discipline and the world a great service with this work.
3 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Genocide, hidden and denied! 8 février 2014
Par Geraldtonjjeeper - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Under the cover of WWI the Turkish (Ottoman) government set about deliberately wiping the Armenian people from the face of the earth! With careful planning they were able to kill about 2,000,000 Armenians.....primarily in a religious pogrom......but also under the guise of resisting an insurgency, a fight for independence for a people who had been subject to repression for several hundred years, not only by the Turks but by countless other nations over millenia. Living as they do at the meeting of Asia and Europe they had been trampled by invaders since the days of the Persian Empire!
As the Ottoman Empire crumbled, losing the Balkan states, then the north African part of their empire the Turks felt threatened when the Armenians started agitating for independence. Using "Turkish" identity as an excuse, they very nearly wiped Armenia and it's population from the map!
This is another story of how nationalism, patriotism and religion can be used to justify the demonisation and objectification of a whole population and allow one group of people to attempt to wipe out another.
This has happened throughout history, but so many times in just the 20th Century!

Will we never learn?
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