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An Inconvenient Genocide: Who Now Remembers the Armenians?

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The most controversial question that is still being asked about the First World War - was there an Armenian genocide? - will come to a head on 24 April 2015, when Armenians worldwide will commemorate its centenary and Turkey will deny that it took place, claiming that the deaths of over half of the Armenian race were justified. This has become a vital international issue. The most controversial question that is still being asked about the First World War - was there an Armenian genocide? - will come to a head on 24 April 2015, when Armenians worldwide will commemorate its centenary and Turkey will deny that it took place, claiming that the deaths of over half of the Armenian race were justified. This has become a vital international issue. Twenty national parliaments in democratic countries have voted to recognise the genocide, but Britain and the USA continue to equivocate for fear of alienating their NATO ally. Geoffrey Robertson QC condemns this hypocrisy, and in An Inconvenient Genocide he proves beyond reasonable doubt that the horrific events in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 constitute the crime against humanity that is today known as genocide. He explains how democracies can deal with genocide denial without infringing free speech, and makes a major contribution to understanding and preventing this worst of all crimes. His renowned powers of advocacy are on full display as he condemns all those - from Sri Lanka to the Sudan, from Old Anatolia to modern Syria and Iraq - who try to justify the mass murder of children and civilians in the name of military necessity or religious fervour.


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The most controversial question that is still being asked about the First World War - was there an Armenian genocide? - will come to a head on 24 April 2015, when Armenians worldwide will commemorate its centenary and Turkey will deny that it took place, claiming that the deaths of over half of the Armenian race were justified. This has become a vital international issue. The most controversial question that is still being asked about the First World War - was there an Armenian genocide? - will come to a head on 24 April 2015, when Armenians worldwide will commemorate its centenary and Turkey will deny that it took place, claiming that the deaths of over half of the Armenian race were justified. This has become a vital international issue. Twenty national parliaments in democratic countries have voted to recognise the genocide, but Britain and the USA continue to equivocate for fear of alienating their NATO ally. Geoffrey Robertson QC condemns this hypocrisy, and in An Inconvenient Genocide he proves beyond reasonable doubt that the horrific events in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 constitute the crime against humanity that is today known as genocide. He explains how democracies can deal with genocide denial without infringing free speech, and makes a major contribution to understanding and preventing this worst of all crimes. His renowned powers of advocacy are on full display as he condemns all those - from Sri Lanka to the Sudan, from Old Anatolia to modern Syria and Iraq - who try to justify the mass murder of children and civilians in the name of military necessity or religious fervour.

30 review for An Inconvenient Genocide: Who Now Remembers the Armenians?

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joël Linger

    An excellent read. I have read a couple of books on the Armenian Genocide now and this one is one of the best. It's expertly written and it never gets boring. Some of the books on this very important subject are a quite tedious read as the it is such a big and compex subject. But Robertson manages to tell it in a very compelling way. I've had the honour of interviewing Geoffrey not long ago and unfortunately his book didn't arrive in time for me to read it before the interview which is a shame. B An excellent read. I have read a couple of books on the Armenian Genocide now and this one is one of the best. It's expertly written and it never gets boring. Some of the books on this very important subject are a quite tedious read as the it is such a big and compex subject. But Robertson manages to tell it in a very compelling way. I've had the honour of interviewing Geoffrey not long ago and unfortunately his book didn't arrive in time for me to read it before the interview which is a shame. But i might get to talk to him again and there is a lot more to talk about. This book is a must-read especially if you're interested in human rights and/or the Armenian Genocide.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Araxie Altounian

    I highly recommend this book. Here is an internationally recognized human rights lawyer who examines the case of the Armenian genocide from a legal point of view, and makes that view accessible to the layperson.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Frumenty

    This is a very closely argued and persuasive book, if at times a little repetitive. An earlier reader of my public library copy annotated it with the words "Needs a good proofreader"; there are a small number of blips, the most egregious of which was to call the Sandakan death march (of Australian prisoners of war by their Japanese captors) the "Samarkand" death march, but it wasn't so bad that it bothered me. The book is not concerned with the history per se of the Armenian genocide of 1915 (tho This is a very closely argued and persuasive book, if at times a little repetitive. An earlier reader of my public library copy annotated it with the words "Needs a good proofreader"; there are a small number of blips, the most egregious of which was to call the Sandakan death march (of Australian prisoners of war by their Japanese captors) the "Samarkand" death march, but it wasn't so bad that it bothered me. The book is not concerned with the history per se of the Armenian genocide of 1915 (though a historical outline is provided for the sake of context), but with the legal and political dimensions of those events in contemporary times. I think it is fair to call it polemical, but polemic is no bad thing if the cause is just and the arguments are sound. Robertson is a British lawyer, a Queen's Counsel in fact, with extensive experience in international and human rights law at the highest levels. In this book he makes a number of simple points: There is ample documentary, photographic, and eyewitness evidence of the deportation, the massacres (by starvation and disease, as well as physical violence), the destruction of social and cultural assets, and the pillage of property, which were directed against the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915; It is the role of historians to consider the evidence and establish the facts; it is the role of lawyers, and only lawyers, to determine whether the facts justify the appellation "genocide"; The intent of the state to commit genocide can be proven in law in the absence of documentary evidence of intent, which rarely exists; the necessary evidence of intent may be entirely circumstantial, a demonstrable pattern of deliberate actions causing grievous harm to a specific people; Genocide is a crime against distinct racial or religious groups; persecution of homosexuals, or leftists, or Kulaks, or other non-racial non-religious groupings, do not constitute genocide; Genocide existed before it was given a name, but it was not a prosecutable offense in international law until the Genocide Convention of 1948; whether prosecutable as genocide or not, the events of 1915 are still genocide; The concept of a "crime against humanity" has existed in international law since before 1915, and a strong case could be made that the Ottoman Empire is guilty of such a crime, to wit the crime of "persecution"; Germany knew at the time about events in the Ottoman Empire and, though in a position of strong influence, did nothing; thus Germany was complicit, and bears some responsibility; For reasons of commercial, defense, and diplomatic advantage, British governments (and many others) avoid offending the sensitivities of Turkish governments by practicing "genocide equivocation"; the word "tragedy" is equivocation, the correct word is "crime"; Genocide deniers should not be penalized, except in such cases where denial stirs up hatred or civil unrest; laws that penalize genocide denial (as in Germany) and laws that penalize genocide affirmation (as in Turkey) both undermine free speech and do not serve the interest of the peoples affected by genocide, or contribute to reconciliation. This is a book worth reading, even if you don't think you need to be convinced, for the sake of clarifying your thoughts and arming you against the denialists and equivocators.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    While potentially tough for the layperson, Robertson works through the evidential and legal issues with his usual candour and clarity. Great read for me, as someone who knew very little on the topic.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dianna

    Amazing book. I advice everyone who interested in International Criminal law and Politics to read this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Robertson provides an in-depth exploration of the events of the Armenian genocide and how it quantifies as 'genocide' according to international law. He refutes a number of myths and assumptions surrounding the legal definition of genocide, providing various countries as case studies examining why they have not acknowledged the Armenian genocide as genocide. The first few chapters come across as somewhat repetitive. This may be because Robertson is trying to drill in a point, clearly outlining th Robertson provides an in-depth exploration of the events of the Armenian genocide and how it quantifies as 'genocide' according to international law. He refutes a number of myths and assumptions surrounding the legal definition of genocide, providing various countries as case studies examining why they have not acknowledged the Armenian genocide as genocide. The first few chapters come across as somewhat repetitive. This may be because Robertson is trying to drill in a point, clearly outlining that the events in 1915 were a genocide beyond reasonable doubt. However, it did become a little tedious at times as the chapters could have been reduced down to a few key sentences which would have also provided a stronger structure to the first half of the book. On the other hand, from chapter 5 onwards, the argumentative force of the book truly kicks in. With a step-by-step process, Robertson dismantles Turkish arguments against the claims to genocide. He also provides a thorough overview of British, Australian and American positions throughout the past century on the Armenian genocide while additionally providing possible future measures to be taken in order to reconcile this international dispute. Overall, I'd recommend this read for anyone with an interest in the Armenian genocide. It is rare to find such accessible literature addressing the legal concerns surround the genocide. Anyone with a basic understanding of the events would benefit from reading this book; no law degree required.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    'who now remembers?' was adolf hitler's question; he believed none did and was encouraged by that. geoffrey robertson does remeber, and seeks some form of justice, if only acceptance of the facts of this horror. he calmly demolishes the case of the genocide deniers, and offers a considered treatment of the relevant legal issues. beyond some repetition, i was disappointed by questions that were not addressed: what led those involved to act as they did? what was the effect on armenian culture? how 'who now remembers?' was adolf hitler's question; he believed none did and was encouraged by that. geoffrey robertson does remeber, and seeks some form of justice, if only acceptance of the facts of this horror. he calmly demolishes the case of the genocide deniers, and offers a considered treatment of the relevant legal issues. beyond some repetition, i was disappointed by questions that were not addressed: what led those involved to act as they did? what was the effect on armenian culture? how did this compare to other attempted genocides - including the obvious ones orchestrated by hitler. i'll look elsewhere for that, but i'm heartened by the existence of men like robertson and others he describes who challenged what took place.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Quite an interesting read that presents the facts of the Armenian Genocide case and also looks into international law and what can be done going forward to recognise it. Unfortunately I found some of it a bit repetitive but was glad to get a wider understanding of the issues around recognising the Armenian genocide.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    An incredibly important book that everyone should read. Makes me feel angry that the government of my country (the U.K) will not acknowledge it and that the government of Australia actively denies it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    He tells the story of the Armenian genocide, then much of the book is taken up with countering the denials and the legal status of genocide.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    An incredibly important discussion of the Armenian genocide and a condemnation of Western nations that have failed to recognize it. A bit dry at times, but nonetheless compelling.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

  13. 5 out of 5

    Liela

  14. 4 out of 5

    Henrique Soutinho

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heather Conyers

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jawaad

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  18. 4 out of 5

    A

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fideo

  20. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Berladean

  21. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gregory jacobs

  23. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mushegh Yekmalyan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jack O'Brien-Cairney

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cbsd library

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sean Harrison

  30. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

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