Genocide and Rock

Still too busy to think much, but I just read this:

BBC in league with a rock band to broadcast a documentary about genocide, starting with the Armenian massacre

Source: Press Release — Total Assault LLC (10-10-06)

In Iraq, Reagan did not want the horrors of Saddam Hussein’s massacre against the Kurds to come out, because then he would have to do something to stop him. In Bosnia, world television coverage of the genocide convinced the international community to step in…but only after 200,000 had been murdered.

In Rwanda, Bill Clinton did not want the true horrors to come out …because then he would have to do something. And now, in Darfur, George Bush has finally declared the desolation of the Southern Sudan a “genocide”—yet refused to do what it takes to stop it.

Why? Because, once again, as in 1915, when the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, first reported the wholesale extermination of the Armenian population by the Ottoman Turks in Anatolia, it was denied so the United States would not be forced to act. That reaction gave Hitler his impetus for the Holocaust: “Who remembers the Armenians?” he declared in 1939, before ordering the murder of 6 million European Jews.

In “Screamers,” Garapedian and the multi-platinum selling, Grammy-winning Armenian-American rock band System of a Down trace the history of modern-day genocide from the fertile “Holy Mountains” of Anatolia to Darfur … in a documentary as shattering as it is powerful, laced with seven of their most famous songs from “Holy Mountains” to “P.L.U.C.K.” to the #1 hit “B.Y.O.B.” that illuminate why the world’s inability to recognize the Turks’ annihilation of the Armenians leads directly to Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. And shows us we can stop it. (You can read the whole press release here).

Genocide is a subject I spend a lot of time on in my world history classes during the spring. One of the more powerful ways students connect with these events (or any historical topic for that matter) is through some sort of individual connection. To have a rock band lie System of a Down with a personal link to an event like the Armenian Genocide could be powerful. I’ll have to watch the documentary to see if I can use it in the classroom.

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