Readability

Forgot Not to Forget

by baldilocks

I’m sorry that I missed Armen­ian Geno­cide Remem­brance Day, April 24th. It’s usu­ally very dif­fi­cult for me to miss it, since I spend a lot of time in Glen­dale, CA — a city which has a high per­cent­age of cit­i­zens who are of Armen­ian descent. But I was at home most of the day, caught up in my own life and its issues.

A site which I read often posted a photo which was emblem­atic of what Turkey was try­ing to achieve when that coun­try, under the agency of the then-​nearly dead Ottoman Empire, attempted to wipe out the Arme­ni­ans. If you’ve never seen any of this par­tic­u­lar genocide’s pho­to­graphic evi­dence, con­sider this fair warning.

Photo.

A grand­daugh­ter of Armen­ian Geno­cide sur­vivors tries to detect the pat­tern of how geno­cides begin.

Per­haps most impor­tant to a geno­ci­dal plan is neu­tral­iz­ing any pos­si­ble sup­port for the vic­tims. The Ottoman gov­ern­ment main­tained a well-​coordinated pro­pa­ganda cam­paign that vil­i­fied the Arme­ni­ans in the eyes of their Turk­ish neigh­bors. In like man­ner, the Jews were demo­nized among their neigh­bors in Nazi Germany.

This sort of thing hap­pens in all mass killings, includ­ing those done for rea­sons other than eth­nic­ity. For exam­ple, in Stal­in­ist Rus­sia, sev­eral mil­lion peas­ant farm­ers in the Ukraine were delib­er­ately starved to death in the win­ter of 193233 in what is known as the Holodomor. Soviet pro­pa­ganda demo­nized these peo­ple, known as “kulaks,” as ene­mies of the peo­ple because they resisted the forced col­lec­tiviza­tion of agri­cul­ture, i.e., the con­fis­ca­tion of their farms. In Rwanda, Hutu pro­pa­ganda vil­i­fied and scape­goated the Tut­sis, often through radio, prim­ing the pop­u­lar mind­set for the mass slaugh­ter of 800,000 Tut­sis dur­ing a 100-​day period in 1994. The list of “final solu­tions” goes on and on.

Infor­ma­tion war­fare through a cen­trally con­trolled media is key to turn­ing neigh­bor against neigh­bor. It plays a huge role in car­i­ca­tur­ing per­ceived ene­mies and grow­ing an us-​versus-​them mind­set. In short, pro­pa­ganda that psy­cho­log­i­cally manip­u­lates a pop­u­la­tion is key to lay­ing the ground­work for extreme social polar­iza­tion, and ulti­mately for genocide.

There’s more.

About infor­ma­tion: I’ve long pos­tu­lated that too many peo­ple think that the quan­tity of infor­ma­tion is was makes a per­son intel­li­gent and knowl­edge­able. I vehe­mently dis­agree. It is the abil­ity to ana­lyze infor­ma­tion that deter­mines the exis­tence of these per­sonal qualities.

In short, it’s all about the exis­tence and reg­u­lar cal­i­bra­tion of one’s BS detector.

And pride vs. humil­ity, and trib­al­ism vs. rea­son­ing. And the visions of human fal­li­bil­ity vs. the vision of human per­fectibil­ity. And…

Sin. I don’t want to for­get that.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2012. Her sec­ond novel ten­ta­tively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on April 2017! Fol­low her on Twit­ter and on Gab​.ai.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism!

by baldilocks

I’m sorry that I missed Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, April 24th. It’s usually very difficult for me to miss it, since I spend a lot of time in Glendale, CA—a city which has a high percentage of citizens who are of Armenian descent. But I was at home most of the day, caught up in my own life and its issues.

A site which I read often posted a photo which was emblematic of what Turkey was trying to achieve when that country, under the agency of the then-nearly dead Ottoman Empire, attempted to wipe out the Armenians. If you’ve never seen any of this particular genocide’s photographic evidence, consider this fair warning.

Photo.

A granddaughter of Armenian Genocide survivors tries to detect the pattern of how genocides begin.

Perhaps most important to a genocidal plan is neutralizing any possible support for the victims. The Ottoman government maintained a well-coordinated propaganda campaign that vilified the Armenians in the eyes of their Turkish neighbors. In like manner, the Jews were demonized among their neighbors in Nazi Germany.

This sort of thing happens in all mass killings, including those done for reasons other than ethnicity. For example, in Stalinist Russia, several million peasant farmers in the Ukraine were deliberately starved to death in the winter of 1932-33 in what is known as the Holodomor. Soviet propaganda demonized these people, known as “kulaks,” as enemies of the people because they resisted the forced collectivization of agriculture, i.e., the confiscation of their farms. In Rwanda, Hutu propaganda vilified and scapegoated the Tutsis, often through radio, priming the popular mindset for the mass slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis during a 100-day period in 1994. The list of “final solutions” goes on and on.

Information warfare through a centrally controlled media is key to turning neighbor against neighbor. It plays a huge role in caricaturing perceived enemies and growing an us-versus-them mindset. In short, propaganda that psychologically manipulates a population is key to laying the groundwork for extreme social polarization, and ultimately for genocide.

There’s more.

About information: I’ve long postulated that too many people think that the quantity of information is was makes a person intelligent and knowledgeable. I vehemently disagree. It is the ability to analyze information that determines the existence of these personal qualities.

In short, it’s all about the existence and regular calibration of one’s BS detector.

And pride vs. humility, and tribalism vs. reasoning. And the visions of human fallibility vs. the vision of human perfectibility. And…

Sin.  I don’t want to forget that.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on April 2017! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!