Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 7, 2017

The Promise

Filed under: Armenians,Film — louisproyect @ 2:00 pm

Armenia’s Trail of Tears

On April 21st, “The Promise” will be opening in New York and then scheduled for nationwide release in 1,500 theaters. It has much in common both politically and artistically with “Bitter Harvest” that I reviewed for CounterPunch on February 24th. That film dealt with Stalin’s brutal imposition of forced collectivization that had the unintended consequence of leaving millions of Ukrainians starving to death. “The Promise” is about how the Young Turks expelled the Armenian population from the desiccated husk of the Ottoman Empire as it began to take shape as modern Turkey during WWI.

As I said in my review of “Bitter Harvest”, neither of these historical events could be compared to the Judeocide since Hitler’s death camps were meant to exterminate a race on an industrialized, assembly-line basis. Although there were mass killings in both Ukraine and eastern Anatolia, most of the deaths were the result of putting a population under such duress that sickness and death were inevitable. I have always thought of the Armenian expulsion as Turkey’s version of Andrew Jackson’s “Trail of Tears”. Did Jackson intend for one-out-of-three Cherokees to perish on their long trek to Oklahoma? If the removal of Indians and Armenians were critical to the formation of a modern state based on “enlightenment values” (the Young Turks strongly identified with the French Revolution), wasn’t there a productivist logic to ethnic cleansing? I reject this kind of argument but at least want to establish that there are both American and Turkish historians who would take great umbrage at the idea of a genocide taking place in their nation.

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2 Comments »

  1. If you haven’t already done so, you might want to read “The Rage of the Vulture” by Barry Unsworth.

    John

    Comment by John Garvey — April 9, 2017 @ 10:39 pm

  2. Should be good. I don’t think Christian Bale has ever done a bad movie.

    Comment by Michael White — April 14, 2017 @ 1:10 pm


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