Joy Damousi reviews 'Armenia, Australia and the Great War' by Vicken Babkenian and Peter Stanley

Joy Damousi reviews 'Armenia, Australia and the Great War' by Vicken Babkenian and Peter Stanley

Armenia, Australia and the Great War

by Vicken Babkenian and Peter Stanley

NewSouth $34.99 pb, 335 pp, 9781742233994

The Armenian Genocide, which claimed an estimated 1.5 million lives, began in 1915. It continues to cause controversy today and is a hotly contested event; several nations, including Australia, do not recognise it as genocide. While the British government has condemned the massacre, it does not consider that it qualifies as genocide under the 1948 United Nations Convention on Genocide. Although the naming of this event arouses fierce disputation, twenty-nine governments to date, including Germany, Russia, and Italy, have recognised the massacres as genocide. What relevance does this event and its aftermath have for Australia, given its continued reluctance to embrace the term 'genocide' to describe the murder of men, women, and children?

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Joy Damousi

Joy Damousi

Joy Damousi is Professor of History and Australian Research Council Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Her latest book is Memory and Migration in the Shadow of War: Australia's Greek immigrants after World War II and the Greek Civil War (2015) which was shortlisted for the 2016 Ernest Scott Prize. She is currently writing a history of child refugees in Australia. With Philip Dwyer she is the general editor of the four-volume Cambridge World History of Violence due for publication by Cambridge University Press in 2017.