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

Professor Joy Damousi FASSA, FAHA is ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor of History at the University of Melbourne. She is the current president of national peak body for the humanities in Australia, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and president of the Australian Historical Association.