Friday, May 1, 2015

Uncomfortable Truths

People are often sensitive to certain topics that are often painful to face the reality, and the truth. When faced with uncomfortable situations, or propositions, people and even whole nations will employ a cognitive dissonance to protect themselves from such truths or to shield the truth with another false reality that justifies such a truth. Cognitive dissonance is a form of denial. People or a country will seek to counter a discomfort by forming an oppositional argument or attitude that either masks or justifies the truth.

A prime example of such denialism is by Turkey regarding the genocide of one and a half-million Armenians. April 24th, 2015 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide committed by the Turks at the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1915.  An article appearing in the New York Times this week explained how after the Turkish Republic was setup, Turkey's first president, Mustava Kemel Ataturk engaged in a massive social-engineering feat of "Turkification". Turkification had an aim to alter the past by erasing it from history with altered "facts" and to paint the picture of Armenians as liars and traitors.

To this day, the result of a century of denialism is reflected in by a foreign policy study by research organization in Istanbul. Their research showed that only 9% of Turks agreed that the government should call the atrocities committed in the last century as genocide. This shows how destructive denialism is as it is a form of deceit. Deceit over time becomes a new reality even though not true.

Truth and myth converge and become difficult to distinguish. It is this convergence that gives rise to everlasting conspiracy theories that take on their own life-forms. Myths are hard to dispel because the form hardened belief systems. Belief systems are almost impossible to break down thus the truth remains unknown and unheard.

Armenian Genocide 1915
Armenian looking at human remains from genocide 1916

 Photo source and website link


  1. yes indeed. I guess it's always going to be difficult for a society to admit that it is capable of genocide. Australia at the moment is on the eve of such a discussion for example. Not of course on the nightmare scale of the Armenian genocide, but significant anyway. About 200 Indigenous communities are to be closed by the government (as a way of opening up the land for mining and other development) and the people displaced, Coupled with other cost cutting policies it amounts to the persecution of a culture. The only people calling it genocide right now are the Indigenous peoples themselves and their supporters. We will see how it evolves. Of course with 100 years since the Armenian genocide, it's more likely that as time goes by, you will see less people even aware it happened, much less care. History rolls on. Sadly

  2. Here's the thing, Germany goes to great lengths to recognize and remember the holocaust. That is why they leave the concentration camps up for future generations to see and to lay testimony to the horrors of those times...

    While the plight of the aboriginal has been an awful one throughout history because of the complete disregard by colonialists, it has changed considerably over the years... That said, the aboriginis' lot is still pitiful: seeing human beings live in river beds in a well developed western nation in the 21st century appalled me... How and why is this so..? On the subject of genocide: I think a neglect of a people through ignorance is a little different to a measured and constructed attempt at obliterating an ethnicity... I think it's important to make that distinction.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the people of those indigenous communities when the government moves in to set up mines. Whereabouts? I visited some beautiful places and visited the Kimberley region in Australia. Fitzroy Crossing was one place that had a large indigenous community.