Friday, 5 December 2008

CNN "Screams 'Bloody Murder' But Not about Armenian Genocide"

According to the US-based Armenian National Committee of America, "A powerful new CNN documentary, "Scream Bloody Murder," anchored by Christiane Amanpour, premiered tonight (9:00 p.m. ET/PT). The program offered a compelling look at genocide throughout history, with a special focus on those who witnessed and warned the world about these atrocities.

Sadly, however, in a disservice to it millions of viewers, CNN neglected to include the Armenian Genocide as the first such event, despite the fact that it was this atrocity that first prompted international lawyer Raphael Lemkin to coin the word "genocide," and to work toward the eventual adoption of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide."

Asbarez provides more details:
A powerful documentary entitled “Scream Bloody Murder” anchored by Christiane Amanpour premiering on CNN today (9 p.m. ET/PT) offers a gripping look at Genocide throughout history and those who witnessed and warned a deaf world about such atrocities, but neglects to mention the Armenian Genocide as the first such event that prompted Raphael Lemkin to coin the phrase.

The documentary begins with the roots of the word Genocide and chronicles the stormy conflicts within Lemkin, who, as Amanpour puts it, was affected by the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks and was prompted to coin the phrase Genocide. In the almost 90-minute press screener, the Armenian Genocide was mentioned for about 45 seconds as an anecdotal reference to Lemkin's struggle for human justice. Using photographs now familiar to all Armenians and possibly obtained from Armin T. Wegner Collection, Amanpour illustrates the horror of the Armenian Genocide but does not delve into it in as in-depth and compelling manner as she does the other instances of Genocide.

Throughout the program, Amanpour “reveals stories of those who tried to stop genocide,” as the CNN press information describes it and discusses the horrific stories of Genocide with “heroes who witnessed evil-- and 'screamed bloody murder' for the international community to stop it.

Amanpour and CNN should be applauded for the in-depth look at Genocide, from the Holocaust to the killing fields of Cambodia, to Iraq, Rwanda, Bosnia and now Darfur the horror of it all is told with searing images and graphic eyewitness accounts.

To bring attention to Genocide, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the adoption of UN Convention of Genocide and Human Rights, authored by Lemkin, is an important accomplishment, one that also asks the hard question of why the world did (does) not interfere when it has a moral obligation.

Amanpour adeptly clarifies the political machinations behind the response--or lack thereof--by the US in all instances featured in the report and wonders, at the end, whether others who “scream bloody murder” will be heard. One wonders, however, if Amanpour heard the screams of Henry Morgenthau, the US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time of the Armenian Genocide, who along with Elie Wiesel, Father Francois Ponchaud, Peter Galbraith, Richard Holbrook, Canadian General Romeo Dallaire and others who bore witness to such unspeakable atrocities and whose warnings prompted action but not soon enough to save millions of lives.

Perhaps, the Armenian community can now prompt CNN, as it did eight years ago ABC News and its venerable anchor the late Peter Jennings to take a closer look at the first Genocide of the 20th Century. [...]

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1 comment:

Ani said...

Even the brief mention at the beginning was apparently too much for Turkish tastes, and your two adjacent stories fit a bit too snugly into the scenario:

Genocide feature worrisome

ANKARA - Turkey has expressed uneasiness over a two-hour documentary, "Scream Bloody Murder," that will be screened Thursday on CNN, depicting systematic terror and violence throughout the years as well as the 1915 incidents.

As the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide approaches, CNN’s chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, will report on genocide and the heroes who witnessed it and called for the international community to stop it, press reports revealed yesterday.

The documentary will feature ethnic slaughters such as the Holocaust, appalling violence in Cambodia, and the 1915 incidents. Turkey defended its own position and its proposal to set up a joint commission of historians to study the Armenian allegations regarding the 1915 incidents, learned the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

In response to the screening of the documentary, Ankara recalled the current atmosphere of dialogue with Armenia that started with the Turkish president’s landmark visit to Yerevan in September and asked that the documentary avoid bias and reflect the steps taken by Turkey to normalize ties with Armenia.