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The Sins of the Fathers:

Turkish Denialism and the Armenian Genocide

In 1915 the government of the Ottoman Empire began systematically to rip Western Armenians off the lands where their ancestors had lived since time immemorial. It ordered that the Armenian men be murdered, and that Armenian women, children, and grandparents be deported into that of Syria declared unfit for human life. Most of the Armenians who managed to survive the death march were slaughtered there.

‘Cleansing’ Western Armenia of Armenians was only part of the Ottoman project for Anatolia and Western Armenia. The goal of the Ottoman government was to turn those lands into the homeland of the Turks – the vatan – a place where the culture, the economy, and the people were all Turkish. That project required large-scale, multi-layered violence. In 1915, 80% of the Ottoman economy was owned by Christians. Its cultural life was dominated by the incredible Armenian renaissance: the zartonk. The Turks were the newcomers among the many people who lived in what is today the Republic of Turkey.

Today Turkey is still trying to create its vatan, and continuing the Genocide begun by the Ottoman Turks in 1915. Continued by denying the Armenian Genocide took place and destroying the evidence of unspeakable violence not just against the Armenians, but against the lands and history of Anatolia and Western Armenia. The crime is prolonged in its concealment.

In The Sins of the Fathers: Turkish Denialism and the Armenian Genocide – the first part in the Betrayal of Philosophy trilogy – Nash-Marshall connects the total disregard of fact and people, of lands and history that informed the Armenian Genocide to what is today informing our world and culture.

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Endorsements

“Through the exemplary case of the Armenian Genocide, this extraordinary book delivers a powerful and piercing portrait of the treachery, trahisons des clercs, and destruction that modern philosophy’s refusal of its daimon has wrought upon the world. I eagerly await the second installment of the Betrayal of Philosophy.”
Antonia Arlsan
Author and Professor at the University of Padua
“In human history, every legal norm, before becoming a legal norm, began as a philosophical debate. This is also true for those legal norms that resulted in genocide. Yet, genocide is hardly ever discussed from the philosophical perspective. Philosophers avoided talking about genocide. Philosopher Siobhan Nash-Marshall’s Sins of the Fathers is therefore a much needed book. It is also an innovative book. It goes beyond the classical explanation of Turkish denialism, which is the distinct peculiarity of the Armenian Genocide, and is a major contribution to the field of Armenian Genocide studies.”
Taner Akçam
Professor of History at Clark University
“Ideas have consequences. This book is a patient, scholarly study of the misuse of ideas to pile horror upon horror. It is not bad enough that ideas were used to rationalize the violence of the genocide. Forgetful as the world likes to be, even a century has not been enough to remove awareness of the horror. And so another generation has undertaken the semantic gymnastics in the service of genocide denial. The gymnastic routine is invariably the same: mislabeling what happened (as it if renaming it could make it different) and having prominent people show the way to misuse the terms. Thankfully, there can be good ways to use ideas as well as bad ones. This volume shows what sound scholarship needs to achieve: to present historical truth in clear light, so that we never forget.”
Joseph Koterski
Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University
“This remarkable book deserves the widest possible dissemination. It will be enlightening and challenging to all who read it for it casts a blazing light into one of the twentieth century’s darkest corners and it helps illuminate some of our crises in the twenty-first century. I enthusiastically recommend it.”
James Lehrberger
Professor of Philosophy at University of Dallas
“The Sins of the Fathers is a compelling work about the century-long denial of the Armenian Genocide by successive Turkish governments. Employing the latest scholarly research, Nash-Marshall convincingly argues that the genocide has deep intellectual roots in the Modernist project of the West, and that as a phenomenon, it has never ended. The Armenian Genocide is a present crime, not just a historical act.”
Armen Marsoobian
Professor of Philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University