By Daphne Abeel
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-Long Struggle for Justice. By Michael Bobelian. Simon & Schuster. 388 pp. 2009. ISBN 978-1-4165-5725-8
Over the decades, many both inside and outside of the Armenian community have pondered the question: why did the Armenian Genocide become the “forgotten genocide?”
In his new book, journalist and lawyer Michael Bobelian has set out to answer that question.
By tracing the course of geopolitical events since World War I, he has highlighted and shaped what may be familiar material to set down a narrative that explains the virtual disappearance of the first genocide of the 20th century from an international scene where once everyone knew and recognized the plight of the “starving Armenians.”
This is not simply a chronicle of the forgetting, but also of the gradual groundswell of effort, especially since the 50th anniversary of the events of 1915, in the Armenian community to achieve full recognition of the tragedy. Although widespread accounts of the Genocide in the international press and eyewitness accounts from many including US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau produced an outpouring of financial aid to and sympathy for Armenians, Bobelian illustrates that a pattern of neglect and marginalization of Armenian interests took hold after the promises of the Treaty of Sevres were vacated. The failure of that treaty to deliver the promise of an independent Armenia, and the consequent struggle between the emerging Soviet Union and Turkey for control of a weak and fledgling Armenian Republic, doomed Armenia and the Armenians to the sidelines of a geopolitical struggle that blanketed their cause.