Alternative Radio on 04/06/10
Peter Balakian - Armenian Golgotha (lecture)
The Armenian Genocide – also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as the Great Calamity – was the deliberate and systematic destruction (genocide) of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by the use of massacres, and the use of deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of Armenian deaths generally held to have been between one and 1.5 million.
It is widely acknowledged to have been one of the first modern genocides, as scholars point to the systematic, organized manner in which the killings were carried out to eliminate the Armenians. Indeed, the word genocide was coined in order to describe these events.
Peter Balakain is the author of four books of poems, most recently Dyer's Thistle, as well as the celebrated Sad Days of Light, a book about American poet Theodore Roethke, and a translation of the Armenian poet Siamanto.
His memoir Black Dog of Fate has been awarded the 1998 PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for Best Memoir. Black Dog of Fate was a New York Times Notable Book of 1997 and a "Best Book of the Year" for the Los Angeles Times, Publisher's Weekly, and Library Journal.
Balakian is a Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities and Professor of English at Colgate University, where he teaches American literature, creative writing, a course on the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, and is the current director of Colgate's new Center for the Study of Ethics and World Societies.