Swedish Author’s Book On WWI Has Chapter On Armenian Genocide


November 12, 2011 – 14:18 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – The Beauty and the Sorrow is Swedish author Peter
Englund’s extraordinary new history of the first world war, which
follows the lives of 20 people caught up in the conflict. Among them
are an American ambulance driver, an English nurse in the Russian army,
a South American adventurer fighting for the Turks, a 12-year-old
German girl and several other civilians. In the course of 227 short
chapters (some of them no more than a page long), they take turns
to tell us what they saw or felt on a given day. Interspersed with
authorial commentary, their testimonies make up a haunting chronicle,
and a convocation of ghosts, an article in The Guardian says.

The book is thick with other forebodings of the WWI. A dapper
Ottoman official, on orders from his paymasters in Constantinople,
stands calmly by as Kurds bestially slaughter Armenian Christians
in present-day Turkey. “He represents a new species in the bestiary
of the young century,” says Englund – that of the well-dressed,
articulate mass murderer who condemns thousands to death at the mere
stroke of a pen. In Nazi Germany such bureaucrats would become known
as Schreibtischtater – “desk-murderers”. Apprenticeship in Ottoman
obedience in April 1915 required a stunted moral imagination; lack of
imagination (not sadism) had made the official cruel, the article says.

The Beauty and the Sorrow is a chronicle of human loss, atrocity and
famine. What happened at the Marne, in the Ottoman province of Armenia,
on the Gallipoli peninsula, at Ypres, in the Piave and on the Asiago
plateau was tragic, inhuman, it says.