This week, there was a genocide. What? Where? Exactly. You probably don’t know because nobody cared. Thousands of Armenian Christians have been killed. Thousands more are fleeing their homes right now. They were given 5-6 days to leave their villages behind. By December 1st, several thousand more Armenians will have to leave their homes. Muslim majority Azerbaijan will take over their land, Armenia.
Why doesn’t the world care? Why didn’t this humanitarian tragedy come alive on our television screens, our internet portals and newspaper pages?
First, we need some history. Here is a map of the troubled South Caucasus region, which is the part between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
Trapped between Turkey and Azerbaijan is the tiny country of Armenia. The Azeris are ethnic Turks and have the same religion and culture as Turkey. For a long time, the mostly Christian Armenians were colonized by the Ottoman Empire. The Soviets took over the land in the 1920s and Armenia was cut up between three Soviet Republics : Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. As it often happens with empires, lines are drawn with little regard for subject peoples. When the Soviet empire collapsed in the 1990s, both Armenia and Azerbaijan became independent.
But a portion of land, populated by ethnic Armenians, remained part of Azerbaijan. This region is known as Ngorno-Karabakh. Tensions erupted and this area declared independence in the 1990s, supported by Armenia. The stalemate has been around for nearly three decades. Until Azerbaijan (with Turkish support) unilaterally broke the ceasefire a few weeks ago. The ethnic Armenians were quickly defeated. And now thousands of them have less than a week to leave their homes behind and flee.
This has all the makings of a genocide. An ethnic conflict with a religious divide. The Muslim majority Turks on one side and the Christian majority Armenians on the other. Two much larger and more powerful countries coming together to crush a tiny neighbor. Thousands of people killed. Thousands of civilians forced to flee their homes.
By the way, there is chilling history here. During the First World War, the Turks carried out a holocaust of 3 million Armenian civilians.
Then, why isn’t the world noticing? Where are the angels of liberalism and human rights? Can’t they find a single human rights violation anywhere? Among all those thousands of people fleeing their homes, can they not find a single human interest story? Nobody suffering there who might be too old, too young or pregnant? No bright young kid whose dreams have been shattered by the conflict?
Unusual, is it not? In other parts of the world, the liberals come out to protect the human rights of even stone pelters and terrorists. They are always the first to expose any excess by armed forces. They go to great lengths to document the suffering of innocent civilians. But not in this case.
Because the genocide in Ngorno-Karabakh is missing the most crucial element that drives liberal outrage.
It’s simple. There is no money for any liberal or human rights activist to talk about what the Turks are doing in Armenia. The “activists” go where the Pulitzer prizes are. They go where they can get cash prizes and about which they can address international conferences. The “award-winning” journalism follows the awards.
Is there anyone who will pay a human rights activist to care about Armenia? So, as far as the good people of global liberalism are concerned, it might as well not exist. Nothing to see there.
Have you ever wondered why the “worst” human rights violations in the world today appear to be happening in countries like India, France or the USA? Isn’t that what the newspapers, the television channels and the internet portals report on?
We always hear about the big danger of XYZphobia in Europe and the USA. As for India, they accuse the Modi government of two new genocides a day.
What drives this? Money.
These are democratic countries. “Dissent” is a very lucrative profession here. Become a dissenter and you will get an international award. Who wants to talk about what is happening in Saudi Arabia or to Hindus in Pakistan? There is no money in it. That is why there is more outrage about rising XYZphobia in France than concentration camps being built in China.
Liberals make money from our sense of guilt. You tell Indian people about an injustice happening in their country. They will pay you to keep talking. Bingo! That is why their mouths are always open about injustices happening in India.
The revenue model of liberal outrage doesn’t work in Pakistan or China. And that’s why liberals don’t talk about crimes in Pakistan or China. Liberal outrage has nothing to do with justice. It has to do with what pays.
The Armenians are people too. Their suffering was more real than those at the celebrity pity party at Shaheen Bagh. But there was nobody to hire human rights lobbyists for Armenia. That is why Shaheen Bagh and its imaginary grievances went on the front pages of global newspapers. Thousands of ethnic Armenians leaving their homes behind? Their lives have become footnotes in global media.
A final bit of irony. The Azeris won this war with weapons purchased from Israel. You know how much the left hates Israel. In liberal circles, the only thing bigger than the anti-India industry is the anti-Israel industry. If there was a time to point a finger at Israel, this was it.
But the anti-Israel industry let this one go. They didn’t care. Because this time, there was no money in it. The anti-Israel industry will be back. When Israel goes to defend itself from Hamas, the anti-Israel industry will be back to highlight the importance of human rights for terrorists. There is money in that.
All human suffering is sad. We tend to assume that those who highlight human suffering must be inherently selfless people. But like everyone else in the world, the liberal outrage lobby does not work for free. It is only common sense. So next time you see a human rights activist tugging at your heart, be sure to ask : who paid for this outrage?