The lesson of Armenian genocide, the complicity of Western powers after World War I to help an ally sweep the truth under the rug, out of self-interest, is a real warning sign of where that can lead, which is where we are today, Joe Berlinger said in an interview with Variety‘s “PopPolitics.”
Joe Berlinger’s “Intent to Destroy” shows how the history of the Armenian genocide continues to be disputed and denied more than a century later. He was unable to get a Turkish official to go on camera, as the government refuses to recognize the 1915 atrocities as genocide and has influenced its key Western ally, the United States, not to do so either.
“I wish I could say that I was so prescient that when I started making the documentary, I would realize how relevant and important it is for today,” Berlinger said.
“Ever since our president took office and words like alternative facts and fake news get bandied about, and people just on a daily basis just say what they think is the truth, and just think that if they say it long enough, that it becomes the truth.”
“Intent to Destroy” interweaves the history of the Armenian genocide with a movie being made about it, Terry George’s “The Promise,” released in 2016. Berlinger notes that Hollywood studios tried to make a movie about the genocide back in the 1930s, but Turkey made it clear that the industry would be banned from the country were they to proceed. The project was dropped.
Even now, Berlinger notes, “The Promise” was barraged by a flood of negative reviews on the internet even before the movie had been released.
“We are so barraged now with alternative histories, from the Civil War to what is going on in other parts of the world, that I think the lesson of Armenian genocide, the complicity of Western powers after World War I to help an ally sweep the truth under the rug, out of self interest, is a real warning sign of where that can lead, which is where we are today,” Berlinger says. “If I were a young person trolling the internet for the truth, I think it is going to be increasingly difficult to know what the truth is.”