Colonel Rhea and “Getting Bin Laden”

The Colonel Rhea document and the article “Getting Bin Laden” are both examples of important events in history and how they may be interpreted or explained. The most interesting comparison between the articles is the fact that one was written years after the event took place, while the other was written almost immediately following the event. In both cases, the documents reflect an important historical event and give important details of what happened, allowing readers to learn about the events in first hand accounts. The difference, however, is in the perception of those events. The Rhea Papers investigate an event that happened at the beginning of the 20th century. Due to a passing of time and the death of many–if not all–of those who took part in the event, readers are far more distanced from the story itself. While this does not affect the accuracy of the work, it does lower its place of importance in history. Chances are that many readers would never have heard of the conflict at all. The killing of Osama bin Laden, on the other hand, is a very recent event. This makes it a much more important topic, especially to Americans.

Another interesting aspect in comparing the two documents is examining their place in history today. For all intents and purposes the Rhea papers and the event which they reflect have all but been forgotten. Were it not for the work of Kalustian in thoroughly examining the papers and explaining them, they would have eventually passed into the unseen depths of history (Unless, of course, you live in that troubled region or are interested in Armenian history). The death of Bin Laden, however, is an event which is important to many other countries besides the United States. At the same time, the event is so recent that it has not even begun to leave the conscious minds of people around the world. I would be interested to see if, in fact, this event does eventually lose importance or is forgotten entirely, perhaps not in my time but in one hundred years or even longer. Should it stand the test of time and a rapidly increasing amount of indifference to history, then it would be interesting to see how much the facts may change or outside opinion influence the belief of what happened on that day.

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