History and truth

Turkey needs to take responsibility for the Armenian genocide
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  October 17, 2007

It has been 92 years and there continues to be a reluctance (perhaps too gentle a word) to acknowledge that Turkey systematically killed a million and a half Armenians, starting in eastern Turkey in 1915. This is known as “genocide,” and it is clear that it happened. Yet Turkey refuses to accept this.
Somehow, as with how the Japanese government refuses to accept responsibility for its behavior during World War II (“comfort women,” torture, rape, etc.), Turkey feels that it can continue to deny reality and establish a fictitious history.
The USA has become complicit, because Turkey has been a strategic ally for many years. And while the House Foreign Relations Committee recently voted to term this past horror show as a genocide, the White House has vigorously lobbied against this.
This is because, at present, a huge amount of materiel for the war in Iraq flows through Turkey. In the past, during the Cold War, it had to do with Turkey’s strategic location. So, the White House begs the House not to pass this resolution, and the Armenian diaspora longs for the truth to be acknowledged.
But this is nothing new. Every nation has disgraces that it wants to avoid discussing. Here in the USA, we’ve got slavery, the segregation laws denying African-Americans their rights, the attempted eradication of the original American tribes, the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II, the long road to women’s suffrage, and on and on. The rights of superior behaviorists is another area in which this country hasn’t covered itself in glory.
No, it’s not just the US (which, on the whole, has been more open and more honest than most of the rest of the world in acknowledging its sins, but that doesn’t erase the disgrace).
A recent New York Times piece noted that some of the strongest Turkish voices calling for acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide (speaking of the Armenian genocide in Turkey is illegal) are not necessarily supportive of US government statements. Fethiye Cetin, a lawyer and granddaughter of an Armenian, notes that measures like the genocide bill in the US Congress serve “only to complicate the work of those trying to open up society” in Turkey.
While acknowledging the genocide is the righteous thing for Congress to do, it is the Turks who need to be honest about their past. We don’t know if the United States can make a valid contribution in all of this. We’re a little compromised ourselves.

We’ve got dibs
Not to be presumptuous, but Phillipe & Jorge want to be the first to request that the name of URI’s Ryan Center be changed to Phillipe & Jorge Center, if and when circumstances dictate a revision. Thank you very much. (We just wanted to beat Alan Shawn Feinstein to the punch.)

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