08/22 Worcester Telegram: Editorial: Parsing Genocide

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Parsing genocide

New England ADL got it right on Armenian slaughter

Andrew H. Tarsy, director of the New England chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, should not have been fired for urging the national ADL organization to acknowledge the Armenian “genocide.” By any sensible definition, the systematic slaughter between 1915 and 1923 of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks qualifies for that horrific designation.

We can understand why the national ADL strives to preserve the Holocaust as a uniquely appalling event. In its scope and in the systematic manner in which the Nazis carried out the mass killings, it indeed may be unique.

Sadly, however, other campaigns of systematic mass murder, before and after the Holocaust, also warrant the designation of “genocide” — including the campaign targeting Armenians, the “ethnic cleansing” of Muslims in Bosnia and the ongoing displacement and slaughter of non-Arab Sudanese in Darfur, among other such atrocities.

That such events have occurred throughout history does not diminish their horror, nor the painful realization that such brutality against fellow human beings has continued into the 21st century. Recognizing genocides for what they are, wherever they may occur, is a first necessary step toward bringing them to an end.