10/16 NEWz: Genocide Resolution is about the Victims, not a Country's Denial


Genocide Resolution is about the Victims, not a Country's Denial

An Armenian who lives in Watertown, Mass., says that "Genocide denial" in Turkey is apparently so ingrained in the country's national psyche that the denial is part of Turkish "patriotism."

Genocide Resolution is about the Victims, not a Country's Denial

By Nayiri Arzoumanian

On Thursday (Oct. 11, 2007), the House Foreign Relations Committee voted 21-27 in favor of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

The Resolution acknowledges the killing of 1.5 million Armenians, during the last years of the Ottoman Empire, as genocide—as planned state-sponsored killing. The full House is expected to vote on the measure in the coming weeks.

Denial of this genocide has been a part of official Turkish state policy for years. It began as a sort of voluntary forgetfulness after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1922.

But the denial has grown into a well-funded campaign—including Turkish-funded U.S. university professors and former U.S. Congressmen-turned-lobbyists. The campaign aims to cast doubt over the genocide.

In Turkey today, writers or historians that refer to the killings as anything other than “casualties of war” are prosecuted under Article 301 of the penal code for “insulting Turkishness.”

Genocide denial, it seems, has become so ingrained in the national psyche that it’s equivocated with “Turkishness,” patriotism.

For at least a few hours following Thursday’s vote, Armenians felt relieved that their history might no longer be denied them. That relief was short-lived.

Turkey responded by recalling its ambassador to the U.S., threatening to shut down a major U.S. air base (in Turkey) used to transfer supplies to troops in Iraq, and even warning of retaliatory actions against its minority Jewish population.

And the U.S. government responded. Apparently, threats against troop safety pay off.

Turkey is an important ally in the “War on Terror,” said President Bush, and now’s just not the time to confront it on its past.

It’s never the right time, it seems, to recognize genocide, for you always risk antagonizing the country that committed it.

But the world can’t afford to remain silent in the face of genocide.

Think of the lesson to future perpetrators. Think of the victims.

Nayiri Arzoumanian is an Armenian who lives in Watertown, Mass. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2004 with a double major in political science and French.

Source: http://www.gonewz.com/news/314/