how the world sees america

An Armenian-American's Quest for Truth

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Ten year-old Ruben protesting on capitol hill in 1993.

Guest Post By Ruben Harutunian - I was nine when my family moved to the United States from Armenia -- then still part of the Soviet Union. We came out of curiosity more than anything else, but stayed because of necessity.

Now sixteen years later, I’m as American as any of my neighbors. I went through the same grueling college application process; I am now part of the U.S Foreign Service. But no matter how mainstream my life has become, my identity remains hyphenated -– I am Armenian-American.

To me, this is a point of an American affirmation. We have a unique truth to assert here.

The recent debate in the American media about the U.S. House of Representatives’ potential passage of a resolution affirming the occurrence of the Armenian Genocide brought this identity into sharp relief against others in the basket.

The debate here in America was not really whether or not these atrocities occurred almost a century ago at the hands of Ottoman authorities – nearly everyone here agrees that they did -- but rather, “Why is this such a big deal? Why are we even talking about this now?”

The answer has to do with America’s political system and current events. But for Armenian-Americans the debate itself was an affirmation of their place in American society.

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From private poetry to public politics.

When I was growing up in Soviet Armenia, the Genocide was a reality of life. It’s the reason my grandmother’s family had fled Anatolian Turkey to find refuge in Bulgaria, eventually making their way to Armenia.

I internalized this reality by reciting poems at family gatherings and laying red carnations at the Genocide Memorial in the capital. Under Soviet authorities, these acts were depoliticized, but still emotional. No big rallies.

So the first April 24 -– the annual day of Armenian Genocide remembrance -- that I spent in the United States was a shock to the system. First came a church service in honor of the dead, then a demonstration in front of the Turkish Embassy, and finally a meeting with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill.

This publicized an aspect of my and my family’s life that had been private until then.

Suddenly, the poems I had recited in living rooms or kitchens in Yerevan were coming out of my mouth on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to express the shared angst of my entire community. Suddenly, the harsh reality of my family’s history became a tool of collective self-expression.

For Armenian-Americans, the need and responsibility to affirm the Genocide of 1915 is not merely an exercise in correcting a historic misjudgment.

It is more fundamental than that. We are expressing a core aspect of being American -- with an Armenian past.

By pressing our representatives to vote “yes” on this and other issues relating to Armenia and the Armenian people, we are adding our voice to the cacophony of the American experience. And we are asking that our identity be accepted as it is -- not as it might be conveniently viewed within policy circles.

That is what America allows me to pursue. That is my American truth.


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Comments (23)

Erica:

I thought the jews had a good idea when they linked up the holocaust to problems still in the world today, like the crisis in Darfur. Wouldn't that be more productive? I mean they are fairly serious when they say they're freaked out about genecide to the point where they'll come out and stick out a lot for others. I don't know if this applies or not to the Armenians. They're not as big of a group so people in general are less likely to run into them, then a jew that is involved in jewish culture.

Mostly, that's just a solution if you want to participate in American culture in a way that a lot of people will understand, and respect you for. (On a fairly mainstream basis as more people see the point in getting upset about Darfur these days as its actually ongoing.)

SCHOLAR 1:

I would just like to point out that the second "SCHOLAR," posting on December 1, is not the same "SCHOLAR" with the posting on November 27th

SCHOLAR:

I am a turk, and I can say only one thing, that all turks know that genocide took place but not every one accept it, but I ACCEPT IT, AND I AM SURE THAT ONE DAY america and our goverment'll accept it.

scholar:

There are so many points in this commentary to respond to. I believe, what Ruben was merely trying to point out is that the American political system has everything to do with why this issue has been such a hot topic lately. As Americans (with Armenian ancestry), these citizens have every right to ask their government to represent what they believe in. There is nothing new here when it comes to ethnic lobbies, starting with the Jewish lobby and ending with the Cuban lobby. These people are American and have contributed to the fabric of American society, and they deserve to have their voices heard.

And when it comes to the point of arguing whether the Armenian case was or was not genocide, there really is no point, as everyone on this website is so passionate about the topic, that reason is thrown out the window. What happened to the Armenians was clearly a case of genocide. However those who are so vehemently against the idea will never accept it, it seems like. And those who believe it was genocide are at times so quick to demonize the entire Turkish nation (as if Turks and Armenians didn't live side by side for centuries with relative harmony), that they are perceived as hot blooded nationalists.

Furthermore, comparing the Armenian genocide to the Holocaust is offensive. Why must you compare one people's suffering to another people's suffering? Unfortunately there have been way too many genocides in the last 100 years, and one going on today. They are very different than what happened to the Jews during WWII. This does not mean these other genocides are not genocide. Why must you compare to the Holocaust? I believe it offends the memory of the people who lost their lives. The Armenian genocide was very different than the Holocaust which was very different from the Rwandan genocide which was very different from Srebrenica.

And speaking about Milosevic... unfortunately Milosevic died before he could be brought to justice. He was charged but never convicted of genocide. Srebrenica was yet another terrible crime that has found apologists, as symphathizers say that the Serbs were merely "defending" themselves. Were Bosnian Muslims armed during the Bosnian war? YES. Were Bosnian Muslims killing Serbs during the Bosnian war? YES. Did Mladic as commander of the Republika Srpska army, as a "defense" have the right to kill 8,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim boys and men? Absolutely not! Was this genocide? YES. Was his intent to destroy in whole or in part this ethnic group? YES. Is the Serb nation responsible for this crime? Absolutely not! Were the people who were in power then responsible? They absolutely were. Should Srebrenica be remembered? Always.

Sorry that was a bit of a tangent.

Before debating this topic there are a few things I would suggest to everyone on this website.

1) Study genocide, and not by reading an article on the internet. Read the convention. Read the history of the convention. Read legal interpretations of the convention. Study different cases of genocide.

2) If you want to debate the Armenian case, you must go way further back into Ottoman history, than 150 years. Start with Catherine the Great in the late 16th century, and the birth of the Eastern Question. (The Balkan provinces) Then try to figure out what happened with the Armenians? Why were they targeted? Maybe even go further back into Ottoman history.

Maybe somewhere during that process you will discover than an entire nation was basically wiped out from the land they have lived on for over 2,000 years, and you will realize that you cannot displace one people for another displaced people. Maybe you will find your own truth.

scholar:

There are so many points in this commentary to respond to. I believe, what Ruben was merely trying to point out is that the American political system has everything to do with why this issue has been such a hot topic lately. As Americans (with Armenian ancestry), these citizens have every right to ask their government to represent what they believe in. There is nothing new here when it comes to ethnic lobbies, starting with the Jewish lobby and ending with the Cuban lobby. These people are American and have contributed to the fabric of American society, and they deserve to have their voices heard.

And when it comes to the point of arguing whether the Armenian case was or was not genocide, there really is no point, as everyone on this website is so passionate about the topic, that reason is thrown out the window. What happened to the Armenians was clearly a case of genocide. However those who are so vehemently against the idea will never accept it, it seems like. And those who believe it was genocide are at times so quick to demonize the entire Turkish nation (as if Turks and Armenians didn't live side by side for centuries with relative harmony), that they are perceived as hot blooded nationalists.

Furthermore, comparing the Armenian genocide to the Holocaust is offensive. Why must you compare one people's suffering to another people's suffering? Unfortunately there have been way too many genocides in the last 100 years, and one going on today. They are very different than what happened to the Jews during WWII. This does not mean these other genocides are not genocide. Why must you compare to the Holocaust? I believe it offends the memory of the people who lost their lives. The Armenian genocide was very different than the Holocaust which was very different from the Rwandan genocide which was very different from Srebrenica.

And speaking about Milosevic... unfortunately Milosevic died before he could be brought to justice. He was charged but never convicted of genocide. Srebrenica was yet another terrible crime that has found apologists, as symphathizers say that the Serbs were merely "defending" themselves. Were Bosnian Muslims armed during the Bosnian war? YES. Were Bosnian Muslims killing Serbs during the Bosnian war? YES. Did Mladic as commander of the Republika Srpska army, as a "defense" have the right to kill 8,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim boys and men? Absolutely not! Was this genocide? YES. Was his intent to destroy in whole or in part this ethnic group? YES. Is the Serb nation responsible for this crime? Absolutely not! Were the people who were in power then responsible? They absolutely were. Should Srebrenica be remembered? Always.

Sorry that was a bit of a tangent.

Before debating this topic there are a few things I would suggest to everyone on this website.

1) Study genocide, and not by reading an article on the internet. Read the convention. Read the history of the convention. Read legal interpretations of the convention. Study different cases of genocide.

2) If you want to debate the Armenian case, you must go way further back into Ottoman history, than 150 years. Start with Catherine the Great in the late 16th century, and the birth of the Eastern Question. (The Balkan provinces) Then try to figure out what happened with the Armenians? Why were they targeted? Maybe even go further back into Ottoman history.

Maybe somewhere during that process you will discover than an entire nation was basically wiped out from the land they have lived on for over 2,000 years, and you will realize that you cannot displace one people for another displaced people. Maybe you will find your own truth.

Basat Tayfun:

Good, I am glad to see the propogation of misinformation and ad hominem attacks end...

It is up to the accuser to make a case, not the the accused to prove a negative.

For now, all the supporters of the alleged Armenian genocide claim have nothing but negatives that play on "clash of civillisations" and "Terrible Turk" stereotypes. Oh, let us not forget the forged "genocide telegrams" and the fictitious Hitler quotes.

Simply, too pathetic to be worthy of the suffering of Armenians and Turks, but that is all the American-Armenians seem to be able to muster, surprisingly.

Instead of realizing these obvious facts and observations, Armenians still insist on a purely political process while trying to ride on the coattails of the Holocaust.

Israel and Jewish communities worldwide, I hope, are wise and careful enough to see the HUGE distinction between their suffering and closure, and what the Armenians are aiming at:
1. Jewish suffering was exposed and documented in a tribunal
2. Perpetrators were tried in a tribunal
3. True evidence, documents (millions upon millions from German sources), cross-examinations, transcripts, etc. cemented a case and historical account of what really happened. And, yet, even more camps, gas chambers, documents, etc. are unearthed.
4. The Jews were targeted everywhere for who they were (i.e. being Jewish on Earth), not in specific locations for what they did (e.g. Jews in Berlin killing Germans in a rebellion)

In start contrast, the Armenians:
1. Are proud of their national liberation "movement", which involved countless cases of violence on non-Armenians starting in the mid 1800s (you read it right, 1800s, over 150 years ago, to be more exact)
2. Have leaders (first democratically elected Armenian Prime Minister, the head of the delegation to the WW1 Peace Conference) that openly and on-record admitted point 1 and were very proud of their contributions to the "fight"
3. Did not pursue any legal, moral or ethical method to gain universal recognition, closure, compensation, etc.
4. Relied on falsehood and misinformation. Forgeries, fraud and other forms of deceit are still used to "make a case"; fictitious quotes from Hitler are still in use and I doubt Armenians will correct it any time soon
5. Rely not on due process, but the apathy, loopholes, biases/prejudices, and ignorance of the masses to "sell" their story as history

For a century and a half (since the mid 1800s) violent hate and injustice is what the Armenians sowed. So, it is highly unlikely that they will reap a moral, ethical, legal or civilized resolution any time soon.

As for the *non-binding* resolution to commemorate the "Armenian Genocide": It is a moral, ethical, political and legal contradiction.

If supporters are so convinced that genocide did take place, then:
1. Their actions would show confidence: They would make their case in open view.
2. They would seek more than just "rememberance"

On both points, this what the NAZIs, Saddam, Milosevic, etc. got.

So, if the Armenians convince the world that what happened to them is just the first Holocaust, then it will dramatically cheapen the real Holocaust.

People can keep blaming the Turks, even for Armenian actions and choices for a 150 years! But, the more serious the alleged crime, the more important it is to prove it. But, the Armenian-Americans shy away from this.


No Turk stopped (or could have stopped) Armenians from pursuing justice in the same way Turks cannot stop Armenians' lobbying activities or from pressuring politicians to, for example, pass a BINDING resolution to force various parties to face the charges, instead of simply passing verdict without due process.

Also, let us not forget: Armenians, even resorted to terrorism on US, Canadian and European soil not too long ago "to make their case"!

In sum:
For now, all the supporters of the alleged Armenian genocide claim have nothing but negatives that play on "clash of civillisations" and "Terrible Turk" stereotypes. Oh, let us not forget the forged "genocide telegrams" and the fictitious Hitler quotes. Those are also key to clynching the "argument" for the "Armenian Genocide", like the "mushroom cloud" was necessarily to help pursuade Americans to go to war in Iraq.

If Armenians are true to history, then why are they trying to repeat past mistakes?

Westerner:

It is very funny that when apologists are presented with facts that they get very emotional and start taunting the credibility of the person who provided the information, even in an anonymous blog. Very well, I am not here to attack turks, persuade anybody, run a popularity contest or run a trial, just exchanging information and this will be my last post on this.

The turks will always deny the genocide, it was the turk minister of justice in 2005 that branded turk academics who wanted to hold a conference about the armenian genocide as traitors. A situation that is hardly conducive to debate is it? These attitudes seem to be echos of the Ottoman Empire who quickly brand an entire people as traitors and exterminate them because of a few. And the Armenians who as a community did give their loyalty to the Ottoman Empire and was recognized as millet-i-sadika (most loyal nation) was rewarded with genocide. The turks should be ashamed.

Basat Tayfun:

"the turks are the only ones who deny the genocide".

1. How does anyone know that the Turks would not accept the claim of genocide if this was the conclusion of a fair/due process? You have a magic/crystal ball?
2. Who on Earth is so omniscient so as to know what everybody thinks so as to conclude all Turks and only Turks deny the alleged genocide; and that all non-Turks and only non-Turks accept the alleged genocide? Or, do you have the same sources that mapped the locations of WMD stockpiles in Iraq?
3. Is this a popularity contest? Or, is this a Saddam-style one-candidate election? Either one would produce the RESULTS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR, which do not include FINDING THE TRUTH, unfortunately;
4. How do you explain the presence of some of the biggest name historians from the UK, US, France, Russia, etc. being against the claim of genocide?
5. Was there a real tribunal, debate, etc. and everybody missed it, except you?

Some enteries here are mostly hyperbole and an emotional kitchen-sink and red-herring attack that aims to hide one thing: There is the "sticky" fact that Turks never got a fair hearing and still do not. Period.

Armenian and their supporters have done everything, including attacking the messenger (calling nay-sayers "apologists"), EXCEPT explain in a way a 2-yr old can understand why it is that the NAZIs and Saddam and Milosevic got their day in court, BUT the Ottomans (or Turks) never did EVEN though the Allies had every opportunity and originally planned and worked to do so. Why did the British, Americans, French, etc. spend all that tax payer money and energy searching the archives of the Ottomans and their own archives after all? Sounds like "case dismissed"! Hmmmmm.

Armenian allegations would not stand in any "competent court". That is why in the last century, Armenians and their supporters have NEVER EVER done anything to ask for the type of moral and legal victory/recourse/validation that the Jews received in Nuremberg; they know there is too much evidence against them and too much in favor of the Turks.

Instead, they tried terrorism and dirty politics to get local and national governments (where Turks do not have a strong voice, by the way) to impose their stories as historical fact.

Well, politics will soil anything it touches, including the memories of millions of Turks and Armenians watiting to be properly put to rest in a dignified manner. For that, the Armenians can solely take credit; Turks want none of it.

So, any one can attack the Turks every which way one can DREAM of. But, it takes one with guts and integrity to do it on a level playing field, man-to-man.

I am sure the Ottoman Armenians that suffered and died are not proud of the evasive, sly, opportunistic and even violent tactics their surviving kin have been using. The Ottomans would not have bestowed Armenians the coveted "the most loyal nation" title and encouraged them to rise to even the level of Pashas if the Armenians were anything less. Thank God for that long, wonderful history.

Westerner:

If the turks are the only ones asking for debate it is because the turks are the only ones who deny the genocide. And debate cannot happen in turkey because it is a crime to say anything bad about turks!

As for the claim that "minorities lived advantageously relative to minorities in most if not all other states of the world", relative to what states? Stalin and his communist apparatus? Mao and his gang? I am not sure if the apologists have been brainwashed or are ignorant or in denial. Perhaps it is all three. I don't want to paint the Ottoman Empire to be all bad; some of the caliphs were better than most but if advantageous to people means taking non-muslim children to convert them to islam and become slaves or janissaries (devshirme) as part of some form of tax payment, it's a very twisted meaning. Armenian christians were not only subject to slaughter in 1915 but in 1894-1896. And it was not only Armenians, the Greeks have their own story to tell as well as the christians of Constatinople. Those who weren't killed ran away to exile. Non-muslims under dhimmitude, had to pay the jizya tax every year which was onerous, had no legal standing, were not allowed to maintain or build new places of worship, had to play a submissive role in front of muslims, had their women taken as wives by muslim men and were subject to any humiliation under muslim whim. And this is only under the turks, let's not get started about what the muslims did in the once Christian Middle East and in Buddhist and Hindu India and in Africa or we would never finish.

In addition, you mention the "Western" abominations as if to excuse the turkish abominations. Huh? The history of the US is known and documented regarding the terrible treatment of native americans, african-americans and other ethnic minorities, it is not something that is excused. That is yet to be said of the turks. And just so you know, the native americans still live in the the Americas, they haven't been exiled to Europe as far as I know and they still retain some of their language and customs. In fact in the US there is a thriving movement to revitalize once neglected native american languages and recognized indigenous nations are autonomous and have their own land and are accorded the full citizenship rights as Americans. As for the african americans, whose ancestors were captured by muslims and sold to europeans as part of the atlantic slave trade, they have made major contribution to american society despite their struggles.

The armenians want the truth about their genocide by the turks to be officially recognized and the turks should stop denying it. I think that underneath it all, the apologists just don't like the fact that the Ottoman Empire and the last caliph was eliminated.

Basat Tayfun:

The Turks are the only ones asking for debate. That, in itself, sums it up.

No Armenian or supporter wants to really look inside any closet; they already know what they will find in their own. So, they want to distract away from the real issue and truth with cheap shots about some blatantly false seemingly-educated historical judgement about the "Terrible Turk".

The truth is, from the Greeks to the Armenians, minorities lived advantageously RELATIVE to minorities in most if not all other states of the world, including the US. Each minority preserved their church, language, etc.

Show me an African American or Native American who still lives in their native lands speaking their native tongues and I will show you millions of Greeks, Serbs, Arabs, Armenians, etc. that have been doing it for a millenia. The Muslims and Jews of Spain, the Jews of Europe, Native Americans, and African Americans would have much preferred the Ottoman style of goverment to their Western counterparts. This is as real as the gas chambers, the lynchings, slavery, the Trail of Tears, and countless many other "Western" abominations.

By the way, while Turks were trying to help Jews escape the Nazis, Armenians were fighting alongside the Nazis against the Russians. The Armenians were just repeating what they had done with the Ottomans. Were the Christian Armenians suffering "the dhimmiti experience" under their Christian Russian rulers? I would love to hear a tall story to explain that one!!

Self-delusional look at the Armenians and self-serving summary judgements against the Turks only butress my points, and point to some major, heavy-lifting sort of evil that was rampant during the Colonial Times, lead by England, Russia, France, etc. No wonder it is hard to get at the truth; look at the "usual suspect" line up for Armenian collaborators; most of the "civilized, Western" world.

Armenians need to remember their dead in dignity, not use their funerals as venues for propoganda. By taking a false view of themselves and their Turkish neighbors in the mid 1800s, they started a fire that make the recent CA wildfires look like a picnic! Now, they are trying to claim angelic imunity; the problem is the truth will not ordain them.

Turks have as much right as the Armenians to remember their dead and suffering, and to have their "allies" and other "civilized" parties acknowledge them.

There is no debate about that.

Westerner:

If the turks want a real debate and investigation, then they should really open up to the dhimmiti experience that christians and all non-muslims suffered under the Ottoman Empire. No doubt, christian armenians in their desire to free themselves of their turkish yoke volunteered their services to the russians, this doesn't mean that the turks can kill 1.5 million christian armenians. All this victimization whining by the turks is tiresome. Citing the UN as a competent, transaparent venue is laughable; the number of muslim countries and their threat to withhold oil from anyone who disagrees with them would see to it that the armenians would never get justice.

Basat Tayfun:

The Armenians have every reason to remember their history and count their dead; but, such an exercise will not necessarily reveal the WHOLE and COMPLETE truth or history.

If Armenians want the TRUTH the come out, may be they can start with the TURKISH SKELETONS IN ARMENIAN CLOSETS, before they try stuffing real and imagined ones into Turks'.

The Armenian-Ameican community, their lobbysist and supporters operate more like a POLITICAL LYNCH MOB then CIS. If their methods are right, then the next time we see someone running from a scene of an alleged crime, we should just start shooting; and then release a public PR statement "explaining the facts", but never really providing the truth, just the "verdict without trial". This is the Armenian way.

IF the Armenians (hyphenated or not) are so confident that what happened to them was genocide, THEN they should seek relief in an international tribunal or in an international, transparent, competent venue (like a UN-sponsored commision or any commision comprised of reputable professionals). BUT THEY NEVER DO; even a century ago in Malta, the plans were dropped due to a lack of evidence. SO, Armenians since then try EXCLUSIVELY to short-circuit all process of principle and DECLARE A VERDICT BEFORE ANY ROBUST DEBATE OR INVESTIGATION. Afterwards, even when they get a political verdict from this or that parliament based on forged documents or fictitious Hitler quotes, THEY NEVE ASK QUESTIONS OR GIVE TURKS ANY DEFENSE.

I long for the day when a Turk will also get as much air, web site, blog, Congress, etc. time as the Armenians so that this charade can be put to the test.. and to rest. But, that is precisely why we are in this mess; Turks are too few and American politics is driven by contributions. No wonder the resolution keeps getting stymied with a some lobbying power at the last minute. Armenian and Turkish dead are rolling in their graves watching the Armenians' turn their suffering into a political spectacle. What an insult to injury, but also very revealing about the true character of a people that seeks the lime light and recognition. Beware watch you ask for, Armenians, you may just get it!

The Armenians have every reason to remember their history and count their dead; but not at the expense of truth and others' suffering and dead. More Turks died during those days, in those parts and for the same reasons those days.

Even the hated Nazi Germans got their day in court and even their dead are counted. I guess all you have to be is an ally to deserve a much lesser treatment!!!

As I said, those you are "sure" the genocide happened need to "put their hearts and courage where their mouths are" and seek a fair trial or venue to press their claim, instead of "putting your money where politicians' mouths are". Otherwise, any recognition they get out of this or that parliament will be as lasting and respectable as the resolutions that supported the war in Iraq, i.e. a myth and a blunder of the worst degree. And, I am sure we can find a ton of other decisions by our Congress and other parliaments that make it clear that POLITIICIANS ARE NOT GOOD WITH THE TRUTH. So, if Armenians want the TRUTH the come out, may be they can start with the TURKISH SKELETONS IN ARMENIAN CLOSETS.

Vic van Meter:

I love when these things get brought up as "militaristic decisions" and America's horrifying roundup of Japanese-American citizens to internment camps gets brought up pretty frequently as one of our nastiest faults. Why is it that I have to keep apologizing for the mistakes of my ancestors when nobody else seems to have to?

It's not even like we were executing the Japanese along the way. In fact, this is a lot more like America's manifest destiny. They pushed the natives out, and when the natives didn't move, they shot them. I've called that a genocide before. There were native factions killing white settlers, but the program targeted natives and cleansed them off the land in an effort to make our country whiter because natives couldn't be trusted to be civilized.

What happened to the Native Americans is obviously genocidal. And if that's a genocide, I'd say that corresponds pretty well to the Armenian situation.

Tom Miller:

Belding: "It is so disturbing that all of you that have placed a comment here have really no idea about what actually did happen in 1915. And all seem to have accepted what Armenians and their allies at the time the missionaries who only brought here stories about the struggles of Armenians, and consequently they do not even question what the history actually says."

What is it about the attitude of this region of the world that it is ALWAYS assumed that nobody but them can understand the suffering and the true nature of the ethnic conflicts of the period? There are histories and there are stories of the period and they are available and people do read them. And yes, there is far too much information based on specific atrocities rather than the overall events of the period but good grief, it doesn't take a genius to understand the difficulties of the history. In my opinion, however, it's the people of the area so intensely partisan and filled with years of hatred that have the fog in their eyes and who can't move forward.

I would say to all Armenians, Turks, and Kurds: this is your matter to settle in peace or continue wallowing in mud slinging for as long as you want. Continuing the hate isn't helping any of you from what I've seen. It's not something that the U.S. government needs to be involved in other than hopefully encouraging the peacemakers, if they exist. Guess what? We have our own heavy historical baggage to carry in this country.

That was the point of my earlier posts and I stand by them.

Belding:

It is so disturbing that all of you that have placed a comment here have really no idea about what actually did happen in 1915. And all seem to have accepted what Armenians and their allies at the time the missionaries who only brought here stories about the struggles of Armenians, and consequently they do not even question what the history actually says.
yes poor Armenians died during a deportation to stop their killings of Muslim population and Ottoman military while they were at war with the Russians. It was a militaristic decision to minimize the Armenians descapable maneuvers with the Russians with whom they had made special agreements to clean the Muslims of the region. Yes Armenians died at he time but there were at least twice as much Muslims killed by the Armenians who were Dashnaks and other similar uprising Armenian rebel groups against the Empire. Today they call all the leaders of these uprisings as their national heroes. This clearly reflects that they very well know that they were fighting the Muslims in the area to reduce their numbers so they could claim themselves as the majority to claim the land... And today the story that they have been literally selling says nothing about all this. No Armenian dare to express such truths or that they know that 60 percent of those deported actually arrived to their destinations where they were given home, land, and farm animals to start their lives. Those Armenians don't dare to say any of this stuff because if or when they do they are ostracized and even threatened by death... While the 600,000 number have been growing and today they talk about 1.5 million Armenians having died -- ohh, I am sorry I should have said 'being killed' as the multi-billionaire Armenian Diaspora who buy politicians one by one at both the federal and state levels would like to repeat-- and they have changed the dates all the way up to 1923 over the last few years; these are the result of very carefully planned Diaspora politics which is hoping to claim money and land from Turkey. Every statement that they recite as 'facts" have been proven to be either straight lies or forgeries or manipulation of information one way or another to find support to their claims. In the meantime Turkish archives are wide open for anybody to study... while the Armenians refuse to open their archives for the fear of truth to come out. They just keep on plagerising history and they do it knowingly to get what they had about 1000 years ago, before 1070 AD. If all groups wanted to claim lands that they lived on this long ago a whole bunch of countries would not even exist today, eg USA.
Which other politically active group you know of who literally killed historians and threaten them continuously with death because they happen to be writing about their findings. To them only historians are the Turk haters who simply do not say anything about what the hell Armenians were doing in 1870s to 1920s in the eastern Anatolia .They only say that so many Armenians were killed...'and this is genocide'...
If you were claimed to be a murderer by a person who hate you, would you just sit and accept what they say or just simply say no to the attribution and expect the truth to come out when the matter is studied objectively...and do your best to help the truth come out... that's what Turkey has been doing and nothing else...
Below is a letter from an Armenian to the British about their best intentions and successes...
Boghos Nubar Pasha to The Times of London (January 30, 1919)
Boghos Nubar Pasha was the leader of the Armenian delegation in attendance at the Paris Peace Conference after World War I. In his letter to The Times of London, dated 30 January 1919, he openly acknowledges that it was the Armenian contributions to the allied war effort which led to their mistreatment by the Ottoman authorities.
"To the Editor of the Times,
Sir, the name of Armenia is not on the list of the nations admitted to the Peace Conference. Our sorrow and our disappointment are deep beyond expression. Armenians naturally expected their demand for admission to the Conference to be conceded, after all they had done for the common cause.
The unspeakable suffering and the dreadful losses that have befallen the Armenians by reason of their faithfulness to the Allies are now fully known. But I must emphasize the fact unhappily known to few, that ever since the beginning of the war the Armenians fought by the side of the Allies on all fronts. Adding our losses in the field to the greater losses through massacres and deportations, we find that over a million out of a total Armenian population of four million and a half have lost their lives in and through the war. Armenia's tribute to death is thus undoubtedly heavier in proportion than that of any other belligerent nation. For the Armenians have been belligerents de facto, since they indignantly refused to side with Turkey.
Our volunteers fought in the French "Legion Entrangere" and covered themselves with glory. In the Legion d'Orient they numbered over 5,000, and made up more than half the French contingent in Syria and Palestine, which took part in the decisive victory of General Allenby.
In the Caucasus, without mentioning the 150,000 Armenians in the Russian armies, about 50,000 Armenian volunteers under Andranik, Nazarbekoff, and others not only fought for four years for the cause of the Entente, but after the breakdown of Russia they were the only forces in the Caucasus to resist the advance of the Turks, whom they held in check until the armistice was signed. Thus they helped the British forces in Mesopotamia by hindering the Germano-Turks from sending their troops elsewhere.
These services have been acknowledged by the Allied Governments, as Lord Robert Cecil recognized in the House of Commons.
In virtue of all these considerations the Armenian National Delegation asked that the Armenian nation should be recognized as a belligerent. Had the recognition been granted, we should now have been admitted, ipso facto, to the Conference, to which even transatlantic States have found access, though having merely broken off diplomatic relations with Germany, without the least sacrifice on their part.
At the moment when the fate of Armenia is being decided at the Peace Conference, it is my duty, as the head of the National Delegation which has no tribute from which its voice can resound, to state once again, in the columns of The Times, the important part played by the Armenians in this frightful war. I wish strongly to urge that the Armenians, having of their own free will cast their lot with the champions of right and justice, the victory of the Allies over their common enemies has secured to them a right to independence.
Believe me, sir, yours very truthfully,
Boghos Nubar "

Vic van Meter:

I've said enough about this. I'll say one last thing because I'm getting sick of re-debating this issue.

Sure, there was a genocide. Yes, it's a matter of Turkish and Armenian conflict to this day. Yes, it would probably be better if Turkey could admit there was a mass-slaughter and the Armenians would simply wave it down and forgive the actions of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers that I doubt more than a handful of people around today survived to have been insulted.

But that's a fight between the Armenians and the Turks. That said, the only thing I have left to ask is: why America? Why do you or anyone else care what America's legislature thinks of the past? Obviously they're deadlocked because they're so partisan and most Americans are sick of the stalemate. We don't even trust or like our own government's opinions. The Armenians should never have cared enough to try and wrench a resolution out of our defunct Congress and the Turks should have hardly cared what nonbinding resolutions they passed.

It's hardly of consequence because, honestly, the American Congress are at least five places removed from being shot in the massacre. Even if they DID say it was a genocide, it really doesn't matter.

Not like many in that part of the world really care what our Congress thinks of Ottoman history anyhow.

Tom Miller:

Garak: I'll ignore your insulting tone and particularly the remark about the Turkish government paying me for my opinion. I enjoy reading and have read histories of the period and I stand by my statements. I don't need any help understanding. I'm not Turkish and don't have a single family relation who is but I believe that I have a semblance of commonsense. U.S. Foreign Policy should promote the interests of the U.S. and being the sanctimonious judge of obscure events 100 years ago is not in our interests. Armenians, Turks, and Kurds should work out their differences in my opinion with our encouragement but not by cheap politically motivated resolutions meant to insult an important ally of the U.S..

Anonymous:

Ruben,
I accept your self-label of "Armenian-American" since you are a first generation American but I sincerely hope you will encourage your children and others in your community who are not actual immigrants NOT to use hypenated labels. Hyphenation is a fad of the last few decades that tears at the American national identity, serving no purpose. I do not refer to myself as a Norwegian-American because I never lived in Norway, can't speak Norwegian and find nothing wrong with being simply "American". How many self-labeled African-Americans ever lived in an African country, held property or investments there, could speak one of the many languages there or even understand a single culture there? My Kenyan, Cameroonian, Moroccan, Tunisian, and Nigerian friends say they find little in common with "African-Americans" and resent their use of "African" in their label. I hope you will encourage others to take pride in being simply "American".

Mustafa Domanic:

Garak,

Turkey has been very clear about its intentions in Northern Iraq. The problem is with PKK using this territory as a base to launch attacks. As you know the region was part of the Empire for 500 years and the fact is there are many Turks still living there and many others in Turkey who are from the region but still nobody except some radicals would think of an invasion of it. You are either distorting the facts or just not following the conflict with enough attention. Could be a result of your blinding prejudice.

Garak:

LMAO: What about the psychobabble from the Jews about their alleged genocide? The psychobabble from the Miami Cubans about how the big, bad Fidel took all the property they stole under the Batista regime? Or do you only target the Armenians with your psychobabble?

Mustafa Dominic: How can Turkey expect to become a democracy if the Turks won't admit their own history? The far-right nationalists have all the excuses they need to fight democracy and membership in the EU. They already have Turkish Christians, Turkish writers, Turkish newspapers, Turkish academics, Turkish historians, Turkish lawyers, and plenty of other Turks to scapegoat in their fight against democracy. The Turkish nationalist assault on democracy goes on full-bore even in the absence of the Armenian issue.

Tom Miller: How much did the Turkish gov't pay you for your propaganda? What's next--blacks enjoyed slavery? David Irving was right about the alleged genocide of the Jews? American Indians really wanted to give up their land and live on reservations? Ken Lay was right when he said Enron was a bargain at $90? The Jews attacked the poor, defenseless SS troops who were merely trying to help? And when will you complain about the Jews who every day try to put us all on a guilt trip over their alleged genocide? IBM was responsible, FDR was responsible, we're all responsible, so give poor little Israel a blank check on the US Treasury and a free pass from morality. Sorry, don't expect the American public to buy your crass lies and pathetic moral relativism.

The most important reason to pass the resolution is to stand up to Turkish blackmail and tell them that they do not dictate US policy. After all the billions$$ in aid we've given them, all the diplomatic cover, all the special treatment, they have the gall to try to dictate to us? I think not. This is bluff, nothing more. Call it, and they'll fold like a house of cards. Then the forces of democracy can turn on the nationalists and stick them with the blame for whatever ill befalls Turkey.

Blackmail is the gift that keeps giving. No wonder the Turks think they can invade northern Iraq and face no consequences from the US. They'll just threaten us again, and we'll cave and pay.

Tom Miller:

What about those unfortunate Armenians left in a land-locked country with no natural resources or friends to fend for them except a guilt-ridden diaspora that selfishly refuses to permit peace to develop with Armenian's neighbors?

Dragging western powers (Britain, France, Italy, and the U.S.) into the morass of ethnic conflict was always the policy of the Armenian revolutionaries in the time of the Ottoman Empire and still is today. Yes, Armenians were senselessly murdered in 1915 but so were a lot (probably more) muslims in the same time period by Armenians armed to the teeth with Russian weapons. Armenian, Kurdish, and Turkish villages were burned and the innocent were slaughtered and common sense says that historians from Turkey and Armenia and the Kurdish community should investigate and sort out these matters, not ignorant legislatures lobbied by special interests. Such discussions won't be easy and maybe never conclusive but they might actually succeed. But then you have to wonder if "Armenian-Americans" like the one who posted this expose really want success?

Turkey's archives are wide open for review by anyone. That's not the case in Armenia and they won't talk to their neighbors because Little Armenia living on easy-street in California won't permit it.

I believe that the United States needs 100% Americans as citizens, not part-time Americans carrying 100-year old diatribes against peoples and countries that never existed or are long gone.

I'm thankful on this Thanksgiving Day that even Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer understood what a serious foreign policy faux-pas voting by the ignorant on the irrelevant was for the United States.

Mustafa Domanic:

This just re-affirms the fact that the current day politicization of the issue is a tool for the Armenian-American community to stick together and nothing more.

What about the negative side effects of this process of ‘adding to the cacophony’? What about Turks, who were born almost a century after these event, being targeted angrily and unfairly due to the politicization of history? What about the harm done in Turkish-American relations? What about the rocks that this puts on the road to actual peace in the Caucuses where Armenia has displaced a million Azeri’s and still occupies part of the country? What about its impacts on efforts of Turkish liberals who would like their own nation to question the events?

Before reading this post, I had written the below piece. I think this article by Ruben above just re-affirms points made in it, so I will paste it here:


Parlimentary Judgement: Not A Good Way to Fight Historical Revisionism

I assume that the main argument endorsing a resolution condemning 'Armenian Genocide' is that through international recognition, the 'truth' that Turkey supposedly 'denies' will be revealed. If the objective is to fight historical revisionism and denial, then it confuses me as to how the critics who attack Turkey for revising her history in school textbooks can support another country adopting the same legislative approach. I am against revisionist, 'state censored' history and believe that the age for such alchemy is over. Today we have Wikipedia and our kids have the internet. If we teach them how to filter through opinionated information and make good use of resources, generations to come can learn history with all the points of view considered. Then the problem would resolve itself.

It seems to me that the Armenian efforts to get parliamentary recognition are not aimed at solving the issue of historical revisionism. Armenians instead have political objectives such as harming Turkish-American relations in order to strengthen Armenia's hand when dealing with Turkey on present day territorial disputes, or paving the way for possible restitution demands.

Congress, by passing judgment on events over which its members lack critical background information and most importantly evidence, would be making a grave mistake that only further serves Armenian objectives. If Congress is to act as a platform for condemnation of historical events, it should be expected that they start with their own. The current resolution only shows to the world the strength of the Armenian-American lobby, not the honesty, goodwill and integrity of the American Congress.

On the other hand, the efforts of the Armenian Diaspora to internationally promote 'Armenian Genocide' are not helping the cause of liberal Turks who want to democratize Turkey. Every time news surfaces that a foreign parliament has approved such a resolution, xenophobic sentiment in Turkey grows stronger. The people begin to believe that they are under siege by an international coalition led by an Armenian Diaspora eager to avenge a war that they lost.

If we want a more democratic future for the world, we should help Turkey and her 70 million citizens to jump on the board, not to push them off. A true democracy can only be built from within and the decision of the US foreign affairs committee is not helping to achieve this in Turkey.


lmao:

yes indeed...it's all about "your identity" and...."your truth"......land of the free...home of the psychobabble......

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