Turkey keeps running from genocide truth


Turkey keeps running from genocide truth

First published: Sunday, April 11, 2004

When is a lie not a lie? Are there codes and colors to lies that can be
measured, that separate small lies from big lies?

Does it make a difference if the lie is told in a court of law, or in polite
society, or in religions, or in politics, or just among friends or
businesses? Doesn’t conscience mean anything anymore? Must the truth be
covered up?

There is an Armenian proverb that says: “If you tell a lie, it will
eventually confront you.” There is also a Turkish proverb that says: “If you
tell the truth, you better keep running.”

The Turkish government has chosen to deny the truth about the Armenian
genocide and consequently it has been running from the truth for 89 years.
But it cannot hide from the truth forever because the truth will eventually
catch up to it.

When Germany acknowledged its guilt in the Holocaust, its people were able
to take their government forward based on good conscience and actions that
finally gave justice to Holocaust victims and their families.

Turkey does not want to do that and so will not be able to move forward and
become a real democracy until it faces its past history and gives justice to
the victims of the genocide and their families.

It is well past time for Turkey to do what Germany did in the case of the
Holocaust. Only then will Turkey be able to stop running from the truth and
be at peace with itself, its neighbors and the world. But most important of
all, there will be peace and closure for the victims and their families.

Without acknowledgment, without acceptance of its historical responsibility,
Turkey undermines efforts at reconciliation in the Caucasus and sets up the
possibility for repetition of such crimes against humanity.

The world recognizes the scope and horror of the Armenian genocide, and
history has long settled the question of how and why the Turkish government
sought to rid itself of an industrious Christian minority.

This month, Armenians all over the world will commemorate the first genocide
of the last century with prayers, vigils, proclamations and speakers to
remember the 1.2 million people who were annihilated by the Ottoman Turkish
government in 1915.

Lucy Derderian, the oldest genocide survivor living in New York state, died
in 2003. She was 103 and lived in Queens. She will be missed this year at
the commemoration, but her spirit and memory will always be with us.