California Courier Online, April 22, 2004

California Courier Online, April 22, 2004

1 – Commentary
N.Y. Times Acknowledges
The Armenian Genocide
By Harut Sassounian
California Courier Publisher
2 – Carl R. Terzian to be
Honored By ECF Foundation
3 – Cal State L.A.’s Simonian
Crowned National Champion
4 – Diocese Will Host Several
Events at Burbank Complex
5 – Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Samantha
Power to Keynote April 23 Event in L.A.
1 – Commentary
N.Y. Times Acknowledges
The Armenian Genocide

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

The editors of the New York Times adopted last week a new guideline
instructing all of their reporters to henceforth use the term “genocide”
when referring to the Armenian Genocide.
The internal memo outlining this policy states: “After careful study of
scholarly definitions of ‘genocide,’ we have decided to accept the term in
references to the Turks’ mass destruction of Armenians in and around 1915.”
The guideline states that “the expression ‘Armenian Genocide’ may be used
freely and should not be qualified with phrasing like ‘what Armenians
call,’ etc.”
The New York Times thus abandons its shameful refusal in recent years to
refer to the Armenian Genocide as “genocide” and reaffirms the integrity of
the 145 articles it published in 1915, as the genocide was unfolding. More
than 20 years ago, Karl E. Meyer, one of the editors of The Times,
published two powerful editorial notes on the Armenian Genocide. The first
was dated April 23, 1983, and titled, “Armenian Memory, Turkish Amnesia.”
In that note, Meyer referred to the Armenian Genocide as “the century’s
first official genocide.” When a Turkish official objected to his choice of
words, Meyer wrote a second editorial note on May 14, 1983, simply titled,
“Turkish Amnesia.” He urged the Turks to acknowledge the truth about the
Armenian Genocide, “instead of blaming the victims.”
Under the new policy guidelines, the editors of the New York Times suggest
that when referring to the Armenian Genocide, their reporters “should
normally add a few phrases of explanation for the many readers who have
forgotten what they were taught about the Ottoman Empire (or who were
perhaps never taught): By most historical accounts, the Ottoman empire
killed more than one million Armenians in a campaign of death and mass
deportation aimed at eliminating the Armenian population throughout what is
now Turkey.”
The shift in The Times’ long-standing policy of not using the term Armenian
Genocide is partly the result of the dedicated efforts by several renowned
scholars as well as many Armenian-American individuals and organizations.
Over the years, they collectively provided to the ever-changing staff of
The Times a vast amount of information and documentation on the basis of
which the editors were able to arrive at this new guideline.
Another factor that probably contributed to the reconsideration of The
Times’ policy is the expanding circle in recent years of international
organizations, legislatures of several countries, as well as some Turkish
scholars who have acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. Due to these same
factors, the Boston Globe last year adopted a similar policy on the
“Armenian Genocide.”
Given the fact that the New York Times is one of the leading newspapers in
the United States, its editorial policies and positions have a great
influence on the coverage of issues by the media nationwide and even
worldwide. The Times also helps shape the opinions of policy makers as well
as the public at large. Consequently, its acknowledgment of the Armenian
Genocide will have a devastating effect on the Turkish efforts of denial
and reaffirm the historical facts. To amplify this effect, the news of the
New York Times acknowledging the Armenian Genocide should be disseminated
worldwide to all members of the media, government officials, and
international organizations.
In this effort, Armenians can count on valuable assistance from an
unexpected source — the Turkish government and its lobbyists. They will
probably embark on a massive muckraking campaign against The Times. As part
of their standard bullying tactics, the Turks will threaten to boycott the
newspaper and shut down its bureau in Turkey.
There is very little chance, however, that the Turks will succeed in
forcing a newspaper with the stature of The Times to back down. Such rude
attacks would only serve to offend and antagonize the newspaper’s editors,
and help further publicize the fact that the New York Times has decided to
acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.
In order to counter and balance the expected deluge of negative e-mails
from Turkish denialists, whose sinister aim is getting more and more
hopeless every day, we urge all readers to send e-mails to the editors of
The Times ([email protected]), commending their acknowledgment of the
Armenian Genocide.

British Ambassador Escapes from Armenia on April 24

The Armenian Community and Church Council of Great Britain through its
Sub-Committee for the Campaign for the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide
is planning a protest march on April 24 against the denial of the Armenian
Genocide by the British government and the British Ambassador in Armenia,
Thorda Abbott-Watt. The demonstrators will deliver a petition to Prime
Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street in London. Earlier this month,
French Armenians held a similar demonstration in front of the British
Consulate in Paris.
Meanwhile, Armenians and non-Armenians alike from around the world are
continuing to send protest e-mails to Amb. Abbott-Watt, the British Foreign
Secretary and Prime Minister Blair. Last week, the Armenian Community and
Parish Council of Houston, Texas, issued a statement condemning the British
denial of the Armenian Genocide. Interestingly, Amb. Abbott-Watt sent on
April 17 the following pre-programmed response: “Sorry – I am away! If your
e-mail is urgent please send it to Roy Wilson, our Deputy Head of Mission.
Otherwise, I look forward to reading it on my return to the office on
Monday 26 March.”
Amb. Abbott-Watt must be so confused and rattled by this whole controversy
that she probably meant to say she is returning on Monday, April 26 rather
than March 26, which falls on a Friday and has already passed. Obviously,
she must be too embarrassed to be in Yerevan while the whole Armenian
nation is commemorating the 89th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. She
wanted to avoid joining the group of ambassadors who place a wreath at the
Genocide Memorial Monument in Yerevan every year on April 24.
Amb. Abbott-Watt should seriously consider staying in London for good
rather than returning to Armenia!
2 – Carl R. Terzian
To Be Honored
By ECF Foundation
LOS ANGELES – Prominent public relations consultant and former president of
the Los Angeles Fire Commission, Carl R. Terzian, will be honored for his
distinguished business and community leadership by the Exceptional
Children’s Foundation at wine tasting and dinner on May 6 at Le Meridien in
Beverly Hills.
Invitations are being extended by L.A. Mayor James K. Hahn and Federal
Judge Dickran M. Tevrizian.
Proceeds from the evening will help the Foundation continue to develop and
provide life-span programs for individuals with mental retardation,
epilepsy, cerebral palsy, autism, and acquired brain injuries. Founded in
1946 by parents of children with mental retardation, ECF now serves nearly
2,000 children and adults from 12 sites throughout Los Angeles County.
3 – Cal State L.A.’s
Simonian Crowned
National Champion
LOS ANGELES – Cal State L.A. student Tatiana Simonian was recently crowned
national champion of dramatic interpretation at the American Forensic
Association’s National Individual Events Tournament in Long Beach, Calif.
Simonian, of Long Beach, and a communications studies major, swept past
more than 150 competitors from colleges and universities across the nation
in seizing the top honor. This marks Cal State L.A.’s fifth national
championship in individual events over the last 11 years. Simonian also
advanced to the semi-final rounds in the category of program oral
Along with Prof. Stephanie Hood, the coaching staff included Michael
Kalustian, Josh Fleming, Javon Johnson, and Richie Hao.
“Tatiana’s outstanding achievement is truly noteworthy,” said Kevin Baaske,
Cal State L.A.’s Director of forensics. “Keep in mind that these
competitors represent many of the best institutions in the country, and
that frequently, other competing students have received scholarships to
compete in forensics.”
4 – Diocese Will Host Several
Events at Burbank Complex
BURBANK, Calif. – Several events will be held in the coming weeks at the
Western Diocese complex in Burbank, the Diocese announced last week.
On May 5 a welcoming reception will be held in honor of Very Rev. Fr. Dajad
Yardemian, who serves at the Diocesan Headquarters.
Fr. Dajad’s main responsibilities include the preparation of candidates for
the priesthood, the Director of publication and the newly established
library, director of religion seminars throughout the year, officer
lecturer on behalf of the diocese and special tasks, as assigned by the
On May 6, at 7 p.m., a dedication of a book authored by Jirair Libaridian,
a former advisor to Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossian, will be held
at the Diocesan complex.
On May 12, a reception will honor the 50th anniversary of the services of
Mother Deacon Hripsime Sassounian.
On June 13, at 7 p.m., a reception will honor the 90th birthday and 70th
anniversary of the literary and educational service of Yervant Babayan.
Admission to all of these events are free.
5 – Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Samantha
Power to Keynote April 23 Event in L.A.
LOS ANGELES – The National Council of Churches USA will commemorate the
10th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide with an April 23 event in Los
Angeles. “Remembering Rwanda – Ten Years After the Genocide ” will feature
Samantha Power, who won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for her book “A Problem
from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.”
Also appearing will be Dr. Richard Hrair R. Dekmejian, Professor of
Political Science at USC, an expert on the history of the Armenian
Genocide, and Rabbi Allen I. Freehling, Executive Director of the Los
Angeles City Human Relations Commission.
Free and open to the public, the 7 p.m. event will be held in Fowler
Museum’s Lenart Auditorium, at UCLA. Preceding the program, at 6 p.m.,
Kimberlee Acquaro’s short film, Journey to Kigali, will have its premiere
The event also will include remarks by Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, General
Secretary of the National Council of Churches;.
The program also will include testimonies by Rwandan Genocide survivors.
The evening will close with a presentation of Rwandan music and dance.
6 – Historical Perspective on British Policy on Armenians

Lawrence of Arabia and the Armenians
By Vartkes Sinanian
Once again the world’s attention is focused on the Middle East. The west’s
policy has been a series of blatant interventions and confrontations as
well as blindness to the political aspirations of the region’s peoples.
It is evident that the basic ethical doctrine of Immanuel Kant that
“unless the principle upon which we act is one that is appropriate for all
the others that principle is false” sounds so true to that region of the
world. As a result there has always been a widespread instability and
ruinous cycle of events which has paralyzed the region for so long.
Lawrence of Arabia was one of the British Empire’s most prominent yet
mysterious figures in the early part of the 20th century. Born in Wales in
1888, he studied at Oxford University before heading to the Middle East on
an assignment. He joined the British Secret Service because of his
extensive knowledge of the Middle East and its people. His main task was
to organize the different Arab tribes against the Turks. He spoke Arabic
fluently and won the confidence of the Arab leaders. He later fought with
them and stories
of his exploits were spread all over the world. He was considered a
champion of Arab rights for he felt that the British government had not
treated the Arabs fairly.
His only book “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” is still popular with scholars
and others who are interested in the history of that region. When he
finished writing, the manuscript was mysteriously lost so Lawrence had to
write it all over again from memory. He was reluctant to talk about his
role and requests for interviews were unanswered probably because he feared
repudiation by the British Foreign Office. One of the rare interviews that
he granted was with Lincoln Steffens a well-known American writer, magazine
editor and author, who had achieved fame as an interviewer. Steffens
described his interview with Lawrence as the “queerest I ever had in all my
interviewing life. English humor consists, in part, at least in what it is
said; the British in what a Britisher doesn’t say.”
In his interview titled “Armenians are Impossible” he writes of Lawrence “I
offer the curiosity as I wrote it at the time (in Paris during the Peace
Conference in 1919) and I’ll have to leave it to those who read it to guess
what it’s all about, if anything.” 1919 was a fateful year in Armenia’s
history. It was the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide with its
disastrous consequences and our people were still licking their wounds.
However, there was a renewed hope because of the creation of the Armenian
Most important of all, the Paris Peace Conference was in session which
would eventually culminate in the signing of the Sevres Treaty with
Armenia’s participation.
In his interview Lawrence made some startling statements such as
“Armenians were the last word in human impossibility. They correspond as a
race, to ‘ the last man’ in academic debate.” As a Briton he was
irritated that the Americans came half way around the world to take charge
of Armenia. Britain as the greatest imperial power at the time could not
be sympathetic to the hopes and aspirations of a small but proud nation
whose emergence as an independent country could spell peril to the evil
designs of the Empire.
American mandate of Armenia meant the penetration of American influence in
the Middle East and the oilfields. Lawrence thought that the Americans
were too idealistic while the Armenians too practical. He was in
agreement with the policies of Czarist Russia which believed in an
Armenia with no Armenians.
Political principles and methods of expediency, craftiness and duplicity
characterized his philosophy which was enforced by the vast British
Empire where for centuries the sun never set. It was exactly the political
philosophy of Machiavelli which was “the end justified the means.”
Lawrence says that the “Armenians are the most intelligent, the most
perfectly selected, the most highly developed race in the world – from the
civilized point of view.” But he contends, “They must not have Armenia.
They would not work them themselves, not even for themselves. They want
them, yes, but only to own. They would not even do the work of organizing
the work of development. They would let them out as concessions to others
to manage. They want to live on the coast, in cities, on rent, interest,
dividends and the profits of trading in the shares and the actual money
earned by capital and labor.”
Lawrence now becomes more specific when he speaks of his country’s fears. ”
I tell you, if ever the Armenians are given a fair start in the world, if
they get a free hold on any corner of the earth, they will own the whole
planet and work all the rest of mankind. That’s what the Turks know and
dread and the Greeks and all of us who know them. And somebody has to solve
the Armenian problem. It seems to me to be poetic justice, good politics
and sound business to let the most idealistic people (he refers to the
Americans V.S.) in the world to take over the most practical people in the
world . ”
He thought America was young and inexperienced to take over the affairs of
emerging countries and therefore too prone to judge harshly the conduct of
the British. He makes some queer judgments such as ” We must divide them
up, Armenia to one mandate, the Armenians to another. The policy for the
Indians is the one for the Armenians. After trying everything else we
would end by doing that and doing it well, too: leaving no Adam and Eve to
go on raising Cain.”
We should never have doubted the evil designs of the British Empire and
the other allies as the facts speak for themselves. Lawrence was not alone
in these sentiments. Ugly voices were heard everywhere at that time but in
the end common sense prevailed.
Despite all these, the “Little Ally” proved a valuable asset for the allied
cause in preventing the occupation of the oilfields in the Caucasus and
Armenians distinguished themselves on the battlefronts with their valor
and sacrifice. The Sevres Treaty was the vindication of our rights which
we cherished since the fall of the Kingdom of Cilicia. President Wilson
took a personal interest in Armenia by championing the establishment of an
American protectorate but was overriden by the U.S. Congress.
After a short-lived period of hope and optimism, the years of despair and
peril were back . The dream of Greater Armenia was never realized due to
the behind the scenes intrigues of the Great Powers which had once again
abandoned their “Little Ally.” Lawrence was one of his country’s
representatives at the time and he directly or indirectly played a role in
shaping the British policy with regard to the Middle East. In
retrospect, this historic interview makes it all the more interesting.
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