memo

Thursday, March 10, 2005
**********************************
MEMO TO A TURKISH READER
WHO DENIES THE REALITY
OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
*****************************************
No nation in the history of mankind has ever invented or imagined a genocide and believed in it for a hundred years.
*
Also to be noted: Armenia is not alone in asserting the reality of the Genocide. There are a number of other Western nations that at no time have questioned or doubted its reality.
*
A serial killer becomes a serial killer exactly because, after killing his first victim, he fails to come forward and confess his crime. If Sultan Abdulhamid II had come forward after the first massacres of the Armenians in 1894 and admitted to the world that he Ottoman Empire had been guilty of crimes against humanity, he would have changed the profile of the Turkish people far more effectively and radically than Ataturk with his superficial reforms (the elimination of the fez and the adoption of the Latin alphabet); and in doing so he (the Sultan) would have prevented the Genocide, with the result that Turks would now enjoy all the rights and privileges of members of the European Union, instead of being what they have become: rejects of their own country, garbage collectors of Europe, and unwanted candidates of the EU.
*
Hitler would not have admitted the Holocaust if he had won the war. As long as Stalinists were in power, they at no time admitted the existence of the Gulag. By denying the Armenian Genocide, Ankara is tacitly admitting to being the legitimate heir and successor of the despotism of the Sultanate and the fascist regime of the Young Turks.
*
As for the suggestion that it was the Armenians who committed genocide against the Turks: throughout history genocides have been committed only by armed majorities against unarmed minorities and civilians. Within the Ottoman Empire, Armenian communities were only “tiny islands in a Turkish sea” (Oshagan) and most of the victims were women, children, and old men. To say otherwise is to demonstrate an appalling ignorance of world history and a total absence of common sense.
*
I will not speak of common decency and fair play because these have never been attributes of despotic regimes.
*
History, it has been said, is the propaganda of the victor. It has also been said that the aim of propaganda is to deceive friends, not enemies. If Israel and the United States speak today of the Armenian Tragedy (as opposed to the Armenian Genocide), they do so not because they are dupes of Turkish propaganda, but because they happen to need Turkey more than they need Armenia. And if Europe has so far rejected Turkish membership in the EU, it’s because it is against its own interest to have an underdeveloped and backward nation that may end up as a heavy burden on its resources.
*
On the positive side, not all Turks are dupes of state propaganda. Some of their most progressive intellectuals and historians are now willing to concede that if Turkey wants to take a step in the right direction towards civilization and democracy and away from Asiatic despotism, it has no choice but to accept Germany as its role model, which means coming to terms with its dark past by admitting its crimes against humanity.
#

You may also like