By Michael Weiss
Oct 11 2007
Bloggers are aghast that President Bush came out against a House
resolution that would recognize the Armenian genocide. Also,
Palestinians return to a Lebanese refugee camp formerly besieged by
Islamists. And bloggers assess the discoveries made by this year’s
Nobel laureates in science.
What genocide? Beginning in 1915, up to 1.5 million Armenians were
slaughtered or displaced by the dying Ottoman Empire, an event that
modern Turkey refuses to acknowledge, to the point of criminalizing
the discussion of it. The House foreign affairs committee voted
Wednesday 27-21 in favor of a symbolic resolution that would recognize
the Armenian genocide, much to the chagrin of Turkey’s Islamist
government, one of the United States’ strongest allies in the Middle
East. President Bush said "this resolution is not the right response
to these historic mass killings." Bloggers think otherwise.
El Matador, an Irish nationalist who writes at ElBlogador, thinks
realpolitik is back with a vengeance: "For Bush and many of his
predecessors, it has nothing to do with what is right or wrong,
but rather a question of what suits the American Presidency best.
Morality and justice don’t come into it. We saw the same sort of
buffoonery during US interventions in Latin America in the 1970s. It
seems that some people never learn."
"Guy Fawkes" at lefty Daily Kos is appalled: "No less a monster than
Adolf Hitler, when asked by one of his subordinates about whether
the world would sit back and watch while they massacred thousands of
untermenschen, responded that nobody remembered now what happened to
the Armenians. Now it is happening again."
Even some stalwart defenders of the administration can’t stomach this
latest maneuver. Conservative Pam at Atlas Shrugs writes: "If the
President won’t call genocide genocide and he won’t utter the name
of the mortal enemy we face, Islamism, we are in for a world of pain."
In a lengthy, informational post, Baron Bodissey at the Gates of Vienna
looks at the issues that led acknowledgement of the atrocities to be
repressed after World War I and then moves to present day, asking:
"And why is our relationship with Turkey strained? What have we done
to offend them? Is it strained because of that nasty little business
in the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003, when the Turks denied the
United States permission to enter northern Iraq via Turkey?"
which caused "numerous additional American casualties, and allowed
thousands of Baathists, criminals, and terrorists – who otherwise
would have been interdicted by a northern front – to escape."
"The irony of someone named Bush jilting the Armenians," according to
Countenance Blog, "is that, in 1988, the first George Bush had the
Armenian-American Governor of California, George Deukmejian … on
his short list for a running mate. I wonder how he feels today, as he
sees the son of the man who might well have made him Vice-President
diss his own people like this."
Finally, Joey Kurtzman, my colleague at Jewcy, has called for the
firing of Anti-Defamation League Director Abe Foxman for the ADL’s
refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide. At the Daily Shvitz blog,
Kurtzman reminds readers that George W. Bush once spoke differently
about historical fact when he was trying to drum up support for his
tax policy: "The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign
that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember
and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century
of bloody crimes against humanity."
Read more about Bush and the Armenian genocide.
Homeward bound: Today, 500 Palestinians returned to the Nahr al Bared
refugee camp in Lebanon months after fleeing a battle scene between
the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam, a jihadist group. More than
30,000 residents had been displaced and their homes destroyed during
At Time’s Middle East Blog, Beirut correspondent Andrew Lee Butters
says: "[Nahr al Bared] is a dangerous place, littered with land mines,
booby traps, and unexploded ordinance — yesterday three soldiers
were wounded and one was killed by explosions. But in the meantime,
camp residents are living in schools and makeshift shelters in other —
already overcrowded — Palestinan camps around Lebanon."
Mustapha at Lebanese blog Beirut Spring points out: "One of the
factors that will push the problem to the limelights is the imminent
shortage in reconstruction cash. Only $37 million of the 382.5$
million estimated for reconstruction and relief have been pledged."
And Sursock, a Lebanese socialist blog, claims to have seen a
confidential report on the reconstruction of the refugee camp: "Out
go the tight alleys and close quarter community housing, and in comes
European style housing blocs separated by wide roads … [to] provide
better entry for armoured patrols and thus leaving the Palestinian
less able to defend their areas. The Humvees supplied recently by
the US would fulfill this task." Also: "Lebanese army will be running
‘security’ in the new camp. This takes us back to the 1950s and 1960s
when Palestinians lived in fear of the internal security services
known as Deuxieme Bureau."
Read more about the refugees’ return.
Nobel’s lab squad: Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, physics, and
medicine have been announced. Among the recipients is Mario R.
Cappechi, a refugee from the Nazis who helped develop-along with
his co-winners Martin J. Evans and Oliver Smithies-"gene targeting"
in mice, a procedure involving the use of embryonic stem cells. Also,
the physics prize went to Peter Gruenberg and Albert Fert for their
discovery of "giant magnetoresistance," without which the iPod would
have been impossible.
At Wired’s Science blog, readers e-mailed blogger Brandon Keim to
set him straight on the importance of knockout genes: "Very often,
the knockout mouse gives you the most direct insight into what that
gene does, and where it does it. Only once we understand the function
of all these do we have a clear picture, and can thus intervene
"Fert and Grunberg foresaw that computer technology would reduce
the size of our world," hymns Myra Per-Lee at Inventor Spot, "as
more and more information demanded storage. Information is stored
in differently magnetized areas on a hard drive, or memory. Some
direction of magnetization corresponds to the binary zero, other
directions to the binary value of one."