FROM THE BOSPHORUS STRAIGHT – A "PEACE VIRUS" ON THE INTERNET
Turkish Daily News
December 18, 2008 Thursday
A group of Turkish intellectuals putting together a Web site to
apologize to Armenians for a "great catastrophe" is not in and of
itself a big deal. The context that propelled the initiative, and the
reflective and intelligent reaction, including reasoned criticism,
is evidence of something profound.
Yesterday, the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review reported on the
Web site, It is an admirable and gutsy move
to demonstrate the empathy shared by many Turks for the historical
suffering of Armenians, whether the label be "genocide," "massacre,"
or something else. The reaction by opponents, as we noted, demonstrates
a consensus in Turkey to keep channels of communication open while
disagreeing. This is the essential ingredient of any reconciliation.
What is most important, we believe, is that Turkey has reached what
sociologists call a "tipping point." This is how they describe the
phenomenon of many little, all-but-unnoticed things that accumulate
to result in great societal change or dramatic shifts.
Fashion is an example of things that change this way. Revolutions in
music and art have transformed similarly; after all no one set out
to "design" the 1960s. The decline of crime in New York City when no
one expected it, the rise of teenage smoking worldwide amid a chorus
of anti-smoking warnings are more testament to the "tipping point"
Just who decided that the Berlin Wall and all it stood for should
crumble? At what point did American society cross the cultural
threshold that a black man could be seriously considered for the
"Tipping points are like epidemics," argues Malcolm Gladwell, the
author who put this term in the common lexicon. "For ideas, products,
messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do."
As we noted in yesterdays story, it was just in 2005 that a group of
lawyers sought legal action and created a public furor when a state
university simply sought to have a panel discussion of the events of
1915 that included all perspectives.
When it comes to this issue, the world is a different place today
than it was in 2005. Surely, the courageous visit a few months ago
of President Abdullah Gul to a Yerevan football match was a major
moment in this ongoing "tipping" toward dialogue.
But this occurred because of many small things: the Yerevan State
Ballets visit to Istanbul enabled by Rotary clubs in Turkey and
Armenia, dozens of low-key exchanges of students and academics,
a joint Turkish-Armenian film production now underway, exchanges of
musicians and artists, an Armenian entrepreneurs project to produce
wine from the grapes of Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. A "peace
vintage" he called it.
Maybe we can coin a new phrase from his term and Gladwells analogy:
a "peace virus." We are sure it will spread
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress