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Web Letter

Is there an example of more extreme, hypocritical arrogance than the US Congress, and other politicians, as well as newspapers columnists and human rights activists attempting to have a resolution passed acknowledging the Armenian genocide by Turkey?

How about asking the US Congress to put an end to the genocide it is committing in Iraq? Most politicians only acknowledge the deaths of American soldiers, but have nothing to say about the deaths of the Iraqis. Even the political left pretend that what is going on in Iraq is just a civil war and the US is an innocent, helpless bystander. This is no different from Turkey, who mourns the deaths of its own and claims that in 1915 it was civil war and there was mutual suffering at the hands of the other.

It was the United States that helped Saddam Hussein into power and supported him strategically and financially, when he was committing his worst atrocities. The US has bombed the infrastructure of Iraq during two invasions; no one really knows how many were killed during these bombings or due to the use of chemical weapons and depleted uranium. Thousands of Iraqis are put in jail without justification. Reconstruction projects are benefiting foreigners more than the Iraqis. American agent provocateurs are fueling the violence between the different religious and ethnic groups; but no one is investigating this. Millions of Iraqis have fled their country in fear for their lives. The Iraqis are scapegoats for US foreign policy.

For those who have no sympathy for the Muslims in Iraq (and Afghanistan), let’s look at what the United States did in Vietnam and Cambodia. Three to five million Buddhists were killed when the US bombed and used chemical weapons on these countries. Where is US acknowledgment of this genocide?

What about how the United States preaches human rights and democracy, yet it engages in regime change, supporting brutal dictators and kings who do its bidding?

The fact that the US Congress wants to pass a resolution regarding the genocide that Turkey has committed, but has not said anything about the genocides the United States is responsible for, shows that passing this type of resolution is completely meaningless.

Why don’t the United States and Europe set the example by acknowledging their genocides?

It wasn’t only the Armenians that were killed in large numbers. Read here about what the Europeans (with Americans’ help) were doing in their former colonies. I suspect this is only a partial list and as time passes “mainstream” historians will investigate the atrocities committed by Western countries in the Third World.

Randall Jones

New York City, NY

Oct 25 2007 - 5:10pm

Web Letter

Rochelle Cisneros writes: *How odd is it that the President of Iran doubts the Holocaust in international arenas, asks for more research, and there are no threats or widespread anger. How odd is it that Turkey claims the loss of 1.5 million Armenians is a massacre and to call it genocide is historically untrue. Any thoughts?"

Rochelle, It would be cynical to compare Turkey’s sensitivity on Armenian issue to Ahmedinejad’s denial of Holocaust. Why does Turkey insist on calling it massacre but not genocide? Easy, because they are truly convinced that it wasn’t genocide! The American public has long been fed by one side of the story so you even refuse to believe that Turkey has something to say on this. If you went to Turkey and talked to people you would see that they don’t feel any guilt over Armenians beside they are very sensitive and angry about Armenians too. And why don’t you just reverse your question and ask Armenians why they insist labeling this as genocide rather than massacre? Because there is a huge difference between two definitions in terms of international sanctions. Genocide means restitution. There will be enormous amounts of land and money claimed from Turkey. So this is what all the fuss is about!

Turkey is the only secular democracy trying to survive in the Middle East, surrounded by Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia, the countries that US considers threats from 7,000 miles away. This unfair treatments from the Western world has been pushing Turkish public who is already torn between East and West and looking for its identity to the dark side of the divide.

Serhat Ozbay

Cranston, RI

Oct 16 2007 - 12:51am

Web Letter

I am finding it difficult to respond to Ms. Vartanian's article without sounding like I am trivializing the plight of the Armenian people. I am certainly not and sympathize with her point of view.

We must, however, exercise a pragmatic perspective concerning the condemnation of a nation's past sins versus the most productive way to proceed from the here and now. After all, the desire to redress old injustices is at the root of much of the world's ethnic conflicts.

Like it or not, Turkey has an important role to play in the Middle Eastern peace process and they have shown restraint in not going after the PKK in northern Iraq. Should they decide to do so, I truly believe the situation would become more dangerous for every one of our soldiers serving in that unfortunate war.

Right now we need to focus on keeping Turkey from evolving into another Islamic state and welcome them into the fold of the rest of the industrialized world.

By failing to do this, we would risk future genocides, and we both can agree that would be a sad consequence of our diplomatic misadventures.

Robert Stephens

Flagstaff, AZ

Oct 14 2007 - 7:53pm

Web Letter

What is the motivation in the US Congress for the resolution to come at this time? Why now?

Why does the resolution regarding an event after World War 1 cause Turkish leaders to threaten "irreparable damage." Would it not be more prudent to lament the terrible loss of lives at that time and move along? The response seems exaggerated.

How odd is it that the President of Iran doubts the Holocaust in international arenas, asks for more research, and there are no threats or widespread anger. How odd is it that Turkey claims the loss of 1.5 million Armenians is a massacre and to call it genocide is historically untrue.

Any thoughts?

Rochelle Cisneros

Cocoa Beach, FL

Oct 14 2007 - 5:31pm

Web Letter

As the daughter of a genocide survivor, I applaud the words of Nicole Vartanian--words spoken with the clarity, accuracy and passion so many of wish we could articulate. Ms. Vartanian speaks for all of us Armenians who have lost loved ones in the genocide about which many are unaware, and which our government, sadly, refuses to acknowledge. Those of us who keenly know the effects of this genocide continue to mourn the fact that our ancestors who so nobly gave their lives still have not truly had their day in court. These martyrs deserve to have their plight noted by the United States as so many other countries have done. Thank you, Nicole, for speaking out for all of us who share your loss and your passion.

Zabelle N. Vartanian

Belleville, IL

Oct 14 2007 - 1:59pm

Web Letter

"...and potentially create another genocidal situation with more segments of their Kurdish enemies)?" You are two inches from lumping a punch in the face in with genocide! Reminder: a Kurdish terror group, the PKK, killed fifteen Turkish soldiers and one child four days ago, let alone the thousands killed over twenty years, Kurds and Turks. Maybe Kurds are committing genocide against Turks, who knows?

Let's get real here. What would America do if American people and soldiers were constantly being killed in American soil by, say, Mexican terror groups who are trained in the terror camps across the Mexican border? It would wipe Mexico off the map in a week. But if Turkey crosses into Iraq-Kurdistan to hunt terrorists (not the Iraqi Kurds but PKK terrorists) for the same reason, it is genocide against Kurds.

My take on this poorly managed street theater: (1) America should be honest about the global war on terror and stop feeding terror groups under its payroll. And it should probably stop pissing off one of its very few allies in the Middle East. (2) Armenian-Americans should decide what their stance will be when there is a conflict between Armenian and American interests. Because losing Turkey to Iran and Russia is definitely not in America's best interest.

Serhat Ozbay

Providence, RI

Oct 13 2007 - 2:16pm

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