Dear Mr. von Hoffman, I enjoyed your article titled "Whose Genocide Counts?" Thank you for exposing that sitting for what it was, a pandering, a charade.
I am a Canadian of Turkish origin. I watched the entire session, listened to all the speeches. I had no idea how much these representatives loved Turkey, I couldn't believe how many friends Turkey had. Almost all of them felt the need to mention that Turkey was their friend, some of them even said, "I went to Turkey, lovely place." It is good to know that they like us so much and value our friendship.
It is not my intention to make light of a past tragedy and to belittle the sufferings of the Armenians and Turks of a troubled time, but the committee was so out of touch that the session turned out to be pitifully comical and it deserves every sarcastic remark made in your very funny article. Thanks to the ridiculousness of the sitting, I did not feel guilty one bit when I laughed out loud reading your article. It was very enjoyable and to the point.
At least three of the representatives quoted Hitler, who is supposed to have said, on August 22, 1939, "I have given orders to my death units to exterminate without mercy or pity, men, women and children belonging to the Polish-speaking race. It is only in this manner that we can acquire the vital territory which we need. After all, who remembers today the extermination of the Armenians?" Hitler is presumed to have said this while delivering a secret talk to members of his General Staff, just a week prior to his attack on Poland. The official texts of this speech, published in the Nuremberg documents, contain no reference to Armenians.
However, that is beside the point. Even if Hitler had said any such thing, are the representatives of the House Foreign Affairs Committee learning their history lessons from Hitler, the single most loathsome figure in history?
Then there was the issue of dates and numbers. Some said "the events that took place between 1915 and 1922," and some extended the latter date all the way up to 1928 (a date eight years after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire).
Numbers of victims ranged between 1 million and 2 million, but what's a million between friends? (Statistically, the entire Armenian population in the area was around 500,000.)
Some quoted Ambassador Morgenthau, whose accounts are challenged by scholars on its sincerity and accuracy. Henry Morgenthau Sr. was commissioned to write a war-time propaganda by President Woodrow Wilson and the book Ambassador Morgenthau's Story was the result of this effort. Nobody quoted Heath W. Lowry, who wrote The Story Behind Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, which deconstructs Morgenthau's narration as largely fiction.
I was happy to read your comments, there is still sanity around. Thanks again for your humorous insights.