WATERTOWN, Mass.—Greater Boston-area activists Dikran Kaligian and Laura Boghosian—in two letters to the editor published in the June 18 issue of the Boston Globe—spotlighted U.S. government and media complicity in genocide denial, reported the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Massachusetts.
Kaligian, a member of the ANCA Eastern Region Board, focused on Obama’s double standard on human rights, comparing the president’s moving words at the Buchenwald concentration camp earlier this month to his broken pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
During his visit to the Nazi death camp, Obama spoke of America’s “duty to confront those who would tell lies about our history,” but refrained from properly characterizing the Armenian
Genocide in his April 24 statement, instead “strong arming the Armenian government to agree
to a roadmap for reconciliation with Turkey that has no possibility of every being implemented,” Kaligian wrote.
In his letter, he went on to note that the president’s inaction “gave Turkey a green light to continue blackmailing the United States by threatening to shut down the airbase that supports American troops in Iraq any time a U.S. official accurately recounts history.”
Boghosian’s letter to the editor addressed the Boston Globe’s reporting on the recent dismissal of a Massachusetts court case that would have allowed Armenian Genocide denial in the commonwealth’s classrooms. Rejecting the Globe’s characterization of the Armenian Genocide as a “contentious issue that has been debated by academics and historians,” Boghosian notes that
“reputable scholars agree that the Armenian Genocide is settled history; it is solely the Turkish government’s political campaign that obfuscates the issue. Only a fringe element, usually funded
by Turkey or Turkish supported institutes, alleges there is controversy.”
Boghosian concluded that “by failing to provide background and context that would refute the allegation that this is a ‘quintessential’ historic debate, the Globe, in effect, has abetted genocide denial—the highest form of hate speech and the last stage of genocide.”
The full text of Kaligian and Boghosian’s letters to the editor on June 18 follow.
President Obama reminded the world of its “duty to confront those” who deny genocide (“At Buchenwald, Obama urges stand against evil,” Page A3, June 6, Boston Globe). His words would carry more weight had not he and his state and defense departments become complicit in Turkey’s multimillion-dollar campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide.
By strong-arming the Armenian government to agree to a road map for reconciliation with Turkey that has no possibility of ever being implemented, Obama gave himself political cover for breaking a clear campaign promise. He also gave Turkey a green light to continue blackmailing the United States by threatening to shut down the airbase that supports American troops in Iraq any time a U.S. official accurately recounts history.
No wonder Sudan’s president was welcomed in Turkey for a state visit just after being indicted for crimes against humanity; perhaps he wanted tips on successful genocide denial from the foremost experts in the field.
Dikran M. Kaligian
The writer is the author of Armenian Organization and Ideology under Ottoman Rule.
The article “Armenian genocide lawsuit rejected: Judge says no role for court on curriculum guidelines” (Metro, June 13) suggests that there is legitimate debate over the Armenian Genocide. Lawyer Harvey Silverglate argues that political pressure, not educational
merit, resulted in so-called counter-arguments being excluded from the Massachusetts curriculum.
The opposite is true. Reputable scholars agree that the Armenian Genocide is settled history; it is solely the Turkish government’s political campaign that obfuscates the issue. Only a fringe element, usually funded by Turkey or Turkish-supported institutes, alleges there is a controversy. The International Association of Genocide Scholars voted unanimously in 1997 that the extermination of the Armenians by the Turks constitutes genocide.
It is doubtful that Silverglate would sue Massachusetts to mandate that the “opposing viewpoints” of neo-Nazis who deny the Holocaust be taught to our children. Yet the “counter-arguments” the plaintiffs pushed to include in the curriculum consist of standard genocide denial tactics, such as questioning the numbers killed, blaming the victim, or disputing the perpetrators’ motivations.
By failing to provide background and context that would refute the allegation that this is a “quintessential” historic debate, the Globe, in effect, has abetted genocide denial—the highest form of hate speech and the last stage of genocide.