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The Armenian Genocide: Conflicting Truths History and a Question of Reconciliation Today

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Adam Schiff

on 8 May 2011

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Transcript of The Armenian Genocide: Conflicting Truths History and a Question of Reconciliation Today

The Armenian Genocide:

Conflicting Truths in History and a

Question of Reconciliation Today Genocide, as defined by the United Nations in General Assembly Resolution 260A (III) Article 2:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following
acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a
national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of
the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. For over five hundred years, Armenians lived under Ottoman rule. Except for a head tax for non-Muslisms, Armenians and Ottomans maintained positive relations.
During the Russo-Ottoman Wars from 1828-1878, Russia gained much Ottoman territory, including Armenia. Turks were expelled by the Russians, and Armenians were granted the lands left behind. Why is it important to study genocide?
"The scale of human tragedy overwhelms us: it compels us to attend to the plight of millions of people, many of them innocent victims, some of them true heroes and heroines (though unrecognized), and a few culpable of some of the worst crimes against humanity."- David Newbury Hunchaks Dashnaks "Terrorism, including the murder of both Ottoman officials and Armenians who opposed them, was part of the party platforms... What happened to Armenian clergymen who opposed the Dashnaks? Priests were killed in villages and cities. Their crime? They were loyal Ottoman subjects... All the Ottomans could do was try to keep things as quiet as possible. That meant not punishing the rebels as they should have been punished. One can only pity the Ottomans. They knew that if they governed properly the result would be the death of their state."
Dr. Justin A McCarthy
Professor of History at the University of Louisville "Hunchaks and Dashnaks were political parties that were created to advance the political rights of Ottoman citizens of Armenian descent. There is nothing wrong about fighting for one's rights. Of course they were some Armenian bandit elements within Hunchaks and Dashnaks, but that...cannot justify the complete annihilation of an entire nation. Moreover, Armenians did not choose to become Ottoman citizens. They were conquered, colonized and collectively oppressed against their will (paying three times more tax than Muslims, for instance); they had all the right to reclaim independence (although most did not - they were loyal Ottoman citizens, including my great-grandfather Hagop Maghakian/Hakob Maghakyan who served in the Ottoman army)."
Simon Maghakyan
Co-Chair of Genocide Commemoration Committee
Armenians of Colorado 1914 Grand Vizier
Mehmed Talat Pasha All parliamentary seats taken by either the Young Turks, a nationalistic party beginning in the early 19th century.
The head of the political party the Committee of Union and Progress, which aligned itself with the Young Turks, Mehmed Talat Pasha became the Minister of the Interior in 1913 and the Grand Vizier in 1917. During the genocide, almost every order against the Armenians would come from Talat's office.
The Young Turks begin mass censorship and drafting policies for all males between 20 and 45.
1080 shops are burned in the city of Diyarbakir as violent actions against Armenians and Assyrians become more common. Grand Vizier
Mehmed Talat Pasha Grand Vizier
Mehmed Talat Pasha The Young Turk Congress 1915 1916 "Deportation of and excesses against peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eye witnesses [sic] it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion."
-Henry Morgenthau Sr., US ambassador to Ottoman Empire, 1915. Orphan camps Of almost 500,000 deportees, 364,500 are
reported as dead. [The young Turks are continuing an] ". . . unchecked policy of extermination through starvation, exhaustion, and brutality of treatment hardly surpassed even in Turkish history."
-Abram Elkus, US ambassador to Ottoman Empire, 1916 260,000 Armenian deportees massacred between August and September in Del-el-Zor 1917-18 1919-21 Various trials are held but the vast majority of the leaders are sentenced to death absentia or are able to escape from custody.
Turkish nationalist forces continue attacks on Armenians leading to almost 20,000 deaths in Hadjin and Marash.
Talaat is assassinated by an Armenian student in Berlin in 1921. Talaat is later enshrined in Constantinople with an enormous ceremony. ____________________ Up to 1.5 million dead Armenians and half a million deportees. 1932-33
Joseph Stalin seizes and witholds all wheat in Ukraine until a quota is met. Death tolls reach 25,000 people a day due to famine.

7,000,000 1938-45
The Holocaust

11,000,000-17,000,000 1975-79
"What is rotten must be removed."
The Cambodian Genocide under Pol Pot's Khmer Rogue party.

2,000,000 1992-95
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serbian Slobodan Milosevic created a campaign against Bosnian Muslisms.

200,000 + 2,000,000 refugees 1994
Ethnic Hutus, encouraged by radio programs, comb the streets murdering Tutsis.

800,000 Following the Holocaust, the Nuremberg Trials began which made "A plea to humanity of law." Nuremberg sought to establish that no one is immune to the law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the Nuremberg Principles (1950) followed. 1986-89
Under Saddam Hussein's Al-Anfal campaign in Kurdistan, civillians suffer nerve gas and other attacks.

150,000-500,000 2003-2011
Under the Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, the Janjaweed militia continues to slaughter civillians throughout the region of Darfur.

300,000, Over 2,000,000 refugees. From 1922 to 1990, Armenia was part of the USSR and no formal relations existed between Turkey and Armenia. During the 70s and 80s, 27 attacks were perpetrated by extremist Armenian groups, including the murder of two Turkish diplomats. For the last 30 years, relations have been tense.
Open air link
Undisturbed genocide rememberances
No normalized relationships
Karabakh issue In 1988, the Armenian majority in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan argued within the Soviet Union to join the state of Armenia. After both regions gained independence from the Soviet Union, conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia continued until Armenia began a military occupation of Nagorno-Karabkh. Turkish Denial We did not commit genocide, we protected our government Hrant Dink
Article 301 Ovis armeniana/Ovis orientalis anatolicus Capreolus capreolus armenius/Capreolus capreolus capreolus 2005 "The campaign to change scientific references to Armenians is the continuation of the Armenian genocide. It is the attempt to not only deny the Genocide, but deny the existence of indigenous Armenians in the first place."
-Simon Maghakyan State of Genocide Recgonition Today 2009 Agreement
Would have opened borders between Turkey and Armenia
Turkey demanded Armenia return Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan.
Armenia consented on the terms that Turkey recognize the genocide, and negotiations fell through. The founder of the Human Rights Association of Turkey, Ragib Zarakolu, has called on Turkey to recognize the genocide, stating "Recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey will raise its dignity, rather than humiliate it." Trade is vibrant between Armenian and Turkish merchants who trade via Georgia.
Furthermore, Turkey has frequently allowed genocide memorials to occur, and have even atteneded on rare occasions. Recently, Turkey announced plans to reconstruct a 10th century Akdamar church and allow its Armenian minority group to prayer there. Argentina
Vatican City "Two years ago, I criticised the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term "genocide" to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognise the Armenian Genocide."
-Senator Barack Obama, 2008 House Resolution 106: Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution We solemnly remember the horrific events that took place ninety-six years ago, resulting in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. In 1915, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all our interests.
Contested history destabilizes the present and stains the memory of those whose lives were taken, while reckoning with the past lays a sturdy foundation for a peaceful and prosperous shared future. History teaches us that our nations are stronger and our cause is more just when we appropriately recognize painful pasts and work to rebuild bridges of understanding toward a better tomorrow. The United States knows this lesson well from the dark chapters in our own history.
I support the courageous steps taken by individuals in Armenia and Turkey to foster a dialogue that acknowledges their common history. As we commemorate the Meds Yeghern and pay tribute to the memories of those who perished, we also recommit ourselves to ensuring that devastating events like these are never repeated. This is a contemporary cause that thousands of Armenian-Americans have made their own. The legacy of the Armenian people is one of resiliency, determination, and triumph over those who sought to destroy them. The United States has deeply benefited from the significant contributions to our nation by Armenian Americans, many of whom are descended from the survivors of the Meds Yeghern.
Americans of Armenian descent have strengthened our society and our communities with their rich culture and traditions. The spirit of the Armenian people in the face of this tragic history serves as an inspiration for all those who seek a more peaceful and just world. Our hearts and prayers are with Armenians everywhere as we recall the horrors of the Meds Yeghern, honor the memories of those who suffered, and pledge our friendship and deep respect for the people of Armenia.
-President Barack Obama, 2011 The Ankara Agreement of 1923 basically voids any state level recognition of the genocide. While addressing his military commanders at Obersalzburg, a week before the invasion of Poland, and the start of World War II, Adolph Hitler speaks of his order. "Kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish race or language... "Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?"
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