Armenian Genocide Resolution
Please do not support the Armenian Genocide Bill. It may cost us some votes not to support it. But it is a matter of principle not to side with anyone in a conflict.
The United States has been mired in conflicts because we have been siding with one party in many conflicts, from the Vietnam war, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to the Iraq war.
I have confidence that you understand the best practice in trying to resolve conflicts is to pursue common interests rather than to pursue fairness, just as what you have said, it should be about the future, not the past.
If we side with any side in a conflict, we will get ourselves into the conflict itself, the result of which is only to escalate it rather than to end it.
Democrats have already handed Bush and the Republicans a victory before pulling the Armenian Bill from the table. They did it by bringing the bill up when they had yet to be able to bring the Iraq war to an end. When they brought up that bill, they were basically implying that the US government did not have any moral problem at this time. That is like saying that the Iraq war which the US is waging is legitimate and does not hurt US image in the world or diminish US moral authority in the world.
Can they turn around and say the Iraq war is hurting US image in the world after they have insisted that US does have the moral authority to make a judgement on the Armenian massacre before there is any sign when the Iraq war will end?
It looks like there are only a few “genocide” signs, and they have to be carried by some people. And if all signs have been assigned to other people, you won’t have to carry one. So everybody is rushing to put a “genocide” sign on the one person that is more different from the rest.
It also looks like if you judge someone else on an issue, you will look like a judge, and thus have more authority in the matter.
If a thief accuses someone else of stealing, he will not be a thief any more?
Honestly, where does moral authority come from? From accusing others? Or from adhering to the same moral standard that one is advocating?
By the way, I have learned in the debate on the “Armenian Genocide” several ways of phrasing “hypocrisy”. One is “a case of the pot calling the kettle black”. Two is “to turn the mirror on oneself”.
Some say not all Americans wanted to go to war in Iraq and not all American soldiers commit crimes in Iraq. So you can not hold all Americans responsible for the Iraq war and the crimes that have been commit in that war. Well, I don’t think all Ottoman Turks wanted to go to war with the Armenians and so many other countries, or all Ottoman Turks commit crimes in that war, either. How can you hold all Turks, even Turks of today, responsible for that war and whatever happened in that war?
No any government who has got into a war has ever been able to control everything that happens in the war. The only thing they can control is whether to start a war or not. But if a war is waged against them, they have no choice but to go to that war. It is the one who started a war to blame, not the one who was dragged into a war to blame. America is the one who started the Iraq war. So she has even less moral authority to judge the Ottoman Empire, who was dragged into wars by the Armenians, who wanted to gain independence, and many other countries, who wanted to claim some Ottoman land.
In a debate, people present their conclusion as well as the facts and the logic that brought them to such conclusion, and allow other points of view to be presented. In a defamation, people only present their conclusion, and do not allow other points of view to be presented.
If a genocide bill is passed, Americans will be basically told to stop the debate. That will stop people from studying and thinking.
Forbidding independent thinking is exactly the reason why ancient civilizations like the Chinese Empire and the Ottoman Empire could not make progress.
So please continue the debate and stop the defamation.
By the way, biologically, debate and defamation are driven by two different desires. Debate is driven by the desire to learn on a subject and to find the truth. Defamation is driven by the desire to assert one’s wills.
All wars and genocides started from defamation. If Iraq was able to sue the United States for defamation, the Iraq war would not have been started.
Turkish people are rightfully alarmed by all the propaganda against them. They absolutely need to fight it. Once they allow it to go unchecked, their existence as a nation will be in jeopardy.
Every country and people should pay attention to what kind of false accusations against them are floating around and fight those accusations as soon as possible. For example, there are so many false accusations against illegal immigrants in the US right now, illegal immigrants in the US are facing the biggest threat ever.
Going back to the issue with Turkey, I think Turkey should try to find a court where they can sue the countries that have passed “genocide” resolutions for defamation.
“In law, defamation is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government or nation.” – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The case of “genocide” has not been made in court. So it is not for sure that “genocide” is factual. If it turns out to be not factual, a “genocide” bill could be considered a defamation of Turkey or the Turkish people. And America could become a subject of a lawsuit.
This is a good example of using the court of public opinion to replace the court of law. This is backward. People used to be convicted without trial. Not any more. Why a country and a people still have to be subjected to this kind of treatment?
By passing a genocide bill, America is trying to do what Turkey is being criticized for – stop people from exploring an answer to a historical question and coming to their own conclusion. What is worse for America is that America claims to be “the land of the free”, “the beacon of freedom”. Turkey does not make such claim.
This is just another example of how Americans do not understand the meaning of “the land of the free”. People should be free to debate historical issues. Only then can they really learn.
If there is a case, make it in a court, just like the case of Holocaust against Nazis was made in court. Otherwise, this will just be viewed as an attempt to defame Turkey or the Turkish people.
If the problem is a debate can not be held in Turkey, then we should fight for freedom of speech in Turkey. Our right to free speech should not be taken away simply because the right to free speech has been taken away from people in Turkey or any other country.
Three branches of government – legislative, judicial, and executive, each has its own role. Making judgement on a case is not the role of the legislative branch.
For me, the first answer is simple – because that is how the event was introduced to me. It was introduced as a “genocide”.
But after some research on the web, I have found better answer than that. I think the key is that the Armenians were killed in large number while they were unarmed, or at least that is how everybody perceives as what had happened, and the percentage of those who lost their life was too high – up to three quarters of the population.
I don’t want to be insensitive to the Armenians. But I can’t help thinking of the three million Vietnamese that have been killed in the Vietnam War. That is twice as many. But it has never been considered a “genocide”. Oh, this is because they were killed in a war, either as soldiers or as “collateral damage”, and the majority of Vietnamese survived that war.
However, some people have to take responsibility for the Vietnam War as well. If there was no encouragement from warring world powers, I don’t know if the Vietnamese themselves could have killed so many of each other. Vietnamese in the north and those in the south were relatives. My grandmother stayed in the north while her brothers and sisters fled to the south. But they were still brothers and sisters. They kept in touch with each other even after my grandmother’s brothers and sisters fled to the US.
The world powers used Vietnam as their battle field and Vietnamese as their soldiers. Three million Vietnamese died for them. But when the war ended, all Vietnamese had to thank the world powers who had helped them in the war. How ridiculous is that? To this day, Chinese are still saying that Vietnamese are ungrateful because they fought against China right after they won The War Against the Americans (as the Vietnam War was called by the Vietnamese), with help from China. And Vietnamese who had fled to the US still have to thank the US for offering them refuge.
I have met quite a few Turkish people, all of whom are very nice. I have not got a chance to ask them what they think about this. But I guess if they are angry over this issue and would not like to accept what the Armenians are insisting on having them to accept, it could be because their self esteem would not allow them to. Or they are feeling it is unfair that they are among the few who have to accept such reputation while so many atrocities have occurred. It could be because they have been brain washed by their government. That is exactly how large scale atrocities happen. People can easily be brain washed and commit large scale atrocities and would not realize that they were wrong at all. The Japanese are still worshiping their WWII war criminals. The Chinese are still accusing Vietnam of invading China in 1979. The US never offers any compensation to the Vietnamese who suffered all their lives from diseases caused by Agent Orange sprayed by the US army during the Vietnam War. The Armenians who had died are not suffering any more. But the Vietnamese Agent Orange victims are still living to suffer for the rest of their lives, with their diseases passed on to their children.
Politics has always been about power struggles. The Armenians have a lot of powerful allies because they are Christians. The countries that are pushing for the recognition of genocide are the same ones that incited the Armenians to rebel to bring down the Ottoman Empire. The fact that many nations push for the recognition of genocide does not necessarily mean that they are right. These same countries sat there watching while the genocide in Cambodia was happening in front of their eyes. What was worse, they condemned Vietnam for invading Cambodia to stop the genocide there.
The French had killed a lot of Vietnamese. They jailed and tortured my grandfather with electric chairs on suspicion of harboring Viet Minh, a Vietnamese organization fighting for Vietnam’s independent. And they killed my grandmother at her home on suspicion that she harbored Viet Minh as well. She was just over 30 years old when she was killed. My mother and her only surviving sibling were left as orphans. That was around and after WWII. How do the French find the gut to judge others in this matter?
As innocent people are still being killed daily in the wars that Americans have started in recent years, and as Americans are still refusing to compensate Agent Orange victims, where do they find the moral authority to judge others in this matter?
The West had found all kinds of excuses to invade many countries in the world, including Vietnam and China. There is no credibility to what they say. When they want to invade a country, they start looking for problems with that country which they can use to justify their military action. My guess is that they wanted to make the Ottoman Empire look bad so that they could garner support from their countrymen to wage wars against the Ottoman Empire. They probably found Christians being killed in Vietnam as well when they first invaded Vietnam. But there was no Christians in Vietnam before they came.
“There was a genocide of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire” is probably as true as “Saddam Hussein is trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction”. The West had made up one lie after another to justify their illegal and immoral military actions.
I got this from BBC News “US Armenian vote: Readers’ views“:
ARMEN ASRYAN, YEREVAN, ARMENIA
As an Armenian, I feel deep respect towards the US lawmakers who passed this resolution, in spite of White House lobbying.
There is a human tragedy that has to be acknowledged, 90 years later. I salute the bravery of people who voted for it.
Three of my great-grandparents were survivors of the genocide. They fled from what is now Eastern Turkey.
Being children, they were separated from their families and placed in an orphanage founded by American missionaries in what is now Gyumri in Armenia.
I have heard the stories since I was a child, and although I don’t have any negative feelings towards the current Turkish state, a bitter feeling of betrayal has remained.
There has always been a need for the world and the Turkish government to at least recognise that those killings were indeed genocide.
Now that has been achieved.
My comment: If it was a genocide, his three great grandparents would not have been separated from their parents and survived. They would have been killed together with adults. I think “massacre” is the more appropriate word for this.
The truth of the matter is Armenians are still fighting the Turks. And getting them to accept that term is a way of fighting them.
I agree with the one below, which was also taken from BBC News “US Armenian vote: Readers’ views“.
ARTUR, YEREVAN, ARMENIA
The US Congress ruling could create real political tensions not only for Armenia and the wider region, but also for the US.
I think that this discussion should be halted.
It could really hurt the many thousands of Armenian people who live and work in Turkey.
The US recognition of genocide may seem beneficial for Armenia, but we don’t need conflict with Turkey.
The two countries would do better to leave this topic to the historians and focus on improving relations between neighbours.
This kind of issue can do a lot of harm and has the potential to destroy political and economic relations.
My final thought: If the Armenians and their supporters are genuinely interested in making social progress, they should fight for freedom of speech in Turkey so that they can make their case to the Turkish people through a debate rather than through a power struggle. Otherwise, their victory will just be viewed as a victory for Christians in the power struggle between Christians and Muslims, which has been going on for hundreds of years. History tells me that those who keep asking for outside help keep loosing their place in their homeland.
As victims of wars for three generations, my family never thought of asking for justice from our former aggressors. But when the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq were about to break out, I was the first to scream against them. That is where I channel my grieve. Stopping more bloodshed is more important than settling old scores.
For the Turks, I have this to say. Everybody is minding their own business. So should the Turks. If I am a Turk, I will just ignore all these resolutions passed by other countries, as long as there is no court order asking me to pay for anything. If all these self-proclaimed “civilized nations” do not want to do business with me any more, fine. They refused to do business with China and Vietnam for a long time. But China and Vietnam did not die because of that. Now they have to do business with them again.
There are plenty of countries in the Muslim world that Turkey can make friends with. They share an identity as Muslims and they share the same humiliation that they receive from the West. They should form a united front to fight the West. There will be some difficult years ahead that they will have to deal with. But they will survive and thrive, just like China and Vietnam.