Friday, April 24, 2009

Holocaust vs. Genocide

We tax all the others and pass the revenue on to you

Yesterday, April 23, was the day set aside to remember and honor Holocaust victims, International Holocaust Day. It is right to remember the millions of innocents who were slaughtered by a criminal regime led by psychopathic monsters from hell. Our prez conscientiously reminded us "Never again". He sat on Capital Hill and listened as speaker after speaker warned of the peril that Iran poses to the existence of the state of Israel. Fair enough, and so noted. This day of quiet remembrance should go on forever.

Today, April 24, is the day set aside to remember and honor the 1.5 million innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide. "Uh, the what?" do I hear you say? On this date in 1915 the Turkish pasha signed an order to exterminate all Armenians and he started with those in his government and army. Murder is the only word that fits the individual heinous crimes and genocide is the only word that fits this persecution in its entirely.

Here's what our prez said in part (thank you, AP) about the Armenian Genocide in 2008 during his campaign:

"Two years ago, I criticized 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 (Condoleezza) 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."

Thousands? Try 1.5 million. Yeah, can't be expected to remember details like that. Can't be expected to remember campaign promises like that, either. Now our prez shares with his predecessors a stubborn and irrational refusal to call the genocide a genocide.

It happened. I've seen the proof and you can, too, if you visit the Genocide Museum in Yerevan or any number of websites. One picture in the museum, "The Hanging of the Doctors", will haunt you forever, but don't avert your eyes. That's what we're talking about here. Genocide. There simply is no other word.

We stood with the new German governments after WW II as they anguished their way through recognition of the Holocaust and today Germany is one of Israel's staunchest allies. We stood with South Africa as it confronted its recent past with truth commissions and free elections. We are helping rebuild Cambodia even as it faces the reality of its killing fields.

Whither Turkey? Are we so afraid that Turkey will somehow fail us or turn away from us if we call their act of genocide by its name? Why? Sure, Turkey is a useful ally but the last time we relied on Turkey, in 2003, it turned its back on us in favor of its own perceived national interests. The 1.5 million genocide victims deserve better than to be sacrificed yet again for oil and market access to their murderers.

Turkey, born in the blood of its own Young Turks at the passing of the Ottoman Regime, should face its past much like the US had had to face its history of slavery. It existed, it was a horror, we ended it on our own and we learned from it. Imperfectly, to be sure, and slowly, but the learning and improvement continues to this very day.

Turkey, I implore you. Explore your past and comes to turns with the Armenians and the genocide you inflicted on them. They deserve it and so do modern Turks.

Twice shame on Turkey. Once for the genocide and once for intimidating the United States into holding its tongue over your acts. Shame on our prez for continuing to bow to Turkish demands, especially when so many western nations have recognized the genocide for what we all know it was.

It's time to stop bowing, prez, and this is a good place to take a stand.

Genocide. It's too awful to ignore.

* * * * *

"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them." ... John Wayne as John Bernard Books in the movie "The Shootist"

1 comment:

  1. This brings to mind the Aaron Tippen song which I'm sure was based on an even older quote. thanks to the wonders of the internet, here are the lyrics:

    Now Daddy didn't like trouble, but if it came along
    Everyone that knew him knew which side that he'd be on
    He never was a hero, or this county's shinin' light
    But you could always find him standing up
    For what he thought was right

    He'd say you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything
    You've got to be your own man not a puppet on a string
    Never compromise what's right and uphold your family name
    You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything

    Now we might have been better off or owned a bigger house
    If Daddy had done more givin' in or a little more backing down
    But we always had plenty just living his advice
    Whatever you do today you'll have to sleep with tonight

    Now I know that things are different than they were in Daddy's days
    But I still believe what makes a man really hasn't changed

    You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything
    You've got to be your own man not a puppet on a string
    Never compromise what's right and uphold your family name
    You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything

    Not a bad philosophy for an old country song.