Morality of Genocide Denial and need for Recognition Robert Hovhanessian
What is Genocide? • The systematic extermination or attempted extermination of an entire national, racial, religious, or ethnic group. • 1944 Prof. Raphael Lemkin coins the term genocide.
Armenian Genocie • 1915 April 24 • Estimated up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks • Also Greeks, Assyrians, “Ezdi”s • It is denied to this day by the Turkish government • Acknowledged by more than 20 coutries, 44 U.S. States
Timeline • 1918 An Ottoman military tribunal. • 1981 President Ronald Reagan • 1997 the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) passed a resolution unanimously recognizing the Ottoman massacres of Armenians as genocide. • 1995 -1998 (20) Russia, Greece, Belgium, Italy, France
Denial TImeline • 1935 Turkey pressures MGM and the United States government from allowing the film giant to produce a film based on “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh” • 1960s teach to the world "the other side of the story." • 1980 Ottoman Archives opened • 2005 Article 301
Types of denials Israel Charney, Executive Director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Israel, describes genocide denial by putting it into the following categories:“ • 1. Innocence-and-Self-Righteousness • 2. Scientificism in the service of confusion • 3. Practicality, pragmatism and realpolitik • 4. Idea linkage distortion and time-sequence confusion • 5. Indirection, definitionalism, and maddening "Elie" Wiesel chair of the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide – • Turkey's 90-year-old campaign to cover up the Armenian genocide a double killing, since it strives to kill the memory of the original atrocities.
Turkish Policy • 1975 Turkish historian and biographer Şevket Süreyya Aydemir: "The best course, I believe, is not to dwell on this subject and allow both sides to forget (calm) this part of history.“ • Threatening to cut military and economic ties. • Establish Historical commissions with Armenia
Excuses for U.S. Presidents • Bill Clinton – Could harm relations with our ally • George W. Bush – A highly sensitive issue at a time of rising U.S.-Turkish tensions over northern Iraq • Barak Obama – “impede progress on normalization of relations' between Turkey and Armenia, according to an administration spokesman.“ • “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides,” he said. “I intend to be that President.”
So what is the right thing to do? The Social justice questions: • 1) Would you take Utilitarian view? - One must be realistic and live through realpolitik. • 2) Would you take Deonthological standpoint? - Right thing to do • 3) or Virtue ethics ? – Good for your soul.
Video Links • Orphans of the Genocide • CrossTalk on Genocide: Turkey's Burden