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Chris Hedges: Coveting the Holocaust

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Posted on Oct 23, 2006
Armenian protest
AP / EUROKINISI

Armenian demonstrators burn a Turkish flag outside the Turkish Embassy in Athens in 1996 after a march to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the 1915-1923 Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks.

By Chris Hedges

Editor’s Note: The former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times and author of the bestseller “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” takes a hard look at the political capital of suffering.

I sent my New York University journalism students out to write stories based on any one of the themes in the Ten Commandments.  A woman of Armenian descent came back with an article about how Armenians she had interviewed were covetous of the Jewish Holocaust.  The idea that one people who suffered near decimation could be covetous of another that also suffered near decimation was, to say the least, different. And when the French lower house of parliament approved a bill earlier this month making it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide I began to wonder what it was she, and those she had interviewed, actually coveted.
 
She was not writing about the Holocaust itself—no one covets the suffering of another—but how it has become a potent political and ideological weapon in the hands of the Israeli government and many in the American Jewish community.  While Armenians are still fighting to have the genocide of some 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks accepted as historical fact, many Jews have found in the Nazi Holocaust a useful instrument to deflect criticism of Israel and the dubious actions of the pro-Israeli lobby as well as many Jewish groups in the United States.

Norman Finkelstein, who for his writings has been virtually blacklisted, noted in “The Holocaust Industry” that the Jewish Holocaust has allowed Israel to cast itself and “the most successful ethnic group in the United States” as eternal victims.  Finkelstein, the son of Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, goes on to argue that this status has enabled Israel, which has “a horrendous human rights record,” to play the victim as it oppresses Palestinians or destroys Lebanon.  This victim status has permitted U.S. Jewish organizations (the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress and others) to get their hands on billions of dollars in reparations, much of which never finds its way to the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors.  Finkelstein’s mother, who was in the Warsaw ghetto, received $3,500, while the World Jewish Congress walked away with roughly $7 billion in compensation moneys.  The organization pays lavish salaries to its employees and uses the funds to fuel its own empire.  For many the Nazi Holocaust is not used to understand and deal with the past, and more importantly the universal human capacity for evil, but to manipulate the present.  Finkelstein correctly writes that the fictitious notion of unique suffering leads to feelings of unique entitlement.

And so what this student, and those she had interviewed, coveted was not the actual experience of the Holocaust, not the suffering of Jews in the death camps, but the political capital that Israel and many of its supporters have successfully gleaned from the Holocaust.  And while I sympathize with the Armenians, while I understand their rage toward Turkey, I do not wish to see them, or anyone else, wield their own genocide as a political weapon. 

There is a fine and dangerous line between the need for historical truth and public apology, in this case by the Turks, and the gross misuse of human tragedy.  French President Jacques Chirac and his interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, said this month that Turkey will have to recognize the genocide before Turkey is allowed to join the European Union.  Most European nations turned their backs on the French, with the EU issuing a statement saying that the French bill will “prohibit dialogue.”  But the French move is salutary, not only for the Armenians who have been humiliated and defamed by successive waves of Turkish governments but for the Turks as well.  Historical amnesia, as anyone who has lived in the Middle East or the Balkans knows, makes reconciliation and healing impossible.  It fosters a dangerous sense of grievance and rage.  It makes any real dialogue impossible.  Nearly 100 years after the murderous rampage by the Turks it can still be a crime to name the Armenian holocaust under Law 301, which prohibits anyone from defaming Turkey.  One of the most courageous violators of that law is the writer Orhan Pamuk, who has criticized his country’s refusal to confront its past, and who just won the Nobel Prize for Literature. But he is a solitary figure in Turkey.

Historical black holes also empower those who insist that the Nazi Holocaust is unique, that it is somehow beyond human comprehension and stands apart from other human activity.  These silences make it easier to minimize, misunderstand and ignore the reality of other genocides, how they work and how they are carried out.  They make it easier to turn tragedy into myth.  They make it easier to misread the real lesson of the Holocaust, which, as Christopher Browning illustrated in his book “Ordinary Men,” is that the line between the victim and the victimizer is razor-thin.  Most of us, as Browning correctly argues, can be seduced and manipulated into killing our neighbors.  Few are immune. 

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The communists, not the Jews, were the Nazis’ first victims, and the handicapped were the first to be gassed in the German death factories.  This is not to minimize the suffering of the Jews, but these victims too deserve attention.  And what about Gypsies, homosexuals, prisoners of war and German political dissidents?  What, on a wider scale, about the Cambodians, the Rwandans, and the millions more who have been slaughtered by utopian idealists who believe the eradication of other human beings will cleanse the world?
 
When I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington I looked in vain for these other victims.  I did not see explained in detail the awful reality that Jewish officials in the ghettos—Judenrat—worked closely with the Nazis to herd their own off to the death camps.  And was the happy resolution of the Holocaust, as we saw in images at the end of the exhibits, the disembarking of European Jews on the shores of Palestine?  What about the Palestinians who lived in Palestine and were soon to be pushed off their land?  And, as importantly, what about African-Americans and Native Americans?  Why is the Nazi genocide, which we did not perpetrate, displayed on the Mall in Washington and the brutal extermination of Native Americans ignored?  Why should billions in reparations be paid to Jewish slave laborers and not a dime to those enslaved by our own country?

These questions circle back to the dangerous sanctification of any genocide, the belief that one ethnic group can represent goodness, solely because its members are the victims, and another evil because from its ranks come the thugs who carry out mass slaughter.  Once these demented killing machines begin their work the only thing unique is the method of murder.  The lesson of any genocide is not that one group of human beings is better than another, but that in the intoxication of the moment, gripped by the mass hypnosis of state propaganda and the lust for violence, we can all become killers.  All the victims must be heard.  None are unique.  And all of us have to be on guard lest we be seduced.  We carry within us—German, Jew, Armenian or Christian—dark and dangerous lusts that must be held in check.  I applaud the French.  I hope the French action pushes the Turks toward contrition and honesty.  But I do not wish for the Armenians to covet the Holocaust, to begin the process of sanctifying their own suffering.  When we sanctify ourselves we do so at the expense of others.   


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By Emrehan Delibas, November 7, 2006 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We want “supremacy” and want to “be in charge of the agenda”???  That sounds exactly like the Armenian stance, not the Turkish stance.  For 90 years Turks have maintained a noble silence on these issues because we wanted to focus on friendship and having a more positive future.  In Turkish, there is a saying “gunah onlarda kalsin”  (in otherwords, even if someone wrongs you, don’t lash out or commit a sin in reply, let them be the sinful ones).  Therefore, there is a tendency of Muslim people to avoid such polemics and expect justice from God, and so Turkish people have not been as vocal on this subject as Armenians were.

But Armenians are totally trying to control the agenda, even trying to control historians.  The law passed in France banning free speech on this subject is the latest attempt to silence Turks.  In the past, Armenians have used violence, terrorism and threats to silence not just Turks, but historians as well.

In the 1970s/1980s Armenian (ASALA, JCAG) terrorism claimed the lives of over 70 Turkish officials, with over a hundred wounded.  Bombings were done even in the French Orly airport and killed many civilians other than just the Turkish targets.

UCLA Profossor of History Stanford Shaw had his home in LA bombed by Armenian terrorists because he did not accept Armenian allegations of genocide.

Even the past Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA - the leading Armenian lobbying organization) Chairman, Mourad Topalian, was one of these terrorists who confessed to organizing bombings within the United States.  The LA Armenian community has raised over 400,000 dollars to try to get Hampig Sassounian, the convicted terrorist and murderer of Turkish LA consol general Kemal Arikan, paroled…

Armenians have slandered and tried to get History Professors who don’t agree with them fired, such as Heath Lowry and Justin McCarthy.  These slander campaigns have caused most Ottoman historians to be afraid to even take on the subject, lest they be attacked.  Even historian Bernard Lewis was sued again in France for not accepting genocide allegations.  This has left the field to people primarily touting Armenian version of events, and “genocide scholars” ...so called academics who’ve already decided that it was a genocide and thus selectively use sources simply to prove the conclusion they desire.

And it doesn’t stop there.  The Armenian Lobby also tries to prevent films or books supporting Turkish views from being published or seeing the light of day.

For example, a recent film about the issue called the “Armenian Revolt” by Marty Callaghan was dropped from the distributers list because of Armenian pressure that caused them to say it was “too controversial.”

The pressure goes even into hate crimes - I have a friend in Nevada whose car tires were slashed by Armenians because he opposed their agenda…

And I could go on and on…but I think you get the point.  Terrorism, attacks on free speech, overtly trying to suppress Turkish views or historians that may prove Armenian claims wrong…THAT IS CONTROLLING THE AGENDA…

Read on:

Turkish Diplomats Killed by Armenian Terrorism
http://www.ermenisorunu.gen.tr/english/diplomats/index.html

A good book on Armenian terrorism:
Feigl, Erich.  A Myth of Terror.  Armenian Extremism:  Its Causes and Historical Context.  Zeitgeschichte Freilassing Salzburg, 1986.

Armenian Terrorism: History as Poison and Antidote - by Justin McCarthy
http://www.turkishweekly.net/articles.php?id=113

Armenian-American Activist Sentenced in Explosives Plot
http://www.ict.org.il/spotlight/det.cfm?id=557

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By Whitwashed History, November 6, 2006 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kadir,

Either you don’t understand how healing works or you are playing games with me. Let’s stop talking in circles. You are very content with the staus quo.

I understand the game that you are playing. That is why Kocharian is not agreeing to Erdogan’s offer. You folks do not want healing but supremacy, to be in charge of the agenda.

It is only because of your interest in the EU that there is any dialogue whatsoever.

Armenians from both Eastern and Western Anatolia were removed and killed. Between 1923 and 1927 Armenians were made non-persons in Turkey by Turkish government decree.

Armenians have been in an increasing diaspora for 1,000 years, culminating in the 1915 era. Why do you think Princess Diana’s Armenian great-great-grandmother, Eliza Kevork, was living in Bombay, where she met British sea-captain Theodore Forbes? Because her family had been evicted from their homeland.

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By Kadir, November 6, 2006 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have to correct myself on something. I wrote “You have no idea Rich… Ottoman Empire never forced minorities to change religion.” Actually I should have said “never forced Christians to change religion”. There were times where non-sunni minorities were forced to convert to sunni way of Islam. Also probably it is not a good idea to use the word “never” because it is always possible to find a case. My point is that non-muslims were paying taxes and muslims were not. This gave the government a reason not to disturb non-muslims. Every society had its own laws and regulations. Armenians, Greeks were able to handle their in-community issues with their own law people and religion people. The government did not really interfere unless the minority is planning something against the government.

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By Kadir, November 6, 2006 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A side note: I get sick when I hear all these westerners talk about the Armenian deads with great sympathy and never, repeating never, talk about the number of Turkish civilians killed during WW1. Historians put this number between 1.5 million and 2 million. Many were killed by the Armenian bandits who were fighting together with the attacking Russian army. I am deeply disturbed about people only respecting one side’s deads and never mentioning the other side as if we are not human beings. The events of WW1 were clearly a civil war. Ottoman Empire had to relocate the Armenian population in the east (please remember that nothing happened to the Armenians in the west of the country) because of their cooperation with the Russians. Of course this caused suffering and deaths and unfortunately some Turkish officials were also involved but not to eradicate a race but for primitive things like money, land, or sex.

I have friends who heard the stories about Armenian violence from their remaining relatives in eastern Turkey (places like Artvin, Van, Erzurum ...). I also have friends with stories from their relatives about the aftermath of Balkan Wars (1913) and how almost the entire Turkish people in those lands were sent out of Greece and Bulgaria. Many died on the way and many were killed. Also, nobody talks about the Turks massacred by Stalin after WW2. I am a Karachai whose family came to Turkey in early 1900s. But the remaining part of my people were relocated and many died during Stalin’s time. Of course nobody calls it a genocide because Turkish deads are not that important to be called genocide. If Turks are involved, it is Turks doing genocide, never the other way around.

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By Kadir, November 6, 2006 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Whitewash wrote: “You keep parroting the standard Turkish line on numerous issues. Instead of acknowledging Turkey’s miserable human rights record, you point to that of Armenia and Greece, thereby deflecting from the seriousness of the situation within Turkey. “

What does Turkey’s current human rights issues have anything to do with events in 1915? Do you have a weird logic that “if Turkey does these today, it must have done those in 1915”? History does not work like that. Please drop this illogical argument. We are talking about the events in 1915. Let’s keep it at that.

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By Kadir, November 6, 2006 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rich wrote: “Armenians were forced to conform from Christianity to the Muslum religion, many were killed anyway. This would explain the Kuranic and Star-Cresent amulets found on the Armenian victims. “

You have no idea Rich… Ottoman Empire never forced minorities to change religion. If you read some history, you will see that Ottomans were one of the most tolerant empires to the other races and religions. The non-moslems were paying taxes, which made it a good deal for the government to not press them to change religion. Actually, if you look at the records, you will see that the non-moslems were among the richest people in Turkey. They were mostly involved in trade where the Turks were either soldiers or farmers.

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By Emrehan Delibas, November 6, 2006 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You say that Armenians cannot profit off of something that was “theirs to begin with.”  What was theirs to begin with?  Eastern Anatolia?  Southern Anatolia?  The Caucasus?  Are you aware that even before any interethnic violence occured, Armenians constituted NO MORE than 20% of the region (and that is the highest percentage, in other regions they were less).

Anatolia has been a Turkish heartland for over 1,000 YEARS - Muslims have constituted the majority of that region for CENTURIES.  Armenians do not HAVE THE RIGHT TO RULE AS A MINORITY over a MAJORITY population…

That is against every democratic principle and the principle of self-determination.

As for killed Turks:  Don’t read the history of the Jewish Holocaust and then try to back out from there what happened in Anatolia circa 1915.  That is just plain wrong.  If you want to know what happened in a certain event, you read and evaluate THAT EVENT.  Not make parallels with an irrelevant event to prove a baseless accusation.

The Turkish army did not wipe out any Turkish villages.  During Mondros the Ottoman army had all their weapons confiscated.  Greeks and Armenians had weapons from the Allies and were attacking from right and left.  There WAS NO TURKISH ARMY to speak of…The Turkish people - average citizens - formed their own people’s militias to repel the attacking army of the Greeks, Russians, Armenians etc.

And OUR FAMILIES have passed down to us their own eyewitness accounts, some of these accounts have been documented in memoirs (written in Turkish, so unfortunately westerners like you can’t read them).  WE KNOW how the Armenians came and murdered entire villages.  One of my best friends comes from Kars, and his ENTIRE FAMILY except his grandfather was killed by Armenians.

So you can spew out as much folly as you like about irrelevant Nazis and Jews, but the Ottoman archival evidence, and the testimonials of our anscesters tells us the truth of what happened.  What makes me the most mad about this Armenian issue is that Armenians and other people like you are in complete denial that Turks were even killed! 

I mean, you talk about denial - go to the Turkish Foreign ministry website.  There you see that they acknowledge that a dispute number Armenians were killed by armed bands, and other causes.  Indeed the Ottomans tried to prosecute and execute people who were caught killing Armenians.  What is disputed is that there was a systematic effort by the government to kill all Armenians.  For something to be genocide, there must be INTENT.  In this case, the government ordered a RELOCATION, tried to punish atrocities, didn’t even force ALL Armenians to move (there were exempted Armenians), and some Armenians were allowed to return later on.  This is not genocide.  It is a human tragedy yes, but not genocide.

But you people don’t even ACKNOLWEDGE THAT TURKS WERE MASSACRED.  I mean its one thing to debate whether an event constitutes genocide or not;  its another to not even recognize that 500,000 Turks were slaughtered.  It is even more sickening to accuse Turks of killing themselves, contrary to all historical and living evidence.

Whitewashed History:  The articles I previously posted already explain the details of the matters you mention, so I do not see the need to get into a verbal argument over these matters here.  Interested parties should just read those articles if they wish to learn the truth and details.

Finally, I would like to finish by reiterating that the only way for our past bad history to be overcome, is by having the suffering of both sides be acknowledged.  Genocide accusations only serve the purpose of demeaning one side without understanding what really happened.  If Turks and Armenians are ever to make peace, then they need to sit down across from each other, and hear each other out.  Armenians need to listen compashionately to Turkish accounts of suffering;  and Turks need to do the same for Armenians. 

As for Dashnaks - If most Armenians weren’t Dashnaks as you CLAIM, then Armenians really need to do some soul searching and look back at Dashnak history and see how the Armenian revolutionary movement harmed both Turks and Armenians.  Unfortunately, I doubt that any of this will be done, because currently in Armenia Dashanks are still in power, and because the Dashnaks formed many of the Armenian-America organizations currently lobbying the genocide issue.  Even the Armenian Youth Federation is established by ARF (Dashnaks) and they have successfully passed on their anti-Turkish hatred to Armenian youth. 

Why should the party (Dasnaks) responsible for the Armenian revolts and subsequent massacres of Turks wish to make peace with Turks? Of course they don’t.  The same people who operate the genocide accusation machinery are the ones who started the whole mess in the first place.

Otherwise, Turks and Armenians as people would have overcome this chapter of history long ago…

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By Whitewashed History, November 6, 2006 at 11:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Emrehan,

771 Jews! That is much less than the Jews that the Ottomans took in when they were being persecuted in Spain. Surely, a more humane solution could have been found. Turkey’s machinations were definately complicit in this mass drowning.

Why did you conveniently ignore the Jews who died in Turkish forced labor camps in the 1950’s.

As for General Dro, any actions he took in Anatolia came after the institution of the policies of the Ittihadists that brought about the destruction of the Armenian community and other Christians in Anatolia. Again, you substitute “Armenian” for “Dashnak,” so that you can take on the whole worldwide Armenian community. Why do you ignore the arrest and execution of Krikor Zohrap, who had saved Talaat’s life, or that of my family members who had served the Sultans so well? The Armenian side of my family’s only remnant of their ethncity was their Western European religion. They had assumed Turkish names and lived like Turks. We know what happened to them, killed on orders of a madman Turkish governor. The remainder of our family, women and children, were drowned in the Tigris.

Californian,

Yes, privately owned land and other assets were confiscated from bona fide Ottoman citizens without due cause. Turkey today treats not only Armenians but other Christians, Kurds, Alevis, etc. like second class citizens. TURKEY IS A MOSLEM AND TURKISH CLUB who complains that the EU is a Christian club. The tens of thousands of Turks who live and work in Western Europe have elected representatives from the Turkish population while the accomplishments of my family, that of Krikor Zohrap and other Armenians have been delegated to the trasheap. What hypocrites the Turkish government officials are.

You want us to conveniently forget this. You want us to accept “Bygones are bygones!” We are not speaking about history, but the here and now.

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By Rich, November 6, 2006 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Armenians do not use the Armenian genocide as a means to an end that is not how it works. Armenians can’t “cash in” on land, resources, etc… that should be theirs to begin with.

To simplfy, if the Turks took your house, your business, and killed your family and asked you to pay to have it back. You can not profit off of something that was taken from you. You may fail to see the logic in this but that is understandable when have your bias filters on. 

Yea I beleive the Turkish government killed ethnic Turks to keep them in line as an example to others. Nazis did it too, and it was effective.

The Ottoman (Turkish) government committing genocide is not logical in itself, BUT they seemed to convince themselves it was.

The many villagers outside the nazi concentration camps denied what was happening till they actually saw the horrific scenes of it’s government.

The facts are there for Armenian genocide denialists to educate themselves.

The ethnocentrist, nationalistic, denialists may not except the facts of the Ottoman (Turkish) dark past but the rest of the world does.

Even some Nazis killed themselves at the end of a bitter fight, rather then succumbing to the oppostion. Opposing the true facts of history in this case the Armenian genocide, is not up for dispute.

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By Californian, November 6, 2006 at 8:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rich - You don’t believe Armenians have a benefit from all this genocide game?  “Cash in” yes, but not money - LAND.  This was and always has been about controlling land, resources and power.

Your excuses for denying Turks that were killed is pathetic, and is just an example of discrimination.  Turkish army is going to kill Turks, huh?  Now that makes a lot of sense…congratulations on your great sense of logic. 

After such a “logical” statement as that, who knows what other nonsensical things you may believe…no wonder you believe Armenian claims.

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By Emrehan Delibas, November 4, 2006 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Armenian Nazi Collaboration in WWII
http://www.ataa.org/ataa/ref/arm_nazi.html

The leader of the Armenian Nazi regiment, General Dro, was the same who butchered the Turks of Eastern Anatolia during 1914-1923.  Interesting how Armenians consider this guy a hero even though he is a Nazi and massacred thousands of Turks.  There were 20,000 Armenians in the 812th Armenian Nazi Battalion.  And that’s not chump change my friend - thats a lotta Armenian Nazis…

Here is a good article on how Turkey helped Jews during Nazi period.

Turkey and the Jews of Europe During WWII
http://www.sefarad.org/publication/lm/043/6.html

Also you can see the film “Desperate Hours”
http://www.shenandoahfilm.com/dh.htm

Concerning the ship that sank in which many Jews died…I think the best answer to you is given by a Turkish Jewish Parliamentarian (Mr. Abraham Galante) that was involved in the affair, had direct contact with the ship, the authorities, Jewish organizations, and the international commmunity.  He wrote:

“We, the authors of these lines, who followed closely the events during the stay of STRUMA in the harbor of Istanbul bear witness that the government of Turkish Republic did everything possible within its power to alleviate the lot of those involved in this tragedy. Besides the activities of the Work for Refugees in Transit Committee, which was composed of Henry Soriano, the president of the Jewish community in Istanbul; Edmond Goldberg, the former director of Deutsche Bank of Istanbul; and several notable Jews, such as Simon Brod, Rifat Caraco, Daniel Angel and others, the municipality of Istanbul, the Health Department, and the Turkish Red Crescent worked diligently and with solicitude to satisfy the needs of the passengers. Therefore, we express our gratitude to the government authorities for their hospitality during the extended stay of the ship, as well as for their intercession with the foreign governments to enable the passengers to immigrate to Palestine.”

For a complete account of what happened to the ship:  http://www.mersina.com/lib/turkish_jews/struma/struma_tragedy.htm

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By Whitewashed History, November 4, 2006 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Emrehan,

You keep parroting the standard Turkish line on numerous issues. Instead of acknowledging Turkey’s miserable human rights record, you point to that of Armenia and Greece, thereby deflecting from the seriousness of the situation within Turkey.

Why did the Turkish government turn away a shipload of European Jewish refugees from Nazi held areas during WWII? This ship soon sank in the Black Sea, drowning almost all on board. Why did the Turkish government in the 1950’s place an exorbitant tax upon Turkish Jews (as well as Armenians and other minorities)? Numerous Jews died in forced labor camps due to this.

You don’t realize that there are some of us of mixed Armenian/Jewish families who will not buy your line.

As for the Nazis, the Armenians who sided with them did so to remove themselves from the Stalinst yoke, that was sending thousands of Armenians to die in Siberia. This was only a select group of Armenians who sided with the Nazis. Again you change the facts and claim it was “Armenia.” This is no news to me, since this type of obfuscation is standard Turkish modus operandi.

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By Emrehan Delibas, November 3, 2006 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Armenian organizations can CLAIM whatever they want…they’ve been claiming a lot of things with very little regard for facts for the last 90 years. 

I have seen propaganda videos blaming Ataturk for genocide (even though he had nothing to do with it, and in 1915 did not even have any duties relating to it);  I have seen dates like genocide happened from 1915 to 1923, even though the relocations occured in 1915…so where does 1923 come from?  Well, that was when the Turkish Independence War ended.  From 1914 to 1923 the Armenians waged a WAR against the Turks…again we can see the accusations are non consistant with history.  When I was a child, then number 1 million dead was said, then it became 1.5 million, now I even read places where it says 2 million.  My gosh, there weren’t even that many Armenians alive in Anatolia forget about that many being dead! 

So, Armenian organizations can claim as much as they want, but it doesn’t change reality.

As for genetics, clearly there is no pure race.  The Hungarians have Hunic Turkic blood, the Bulgarians have Bulgar Turkic blood, and Armenians, Kurds, Turks, Greeks have all mixed together.  That you say Turks got Armenian blood by “removing” Armenian women from their communities is just a sign of your prejudice.  There was no such thing, although I can’t say comment on willing marriages.  In any case we are not talking here about genetics.  What makes an Armenian an Armenian or a Turk a Turk is not genetics but identity, language, culture, religion, etc…

The strongest evidince that those graves belong to Turks comes from location and type.  As I said, the belongings and amulets found in the graves, around the necks of the skeletons is clearly Turkish.  And the graves are located in what is known to be TURKISH VILLAGES.  (During Ottoman times villages were NOT mixed, although REGIONS could be multi-ethnic.)  Also the local population knows of those to be Turkish villages/graves.  And I trust the memory of my grandfathers and their children more than any anything.  They lived there, they would know the absolute truth.  Plus, there is archival evidence of 500,000+ massacred Turks - thats documentation, along with all the other reports, communications, and testimonials that have been passed down to us!

As far as your accuastions of human rights violations, that is nothing more than a baseless cheap shot that doesn’t even deserve an answer.  Greece and Armenia should look at their own human rights records before criticizing Turkey.  And as for the Jews, we Turks have great relations with them because we saved them from persecution in 1493 and from the Nazis, but Armenia helped the Nazis, so again, everyone should clean up their own carpet before worrying about others.  I could give long lists of violations by Armenia, Greece and the PKK, but that would not lead us anywhere except an fight.  So I will refrain from “Armenia-bashing” although you seem to take great pleasure in “Turk-bashing”.

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By Rich, November 3, 2006 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To think all all these historical facts of the Armenian genocide is to some how “cash in” is nonsense, and is in itself paranoid.

It wouldnt make sense for all these notable historians, including Turkish scholors to conclude that the Armenian genocide did occur.
The history is overwhelming to conclude that it is genocide that contadicting it is left to what seems to be baffoonic scholors and impressionalble Turkic nationals. 

Many third parties including Turkey’s ally at the time Germany were witness to these horrible acts, inhuman acts of rape, torcher, drowning, beheadings, burning men women and children in churches, homes and in caves. Turks pillaging whats left and owning to themselves is a reality of the Ottoman (now Turkey) governemnts past.

Armenians were forced to conform from Christianity to the Muslum religion, many were killed anyway. This would explain the Kuranic and Star-Cresent amulets found on the Armenian victims.

Or they may very well have been Turkish villagers killed by the Turksih Army, trying to save the Armenians.

Some Turkish villagers did try and save Armenians at the time putting.

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By Whitewashed History, November 3, 2006 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Emrehan,

Armenian associations claim just the opposite, that Armenian dead are being claimed by the Turkish government to gain advantage.

Unfortunately despite the ethno-centricism on both sides Armenians and Turks are very similar genetically. Recent studies have shown Armenians in the Republic of Armenia to be closest in certain genetic markers with Tajiks, a Turkish people of Central Asia. Anatolian Turks, on the other hand, are descended in a large part from Armenians inducted into the Janissary corps or from Armenian women who were removed from their communities and had children from Turkish men.

Therefore, genetic DNA studies on these dead would not be conclusive.

I can only reiterate again that the key to reconciliation is in the present, not the past. Turkey has to improve its current record on human rights not only for Armenians and other Christians but for all its ethnic and religious minorities, Kurds, Alevis, Armenian Moslems (Hamshetas) and the like. Even the Turkish govenment record toward treatment of the Turkish Jewish community is not stellar (past and present), despite Turkey’s alliance with Israel.

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By Emrehan Delibas, November 3, 2006 at 9:13 am Link to this comment
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Armenians are always trying to “cash in” on Turkish victims, and this kind of bogus questioning of what are clearly Turkish graves, in Turkish villages, with Turkish possessions found in them is the first stage of denying reality.

Do you really think that Turks are going to go into every single grave, find every single body, then put Ottoman-era stuff all over these people?  You’ve got to be sick or paranoid at best.

The other day I saw a website by Armenians which used a picture of killed Turks in Subatan village and showed them as killed Armenians.  We’ve seen this tactic before my friend, but WE ARE NOT FOOLED, although you may be able to fool some unknowing Americans with this tactic!!

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By Whitewashed History, November 2, 2006 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment
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If only the dead could speak we would be able to ascertain whether the mass graves in Erzerum and Van are of Turks or not. Then one could learn whether or not the Kuranic and Star-Cresent amulets found on the bodies were planted by Turkish authorities to make the bodies appear to be Turks. In view of the whole programme of the Turkish government to obliterate any record of Armenians in Eastern Anatolia, this action is definately a possibility.

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By Whitewashed History, November 2, 2006 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment
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Emrehan,

You are playing with numbers. First, you mention the Armenian population of Anatolia to be at approximately 1.5 million (this number is disputed, but for the sake of argument let it stand). However, that large number of Armenians in Russian Army were NOT from Anatolia, but from the Russian Empire.

“Only 1,500 Turks remain in Van in 1914.” The Russian army had invaded. Where do you have proof that the remainder were massacred and did not escape in view of the Russian invasion?

As for Turkish families killed, the time frame for this was mainly post-1915, after the Armenians had been decimated.

Any why has the obliteration of the Pontic Greeks and Assyrians been ignored in your response?

As for Armenian lands, yes land was owned by Armenians who were citizens of the Ottoman Empire. You confuse the individual ownership of land by Armenians with lands of an Armenian state.

Again, you use the term “Armenians,” as a catch-all term. Turkish revisionism always takes written materials and substitutes the word “Armenian” for “Dashnak,” thus condemning the whole Armenian population.

Turkey can end this recurring discussion by improving its current record, as I have stated previously. Turkey currently treats Kurds, Alevis, and the Christian minorities poorly.
How can you justify the current behavior and laws?

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By Emrehan Delibas, November 2, 2006 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment
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Only a few Armenians who “agitated”??

The Armenian General bragged that “Armenians have been belligerents de facto, since they indignantly refused to side with Turkey.”  In his letter, Nubar also glorifies the 5,000 plus Armenians in the French Legions, the “150,000 Armenians in the Russian armies,” and the “50,000 Armenian volunteers under Andranik, Nazarbekoff, and others [who] fought for four years for the cause of the Entente” and then asks on behalf of the Armenian National Delegation “that the Armenian nation…be recognized as a belligerent.”

Thats about 200,000 male volunteers whom the Russians and French organized as units in their armies.  Census data from the time estimates a total Anatolian Armenian population of 1.5 million.  If you consider that an average family may have 3-4 children (probably more, not less during that day and age), or a total size of 5-6 people, there were about 250,000 families or a total of 250,000 Armenian males.  Probably all of those males were not able-bodied, but even assuming that they are, that means that about 80% (EIGHTY PERCENT) of the Armenian males were involved with combat!!!

That is not just a few Armenians, but virtually the entire community involved in war!!

And it was not just Turkish soldiers killed in combat either.  Entire villages were razed and its inhabitants killed.  WE KNOW FROM OUR GRANDFATHERS WHAT HAPPENED.  There are many Turks who lost their entire families.  Turkish sources and memoirs document this quite clearly.  Most recently, famous Turkish writer Hekimoglu Ismail wrote a novel “Cumhuriyet Cocugu” which descibes how his grandfather and his family was killed by Armenians. 

Another example:  The Armenian newspaper Gochnak, in its May 24, 1915 issue published in America, openly boasted that “only 1,500 Turks remain in Van.”  Remember, it was these kind of massacres which prompted the relocation decision in the first place!

Armenians are in complete denial of their own sins because for 90 years they have been brainwashing their children with genocide propaganda.

As I’ve said before, if reconciliation is ever going to happen, then Armenians should abandon their one-sided claims and begin to have honest discussions with Turks, and ACKNOLWEDGE THAT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TURKS WERE MURDERED.

But I don’t think this will ever happen, for reasons that Chris Hedges has pinpointed exactly:  there is TOO MUCH TO BE GAINED FROM TURK-BASHING and GENOCIDE ACCUSATIONS!!

Check out this April 22, 2005 Armenian National Committee News release…

Greg Bedian, spokesperson for the Armenian National Committee of Illinois: “We reiterated our message to the Turkish regime and its collaborators that we will not go away and we will not be silent until Turkey admits the Genocide, returns occupied Armenian lands and makes appropriate reparations,”

Occupied Armenian lands?  Even the pro-Armenian King-Crane report of 1919 that was commissioned by President Wilson puts the PRE-RELOCATION, PRE-1915, Armenian population at a max of 20% in certain areas, and even lower in others.  THE ARMENIANS WERE A MINORITY EVERYWHERE even according to the MOST GENEROUS census data.

What Armenian lands?  Armenians have been a minority in Anatolia for more than a thousand years!!  Even Yerevan had at least a 40% Turkish population before the 1905-1906 Armeno-Tatar wars, WWI, and the Turkish Independence War.  Now Armenian is truly a single-religion, single-ethnicity state.  All the Turks have been driven out.

And that is exactly what Armenians had planned to do in 1914-1923…drive out all the Turks from Eastern Anatolia.  Thats why massacres were committed, thats why the King-Crane report even openly proposes that an Armenian state be created and that the Muslims be gradually “convinced” to leave…

The harsh, tragic truth is that ever since the Ottoman Empire began to shrink in the mid 1800’s, Turks have been ethnically cleansed from all the lands that they used to occupy (Balkans, Caucasus).  Millions of refugees fled the slaughter of the Slavs, Greeks, and other Christian peoples who drove out Turks even from provinces where Turks were the majority.  Over a million Turkish refugees poured into Anatolia…

And for a nation that was in constant war since the Tripolitanian war in 1910, there was scarcity of everything, and famine was rampant.  My grandmother told me of how they couldn’t find bread and how even some of the soldiers were starving and fell victim to diseases.

The reality is is that Europe want to drive out the Muslims - whom they hated - and colonize all their lands.  Wilson’s 14 points called for self-determination of all peoples, but diplomatic archives contain quotes of ambassadors and diplomats calling Turks “subhuman” who did not deserve the right to self-rule.  And so was the plan to completely enslave the Turkish people. 

Sure, they supported Armenian nationalist desires because it served their own aims to divide and conquer.  They did not care that it would be done over the bodies of millions of Turkish corpses.  Even today mass graves of TURKS are still found in Erzurum and Van.  And yes we KNOW THEY WERE TURKS because of the Kuranic and Star-Cresent amulets found around their necks - just like the ones I always put around the neck of my son…

Armenian allegations of genocide are just another way to do what they couldn’t in 1914-1923:  namely, grab Turkish lands!

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By Whitewashed History, November 2, 2006 at 2:06 am Link to this comment
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“Honesty,”

Why do you refer to “Armenians” as a unit? Only a small number of Armenians ever agitated anything. This was used as a pretense to wipe away their existence. The majority of those who were killed were merely poor farmers and their families. Many others were merchants and their families. Yes, Turks also died, but most of these were soldiers who died in battle with Russian troops. Furthermore what is the excuse for wiping out the Anatolian Greeks and the Assyrians?

Want to end this once and for all? The answer is very easy. Make Turkey a free country. Let the Kurds practice their culture, the Alevis their religion. Give a free hand to the Christian churches to do with their properties what they wish. Return confiscated properties and bank accounts to their rightful owners or their heirs. The Republic of Turkey between 1923 and 1927 made all Armenians and other Christians non-persons in the eyes of the law. The accomplishments of Ottoman Armenians and other Christinas has been whitewashed away. Turkey is a Moslem club who accuses the EU of being a Christian club!

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By Honesty, November 1, 2006 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment
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It is such a wonderous world we live in. I can not point to any society or any culture which has not had their hands in conflict at one point in their history or their present.

I am a sincere admirer of Mr. Hedges. I do agree with the premise of his article here. However the “alleged” genocide is one which is often referred to very “as a matter of factly”. In time of one of the worst conflicts of human history, Armenian Turks living in the country by and large chose to side with the Russians and started raiding police headquarters, mosques killing innocent Turks.

Armenians somehow are very uneasy when Turks come out point out to historical facts. The west always has closed an eye when atrocities of this kind are perpetrated against peoples of Muslim faith.

The “poor and victimized”, (incidentally Mr. Hedges has caught the essence of this dilema very astutely and deserves credit) somehow are very much against the opening and scrutiny of the entire Ottoman Empire archives today. Yet rather than attempting to shed light to this sad chapter of history where thousands from both sides have died, Armenians have initiated their hate campaign by killing members of Turkish Consulates or Embassies all over the world. Between 1973 and 1994 Turkish officials working on foreign soil to represent their countries were murdered. These 35 people included children and wives of the officials. The interesting statistic shows that 4 murders took placein the U.S. 4 in Greece and 3 in Australia and 3 in Portugal, where large and wealthy Armenian ethnic communities exist. The countries where the rest of the murders took place in Lebanon included reasonably “Western” Countries” like, , Belgium,Switzerland, Spain, Canada, Vatikan and Austria, along with Iraq, Iran, Bulgaria.

During these 21 years when Turkey was warning U.S. and other “so called” Western countries about the Armenian Terror, usually a deaf ear was the recipient of such warnings.

Another point I should mention which is lacking in Mr. Hedges’s aricle is that “prohibiting by law” that one can deny such an “alleged” holocaust is unlawful.

To all of you and Mr. Hedges the question is this:“Is this not a blatant violation of free speech?”. Certainly it becomes more incredible when a country (France) the “cradle of democratic movements” can do this. The same country who between 1945 and 1962 slaughtered and committed one of the biggest ethnic cleansing of Algerians.

It is quite remarkable that a country with such an obvious blemish in her even more recent history acts as a judge and a jury.

The mass graves of Turkish Cypriots by the Greek Cypriots for whatever reason can not seem to find their way into any discussion involving Holocaust.

Mr. Hedges may be forgiven when he refers to this terrible chapter as if it really happened as Armenians and their friends have continued to claim all these years. This issue can come to rest once and for all, if Armenians do not always fizzle out of international debate forum with the entire Ottoman archives on display.

Mr. Hedges has seen the Armenian attempts for what they are, using an “alleged holocaust” to gain political clout. Slowly but surely they continue to achieve that. The West has to stop its religious bias and take notice, when Turkey displays the Armenian atroicities.

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By Whitwashed History, October 31, 2006 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
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So “Blues” thinks that all this has nothing to do with the present? Wrong! The after-effects of holocausts impact those victimized long after the act. It is traumatic for one to lose family members en masse. The effects linger for generations. The victimizers and their families reap large financial rewards from property and funds confiscated while those who survive the ethnic-cleansing have to struggle as non-native speaking citizens in lands that they have escaped to.

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By blues, October 30, 2006 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment
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I could care less about the so-called “holocaust.” Why should I? I never knew any of those people. So what does it all mean to me? It means absolutely nothing at all to me. So what if six million Jews were murdered a million years ago? How can that affect me, here, now? Obviously, it just can’t. Call me hard hearted. Too bad. That was way before my time. I worry about people who are being murdered right now. Especially those I know, regardless of their ethnic affiliations. I don’t worry about people who were killed in ancient history. Sure, it was unfortunate; but why should I waste any mercy on people far away, and long ago? It has been happening all through history. I only want to stop the murder that is happening now. These past disasters mean nothing.

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By Whitewashed History, October 30, 2006 at 10:08 am Link to this comment
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The Armenian Question did not begin nor end in the years commencing in 1915 and ending in 1923. To understand the true situation you have to look at the whole history beginning in in the early years ofthe last millenium when the Turks entered Anatolia.

Sinan, the illustrious Ottoman architect was born in a suburb in Kayseri to Armenian parents in 1589. At a young age he was wrenched from his family and raised as a Janisary, and as a Moslem.

Pogroms of Armenians began long before 1915. Between 1923 and 1927 the Turkish Republic took away the citizenship of the Armenians who had survived the mass killings of civilians during WWI. The properties of the Armenians were confiscated as were all funds in their bank accounts.

The mass killings in kilings in 1915 were not soley directed at Armenians, but also at Pontic Greeks and Assyrian Christians. Therefore, the current official Turkish government line that the Armenians were targeted because they were in a mass revolt is bogus. This was a sweep of all the Christians in the hinterland.

One has only to look at the treatment of Kurds, Alevis and Christian minorities in Turkey today to realize what the Turks have really been aiming to accomplish “A Turkey solely for the Turks,” with no minorities whatsoever.

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By Hasan, October 29, 2006 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment
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Oral Statement to the 57th Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

Agenda Item 5C: Prevention of discrimination and protection of minorities
All For Reparations and Emancipation (AFRE)
Speaker: Silis Muhammad
August 5, 2005

Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Several years ago, I was questioned by a young lady from Europe. She asked, “Isn’t it rather naive on your part, for you to come to the house of the same people who enslaved you, seeking justice?” I responded, “I believe that there are people in the UN who know what is right, and I have faith.”

The Working Group on Minorities, inquiring into their area of expertise, found there was not a place established within the UN that Afrodescendants could fit, because Afrodescendants are coming back to life absent their mother tongue, original culture and religion. The Working Group on Minorities began seeking to find a way for us.

Under another mandate, following the 2001 Durban World Conference, the UN appointed a Working Group on People of African Descent.

There is a vast difference between Afrodescendants and people of African descent. While we enjoy the same comely color, we both view ourselves as being different. People of African descent still have their original identity: their mother tongue, culture, and religion, while Afrodescendants mimic the mother tongue, culture, and religion of our slavemaster’s children. Our identity, our dignity, and thus our essence, was taken. We can put on all the African clothes we want, and we still don’t have our identity.

We, collectively, are rendered a stateless people by the depravation of these most precious human rights, as defined by Article 27 of the ICCPR. People of African descent can enjoy the comfort of their tribal kinships and the protection of their governments. We, Afrodescendants, cannot. We have only the UN to look to in the hopes of protection.

The Working Group on Minorities is instrumental in bringing us together – some 250 million souls who have been left out: in existence, yet unobserved by the UN but for the Working Group on Minorities.

The Working Group on Minorities also views us, Afrodescendants, as being different from people of African descent. Is this a contributing reason why the Working Group on Minorities is now under attack?

In La Ceiba, Honduras, in 2002, the Working Group on Minorities orchestrated a seminar in which Afrodescendant leaders from 19 countries chose the term, Afrodescendants, as an identity. Since this date, we have been asking the UN to recognize our self-chosen identity and the Working Group on Minorities has recognized us. Afrodescendants enjoy a permanent place on the agenda of the Working Group on Minorities. Is this a contributing reason why this working group is under attack?

On behalf of Afrodescendants, we recommend that the Working Group on Minorities be given more power, not less. We recommend that our self-chosen identity, Afrodescendants, be recognized by the entire UN, and by the governments under which we live. We further recommend sanctions against all Governments that have deprived us, for every day we have been so denied human rights.

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By Hasan, October 29, 2006 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment
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All for Reparations and Emancipation

Speaker:  Mr. Silis Muhammad


Statement to the 12th Session of the Working Group on Minorities


Greetings Mr. Chairman, Members of the Working Group on Minorities.

My name is Silis Muhammad.  For well over nine years we have traveled to Geneva.  For nine years we have spoken to you about the Afrodescendant people.  We know that we are a nation of people:  history, all the wise scientists, and you, in your hearts, will bear witness that we, Afrodescendants, are an ancient people who descended from Abraham.  We were scattered through slavery, stripped of our original language, culture and religion, living today, suffering the lingering effects of slavery.

The first time we spoke at the UN, to the Working Group on Minorities, concerning our human rights, you began seeking to find a way for us to fit into the definition of the ICCPR, for we mimic the mother tongue, culture and religion of our slave masters’ children, having been robbed of our own.  The Working Group on Minorities received a wisely worded mandate from the Sub-Commission, to consider the “lingering effects of slavery.”  Over the years the Working Group did consider the lingering effects of slavery and you have the results today.  Leaders of Afrodescendants, about 250 million of us, met in La Ceiba, Honduras in 2001, and again in Chincha, Peru in 2005, under the protection of the UN, in the sight of Nations, and affirmed our commitment to one another.  This was done in the presence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

We want formal UN recognition of our self-chosen name, Afrodescendants.  We want restoration to the human families of the earth.  For the sake of simple justice, and to correct a grave error, O United Nations hear our prayer!  In error, the UN granted recognition, restoration and reparations 60 years ago to a scattered people who claimed to be the seed of Abraham, the victims of 400 years of slavery.  The result of that grave UN error is ongoing war and terror for the entire world today.

We, Afrodescendants, are the scattered orphan children, descended from 400 years of plantation slavery.  Our recognition by the UN would not bring war and terror.  It would, instead, correct a grave wrong and bring the truth to a suffering world.  It has been our prayer that the Sub-Commission and the Working Group on Minorities would be our symbolic “dry land,” allowing us, the slave descendants, to cross our symbolic “red sea.”

The good works of the Working Group on Minorities and the Sub-Commission cannot go unnoticed unless the Human Rights Department fails 250 million souls altogether.  We call upon the United Nations to do the right thing, for the sake of peace, and the sake of all Nations of the earth.  The pathway of the slave descendants’ collective human rights recognition and restoration must be protected and assured.

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By Kemal Turkoglu, October 27, 2006 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment
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If there is a genocide that is the Turkish genocide. My father’s grandfather and all the men in their village are killed by armenians. 534000 Turkish people are victims of Turkish genocide by armenians only. A total of 3 million turks were dead in time frame 1912-1922. 200000 armenian people were soldiers in French or Russian armies. How can a genocide happen if you are making a war? Who will answer my grandfathers death? For me armenians should accept Turkish genocide?

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By Auntie Dogma, October 27, 2006 at 11:39 am Link to this comment
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Thanks again to Mr Hedges, this time for having the courage to take an analytical look at how some defenders of Israel are misappropriating victimhood for their own less noble ends.

Every time I turn around I hear an Israeli apologist trying to shut down debate by name calling, or by invocation of the holocaust. The fact that the word “holocaust” is, for all intents, now synonymous with “Shoah” says everything.

The Jewish people have suffered greatly, but not more than some others. Yet if we are to believe the old testament, we must then conclude that all gentiles are mere extras in the epic historical drama to return the covenanted people to their promised land. No matter how many u-turns and cul-de-sacs the Israeli/Palestinian debate may take, sooner or later it comes down to the “chosen ones” and their over-weaned, over-righteous sense of entitlement.

Luckily, not all Israelis share this view, giving hope to world observers.  Unfortunately, those that do share this view are now in power.

Posted: October 27, let the sad name calling begin….

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By Vrej, October 26, 2006 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
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Turkey’s, inability and unwillingness to come to terms with the historical fact of the Genocide that Ottoman Turkey and The Young Turks committed against the Armenians, implicates the current Turkish regime and its people.  They cannot claim that a previous government, not the Turkish Republic, was responsible, and then in the next sentence deny that any Genocide took place.  This is a sign of immaturity and cowardice.  It is ironic that the Kurds, who helped kill Armenians during the Genocide and benefited from the spoils, themselves became victims of Turkish barbarity during the latter part of the 20th century.  Turkey attempts to deny that both Armenians and Kurds ever lived its territory. This “enlightened” country went so far that last year, it renamed three animals native to Asia Minor in order to remove Kurdish or Armenian refernces from their Latin names:  The fox, Vulpes Vulpes Kurdistanica became just Vulpes Vulpes, while the sheep, Ovis Armeniana became Ovis Orientalicus. Turkey explained that renaming the animals was necessary because the old names were given “with ill intentions” and were subversive to the Turkish nation. 
Some nation this is.  Some proud country.
As to the truth about the Genocide, what my father lived through and witnessed is all the proof I need.  No amount of documentation will convince cowardly deniers.  Just like there are those who deny the Holocaust, there are many Turks who deny the Genocide. They are both wrong.

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By Lily Maskew, October 26, 2006 at 11:24 am Link to this comment
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When the United Nations partitioned the land for Israel in 1947 it was done so that Jewish people could have a homeland.  What was meant to be something positive, in light of horrendous unfair treatment of the Jews, seems to bother some people.  Get over yourselves.  Jesus Christ would weep at some of these letters.

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By Sam I Am, October 26, 2006 at 5:56 am Link to this comment
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It is often said that the Past makes one understand the Present. I think it is the REVERSE, it is the Present that makes one understand the Past. The multitude of tragedies going on today from Gaza, to Iraq, to Darfur and so on .....and the World’s silence regarding them, indeed the world’s participation in their demise gives one a good idea how so much criminality went unchecked in yesteryear.
Thank you Mr. Hedges for an excellent article.

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By Brian Wallace, October 25, 2006 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment
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I am bewildered that anyone would think that we, the gentiles, feel any guilt toward what happened to the jews. You must be assuming that we all accept your assertion that you are gods’ chosen people. Like I said before why haven’t the jews gone to Africa to stop the genocide and holocaust taking place now. Seems to me that puts you in the same boat as the people you are condemning.

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By WMA, October 25, 2006 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment
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hmmm…I’m a bit confused…let me get this straight…a government attempting to wipe out a specific group of people from the face of the earth is bad…BUT how ‘bad’ is bad seems to depend on if the story is being told too much?

Not only that, but ‘being told too much’ is annoying to the point of it being an exploiting of one’s “victimship”?

The point I seem to be getting is that everything is dependant upon the amount of news coverage a genocide group gets, and more so then the actual killing part.

There seems to be an objection from some that the REAL problem is reading too much on one ‘genocide subject’ over another, at breakfast. How so annoying it must be to shift through all of it when we are so busy!

Damn!, this genocide-holocaust stuff is so complex and confusing…everything is so ‘situation-relative’ and grey…..people of the past genocide can’t complain too much because it gets in the papers and they are then deemed to be exploiting their first attempted government-sanctioned annihilation attempt and taking up too much page space?

You all have way too much time on your hands to be arguing and splitting hairs over who’s genocide is getting ‘better’ coverage.

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By Ephraim, October 25, 2006 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment
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Mr. Kibble:

Please see the following link for answers to the points raised in your post. There is no need to bore everyone by posting them all here.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths/mftoc.html

I have not read “The Holocaust Industry”, so I cannot comment on it. If, indeed, there are unscrupulous lawyers fleecing survivors and pocketing the money for themselves, I condemn them. What bothers me is Mr. Finklestein’s attitudes towards Israel, at least as I have seen them in print. He seems to hate Israel with an apoplectic passion, and I find this unsettling and disturbing.

Regarding Israel’s situation vis-a vis the Arabs, I utterly reject your contention that it is Israel who has prevented a solution. As a matter of fact, I reject pretty much the entire basis of your argument, since it seems to presume that Israel is acting primarily out of racist motives rather than considerations of self-defense, which is the actual case.

The basic fact is that since 1947 every single Arab state has been in a state of self-declared war with Israel. With the recent exception of Egypt and Jordan all still are. None of them recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Until that happens, Israel owes them absolutely nothing.

Israel accepted the UN Partition resolution of 1947 while the Arabs rejected it and went to war to destroy Israel at the moment of its birth. They tried again in 1967 and 1973. After every defeat in the wars of their own making, the Arabs have insisted that Israel abide by the terms of agreements which the Arabs themselves rejected. This is chutzpah plain and simple. The refugees and the disputed territories are not the cause of Arab hostility to Israel, they are the results of Arab hostility to Israel.

It is the Palestininas who violate the Geneva Conventions by deliberately emplacing their military assets in civilian areas. They do this for two reasons: 1) to deter Israeli attack and 2)to reap propaganda points when civilians are killed in attacks on military targets.

And before you say “Well, what do you expect the Palestinians to do? They don’t have an army while Israel has F-16s. All they have are suicide bombers”, think a little bit. If you believe that, what this means is that you believe that the ends justify the means and that in order to win their “rights” it is perfectly natural for them to blow up women and kids on purpose. If you believe that, this conversation is at an end.

Personally, I wish the Palestininas did have an army. Then Israel could just flatten them in a week and it would be all over and no civilians would need to get hurt. But as long as the Palestinians insist on putting their own people in danger by hiding behind them as they shoot at the Jews, some are going to get killed.

The Olso “peace” process was a lie from the beginning. Arafat admitted as much. The PLO “recognition” of Israel was a lie from top to bottom. Hamas and Hizb’allah just don’t bother to lie about it for the benefit of stupid Westerners anymore. Their intention,as it has always been, is to destroy Israel and they do not even bother to hide it anymore.

Even if there had not been any Shoah, Israel would be well within its rights to do everything it is doing now to protect its citizens from terrorists. And the comparitive body counts are completely irrelevant. The Palestinians, through their “democratically elected” government, Hamas, are in a war the declared goal of which is the destruction of Israel. This has never changed. It has been this way since 1947. The Palestinians themselves can stop this at any time. In the meantime, Israel must defend itself. It is a shame that civilians are sometimes hurt in this situation.

Finally, regarding the blood libel that Israel kills children for sport, go here:

http://www.seconddraft.org/movies.php

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By Erwin Franzen, October 25, 2006 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment
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Kudos to Chris Hedges for this excellent article, and to Doug Tarnopol -comment 33104- for his excellent comment on it.

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By Age, October 25, 2006 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment
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Isn’t it enough that the Jewish community, for the first time in history, brought to light the fact that genocide is happening?

I find Holocaust information enlightening for its sole purpose - if the people of the world continue to ignore history, it will happen again.  It was, though, the Jews who banded together to create, hold on to, and tries not to let the world forget.  The world should remember, not that people killed Jews by the thousands per day, but that people systematically allowed PEOPLE to be gassed and burned in ovens by the thousands every day.

If the Jews benefit . . . the world has benefited more from the lesson.  Still, the lesson is not remembered, and Daufur soaks in blood.  (A recent 60 Minutes piece suggests Bush Administration does nothing in exchange for info on BinLaden, how can Israel intervene?)

Nevertheless, would America have gotten involved in Kosovo if not for the story of the Jews?

The author of this article has made a living picking off small pieces of dirt on the bottom of a rock which has been overturned.

No history book will ever really get it right.  That does not mean, however, we turn all the lessons away.

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By paul kibble, October 25, 2006 at 11:48 am Link to this comment
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Re Comment #33141 by Ephraim:

I want to address several ponts raised by your post:

1. “It is clear, though, that the real reason people want the Jews to shut up about the Shoah is that they no longer want to be made to feel guilty for what they did.”

A fallacy. Dante reserved a special circle of hell for those who, in a time of moral crisis, failed to act. It is a circle to which many of us have been and will be condemned. Of course, any honest person understands the complicity of the U.S. and much of the rest of the world in the annihilation of European Jewry. Our eyes were (and are) similarly averted in other genocidal campaigns waged in Cambodia, Rwanada, etc.

So of course no one wants the Jews to “shut up” about the Shoa, any more than we want victims of other large-scale mass murders to shut up.  What critics (many of them Jewish) want instead is for the Shoa to stop being invoked as an all-purpose get-out-of-jail-free card every time Israel does something morally dubious, if not outright wicked.

In an earlier post here, I cited Norman Finkelstein’s “Beyond Chutzpah: The Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History.” Mr. Finkelstein’s mother, as he notes,  “was a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, Maidanek concentration camp and two slave-labor camps. Every member of her family was exterminated. After the war she was a key witness in an INS Nazi deportation hearing and at the trial of Maidanek concentration camp guards in Germany(where I was also present).”

Mr. Finkelstein, whom you describe as a “sick, sick man,” is also the author of “The Holocaust Industry,” which you deliberately misread as call upon Jews to keep silent about the Holocaust. I infer then that this apparently guilt-ridden, self-hating Jew is acting out some Oedipal drama against his mother, a camp survivor? What other explanation could there possibly be for his attacks of Israel and, by extension,  fellow Jews?

2. Well, here’s one reason. You write, “If Israel was as bad as everyone says, there wouldn’t be a single Arab left alive between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. . .As it is, what is the main reason why everyone says Israel must give up these areas if it knows what is good for it? It is nothing other than the ‘Arab demoigraphic time bomb’, the supposed fact that Arabs are breeding so fast that if Israel doesn’t find a way to disengage, they will be drowned in a sea of Arabs. . . Some genocide.”

Sorry, but Israel’s record of human-rights a buses is incontestable, as Mr. Finkelstein notes. Please feel free to counter these well-documented facts with your own:

A. Earlier this year, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) stated that 3,386 Palestinians had been killed since September 2000, of whom 1,008 were identified as combatants, as opposed to 992 Israelis killed, of whom 309 were combatants. That averages out to three times more Palestinians than Israelis getting killed and up to three times more Palestinian civilians than Israeli civilians. Israel’s defenders claim that there’s a difference between targeting civilians and inadvertently killing them. B’Tselem disputes this: “[W]hen so many civilians have been killed and wounded, the lack of intent makes no difference. Israel remains responsible.” Furthermore, Amnesty International reports that “many” Palestinians have not been accidentally killed but “deliberately targeted,” while Chris Hedges reported that Israeli soldiers “entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.”

B. Torture. “From 1967,” Amnesty reports, “the Israeli security services have routinely tortured Palestinian political suspects in the Occupied Territories.” B’Tselem found that eighty-five percent of Palestinians interrogated by Israeli security services were subjected to “methods constituting torture,” while already a decade ago Human Rights Watch estimated that “the number of Palestinians tortured or severely ill-treated” was “in the tens of thousands - a number that becomes especially significant when it is remembered that the universe of adult and adolescent male Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is under three-quarters of one million.” In 1987 Israel became “the only country in the world to have effectively legalized torture” (Amnesty). Although the Israeli Supreme Court seemed to ban torture in a 1999 decision, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel reported in 2003 that Israeli security forces continued to apply torture in a “methodical and routine” fashion. A 2001 B’Tselem study documented that Israeli security forces often applied “severe torture” to “Palestinian minors.”

C. House demolitions. “Israel has implemented a policy of mass demolition of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Territories,” B’Tselem reports, and since September 2000 “has destroyed some 4,170 Palestinian homes.” Until just recently Israel routinely resorted to house demolitions as a form of collective punishment. According to Middle East Watch, apart from Israel, the only other country in the world that used such a draconian punishment was Iraq under Saddam Hussein. In addition, Israel has demolished thousands of “illegal” homes that Palestinians built because of Israel’s refusal to provide building permits. The motive behind destroying these homes, according to Amnesty, has been to maximize the area available for Jewish settlers: “Palestinians are targeted for no other reason than they are Palestinians.” Finally, Israel has destroyed hundred of homes on security pretexts, yet a Human Rights Watch report on Gaza found that “the pattern of destruction…strongly suggests that Israeli forces demolished homes wholesale, regardless of whether they posed a specific threat.” Amnesty likewise found that “Israel’s extensive destruction of homes and properties throughout the West Bank and Gaza…is not justified by military necessity,” and that “Some of these acts of destruction amount to grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and are war crimes.”

D. Apart from the sheer magnitude of its human   rights violations, the uniqueness of Israeli policies merits notice. “Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation based on discrimination, applying two separate systems of law in the same area and basing the rights of individuals on their nationality,” B’Tselem has concluded. “This regime is the only one of its kind in the world, and is reminiscent of distasteful regimes from the past, such as the apartheid regime in South Africa.” If singling out South Africa for an international economic boycott was defensible, it would seem equally defensible to single out Israel’s occupation, which uniquely resembles the apartheid regime.

E. Not only has Israel stubbornly rejected this two-state settlement, but the policies it is currently pursuing will abort any possibility of a viable Palestinian state. While world attention has been riveted by Israel’s redeployment from Gaza, Sara Roy of Harvard University observes that the “Gaza Disengagement Plan is, at heart, an instrument for Israel’s continued annexation of West Bank land and the physical integration of that land into Israel.” In particular Israel has been constructing a wall deep inside the West Bank that will annex the most productive land and water resources as well as East Jerusalem, the center of Palestinian life. It will also effectively sever the West Bank in two. Although Israel initially claimed that it was building the wall to fight terrorism, the consensus among human rights organizations is that it is really a land grab to annex illegal Jewish settlements into Israel. Recently Israel’s Justice Minister frankly acknowledged that the wall will serve as “the future border of the state of Israel.”

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=130

No, it’s not genocide, but it is at very least a savage violation of human rights.

3. I notice also that you exhibit extraordinary naivete with regard to the issue of monetary compensation for Holocaust victims, or rather the mechanism by which that compensation is implemented. By now, you must surely be aware that the primary beneficiaries of this scheme are not the survivors themselves (whose actual compensation has been miniscule and who must still too often choose between paying for either food or medicine for their health problems) but well-organized hu$tlers such as Burt Neuborne, the NYU law professor who represented the survivors.

As reported by the New York Times in June of this year, “. . .a controversy has arisen over Mr. Neuborne’s bill of more than $4 million. The dollar amounts are troubling, and so are the slipshod hourly records that Mr. Neuborne submitted. . . .”

“Mr. Neuborne, who worked pro bono on the first stage of the case, is charging for his current work, and billing at $700 an hour — money that will come from the sum available to the survivors. Top corporate lawyers sometimes charge that much, or more. But Holocaust victims are not Exxon Mobil. It is an unseemly rate to be asking, made worse by the fact that Mr. Neuborne is reserving his right to seek an ‘excellence’ multiplier that could, in theory, raise his hourly rate to $875 or more.”

As Paul Frenkel, a survivor of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Zeits and Berga-Elster concentration camps [another “self-hating Jew?”], has pointed out:

“Burt Neuborne has joined Edward Fagan and the rest of the gang, and it is he, not Edward Fagan alone, by whom ‘the Holocaust litigation has been distorted’. To ‘set the record straight’ as Burt Neuborne states, means that he has embarked again to steer the readers attention away from the lack of significance of these phony settlements to the individual survivors. He knows for sure that each person will receive ‘a pittance’, as was accurately stated to us in person by Judah Gribitz, the Distribution Master in the Swiss case. Yet, Neuborne and the rest of this dishonest assembly keep talking about the billions and billions of the total settlement from both cases and never list side by side that each claimant will receive practically nothing compared to what they are morally and legally entitled to.”

“Let’s face it, these settlements are of principle benefit to Burt Neuborne, the 26 or so attorneys and their firms, the hanger on organizations, the Swiss and German banks, and companies, and a few administrators who have secured for themselves jobs for life at the expense of the victims. Yes, the banks and the companies may pay out a few billions. But, the significance of this is that they will be buying for themselves, at the cheapest price that they could find, eternal protection from future suits through the collusion of Mr. Neuborne and the rest of the assembly, and the survivors would have lost again. . . .”


“As to Burt Neuborne’s calculation that most of the money will go to non-Jews. This illustrates just what a “deceptive brain approach” is being used by this group to deceive the public and raise false hopes by the victims. Neuborne and his assembly have no idea who was in a concentration camp, there to be worked to near death and then murdered. It appears to this assembly of disgraceful impostors that any settlement is a credit to them and the individual victim should be grateful that he will receive $500 to $2,500 for having enriched the billionaire Swiss banks and the German companies. Yes, according to Burt Neuborne, we should not expect to be paid for the 12 hour days that we have worked in the camps. Being a lawyer it should not prevent Burt Neuborne to figure out that even if I was to be paid $0.50 per hour in 1999 dollars, I would be entitled to be paid now for one year of work for the German companies $249,867.60, using 5% and 4% per year for interest and inflation, respectively. These self appointed representatives are also asking me to forget that my father was separated from me at Buchenwald after working at Zeitz, because he became too emaciated to go on to Berga-Elster and was shipped back to Auschwitz, and murdered. Burt Neuborne and his assembly are ordering me now to let the “the German companies get away with profiting from (my) slave labor..” and to forget about it that they killed my mother, my father, my grand parents. My family was taken in box cars with me to the camps and through their deaths and my work, the bottom line of these companies will remain untouched today because of Burt Neuborne’s settlement. Am I supposed to say thank you to Burt Neuborne and his group?”

“Surely, we agree with Burt Neuborne “to put the canard to rest that these cases seek to benefit from the agony of Holocaust victims…”. “Every penny in the $1.25 billion Swiss bank case will go to Holocaust victims.”, says. Burt Neuborne But, let me add that only a truly deceptive mind, in these Holocaust related matters, has the ability to make these statements and then proceed to disprove his own point in the paragraph that follows. All we have to say about this is that deception can indeed be brazen, even when it pretends to be humble, like Burt Neuborne’s.”

“Have you heard of fees, expenses and the substitution of one for the other? In the Swiss case, why has the list of all the lawyer’s fees and expenses been hidden for years by Judge Edward Korman, Burt Neuborne and the rest of the assembly so that only they know what they are robbing the survivors of?”

“Why did Burt Neuborne not print in his letter a list showing what each individual victim and each individual person or group is estimated to receive from the Swiss, German and any other settlement? I will tell you why. It is because he has designed the distribution of the funds in the Swiss case by skim off hundreds of millions of dollars from the individual victims so as to benefit his pals, the organizations and the related fleecers.”

“According to our calculation, it works out to around $500,000 and up per lawyer or firm,$400 million plus for non survivor entities and $500 to $2,500 per survivors.  As to ‘the lowest fee structure in history for comparable levels of success’, we say to Burt Neuborne that he misapplied some words; he should have written ‘the highest fee structure in history for comparable deception and levels of success.’”

“So, let us conclude by saying to Burt Neuborne and the assembly who put together these despicable settlements that the $500 or so that they got for each of us, this has made it possible for the Swiss and German companies to ‘get everything else’ that is not sticking to the hands of all those who arrogantly have grabbed our rights from us and left us worse off then we were before. When all concentration camp survivors need social services, compassionate treatment and humane care, our self appointed ‘settlers’ in the Swiss and German cases, are trying to force on us their indecent arrangements.”

“Reasonable people, as Burt Neuborne inaccurately claims to be one of them, together with his fellow fleecers of the victims, are but disillusioned, looking for a cause, misdirected and incompetent political and social opportunists. They have latched on to us, the unfortunate survivors of concentration camps and are making second careers for themselves by dragging in other issues. We say to them; leave us be. Do not smear yourself worse then you already have by concluding these dishonorable agreements at the expense of all the concentration camp survivors. And, stop misleading us and the world, you were not in the camps, we represent ourselves, we have not asked you to act on our behalf.”

Footnote: my arguments come from a totally secular perspective. I never understood the lyrics of that theme song from the movie “Exodus”: “This land is mine/ God gave this land too me. . .” Surely the Arabs could claim they’ve been conferred the same gift from Allah. In religious terms, I have no dog in this fight. I agree with William Empson’s description of Christianity as “a hideous system of torture worship,” I agree with Sam Harris’s dsecription of fundamentalist Islam as “a cult of death,” and I have little use for most of the Mosaic prescriptions devised for a group of nomads wandering around the Sinai desert thousands of years ago.

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By Quy Tran, October 25, 2006 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
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According to the Guardian’s special report the doctor at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City said :“Bodies arrived severely fragmented, melted and disfigured.”, while the Israeli military declined to detail the weapons in its arsenal, but denied reports that the injuries came from Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME), an experimental weapon.

Isaac Ben-Israel, a professor at Tel Aviv university and retired air force general, who was involved in weapons development, said the wounds came from ordinary explosives and emphasized that no one in Israel ever developed such a DIME weapon. It doesn’t exist at all.

A robber will never confess that he is burglarized and that’s lifetime reason of the cheated gamblers who are much more sordic than hookers.

What does King George think about this dirtiest play by his “superior boss” from Jerusalem ? He should know that “to secure our homeland, to protect our interests” are not meant to invade the other countries in the name of “democracy benefactors” or to side with sub-humans who used American bombs, weapons and mostly our technoligies to develop new weapons to slaughter children and pregnant women in cold blood. Those sub-humans then cleaned their bloody mouth and turned their back to all victimes. The civilized world will never forgive and forget those so called half-animals and half-humans ! Mel Gibson was absolutely right !

Does anyone think that Israeli troops withdrawn from South Lebanon was a defeat ? It’s a big mistake. The Jerusalem only retreated its troops after its “mission accomplished”, that was over 1 million unexploded cluster bombs left in this 250,000 population area in August invasion. But Olmert’s government still denied its forces never used this kind of bomb without consent and approval from Washington. It was so intelligent, tricky and also a big farce !

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By Gene, October 25, 2006 at 11:10 am Link to this comment
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Recently after trying to explain to an acquaintance the impact the holocaust had on me, an American Jew born in 1945, I was told by this acquaintance that there were other genocides. The acquaintance seemed to assume that I was claiming some unique status for the event, which I was not. His response, based on a false assumption, prevented him from listening to the content of what I was saying. I was taken aback by a response that was unwarranted and dropped the conversation. A deeper dialogue was lost.

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By Munish Reuven, October 25, 2006 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
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Re Comment #33134 by Brian Wallace on 10/24 at 6:18 pm:  “Why haven’t they come to the rescue of the Africans victimized by genocide today.”

Jewish organizations have been at the forefront in calling for action against what so many politicians and media organizations are unwilling to call “genocide” in Darfur and the Chadian refugee camps.  Please visit the following web-sites, just a few of the many out there:

http://www.jewishworldwatch.com

http://www.ajws.org/

http://www.ushmm.org/conscience/alert/darfur/

http://www.hmh.org/page.asp?id=23

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2005/03/27/jews-darfur050327.html

Or perhaps you think this, too, is a Zionist imperialist conspiracy to exploit suffering for material gain.  Jews are damned no matter what they do, for whatever reason which happens to serve the argument of the moment.  Fortunately for you and so many others who post here, the “Zionist entity” exists as a huge target to be smeared by anyone with a complaint about the state of the World.  Whatever the world’s problems, it certainly must be the Jews…no, the Zionists…no the Nazi Israeli government, who is behind it.  Classic anti-Semitism at its worst – as the Jews have always been and will always be present to use as scapegoats.  The pernicious stereotypes of Octopus and Snake as employed so effectively in the Protocols may be used more readily now that a generic political entity exists to take the heat for placing a stranglehold on human dignity…world peace…the war on terror.  Just pick one at a time, please.  Unfortunately, it is the burden Jews and Israelis alike must bear.  Jews will eternally embrace this burden and still seek to address our own suffering as well as and in equal measure to the suffering of others.  That is a core value of Judaism, one that lies at the foundation of Western Civilization.

I’m not really clear what the purpose is either of the article or this discussion thread.  To bash Dershowitz and lionize Finklestein?  To win some solipsistic classroom debate?  To inflate one’s own ego while deflating another’s?  To serve one’s own self-interest at the expense of victims, whether Jewish, Homosexual, African, Timorese, Chinese, Tibetan, Cambodian, Gypsy, Armenian, etc.

My wife has no cousins because all of her mother’s relatives were killed at Auschwitz.  My cousin’s father has no parents or brothers or sisters because they were all exterminated in Latvia.  We neither seek nor receive any compensation.  We do not compare our suffering to that of others, and we do not exploit Palestinian or Lebanese suffering – whether at the hands of the PLO, Hezbollah, Hamas, Jordan, Egypt or Israel – to promote our agenda.

Can the world ever be perfected?  I personally do not think so, as to assume mankind’s ability to effectuate such perfection would be to assume the role of G-d.  Will we continue ever on wrestling with issues that interfere with our striving to be good people, to practice virtue, compassion, patience, understanding, tolerance, charity, etc?  Absolutely, as we have no choice but to do so.  G-d created the world and it is our role as human beings to continue to assist in the process of creation as the world lives on for all.  Life is a process and we are G-d’s partners in the evolution of mankind, doing what we can to improve quality of life for everyone.  It is a process and one which will always be subject to human failures of all kinds.  That is our nature, and none of us has the right to condemn another simply because the other doesn’t measure up to our inflated sense of judgment, no matter how divinely inspired we might think we are.

To quote from Elie Weisel’s 1986 Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

The great historian Shimon Dubnov served as our guide and inspiration. Until the moment of his death he said over and over again to his companions in the Riga ghetto: “Yidden, shreibt un fershreibt” (Jews, write it all down). His words were heeded. Overnight, countless victims become chroniclers and historians in the ghettos, even in the death camps. Even members of the Sonderkommandos, those inmates forced to burn their fellow inmates’ corpses before being burned in turn, left behind extraordinary documents. To testify became an obsession. They left us poems and letters, diaries and fragments of novels, some known throughout the world, others still unpublished.

After the war we reassured ourselves that it would be enough to relate a single night in Treblinka, to tell of the cruelty, the senselessness of murder, and the outrage born of indifference: it would be enough to find the right word and the propitious moment to say it, to shake humanity out of its indifference and keep the torturer from torturing ever again. We thought it would be enough to read the world a poem written by a child in the Theresienstadt ghetto to ensure that no child anywhere would ever again have to endure hunger or fear. It would be enough to describe a death-camp “Selection”, to prevent the human right to dignity from ever being violated again.

We thought it would be enough to tell of the tidal wave of hatred which broke over the Jewish people for men everywhere to decide once and for all to put an end to hatred of anyone who is “different” - whether black or white, Jew or Arab, Christian or Moslem - anyone whose orientation differs politically, philosophically, sexually. A naive undertaking? Of course. But not without a certain logic.

We tried. It was not easy. At first, because of the language; language failed us. We would have to invent a new vocabulary, for our own words were inadequate, anemic.

And then too, the people around us refused to listen; and even those who listened refused to believe; and even those who believed could not comprehend. Of course they could not. Nobody could. The experience of the camps defies comprehension.

Have we failed? I often think we have.

Read it all:  http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1986/wiesel-lecture.html

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By brett gross, October 25, 2006 at 10:30 am Link to this comment
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I agree with much of the article but I don’t agree with the paragraph thaat begins with thiss sentence:

“When I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington I looked in vain for these other victims.” 


I don’t agree with pitting one genocide against the other- which the writer condemns in the first paragraphs but then does himself here. And the Judenrat part of this is bullshit as an issue. It’s easy to turn people against each other in these horrible circumstances. Of course it happened! But it doesn’t have anything to do with the point of the museum. It doesn’t minimize the Jewish suffering or mitigate their status as victims. If you read Primo Levi’s The Drowned and the Saved you will see a much more interesting and soul searching account of this problem than this author (or any other in fact) is capable of.
I think he also damages the very real issue of the Palestinian suffering and the responsibility of the Jewish community to speak out truthfully about it this issue by conflating a lot of distinct problems here.
There is a point to asking about why the US has not reconciled it’s past in terms of the Native American genocide. And there is a point to asking what “never again” really means in terms of the genocides that followed The Shoah and the witness of the post-Shoah Jewish community. There is a point to a lot of what this author is saying. But I’m afraid that he badly muddles these issues and damages his thesis.

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By Colonel, October 25, 2006 at 10:07 am Link to this comment
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Thank you, Chris Hedges for putting the holocaust in historiographic context. The Holocaust Museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C. is the most incongruous thing imaginable in our nation’s capitol.

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By Mackie Blanton, October 25, 2006 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
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There is a Turkish proverb that says, “Rather than
beating a poor man, tear his shirt off.” On the other hand, as interculturalists, we understand that cultures can unconsciously participate in being disdained. Mary Lee Settle (Turkish Reflections: Biography of a Place) puts it more accurately in her Preface:

“[T]he country of Turkey has the worst and most
ill-drawn image of any country I know. [....] I found there the greatest capacity for friendship.. .so deep and so beyond individual choice that I have wondered ever since about its sources. [....] [T]here is pride, and dignity, and honesty, and the dangerous sensitivity of essentially warm and honest people who,
when they feel that their friendship has been offered and betrayed, can erupt into violence, which seems to be all that has been exported of the Turkish ethos. [....] More than any other people I have seen, the Turks are up against the heavy weight of time. The past is so powerful that it is easy to lose yourself in it and forget the strong present that contains and defines it. The people of Turkey have in themselves, in their habits, their beliefs, and their pride, all the kingdoms that have gone before them—all the blood, the grace and toughness, sometimes the cruelty, always the warm hospitality that touches and surprises Americans who go there for the first time. It seems to be a deeper tolerance and ecumenical quality than we have ever learned to have. [....] They simply have…kept ways they have found useful. They belie our naive idea that when kingdoms replaced kingdoms, or ideas replaces ideas, they somehow wiped out the past. This did not happen—not in building and not
in thought. They may have changed the old patterns, but they have not obliterated them.”

Moving into her reflections, Settle notes, “[T]he
Turks have been the lords of the Aegean and they are still resented as overlords and conquerors” (7).

Essentially, when discussing the Armenian question, Settle points out that the question of whether there was a genocide or near-genocidal
massacre of Armenians by Turks is a No/Yes questions.

The problem for public intellectuals like Settle who have studied this question is that Armenians are arguing the wrong century, but that both “the modern Turkish government and the Armenians
[worldwide]. ..need to hire good historians who can read both the Cyrillic of imperial Russian records of backing the Armenians as a separate state, which the Turks considered to be treason in wartime, and the Ottoman Arabic script where the orders and the dates for the Armenian population shift are hidden, to find out once and for all what happened in that black and
evil time” (67).

This is how she describes the issue overall:

“In the late nineteenth century, Abdul Hamid II,
known along this coast as Abdul the Damned, sent the Turkish army to put down an Armenian revolt that existed mostly in his own paranoid mind. He was the last of the absolute monarchs. He sent his army [to Trabzon on the Black Sea] to foment murder and looting. It was cold-bloodedly done, with a bugle call to start the massacres, and one to end them in the evening. English ships in Trebizond harbor told of Armenians being pursued as they tried to swim safely and drowned by fanatical Turkish Muslims and soldiers.

“It was in this square that one of the worst
massacres of the Armenians took place. One of the
officers had Armenian men trussed and sacrificed them like sheep while he quoted from the Koran.

“All of this was the product of the half-insane
mind of Abdül Hamid, and it was murder without excuse, unlike the civil wars during the First World War that came later, and from which a half-million Armenians and two million Turkish people are said to have died. I have wondered why this earlier massacre is not pointed out by modern Armenians as the main crime against them instead of the excesses of the civil war. Perhaps they would rather blame the government of modern Turkey, which had nothing to do with either of
them, than they would a long-dead regime. It is like blaming the modern Russians for the Czarist pogroms, or the modern Lithuanians for their zealous anti-Semitism when they were occupied by the German army during World War II. The Armenians who still live there, and there are many, live in a touch-and-go amity with their neighbors under the government of modern Turkey.

“It is well to talk about the Armenian troubles
here, where much of it happened. More often than not, in any country, history is invented by old hates, by passion, and by shame. No two people have shown this more than the Turks and the Armenians in remembering the dreadful of 1915 on the eastern front.

“The Ottoman Empire was fighting on the side of
the Germans in a brutal war against Czarist Russia
along the borders of the Caucasus, where civilians and much of the Turkish were destroyed between the hammer of the Russian attack, which for years had included fomenting the local Armenians to revolt and then abandoning them, and the anvil of Ottoman neglect of the army in the field.

“The front disintegrated into one of the most
tragic civil wars of modern times. It is still being fought, in the press, in propaganda on both sides; the Turks burying shame and hurt by what they consider foreign misunderstanding; the Armenians drawing strength from ancient hate, and their refusal to admit that they tried to secede from the Ottoman Empire in the middle of a war and set up a Russian-backed Republic of Armenia with its capital in Van.

“[....] The massacre…was one of the few times in
Turkish history that Turkish soldiers, who still have a reputation as the most disciplined troops in the world, refused to obey orders. Thre were so many that they were not shot, but were jailed” (66-68).

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By Debora, October 25, 2006 at 8:38 am Link to this comment
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ee this happen today and though history the victim becoming victimizer. 

Now days, in the news we look at child molesters who were molested as children perpetuating the same abuse they survived only to abuse others.  Look at the Florida rep Mark Foley.  This man claims to have been an adolescent victim of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy only after being exposed as a sexual predator of high school juniors working as pages.  He was the most out spoken member of Congress against pedophiles.  The fact that he waited to pursue them after they left the program and they were 17/18 only showed that Foley knew the law.

One only need to read cultural texts such as the Bible to notice that this is a very human phenomenon to somehow overcome victim-hood only to do unto others as was done onto you and yours.  In the story of Esther/Hadassah the Jews read these stories to their children and somehow the end of this story gets under emphasized.  The same is true of the story of Hanukkah.  In the end of the story the Jews massacre their oppressors and any deserters. 

I was raised with the story of Purim and Hanukkah with a cleansed view.  In the story of Purim, the Jews overcame the threat of genocide posed by Haman, the descendent of Amelek, the sworn enemy of the Jews with wit and gaining favor with the King.  Then Haman is hung instead of the Jewish hero, Mordechi.  That is were the story, I thought, ended.  I have since learned that the story does not end there.  The Jews get permission from the king to hang Haman and his ten sons and all of the other known enemies of the Jews in the entire kingdom after Haman’s genocidal plot is exposed to the King and he learns that his new Queen Esther is also a Jewess.  This story goes into great detail as to how many people are killed.  They end up killing thousands of people!  The story of Hanukkah ends with the Maccabis killing the Greeks and any other Jews or non-Jews who opposed the Maccabis or do not exactly follow the religious laws.  It is the only documented time in Jewish history when Jews forcibly convert non-Jews.  The Macabbis are the heroes of the story of Hanukkah.  They liberate the Hebrews from the Greek oppressors and resanctify the Temple but then they become religious zealots akin to the Taliban!

I suppose, it is very human to proclaim atrocities and then avenge them.  As a victim sometimes people learn to feel strength though identifying with their aggressor.  The memory of the feeling of such vulnerability is too difficult to deal with.

Thank You,

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By Reinhart Kelbert, October 25, 2006 at 8:37 am Link to this comment
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Truth?

Barry Meislin wouldn’t be able to recognize <a href =“http://www.truthdig.com/dig/item/20060725_israels_wall”>the truth</a> if it hit him between the eyes.

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By Floyd in Texas, October 25, 2006 at 7:48 am Link to this comment
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This is an excellent article in exposing one facet of the present use of the Holocaust as a political weapon. This holocaust and all the others deserve study by all history students. There are many facets of the German Holocaust of 1939-1945 which need to be understood. As a young person I experienced some discrimnation as a worker in setting of mostly Jewish people. As a result, I have always wondered what part the Jewish stranglehold on many intellectual aspects of German life played into creation of this Holocaust. Not that any reason could justify such actions.
As US citizen with mixed European and Native American heritiage, I lament the horrible loss of life that was caused by policies of decimation of the European settlers. On the other hand, I enjoy a luxious(sp) life as the result of the swift change from hunter-gathers to a farming society.
BEING A CITIZEN IN A DEMOCRACY REQUIRES DEALING WITH A LOT OF COMPLEXITY. Which shade of grey deserves my vote and support?

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By John John, October 25, 2006 at 7:25 am Link to this comment
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I want to thank Mr Hedges for having the courage to ask the question. It is definitely a tough one to throw out there and will definitely cause anger in some. I would also like to thank everyone who has posted comments, some of them are quite illuminating. Most people I know will not discuss the issue and immediately see anti semitism when someone else (ie me) asks “What about the other six million who died”?

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By Gladwyn d'Souza, October 25, 2006 at 6:27 am Link to this comment
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Very good article on the universal human capacity for evil and the creation of our own gods behind which we can hide.

Its difficult to seperate coverting our neighbors property from our ability to ignore evil in our midst.

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By Barry Meislin, October 25, 2006 at 1:59 am Link to this comment
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Truth?

Chris Hedges wouldn’t be able to recognize the truth if it hit him between the eyes.

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By Zichronam Livrachah, October 24, 2006 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment
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Sing Zog nit keyn mol

Never say that this is the end of the road.
Wherever a drop of our blood fell, there our courage will
grow anew.
This song, written in blood, was sung by a people fighting
for life and freedom.
Our triumph will come and our resounding footsteps will
proclaim “We are here!”

From land of palm-trees to the far-off land of snow.
We shall be coming with our torment, with our woe;
And everywhere our blood has sunk into the earth
Shall our bravery, or vigor blossom forth.

We’ll have the morning sun to set our day aglow;
Our evil yesterdays shall vanish with the foe.
But if the time is long before the sun appears,
then let this song go like a signal through the years.

This song was written with our blood, and not with lead;
It’s not a song that summer birds sing overhead;
It was a people, amidst burning barricades,
That sang this song of ours with pistols and grenades.

So never say you now go on your last way,
Through darkened skies may now conceal the blue of day,
Because the hour for which we’ve hungered is so near,
Beneath our feet the earth shall thunder, “We are here!”

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By cynic, October 24, 2006 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment
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Kudos to Chris Hedges for this offering…and for exposing himself to the inevitable tub-thumping which, as with Mearsheimer-Walt, helps to make his case.

By the way, the reason for the presence of the Holocaust Museum, whatever its exact siting, should be obvious: the presence of the Bank of Israel (aka U.S. Capitol Building) a short distance away. Never hurts to keep a high profile around your chief patrons.

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By Sophia, October 24, 2006 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment
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I think that 100% of all living Jews would GLADLY trade our “Holocaust capital” for our families.

We look back at Europe, seeking our roots, and find nothing but smoke and bones.  We listen to the daily rants from the Middle East, and fear we’re looking at nothing less than another Holocaust in which millions of Jews will perish, once again.

I’m really horrified by this article.  It misses the point entirely - that entire peoples can be devastated - in fact there’s an ongoing genocide in Darfur and nobody is doing anything to stop; it.  Nobody helped in Rwanda, and who even discusses The Year of the Sword?

And - if the Jewish people have somehow managed to survive and become successful IN SPITE OF the Shoah - isn’t that to their credit?  Are all the Jewish artists, scientists, physicians, musicians, historians, writers, athletes, attorneys, professors, soldiers, indeed the embattled state of Israel - to ascribe their success to “Holocaust capital?”

A shocking and terrible piece.

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By Emrehan Delibas, October 24, 2006 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment
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Dear Rich,

How easy it is to brush aside historical facts with the gross label of “denier”.  What so-called ultranationalist Turks, or any other group calls the matter is of no importance.  What matters is the facts of the matter:  which is that there was no genocide.

There is no proof that there was an intent of genocide - requirement #1 per the definition of genocide.  Armenians have tried to conjure up several so called documents to show this, but these have been shown by historians to be forgeries - i.e. falsified.  In fact, some of the documents they refer to when you look them up do not even have anything to do with Armenians, but just to make it seem proven irrelevant document numbers are provided.

You ask about Third Parties.  First of all, I would like to state that I have FIRST HAND ACCOUNTS of Turks being massaacred by Armenians.  Turkish people have many relatives and friends who were killed.  One of my best friends’ family was forced out of Kars to the city of Sivas by Armenians.  None of his family survived except his grandfather.  There are many accounts of this kind, but they are in Turkish and unfortunately not accessible to many Americans which is why they have not heard it.  Aside from the fact that Armenians deliberatly try to suppress publications on this subject (wow, what a great appreciation of human rights and freedom of speech!)

As far as what you called “independent witnesses” such as the British and French.  Do you not know that the British and French were belligerents against the Turks, and that they USED THE ARMENIANS to fight against the Ottoman Turks, that is was a deliberate part of their diplomacy to support insurrections against the Ottomans?  Did you know that the French organized what is known as the Armenian Legion, to fight side by side with the French in southern Turkey…and that even though the French KNEW of the atrocities committed against Turks they gave the Armenians free reign to do whatever they wanted in Sanli Urfa, Kahraman maras and other Turkish cities???

Those are not INDEPENDENT witnesses!  They are as guilty as Armenians are for killing Turks!!

Furthermore, for YEARS Europe and even the United States used the Armenian people and their CHRISTIANITY as a way to garner support for the war against the Turks and to JUSTIFY THE COLONIZATION of Anatolia (the Turkish homeland) under a system of mandates.  That was the front they used to try to subjugate the Turkish people!!

They are most definitely NOT INDEPENDENT!!

Last month I even read an article by an AMERICAN historian who openly said that the Near East Relief organization EXAGGERATED and even FALSIFIED stories of Armenian victimization to RAISE MONEY FOR THEIR HUMANITARIAN AND MISSIONARY ACTIVITIES…

You also ask why they weren’t asked to come back home - MANY ARMENIANS DID COME BACK HOME!!!  That is why there were still many Armenians in Turkish cities all over Anatolia throughout the Turkish Independence War (1919-1923).  If you read first hand accounts of the time, for example if you read about Kara Fatma in Erzurum and others, you read about how Armenians kidnapped and killed Turks from their homes.  These were the local Armenian populations who revolted and did these atrocities…

As far as your other numbers go, many census accounts do not place the Armenian population even as high as 1.5 million, forget about that many being killed.  Armenian accounts from their own leaders at the time placed their losses at 300,000.  The work of American historian Justin McCarthy estimates about 600,000.  Contrast that to the 500,000 Turks killed by Armenians and the 2.5 million Muslims killed overall.

These events were not as one-sided as Armenians and others would have you believe.

This is why many historians do not accept Armenian claims at face value.  Such well-known, and recognized Middle Eastern experts such as Norman Stone, Bernard Lewis, and Andrew Mango (just to name a few) do not accept Armenian arguments.  Prof. Guenter Lewy just published a book on the matter.  In the 1980’s, SIXTY-NINE (69) historians issued a signed statement to the House of Representatives disputing Armenian allegations.

“Few Americans who mourn and justly, the miseries of the Armenians, are aware that till the rise of nationalistic ambitions, beginning with the seventies, the Armenians were the favored portion of the population of Turkey, or that in the Great War, they traitorously turned Turkish cities over to the Russian invader;  that they boasted of having raised an army of one hundred and fifty thousand men to fight a civil war, and that they burned at least a hundred Turkish villages and exterminated their population.”  (John Dewey, “The Turkish Tragedy”, 1929) 

Check out these websites:

http://www.tallarmeniantale.com

http://www.ermenisorunu.gen.tr

http://www.gtaag.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=category§ionid=15&id=35&Itemid=61

Armenians in the Late Ottoman Period:
http://karabakh-doc.azerall.info/ru/armyanstvo/arm25-1.php

Angora and the Turks (Arthur Tremain Chester,1923)
http://www.gtaag.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=199&Itemid=61

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By Ephraim, October 24, 2006 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment
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Where did I say that the suffering of the Jews was any worse than that of others? All I said was that we care about it because it was our suffering. I expect the Armenians, the Cambodians and the Tutsis to feel exactly the same way and I do not begrudge it them.

Mr. Tarnapol touched on some of the specific reasons for the Shoah’s uniqueness; however, these were primarily ones of scale, bureaucratic organization, speed and efficiency. The other thing is that I don’t believe that there are many, if any, examples of an entire society organizing itself for the specific purpose of genocide and making it the foundation of their political idology, military, and civil bureaucracy, their raison d’etre. And yes, I know that there were many more victims on Hitler’s list. We were just the primary ones who were targeted for “racial” reasons, that’s all.

In Cambodia, Cambodians killed other Cambodians, so clealry “race hygiene” as understood by the Nazis was not an operative concept. In Armenia, I do not believe that The Turkish purpose was necessarily the complete extermination of the Armenians; the Armenians, as dhimmis under the Turks, had agitated for their freedom from Muslim oppression and were punished for it. Horribly and unforgiveably, yes. But it is not exactly the same thing. Stalin exterminated the Ukaranian kulaks because he wanted their land and saw them as class traitors; the same thing with Mao in China. Etc., etc. So, yes, each instance is unique in its own way. I never said that they were not.

It is clear, though, that the real reason people want the Jews to shut up about the Shoah is that they no longer want to be made to feel guilty for what they did. So it is imperative that the Israelis be portrayed as no better than Nazis in their attempts to protect themselves from attempted Arab genocide. Thus, the killing of armed terrorists is portrayed as no different than the deliberate murder of millions of people, to which all of the resources of an entire state were harnessed. Sorry, giving a Hellfire enema to a man like Nasrallah, let us say, is not the same as rounding up people and herding them into ovens. I mean, I once read something where someone said that even if the Israelis weren’t really Nazis, they were perpetrating “symbolic” genocide against the Arabs. I cannot beleive that anyone could be so morally bankrupt as to actually beleieve such obvious rot.

Germany controlled vast parts of Europe for about 12 years. During that time, 11 million people, 6 million of them Jews, were systematically murdered, not to mention all of the actual battle casualties. At the end, almost all of Europe’s Jews had been murdered.

Israel has been existence for almost 60 years. Israel conquered Gaza, Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) in 1967, almost 40 years ago. If there is such a razor thin line separating victim and victimizer (code for “the Israelis are just as bad as the Nazis”) how come there are still Arabs there? If Israel was as bad as everyone says, there wouldn’t be a single Arab left alive between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

As it is, what is the main reason why everyone says Israel must give up these areas if it knows what is good for it? It is nothing other than the “Arab demoigraphic time bomb”, the supposed fact that Arabs are breeding so fast that if Israel doesn’t find a way to disengage, they will be drowned in a sea of Arabs.

Some genocide.

The voices of all of those peoples who have been genuine victims of genocide shpuld be heard. Let a thousand museums bloom. But don’t blame the Jews just because we decided not to shut up about what happened to us. Help those others tell their story.

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By Brian Wallace, October 24, 2006 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment
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This is in response to comment #33020
Calling what happened to the jew the Shoah seems to be an attempt to isolate the jew as having gone through something unique to the jew when in fact they were just one more victim of a long line of “Holocausts”. I have always wondered why they haven’t spoke out against genocide in other regions of the world. Why haven’t they come to the rescue of the Africans victimized by genocide today.They obviously have the military capable of helping. We have given them the best weapons in the world. I am curious as to how old Ephraim is and who it was that wronged him and the majority of jews alive today. How does money ease the “horror” of the holocaust. From a religious perspective I don’t understand your fears of assimilation. Is it because you are superior, gods chosen and all, to gentiles. Are you angry because gentiles didn’t immediately come and lay down their lives for the jew.In fact if the rest of the world, who were fighting for survival didn’t take action, alot more jews would have died.
  As far as the Arabs go, the jews did not remain within the UN Partition Resolution. They expanded as they saw fit. There are more ways to subjugate, torture and make refugees of people than what the Nazis did.
Finally I find it most revealing when you state and I quote “let’s see how you react when somebody puts a gun to your head and says ’ Give us ten people by noon or we’ll kill everyone right now’” when referring to jewish Nazi collaborators. By definition of a collaborator the argument does not hold up. And, if your not willing to die for your own people why would you expect the rest of the world to die in your place. Your contention that the Arabs were in cahoots with the Nazis say a lot for how you view them and treat them today.Let’s see Iarael got to war and put its’ life on the line in the Sudan and Darfur and maybe, just maybe, Israel would be viewed in a different light, seeing as how they were so traumatize and must surely be feeling the helplessness of those people and would want to stop it at any cost.

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By paul kibble, October 24, 2006 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment
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Re Comment #33020 by Ephraim:

Your aggrieved, exasperated, defensive tone in claiming a unique status for the victims of the Shoa reinforces Hedges’ point. With a little tweaking, your language could be retailored to fit many victims of other genocidal campaigns as well.

Thus: “As far as Tutsis are concerned, what makes the Rwandan genocide unique is because it happened to us. [Note to Epharim: murder, either singular or global in scale, is always “unique” for the victim[s], since their lives can never be replaced.] The whole world pretty much sat on its hands while the Hutus (with the tacit consent of our African neigbors) murdered us. That is the meaning of the Rwanadan genocide: that when push came to shove, except for a few brave individuals symbolized by people like General Romeo Dallaire and Paul Rusesabagina, the U.S., the UN, and indeed the world left us to our fate. . . .When we needed help it wasn’t there. That’s all we need to know.”


The Armenians, the Cambodians, and the those currently being decimated in Darfur could claim the same “special” status. A whole people being abandoned in a time of crisis by their fellow human beings is hardly a nonrepeatable event. Throughout history, to borrow from Auden, “everyone turned away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster.” Of course, the historical forces behind the Jewish holocaust were unique in the same sense that the historical forces behind the Cambodian, Rwanadan, etc., genocides are unique. Circumstances of time and place are fundamentally different in all these cases. But the piles of dead bodies have a disconcerting similarity. Thus Hedges is right in saying that the shared meaning of these different horrors is that “the line between the victim and the victimizer is razor-thin.”

Of course, supported by the sui generis history of European anti-Semitism, Nazi racist ideology brought about the extermination of millions—-not just of Jews but of Gypsies, homosexuals, and dissidents, for each of whom death was indeed “unique.” But the systematic annihilation of massive numbers of Jews is not morally “worse” than the programmatic killing of Cambodians, Tutsis, etc. Different ideologies and methodologies produce the same result: the death of millions of innocent people.

As for economic compensation to the victims of Nazi war crimes, of course, as you suggest, it’s justifibale for the same reason that monetary restitution in any criminal case is justifiable. It’s an essential element of our Anglo-American legal system. I assume those who object to such recompense “on principle” would have no similar reservations about imposing a stern civil judgment that levied, say, O.J.‘s current and future earnings. So that means you support similar compensatory schemes for the descendants of African-American slaves? Or wwas their deracination, enslavement, and death morally inferior to that of the Jews?

Admit it: it’s not just France and Germany you’d like to shut the fuck up. It’s anyone who questions the wisdom and legitimacy of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Israel is one of the few successful democracies in the Middle East, but precisely for that reason the policies and actions of its government should be open to vigorous, free-ranging debate. Or should all right-thinking people simply reject the well-documented abuses suffered by the Palestinians as just more anti-Semitic propaganda? It is a tough life for many of them.

Incidentally, I am surprised to find you resurrecting the famous debate on the role of the Judenrat in the Third Reich, as mentioned (very briefly) in Hannah Arendt’s seminal study, Eichmann in Jerusalem. When that book was published in the early 60’s, New York intellectuals were divided into two camps, with the anti-Arendt camp condemning her as a self-loathing anti-Semite for her audacity in suggesting that some Jews might have played a role in the killing of other Jews. (See “sick, sick” Finkelstein’s mother’s comments on these collaborators, posted below.) Many friendships were destroyed in this controversy, and it is clear from your comments that the old wounds are easily reopened.

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By Doug Tarnopol, October 24, 2006 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
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Oh, boy.

Look, maybe this will help:

1. Beyond the trivial point that every historical event is unique, the Nazi holocaust was unique because it:

—stemmed from the driving force behind a political movement to stamp out a particular group, though no doubt about an equal number of others were also murdered;

—was amazingly bureaucratized, mechanized, and efficient;

—was also accomplished over an incredibly short time scale, roughly 1941-1945 (for the major death-camp phase).

A lot of people got killed very quickly in an industrial fashion. That is, so far, historically unique from a scaling point of view, or, if you like, in death-rate per time period, as far as I’m aware, though perhaps someone can point to another example of which I am ignorant. Certainly two atomic bombs had an “impressive” death-rate/time ratio, even if the total didn’t approach the Nazi holocaust.

I take absolutely no inverted pride in this specially defined “uniqueness.” Hedges accurately points out that many Jews, perversely, do, whether for psychological or political reasons or both. I would love it if the Nazis had “only” killed a few hundred thousand Jews, for no particular reason like “race hygiene,” in a more lackadaisical manner, over a longer period of time. Fewer people would have died, they psychosocial wounds would not be as deep, and the dark ripples of that awful event would not still be splashing on our shores in the manner to which Hedges—and Finkelstein—allude, among others.

2. This specific definition of historical uniqueness notwithstanding, Hedges’ point is not only that the potential for a repeat lies dormant in all societies—*all*—but also that historical contingencies account for the fact that the Nazi holocaust, for now, still stands out.

(“Stands out” in the specific fashion I defined above; whether it was “the worst” is a value judgement. It’s akin to picking which is worse: death by disembowelment or by neurotoxin, to make an imperfect analogy to an individual.)

Anyway, the point about historical contingency ought to be a unifying rallying call. The right mixture of events and beliefs can bring about the same or worse (in scale). That’s the lesson of the Nazi holocaust, which has very much been “sacralized” such that no one may dare learn from it in any rational manner without entering a minefield of hysteria. That the memory of the Nazi holocaust has been used as a political shield for current Israeli crimes (admitting the reality of which does not exculpate anyone else’s crimes—this should be obvious, but such is the level of discourse that I have to *state* it) is of no small import not only for the Palestinians and Lebanese but also for the entire world. One can draw one’s own conclusions about the morality of such a move, which entails a judgement of how conscious it is in each individual who engages in it, by one’s own lights. But the key point is the fact that this “Holocaust hand-waving” does occur, whatever the motivations, and it is extremely dangerous.

Jews, Israelis, Armenians, and the not-so-noble French aside (Vichy, anyone?)—imagine Genghis Khan with Zyklon B. Imagine a Nazi-like holocaust today or in the future with the increased technology available? I think that’s Hedges’ point: the less we think about such things, the more likely it is they will occur.

Perhaps the following will also help people understand where Hedges is coming from. As a secular Jew who lost family in the Nazi holocaust, I have to say that since Hebrew school in the ‘70s, I have been disgusted with lines like, “Never forget the six million,” a line that instantly effaces the six million *other* human beings, who happened not to be Jews, that the Nazis wiped out. This kind of remembrance/effacement is not universal among Jews (or non-Jews)—of course—but it is pretty widespread in my experience.

I think that fact supports Hedges’ main thesis without avoiding the reality that roughly 50% of the Nazis targets fell into one defined grouping.

In closing, perhaps future commenters can discuss how best to organize society and culture such that future genocides are less likely to occur rather than bickering over different subjective reactions to various atrocities, either those mentioned, or those not yet mentioned. The fact that such a “discussion” could go on forever, with each group holding up an example of an atrocity (of whatever magnitude over whatever timescale using whatever methods) done to itself, while denying that their ancestors ever did *anything* like *that* is the kind of perverse narcissism that Hedges describes, and which we frankly don’t have time for, as a species. Tribalism of any kind is simply not a “luxury” our species can afford, with nuclear weapons, global warming, and other grave challenges facing us. We either become one big tribe or we go down…I think Ben Franklin put it better: we either hang together or we will surely hang separately.

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By THE MEDIC, October 24, 2006 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment
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Americans have commited genocide against every “Non European” since 1620. So did the Spanish Conquistidors in south and central america. The extermination of “outsiders” goes back thousands of years. Read the Old Testement. All about slaughter and genocide. Humankinds legacy. Genocide did not start in the 20th century.

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By S., October 24, 2006 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
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Some of you really ought to go out more! What is this insane self-centerdness, especially when it comes to Jewish suffering! “The Jews were killed and no one said anything”, guys no one ever says anything! Look around you, Palestinian kids are shot in the back and no one says anything, worse it is somehow justified, Iraquis are dying in unacceptable numbers and we are told that there is progress on the ground. NO ONE EVER SAYS ANYTHING! Hedges and Finkelstein are trying to say something and you are shutting them up with your Hollywoodized version of History!
This epic take on anything happening to Jews and your deliberate minimilizing of the suffering of others will only lead you to oblivion.

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By Rich, October 24, 2006 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #32987 by Emrehan Delibas on 10/24 at 9:46 am

Hello Emerhan,

I wanted to dispel a number of false claims and false accusations in your comments.

You stated that the Armenian genocide are “allegations”. Other deniers also refer to the Armenian genocide as the “so-called Armenian genocide”. Many ultra-nationalist Turks along with the misinformed Turks refer to the Armenian genocide in this manner.

I find it to spoon feed some facts by THIRD PARTIES witness to the genocide, NOT ARMENIANS. What do they have to gain? The French, Germans Britain, Red Cross. I also find it hardly plausable that they all collaborated in witnessing the Armenian genocide. They are independent witnesses. 

Some trains were used but were not humane but rather death boxes. Nor will you find in these documents that the forced death marches were a result of combat to protect the innocent Armenian men, women, and children, if so why wernt they asked to come back home. Maybe becasee hardly any Armenians out of one in a half million were left alive.

http://www.armenian-genocide.org/us-7-21-15-text.html

http://www.armenian-genocide.org/us-7-20-15-text.html 

http://www.armenian-genocide.org/br-11-27-16-text.html

http://www.armenian-genocide.org/br-11-15-22-text.html

http://www.armenian-genocide.org/br-12-26-16-text.html

http://www.armenian-genocide.org/br-stats-text.html 

In 1997 the International Association of Genocide Scholars, an organization of the world’s foremost experts on genocide, unanimously passed a formal resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Association_of_Genocide_Scholars

Hope this information will inlighten all of you, especially the people who deny the Armenian genocide. I agree the genocide only has one side other then the Turkey’s denials, because it is on the side of the facts otherwise may be called the truth.

I do want to note that some Turks, Kurds at risk to there own lives did save some Armenians from the Turkish Army killings and deportations.

On a parallel note my Grandfather saved a number of Jews when he use to be a truck driver durring WWII, he smuggled Jews to safety. He did not want to see the same thing happen to the Jews as what befell the Armenians.

Cheers!

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By paul kibble, October 24, 2006 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
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Re Comment #32891 by Jeanette Friedman:

“The fact that you need to stoop into the gutter to quote Norman Finkelstein proves you are as ignorant of facts and history and human decency as he is.”

Really, Ms. Friedman, you are ill-advised to criticize Mr. Finkelstein (and, via guilt by association, Mr. Hedges) for swimming in the same gutter from which you have apparently plucked most of your key ideas (if automatic reflexes can be described as “ideas”).

You thus might want to reconsider raising the issue of “human decency” with respect to critics of Israel’s policies inasmuch as you and your allies demonstrate so very little of that trait when attacking putative adversaries such as Tony Judt, Norman Finkelstein, and now Chris Hedges.  Mr. Hedges’ article will no doubt earn him top billing on your interminable list of the current “enemies” of Israel in particular and the Jewish people in general.

In your statement, I looked in vain for a point-by-point refutation of Chris Hedges’ main thesis since, as others here have pointed out here, his piece does contain some factual and logical flaws—-none of which, in my opinion, seriously undermine his central contention. What I found instead was invective doing the work of thinking.

Your ideological doppelganger Alan Dershowitz exemplifies this tendency to ignore substantive points raised by opponents and instead respond not with closely reasoned, carefully documented counterarguments but with hysterical, mendacious, and relentlessly ad hominem rhetoric. Readers should be afforded a characteristic glimpse of this style at its most vicious, as reported by the much-maligned Norman Finkelstein on the occasion of the publication of his book, “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. [2005]” 

What follows isn’t just an isolated anomaly, a Really Terrible Example ripped out of context, but a run-of-the-mill distortion/lie committed by someone who can’t hold his own in an honest argument. (I invite Ms. Friedman to counter Finkelstein’s charges with something other than “but he’s just a self-hating Jew.” And, yes, I realize that debates about the mass murder of the Jews—-along with those of the Gypsies, homosexuals, etc.—-should not be reduced to an exercise in dialetics, but you and your comrades have ensured that these exchanges often devolve to that level. It’s all about scoring those killer debating points, about who gets the last word—-at whatever cost to the truth.):

“Finally [writes Finkelstein apropos of his book] I would like to comment on [Alan] Dershowitz’s repeated claim that I stated that my late mother was a Nazi collaborator (kapo).”

“In an article for FrontPageMagazine.com (‘Why is the University of California Press Publishing Bigotry?,’ 5 July 2005), Dershowitz alleged that ‘[Finkelstein] suspects his mother of having been a kapo (“really, how else would she have survived?” he asks rhetorically),’ while in a statement posted on his Harvard University Law School webpage, Dershowitz wrote that ‘He suspects his own mother of being a kapo and cooperating with the Nazis during the Holocaust’ (http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/Dershowitz/statement).”
“A more elaborate version of this claim appears in his new book The Case for Peace:
‘Finkelstein even doubted his own mother’s denial that she was a kapo, asking whether her frequent statements that “the best didn’t survive” constituted “an indirect admission of guilt?” The most he was willing to do was “assume” that his mother answered him “truthfully.” But he questioned even that assumption: “Still, if she didn’t cross fundamental moral boundaries, I glimpsed from her manner of pushing and shoving in order to get to the head of a queue, which mortified me. . . . Really, how else would she have survived?”’

Finkelstein responds, “My late mother was a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, Maidanek concentration camp and two slave-labor camps. Every member of her family was exterminated. After the war she was a key witness in an INS Nazi deportation hearing and at the trial of Maidanek concentration camp guards in Germany (where I was also present).”

“She has been written up in many histories of these postwar hearings. Here is the excerpt from my memoir that Dershowitz consulted to reach his conclusion:”

“Except for allusions to relentless pangs of hunger, my mother never spoke about her personal torments during the war, which was just as well, since I couldn’t have borne them. Like Primo Levi, she often said that, being ‘too delicate and refined, the best didn’t survive.’ Was this an indirect admission of guilt? Much later in life I finally summoned the nerve to ask whether she had done anything of which she was ashamed. Calmly replying no, she recalled having refused the privileged position of ‘block head’ in the camp. She especially resented the ‘dirty’ question ‘How did you survive?’ with the insinuation that, to emerge alive from the camps, survivors must have morally compromised themselves.”

“Given how ferociously she cursed the Jewish councils, ghetto police and kapos, I assume my mother answered me truthfully. Although acknowledging that Jews initially joined the councils from mixed motives, she said that ‘only scum,’ reaping the rewards of doing the devil’s work, still cooperated after it became clear that they were merely cogs in the Nazi killing machine. When queried why she hadn’t settled in Israel after the war, my mother used to reply, only half in jest, that ‘I had enough of Jewish leaders!’ The Jewish ghetto police always had the option, she said, of ‘throwing off their uniforms and joining the rest of us’—a point that Yitzak Zuckerman, a leader of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, made in his memoir. (It was always gratifying to find my mother’s seemingly erratic or harsh judgments seconded in the reliable testimonial literature.)”

“Still shaking her head in disbelief, she would often recall how, after Jews in the ghetto used the most primitive implements or even bare hands to dig bunkers deep in the earth and conceal themselves, the Jewish police would reveal these hideouts to the Germans, sending their flesh-and-blood to the crematoria in order to save their own skins. One of the first acts of the ghetto resistance was to kill an officer in the Jewish police. On a sign posted next to his corpse—my mother would recall with vengeful glee—read the epitaph: ‘Those who live like a dog die like a dog.’”

“Still, if she didn’t cross fundamental moral boundaries, I glimpsed from her manner of pushing and shoving in order to get to the head of a queue, which mortified me, how my mother must have fought Hobbes’s war of all against all many a time in the camps. Really, how else would she have survived?” (http://www.NormanFinkelstein.com, “Haunted House”)

“Comparing the actual text with his presentation of it gives a hint of how Dershowitz typically reports sources in his publications. I will forgo comment on the moral character of an individual who defames a survivor of the Nazi holocaust after her death.”

Who’s in that gutter now, Ms. Friedman?

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By Mortified & Mouth Agape, October 24, 2006 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
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I am speechless.  This is one of the most hateful pieces I have ever read.  Seriously, my jaw dropped, my heart sank and my body shuddered.  Rather than saying, in the basest terms possible, how I feel about Mr. Hedges’ piece, I will instead thank Ephraim for his most eloquent, evenhanded, insightful & honest Comment #33020.  It is shameful that pieces such as Hedges’ constantly force us to take steps backwards and as we have no choice but to engage and uncloud that which emanates from the biased and negating swirls of rhetorical darkness. 

The truth will set you free, Mr. Hedges, if you will only accept it for what it is.  But you will not, and instead you lash out like a medieval solder struggling within layers of steely armor, working desperately from fear to obfuscate truth and demean the sanctity of human suffering. 

You, Ephraim, are a candle burning brightly, a beacon generating its own light openly, for all to see, a strong and comforting source of human warmth for those cast out in the name of hatred and fear. 

Thank you Ephraim; you have reanimated my spirit and brightened my day.

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By Ephraim, October 24, 2006 at 11:36 am Link to this comment
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As far as Jews are concerned, what makes the Shoah unique is because it happened to us. The whole world pretty much sat on its hands while the Nazis and their fellow travellers murdered us. That is the meaning of the Shoah: that when push came to shove, except for a few brave individuals symbolized by people like the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, the Japanese Consul to Lithuania Chiune Sugihara, and Oskar Schindler, who risked their lives to save us, the world left us to our fate. We honor those who helped us. And we will not forget or forgive those who abandoned us. Your protestations of how we “use” the Shoah fall on deaf ears.

While it is an established fact that anti-Semitism on the part of various countries was a big factor in the lack of effort to save the Jews from Hitler, it was not the only factor. There was a war on; priorities had to be set. So I can easily understand the Allies putting the invasion of France over bombing the rail lines to Auschwitz. However, that just begs the question: even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that everybody really wanted to help the Jews but they just didn’t have the bandwidth, the result is the same: nobody helped us. Anti-Semitism or lack of resources, it just doesn’t matter. When we needed help it wasn’t there. That’s all we need to know. This is not necessarily a condemnation; intellectually, I can easily understand the justifications. Once the war came, everyone, Jews included, would be best served by devoting all resources to defeating the Nazis. But that still doesn’t change what happened: when faced with the Nazis, almost everyone just turned their Jews over to them. Once we know that, nothing else is relevant.

People like Norman Finklestein object to the “Jewish money-grubbing” surrounding compensation for a very simple reason, it seems to me: they want their rage to remain pure, white-hot and incapable of being assuaged. This gives them moral authority and keeps them unsullied by any attempt to really address what happened or to allow people to try to atone for it. For people like Finklestein, putting any kind of a price on what happened to us brings the Shoah down to the level of mundane reality and robs it of its ineffable sanctity as a club for him to beat the Jews who are so tacky as to demand compensation. By refusing to accept any compensation, he maintains his moral authority over the perpetrators and can convince himself of his own righteousness. He is a sick, sick man.

Well, compensation is weregild, blood money. The idea that Jews might cause more anti-Semitism by demanding that the perpetrators actually pay for what they did to us is, well, obscene. A guy punches me for no reason and knocks my teeth out. And so people say “Don’t ask him to pay your dental bills, he might get mad at you. And everybody will think you’re cheap”. I mean, you’re joking, right? 

I don’t particularly like to discuss the Shoah, and I’m a Jew. So I can easily understand why gentiles don’t want to talk about it. So, fine, don’t talk about it. Personally, I would prefer that all of that money that goes towards building Holocaust museums would go instead to Jewish day schools and other such institutions so we could educate our youth and stem the tide of wholesale assimilation that is plaguing us now. I will agree with you on this, though: a Holocaust Museum in DC makes no sense to me. Put it in Berlin where it belongs.

Howver, the fact that we have a museum doesn’t prevent anyone else from having one. You want one? So build the damn thing and leave us alone.

Finally, regarding the Arabs: the creation of Israel did not force anyone off their land. The Arab war against the UN Partition Resolution is what caused that. The Arabs (most of whom had been Nazi allies during WWII, BTW) gambled on a war and lost. Them’s the breaks. And besides, why should we care about what you think about Jews taking responsibility for their own fate against the opposition of people who had done their best to either kill us? I mean, really: we’re supposed to care what the Germans or the French think of Israel? They tried to kill us or helped the people who were doing it. Get a grip. Those people have no right to do anything except keep their damn mouths shut. When Israel starts rounding up Arabs, gassing them, extracting their gold teeth and using their bodies for fertilizer, then they can say something. Until then, STFU. As it is, Arabs in Israel sit in the Knesset and the Supreme Court. Tough life.

And before you go around condemning the Judenrat (and neatly implying that the Jews themselves were Nazi collaborators and complicit in their own destruction), let’s see how you react when somebody puts a gun to your head and says “Give us 10 people by noon or we’ll kill everyone right now.”

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By william Tyroler, October 24, 2006 at 10:55 am Link to this comment
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I’m not quite sure of Hedges’ point (covet not thy neighbor’s genocide?), but in any event I sure hope his next lecture is devoted to the Palestinian penchant for claiming privileged status as victims of a new holocaust.

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By Emrehan Delibas, October 24, 2006 at 9:46 am Link to this comment
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The author lauds the French action to silence Turkish opinions, saying that it would force Turks to accept the “truth” and overcome “historical amnesia.”

What pains me most about these allegations of genocide is that they are entirely one sided, and often contain completely false information.

For example, the Ottomans ordered a relocation of the Armenians in areas where combat occured (not an order to kill, in fact archives document that there was an order to protect the travellers and many were sent by trains)...this relocation occured in 1915. 

Throughout WWI, Armenians fought with the French and Russians…committing huge massacres and human rights abuses of Turks…

In 1918, Armenia (Transcaucasian republic) signed a peace treaty with the Turks, recognizing borders and all…it was after the Mondros Armistice which ordered the confiscation of the weapons of all Ottoman soldiers that the Armenians decided to take advantage of the situation and CONTINUE FIGHTING…

Letters by Boghos Nubar brag about how about 250,000 Armenian men (nearly the entire Armenian male population, pre 1915 statistics) fought against the Turks…

Archives also document that over 500,000 Turks were MASSACRED by Armenians…

In fact during the whole time frame of WWI to 1923, over 2.5 MILLION MUSLIMS were killed, and the BALKANS WERE ETHNICALLY CLEANSED OF TURKS…

Yet we talk about genocide between two belligerent nations?  We talk as though Armenians did nothing against the Turks, as though Turks just attacked for no reason at all?

Most Armenian accounts are clearly plagarized from the Jewish Holocaust to gain sympathy and political support, with out any care for hard historical fact.

If we are going to talk about TRUTHS, then we need to see the WHOLE TRUTH.  Which is that Armenians - like the Great Powers - wanted to get a piece of the Ottoman pie, and the fought a war for that cause.

There was no genocide in 1915.  There was a relocation in 1915, after which there was a WAR which lasted until the establishment of Turkey and the treaty of Lausaunne.  Armenians also try to blame Ataturk for atrocities, but ATATURK had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE RELOCATIONS, and was serving the army elsewhere in 1915.

In fact, if anyone is a denier, it is the Armenians, who completely deny that they killed any Turks and completely deny the historical statements of their own leaders of the time who openly state that the Armenians were belligerents in war, and that Armenian losses were exaggerated for political purposes!  Nestorian Christian George Lamsa even says that in villages where 10 Armenians were killed, it was falsely reported that the entire village of thousands was raped and wiped out.

This is why the French law is wrong.  Because it solidifies a version of history that is not based in fact, but built up over 90 years of propaganda.

Turks do not deny that some (disputed) number of Armenians died.  But Armenians entirely deny their own vile motives against the Turkish people and deny that they massacred over 500,000 Turks!!

Finally, one should see the 1919 King Crane report in which it was openly proposed that Eastern Anatolia be cleansed of Muslims and given to Armenians (comprising 10% of the population).  Turks were already forced to flee the Balkans with tremendous loss of life…

But I guess no one cares about atrocities done against Muslims…only Chrisitans…

What Armenians and Turks need is dialog, and the French law only prevents Armenians from talking openly and honestly about a historical tragedy for BOTH SIDES…

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By Joe, October 24, 2006 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
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I do not think the lasting trauma of a genocide, can be measured or easily evaluated as a manipulative ploy, such as Chris Hedges asserts is being done by Jew and the state of Israel.
I think is somewhat cynical to write as Mr Hedges does that,“many Jews have found in the Nazi Holocaust a useful instrument to deflect criticism of Israel and the dubious actions of the pro-Israeli lobby as well as many Jewish groups in the United States.”

Many Jews who defend Israel’s right to exist, do not agree with the policies of the present government. However the holocaust reminds all Jews, that when their genocide was occurring, few countries were willing to take in Jewish refugees fleeing the persecution. World WarII was not fought to end the genocide, that happened to be a fortunate by product. Hence the Jewish desire to retur, establish and maintain a state.

Israel has some poor policies, but the holocaust is not an excuse so much as a reminder of what their fate could be. They have merely to look a Darfur to know what is in store for them if they fail. Muslims are killing far more Muslims in Darfur than Israel killed in Lebanon, yet this was largely ignored during the action in the Middle East. I do not support all of Israel’s actions but, the holocaust is more of a motive for Israel’s response and that of Jewish organizations, rather than a manipulative justification.

Incidently, Chris Hedges description of “Jewish organizations” sounds somewhat reminiscent of the old “International Zionist Bankers Plot”. Indeed ther are,“dark and dangerous lusts that must be held in check.” I wonder if Mr.Hedges has examined his recently.

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By S., October 24, 2006 at 8:32 am Link to this comment
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Oh for heaven’s sake give it a rest all of you!!! This article is balanced and frankly quite superb! This me me me me me me me me me me me me phenomena of the new American Generation, especially the Jewish Generation leaves little credit to anything they have to say! Finkelstein is no gutter, he is saying things that are uncomfortably true especially to those who beleive in the UNIQUENESS of their cause and suffering! There is NO uniqueness, swollow it! Massacres and genocides have been going on for centuries and will go on for centuries unless one of you can change the human DNA! But without this claim of fake Uniqueness there is no Political Capital to be gained and that is what Hedges is saying and that is what is getting up all of your noses! And for the genius amongst you who is whining that Muslims (the Jews of this century) are not pointed at by Hedges with a guilty finger as perpetrators of Genocides like Christians and Jews should stop for a second and take in what is being said: The Turks commited the Armenian Genocide, they were Muslims. I guess some of you will only be satisfied with big words such as ARAB, or MUSLIM killers and JEWS off course victims. Turks is too subtle. And please spare me the Darfur crocodile tears, what about Palestine and Iraq, or they don’t fit to the Eternal Victim and eternal Killer scenarios you all base your reality and warped personalities on?

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By S. G., October 24, 2006 at 8:19 am Link to this comment
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It takes extreme courage and a deeply felt love for truth to stand against that which is wrong. Right and wrong here do not represent shades. All genocide is evil and no group should use such horrendous suffering as stones on a scale to advance their political agendas. All unfairness leads to hatred, resentment and eventually blood lust. I too complement France for its latest decisions. And, BRAVO to you for letting your love for truth and fairness rise above prejudices. And to those who commented on small researth detail, they are like a fireman who, watching a fire rage, decides to discuss its origin instead of taking action to put it out.

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By Bill in OH, October 24, 2006 at 8:12 am Link to this comment
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“Anti- Semite” to me, means that I think an Arab is in fact, A Human Being.
Arabs were Our ALlies in WW1.

Most notable “Anti Semites”: Jesus, st Steven, John the Baptist, Martin Luther, Billy Graham, William Shakespeare, Henry Ford, Russian Czar Nicholas 2nd, Ben Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, General George Patton, President Nixon, to name a few.

Iraq had 14 UN Violations. Israel has 70.
1 of the Worlds Worst Human Rights Offenders, keeping 700 Pal. children in their Dungeons, head & back shooting them at will. ENogu.

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By Ber, October 24, 2006 at 7:11 am Link to this comment
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The obvious lack of mention to the present day, today, genocide of the people of Darfur makes this article mostly mute.

Where is the reference to stopping this genocide that is being supported in part by every individual that knows of it’s ongoing existance?  Where is the mention of Muslims in your sentence naming Jew, Christian, etc?  Are those that still dance in the street claiming death to all Jews, all non Muslims in Darfur, all Americans, not performing genocide?

The importance of the Holocaust is that it recognizes the presence of the evil and give all a spring board to touch it and to rebuke it.  The Holocaust was participated in by the world not just the Germans. This is partly what the Amrmenians covet, that the Jews have a platform now to tell the world they are guilty.

The question should not be why don’t the Jews recognized and publicize that they were not alone in the camps.  The question is why don’t others speak out about it?  Why do they pretend it was only the Jew?  Because if they did acknowledge this they would give it even more power, power they really don’t want to give to it.  The power to say that all are responsible, all need to take a stand, and even more importantly that all could be subjected to this evil not just those Jews.  It just needs a venue, poor, sick, old, young, handicapped, female, political party, or uneducated take your pick for the day.

This is what the Armenian’s truly covet is recognition that they suffered.  The recognition that it was wrong and the power to say that world is responsible.  The poor people of Dafur want this too and as loud as they cry the world remains silent.  So take that to the UN.  Where are they today for these people that lost their lives and homes years ago?  In nice comfy homes denying any problem exists.  They are protecting terrorists that they know are the cause and money supporting this new genocide in Darfur, except it isn’t knew anymore.

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By Jeanette Friedman, October 24, 2006 at 4:50 am Link to this comment
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The fact that you need to stoop into the gutter to quote Norman Finkelstein proves you are as ignorant of facts and history and human decency as he is.

Why don’t you just demand that Israel be dismantled? You and Judt and all the rest of you just don’t get it. And your lies and misconceptions underline the fact that the New York Times is now a newspaper that is not worthy of the paper it is printed on. They can’t even write an obit without stealing information from our website without giving proper credit.

Why should anyone trust anything you say? It’s all distorted lies from the left.

Jeanette Friedman
Editor
Together
For the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants

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By Yanki Turan, October 24, 2006 at 1:39 am Link to this comment
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Dear Rich,

It’s little bit more than being a Denialist, It’s pretty amazing that whenever genocide refered in media, journalists seems to do anything to present the perspective of Armenian propagandas. whenever there is an attemp to present our side of the story it always preceded such as ” Turkish goverment claims” Seriously.. we all do know that there are some dishonest goverment officals in all goverments and Im sorry to say my goverments spokespeople doesn’t seem to be responding as they should have still It still doesn’t proves anything.

Some of those evidence you have mentioned and I have seen pictures that claimed to the pictures of genocide.. well guess what most of those pictures did investigated and most of those pictures and files came as fake, Why would I belive any of other files which hasn’t been confirmed by all authoritys could be real?

No Turkish people would accept this genocide same as No Armenian hertigage would care about what we say about this.

i do know that Armenians did got killed as a result of massacre via ottomons neighboars and because of the murderous acts commited by armenians.. Peacheful? why allways these details forgotten to mention? Ottomon empire was the only country that ever let other minoritys do their own religious belives and live their lifes peacefuly if there weren’t crimes against ottomon I do not belive anything would have happened and guess what..

Armenians did riot when Russia try to invde us and Armenians wanted their own indipendence.. to be honest I would understand that but I also do understand how ottomon would want to deport armenians out of country. But if you call a massacre as “genocide” You should really learn what genocide means. I also say this to the writer of this article.

Finaly I feel compelled to mention
Ottomon Empire has nothing to do with Turkish Republic. It doesn’t means that anyone could charge the massacre ottomon did for protecting themselves with a nerborn decomratic country.

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By Alan Jacquemotte, October 23, 2006 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment
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Regarding the David Harris-Gershon comments: You are comparing apples and oranges. A similar museum (as the two you mention) would be “The Jewish Peoples’ Museum”, not “The Holocaust Museum”; museums similar to “The Holocaust Museum” would have to be similarly NARROWLY-themed and titled something like “The ‘How North America Was Stolen and Any of the Previous Owners Who Weren’t Slaughtered Were Pushed into Hellhole Concentration Camps’ Museum” and “The Amassing of the Greatest Wealth in Human History Based Upon the Margin of Utility Provided by Slaves Imported from Africa and Treated like So Much Cattle Museum and Purposely Not Protected by The US Constitution Museum”. I was in DC and I didn’t see those two, just the “This is Why Israel Gets to Dictate Our Foreigh Policy Museum”. And I really looked!

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By John, October 23, 2006 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment
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Chris, I read your book War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning.  Your writing is deeply religious in its own way.  I learned something about human nature from your book.  You are definitely one of the best journalists around.  In your book, you didn’t take sides regarding Israel/Palestine.  But that was in 2002.  Israel is a horribly aggressive state.  Don’t listen to any of the negative comments on this site.  Just keep writing these articles so people like me know there’s a sane voice on this violent planet.

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By David Harris-Gershon, October 23, 2006 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment
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While your article illuminates a painfully unique phenomenon with regard to collective suffering, it is surprisingly shoddy given your background, Chris.

The second-to-last paragraph is a perfect example of how careless you are with both the facts and logical constructions in this essay.

First, while The Holocaust Museum is not on The Mall in Washington, DC, The Museum for the American Indian - a museum that indeed does treat the collective suffering of Native Americans - is situated centrally in DC. To miss, or ignore this fact, is inexcusable. (I’ll also add that the African American Museum is just steps away. You should visit them both, Chris. Research helps sometimes.)

Second, to suggest that the lack of one museum should de-legitimize the need for or existence of another is logically equivalent to saying that nobody should enjoy democratic freedoms until and unless everyone does. Were you a proponent of separate-but-equal?

I am disappointed. The seed from which this essay emerged is important. Your essay, however, is not. And that’s unfortunate.

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By Rich, October 23, 2006 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment
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Yanki,

Here are some facts denialists like yourself fail to read in the history books.

German ambassador Count von Wolff-Metternich, Turkey’s ally in World War I, wrote his government in 1916 saying: “The Committee [of Union and Progress] demands the annihilation of the last remnants of the Armenians and the [Ottoman] government must bow to its demands.”

Henry Morgenthau Sr., the neutral American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, sent a cable to the U.S. State Department in 1915:

“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.”

Morgenthau’s successor as Ambassador to Turkey, Abram Elkus, cabled the U.S. State Department in 1916 that the Young Turks were continuing an “. . . unchecked policy of extermination through starvation, exhaustion, and brutality of treatment hardly surpassed even in Turkish history.”

Ismail Enver Pasha, Ahmed Cemal Pasha, Mehmed Talât Bey, and a host of others were convicted by the Turkish court and condemned to death for “the extermination and destruction of the Armenians.”

No proof that Armenians were being treasonous, women and children accused of treason?

Armenians were law abiding citezens of the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) for centuries, they had no reason to fight the Turks at the time other then defend themselves from ultimate butchery.

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By Christian, October 23, 2006 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
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Hello,
 
  Wow am I shocked to see an anti-semetic blog on this site? Nope I’m sure not. Another sleeze web blog designed to bash the US and it’s allies around the world. What a joke.

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By JW, October 23, 2006 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment
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“What distinguishes the Jewish Holocaust from any other event is that it is the only historical attempt by a government to erase the existence of a particular religion.”

The Nazis were not trying to erase the Jewish religion, they were trying to exterminate the Jewish race.  If people had a few drops of Jewish blood in them, it did not matter if they were atheist, non-practising, or even converted to Catholicism.

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By Yanki Turan, October 23, 2006 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment
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It’s sad to see articles that has been misguided. It’s over dramatized. I have to correct that there isn’t any fact that actually provides hard evidence that there has been any genocide to Armeanian People,

If you actually read up some history that you would see that first of all Turkish Republic is a whole new country. You cannot first of all claim something like this based on Ottoman Empire, Second of all please show me any country that wouldn’t “deport” a minority that lives in their border in the time of war. Which country would risk those minority fight against them?

Armenians deported from Ottomon empire back than for being cautious for treason.

Again there hasn’t been a genocide to armenians and Im sorry to say There has been people died on both of the sides but I do feel sorry for those who lost their lives but a false claim isn’t brining any solution and I know for sure that Turkey would never accept that genocide claim because there isn’t any

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By Geronimo, October 23, 2006 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment
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“When we sanctify ourselves we do so at the expense of others.” And eventually of ourselves too, because what goes around comes around. How incredible that Zionism, a movement whose aim was to rescue the oppressed Jewish masses of Eastern Europe, ends up putting every Jew in the world at risk on account of what the Jewish settler-state Israel is doing to the Palestinian people. Then, when they’re caught in the act, for the Zionists to fall back on “Why we’d never victimize another people. How could we?  We’re the original victims.” That’s beyond chutzpah. It’s madness.

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By Eric Olmstead, October 23, 2006 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment
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What distinguishes the Jewish Holocaust from any other event is that it is the only historical attempt by a government to erase the existence of a particular religion. It is precisely that which makes it unique.
-Howard king

What a moronic statement! The native americans were exterminated as well as their entire religious views by the us Gov’t, you obviously need to read some history books….

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By Ivy, October 23, 2006 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment
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And you, Howard King, make the point of the article’s author.

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By Howard King, October 23, 2006 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment
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First, The Holocaust Museum is not on the Mall, is not part of the Smithsonian Institution or U.S. Government (although it does serve as the official US memorial of the Holocaust), and was primarily paid for by private funds.

Second, the museum houses the Committee on Conscience, an advisory institution conducting world-wide genocide research. The Committee on Conscience is the leading non-partisan advisor to the US government on Darfur and Chechnya. Contrary to your claim, the Holocaust Museum does not ignore other genocides.

Third, The Holocaust Museum was never meant to be a memorial to the dead of all tribal conflicts which have ever plagued mankind. What distinguishes the Jewish Holocaust from any other event is that it is the only historical attempt by a government to erase the existence of a particular religion. It is precisely that which makes it unique. Comparisons to other genocides are misleading.

And please Mr. Hedges, quoting Norman Finklestein’s analysis in “The Holocaust Industry” is as spurious as Clarence Thomas’ understanding of the average African American.  Just to set the record straight, Israel claims no special right or privilege in insuring the preservation of it nationhood. It is the only sovereign nation whose destruction is being openly called for by other nations. Israel will do whatever it needs to do to protect it’s existence, and is self-admittedly as morally guilty as any other nation in effecting its preservation. What you and Finklestein are doing is holding Israel to a higher standard because of its people’s history.

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By Sue, October 23, 2006 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
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The article is powerful in its ability to provoke thought and awareness where it is sorely lacking on the wider implications of genocide and its history.  What interests me in this conversation as well is the topic of suffering itself.  The currency of suffering.  We are raised in Catholicism, for example, to believe that our salvation is based upon our suffering in this life, our SACRIFICE.  Does that not create generations of those who view life basically as pain and struggle and therefore place an expect-ation in us of those outcomes, regardless of what we do?  So, in essence, a generation of victims and perpetrators?  It has been said that once mothers and fathers see no glory in sending their sons and daughters off to war that perhaps war will lose its allure.  The same needs to be said to those wearing and envying the cloak of genocide.

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By Chris Welzenbach, October 23, 2006 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you Mr. Hedges, for making an argument that, as you are not Jewish, will surely see you branded as an anti-semite and, were you Jewish, would see you branded as a self-hating Jew.  The Lebanese incursion did much to knock the scales from many eyes, but there are those who continue to believe that Israel was justified in attempting to grab Lebanese land as far as the Litani River.

I hadn’t known about Finkelstein’s family history and am shocked that his mother received so little by way of reparations.

Be prepared for some nasty feedback.

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By Sobel, October 23, 2006 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
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Genocide is something that has occured since the start of civilization. As have been mentioned earlier the suffering in Rwanda, Sudan, the former Yougoslavia, Turkey are just more examples of post Holocaust genocide attempts.  what happened to that language “never again!” which has finally been surfaced in CA to stop all business with anyone doing business with Sudan.
The reason the Israel and the Jewish community has been able to capitalize on their “victim” tab is by exposure.  The fact that the Holocaust was an attack on a religious and cultural communit not secluded to Europe and Israel has a lot to do with it.  The Jewish population at the time had many prominent figures and supporters in bothe the U.S and British Govt. which aided the survivors. Unfortunately that is not a luxuary that the Rwandans had nor those suffering currently in Darfur.
Another problem that one would have thought would be a mute point by now is still the “White” standard.  From a World Powers point of view unfortunately you are more likely to help someone who is similar to you than otherwise.  This may or may not be the reason for delayed intervention into Rwanda, and delayed intervention with Bosnian Muslims, yet increased intervention with the white serbian christians…  Like mentioned in the article genocide is something we can “all” be capable of acting out but you are less likely to act this out against someone who has similar beliefs and appearance as yourself.  This goes the same for aid/ relief.  The fact that stopping genocide invloves military and will involve risking lives, countries are more likely to get approval if they can market the victim as somone that could be your neighbor rather than an obvious foreigner.  This is all unfortunate and I myself stand strong behind the old words of “never again”, but it has happened again and again so we must remember that regardless of apperance and belief everyone is vulnerable and deserves help and reparations, not just those that can.

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By zainab, October 23, 2006 at 11:56 am Link to this comment
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Not sure what Rich meant when he said Hedges has “no knowledge of this issue.” His article is about genocide and the real life (in some cases) and the potential (in others) exploitation of the tragedy of genocide for political ends to silence critics the community’s actions that occur after the fact. 

You can search for the word “genocide” in the Chris’ book “What Every Person Should Know About War” via amazon.com’s Online Reader: 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0743255127/ref=sib_dp_srch_pop/104-8275223-8659111?v=search-inside&keywords=genocide&go;.x=0&go;.y=0&go=Go!

The link shows that the author’s written on and researched the question of genocide.

As far as the exploitation of genocide, he’s talking about how the ADL claims[1] a moral exemption criticism for Israel in the name of the Holocaust. Like when Israelis drop 1 ton bombs on residential neighborhoods in Gaza[2] or using cluster bombs against against Lebanese villages[3] and white phosphorous bombs[4] (a weapon that the International Committee of the Red Cross says should be banned) against Hezbollah, the latest incarnation of Hitler himself[5].

1. “ADL Calls Amnesty International Report ‘Bigoted, Biased, And Borderline Anti-Semitic’”
http://www.adl.org/PresRele/IslME_62/4878_62
See also: “Human Rights Watch: ‘Israeli Gov’t War Criminals’”
http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=274

2. “Bush joins in condemnation of Israeli attack,” Guardian, 07.23.2006 http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,761908,00.html

3. “Shooting without a target,” Haaretz Editorial, 9.18.2006
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/762427.html

4. “Israel admits using phosphorus bombs during war in Lebanon”, Haaretz, 10.22.2006
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/777549.html

5. “Noam Chomsky’s Love Affair with Nazis,” by David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin   http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=22454
(yes, this is just for laughs)

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By zainab, October 23, 2006 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
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oh Chris, haven’t you heard?

“Everyone is now on notice that an association with Michael Lerner is tantamount to an association with Norman Finkelstein, and that support for Tikkun is support for the enemies of Israel.”

—Alan Dershowitz,
THE JERUSALEM POST,
16 October, 2006

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1159193455201&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

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By thetruthwillsetyoufree, October 23, 2006 at 11:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A powerful article.  In the current environment of political correctness in this country it also requires immense bravery to write any opinion critical of Israel and its agents in this country.  No doubt attempts are underway right now to smear the author and label him as an anti-semite.

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By Fred, October 23, 2006 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for this article.  It is a rare person these days who is willing to call a spade a spade, can put aside popular dogma, and get to the heart of matter.  The fact that an intelligent, reflective writer like Finkelstein is derided as a self-hating jew, while lunatics like Alan Dershowitz are accepted main-stream academic personalities points out that we, as a nation, have gone down the rabbit hole.  Black is white and right is wrong.

Genocide is genocide regardless of its perpetrators.

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By Sam I Am, October 23, 2006 at 10:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very eloquent, succinct and true. I have read a lot about The Nazi Hollocaust,I have been aware of the Armenian one , equally aware of its “lesser intitelement” in the world of suffering. Being from the Middle East, having lived in the West, and having a Palestinian heritage I must applaud the fact that you approached every aspect of this complex issue of “Hollocausts”, and that you have covered every argument thoroughly and have ended the article with your own beautiful input into this ongoing debate. Thank you.

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By kevin99999, October 23, 2006 at 10:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The conduct of Israelis is similar to those that brought about holocaust. The difference is that Israel continues to deny its demonic behavior.

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By Adrian, October 23, 2006 at 10:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I applaud Mr. Hedges for so sensitively addressing this crucial aspect of genocide. Until now, I thought I held these concerns virtually alone.

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By Tom, October 23, 2006 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
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Mr. Hedges makes a critical point about recognizing the capacity for evil in human nature, as in “we can all become killers.”  I need to remind myself of this when I contemplate what kind of people are capable of strapping bombs to themselves and killing innocents.  Are such people really human? Are they susceptible to any logic or persuasion or response apart from violence?  Are you?

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By Rich, October 23, 2006 at 7:24 am Link to this comment
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Dear Chris,

Respectfully, I need to reply that you are missing the point. You have a talent to write but not the knowledge of this issue.

It’s about Human Rights. The right to live, the right for human dignity, the right for acknowledgment by the perpetrator (Turkey).

On another note:
I have protested in front of Turkish Embassys for many years, peacefully. I am sure many Armenians depicted in your photo did not want any flag to be burned. If I was there I would try and put a stop to it.

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By KISS, October 23, 2006 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And as we speak, Darfur is an ongoing realm of genocide, as the world idly stands by, doing nothing. Let us not forget our close South American neighbors, who often practice genocide, and again the United States sees nothing. My American brothers and sisters are not callous to this, they are just ignorant of what is going on…why not? The news media is very quiet and suppresses this news. At least CBS 60 minutes last night gave us a brief look into Darfur. Strange, again another president unaware of the word genocide…is this a requirement of the highest office in America? One wonders.

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