Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sigh...how about we worry about the now and the future?

When you read the headline, White House: Genocide resolution would hurt relations with key ally you might assume that the issue of genocide might have something to do with the many places on the planet right now where genocide is happening or recently happened.

No...what our fine elected congressional representatives and our president are focusing on is:
The nonbinding proposal, which is to be considered by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, refers to the "genocide" of Armenians in the early 20th century during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, which preceded the creation of modern Turkey in 1923.

First, it's a nonbinding proposal which means, it means nothing. Secondly, we have real important issues facing this country right now, a war, the economy, health care, and while what happened in 1915 is important from a historical standpoint, we should be spending our energies on preventing suffering for those here on Earth right now.

14 comments:

James Rochester said...

And yet we talk about regaining our moral superiority back by doing the right things...

Clinton did not term Rwanda as a genocide for political reasons and the outcome was terrible. No action is being taken on Darfur and the horrors there, which we do not see unless we go to the foreign press, are straight from hell and again due to political and mismanagement of our armed forces we are not taking any real steps to help and what will the result be? More carnage, more massacres.

What do you call a massacre of 1.5 million Armenian souls? Should it not be considered the same atrocity as the murders of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans or Bosnians or millions of Jews?

I am of the belief that unless we change our attitude of selective acknowledgment of history, we will not be able to solve any of our present problems and will find ourselves in trouble in the future because we did not have the courage to do the right things in our past.

Lisa Renee said...

There is a difference from believing something is an atrocity, which what happened was and passing a non-binding resolution that does nothing.

Darfur is a perfect example of where action is needed, not non-binding resolutions, not rhetoric but action. When Congress deals with all of the issues currently that actually have a solution that will impact those alive today, then they are more than welcome to go back through history and create as many non-binding resolutions as they want on some of the horrors man has done in the past.

From a historic standpoint, a resolution like this will also have very little impact when it comes to the education that is needed on history. For that we need to turn to our educational system to improve.

Aline Kyriakos said...

"From a historic standpoint, a resolution like this will also have very little impact when it comes to the education that is needed on history. For that we need to turn to our educational system to improve."

That's exactly it. A resolution like this will indeed have a great impact (notice how thoroughly it's being fought) especially with regards to our education system. When our government accepts a historical fact such as this for what it is, then it will also be included in our education system.

You are correct, the time has long passed for any resolution that would lead to "action" on the Armenian matter, so a non-binding recognition is something that would be a good step towards this matter. As for cases such as Darfur, we are already late in taking action and action we must take. We just can't have our president and congressmen run around claiming to be the leaders of the world and human rights, we have to walk the walk too.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

If we do not condemn it, Turkey will continue to teach its people that no such genocide took place; that Armenians never lived on those Armenian territories, and with time, the word Armenian will be extinguished. France does not have to recognize the Native American experience because the U.S. already recognizes its history, whereas in Turkey, having an Armenian last name is illegal, Armenian sounding towns / rivers have been renamed; Indigenous fruits / animals that have scientific names relating to Armenia as its traditional birthplace are being renamed. Turkey, in its last step, is finalizing the genocide that it started in 1896 to completely wipe out the memory of the Armenians. It is our obligation to remember the past. Anything short of that renders the US government an accomplice to genocide.

Lisa Renee said...

Maybe Aline, but most of the time when these types of non-binding resolutions happen there is no major impact.

The real key to education is us, as parents demanding our children be taught accurate history and making sure we supplement what they are not taught.

I've spent quite a bit of time reading congressional records and they spend so much time on action that has no real benefit towards addressing problems of today. Those who understand genocide is wrong, don't need a huge debate over this non-binding resolution, but they do need health care, a stronger economy and an end to the war in Iraq, etc.

Lisa Renee said...

Anonymous, do you believe that a non-binding resolution that has no weight, sanctions or real value is going to make Turkey change?

If we are truly against what is happening than there are real steps that should be taken.

Andrew said...

I think it is very important that this resolution get passed. For years the Turks have denied a genocide happening, everyone is so quick to condemn Iran for its denial of the Holocaust, yet nobody wants to upset Turkey because we have "strategic interests" there. Thats what this really comes down to. This resolution means so much to Armenians all over the world and there is no way you can understand the pain that comes from outsiders denying the Genocide. I had both sets of great Grandparents orphaned by the Ottoman empire and I would not be an American today if it wasnt for these horrendous events. If you say that this nonbinding resolution would have no effect then why oppose it? Obviously it has a huge effect and it is a slap in the face to all Armenians to deny that those mass murders werent a genocide. I dont think what Lisa Renee has any idea what she is talking about and I look forward to seeing this resolution pass in the House and then the Senate.

Lisa Renee said...

Andrew,

You are entitled to your opinion, I disagree that this will create a huge change in Turkey.

Andrew said...

why is the white house so alarmed and why is the Pentagon fearing "backlash?" They realize this is a big regional issue. Do research and get your facts straight. This is a really big deal for a lot of people in many different countries. Many other countries have already condemned these atrocities it is our obligation to do it also. I think its ridiculous that they actually give you a column to write in when you neglect to do any research.

Lisa Renee said...

Andrew, I have done my research, while the feel good aspect of this non-binding resolution may give the appearance that what happened in 1915 was wrong, it's not going to change anything in Turkey. If there is a real desire for change it's going to take real action.

I'd suggest you do some research on non-binding resolutions, how many Congress has done and what if any affect has resulted from similar condemnations.

Here's just one example, to pressure Saudi Arabia . Here's another one on The Iranian Baha'i population. Or another recent one on condemning practices of female genital mutilation, they all are things that are wrong, but unless there is something more than the non-binding resolution? It solves nothing...

Then of course the numerous resolutions wasting time on such critical topics like condemning Move On Org, or Rush Limbaugh, or declaring

Just like most of the financial sanctions placed on nations that only end up hurting those who can least afford to be hurt, these non-binding resolutions don't appear to do anything unless the goal is to get the atrocity of the moment in the headlines, only to be later forgotten about.

By the way, this is a personal blog, it's not a column, and if you are referring to the column I do write? it's on blogging...

Artsruni said...

The greatest super power of all times is about to give in to Turkish blackmail.

It is important to realize, for the sake of future generations, that this issue is not simply a historic one. Today in the history books of Turkish high schools the leaders of Young Turks of the Ottoman Empire (namely Enver, Talat and Djemal Pashas) are taught to be intellectual visionaries who paved the way for the new Turkish republic and they serve as role model statesmen for the Turkish youth. Yet the world knows they were blood thirsty criminals who carried out the first genocide of the 20th century against the Armenians. By passing a resolution in the U.S. Congress and forcing Turkey to recognize the Genocide and accept its responsibility, we would be sending a strong message to Omar Al-Bashir, Ahmed Haroun and Ali Kosheibi that if they fail to put an end to their genocidal acts in Darfur, no matter how long it takes the blood on their hands will bring nothing but shame to their people. This is precisely why US must stand firm against genocide denial and the pledge NEVER AGAIN.

Lisa Renee said...

I stood at the foot of the monument at Manzanar where it said "never again". It'd be great to believe that this resolution would be this one "never again" moment. Yet it won't, because as you aptly pointed out what is being taught right now, today in Turkey.

Do you really believe this non-binding resolution is going to make Turkey change what it is teaching it's children? Chances are the majority of them will never even hear about it. If they do? They have been taught to believe differently.

I don't mean to sound defeatist, but the reality is the problem with the US is there is too much talk and not enough action. We are great at pithy statements in the real world and on the internet to express our outrage, yet when it comes to doing more than that, volunteering time, donating money, helping those who really need our help here in the US and abroad, we don't seem to take that step from talk to action.

The New York Times reported:

Research shows that less than 10 percent of the money Americans give to charity addresses basic human needs, like sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry and caring for the indigent sick, and that the wealthiest typically devote an even smaller portion of their giving to such causes than everyone else.

Anonymous said...

"why is the white house so alarmed and why is the Pentagon fearing "backlash?" They realize this is a big regional issue. Do research and get your facts straight. This is a really big deal for a lot of people in many different countries. Many other countries have already condemned these atrocities it is our obligation to do it also. I think its ridiculous that they actually give you a column to write in when you neglect to do any research."

Let me tell you one thing Andrew. It is going to change NOTHING. Let me explain you why. Although Most of the people that live in Turkey are descendants of the Ottoman Empire, they are not the same country nor their values or beliefs coincide at any point. So even though every country in the world would pass such a bill, it would mean nothing to people living in Turkey other than a "lie" since they did not directly commit to anything that you name as atrocity.

Now, I do sympathize with what happened and I am not going to argue if it is a genocide or not since it is neither our nor politicians job but historians job to find out, but I will say pointing fingers at someones grand-grand-grand-grand son does not make any sense. I think that is what is ridiculous with this issue. Instead of framing Turkey, if the real responsible, Ottoman Empire was actually being referenced, none of this non-sense talk would be going on right now. And please don't say I did not do any research as well because I lived in Turkey and many of my "best friends" are Armenian. So I think I have a clear idea about what's going on.

Anonymous said...

This isn't about finger pointing, its about recognition. For nearly a hundred years now Armenians all over the world have been denied recognition for this atrocity, everyone makes it such a huge point that the jews were murdered in WWII, what makes recognizing another genocide so hard? Especially after the Turks have withdrawn their ambassador from the US, i don't understand how anyone is able to talk about how this resolution is going to have no effect. Obviously things have already changed.

I can care less about what the turks teach their children, its what we teach ours that really matters. Turkey is an Islamic theocratic state in a secular body. Them wanting to sever diplomatic relations over a nonbinding resolution shows how quickly they would abandon us and how little we should want them as allies.