Friday, 22 April 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... English coverage...

English coverage of the recent 4-day blitzkrieg in Artsakh
20 April 2016 

Here's a Full-Page Ad in Today 's Wall Street Journal Denying Genocide
21 April 2016

Newsweek Magazine
April 21 2016
Full-Page WSJ Ad Denying Armenian Genocide Spurs Anger
By Stav Ziv On 4/21/16 at 4:08 PM

A full-page ad denying the Armenian genocide spurred anger Wednesday,
appearing in The Wall Street Journal just days before the 101st
anniversary of the event’s start on April 24, 1915.

“Truth = Peace,” the ad declared in large font at the center of the
page. At the top, in smaller letters, it said, “Stop the allegations,”
and directed readers to a website called Fact Check Armenia, which
declares as false the idea that “the events of 1915 constitute a
clear-cut genocide against the Armenian people” and calls efforts of
the Armenian diaspora to gain recognition of the genocide

The ad shows three hands—a hand making a peace sign in the middle is
tinged with red and features the star and crescent of the Turkish
flag, and is flanked by a hand on each side with fingers crossed in
the hues of the Armenian and Russian flags.

Gary Bass, a professor of politics and international affairs at
Princeton University, tweeted a photo of the ad Wednesday morning,
garnering hundreds of retweets and a slew of reactions, many of which
chided The Wall Street Journal for printing it and questioned whether
the paper would have printed a similar ad related to the Holocaust.

According to a post on the Chicago Armenian Genocide Centennial
committee’s Facebook page, the same ad also appeared Wednesday in the
pages of the Chicago Tribune. The newspaper ads come soon after
billboards with similar designs appeared near Boston’s Armenian
Heritage Park and in the Chicago area.

In response to the criticism, a Wall Street Journal spokesperson said
in a comment provided to Gawker that “we accept a wide range of
advertisements, including those with provocative viewpoints. While we
review ad copy for issues of taste, the varied and divergent views
expressed belong to the advertisers.” Neither Fact Check Armenia nor
the Turkic Platform, listed in a contact on the website and as the
“proud” funder of the billboard, responded immediately to Newsweek’s
requests for comment.

“It should be taken down,” Lori Yogurtian, founder of the Armenian
Students Association at Suffolk University, told the Boston Globe when
the billboard appeared in Boston’s North End in early April. “It’s
completely one-sided, completely perpetuating denial of something that
has time and time again been proven as a fact.”

The billboard was indeed taken down, the Globe reported, with a
spokesman for its owner, Clear Channel Outdoor, saying “the ad was
placed there in error.” The Chicago centennial group said in a post on
Facebook that the billboards in that area had also been removed.

Several countries, including the United States, have failed to
formally recognize the Armenian genocide as genocide, or to use the
“G-word” in commemoration ceremonies, despite efforts by lobbyists
that intensified leading up to last year’s centennial. However,
historians and genocide scholars agree that the events beginning in
1915 constituted genocide.

“There is a near consensus that the Armenian genocide was a genocide,
or that genocide is the right word,” David Simon, a professor of
political science at Yale University and co-director of its Genocide
Studies Program, told Newsweek ahead of the 100th anniversary last
year. “The deportations and massacres amounted to a crime we now know
is genocide. In 1915, there was no such word.”

The controversy is generated by Turkey, says Armen Marsoobian, a
professor of philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University who
teaches courses in comparative genocide. Turkey vehemently opposes the
use of the term “genocide” to describe the events, and recalled
ambassadors to the Vatican and Austria after Pope Francis and Austrian
lawmakers did so ahead of the centennial.

“Always around April 24, especially in the United States, there’s this
attempt to deny the genocide but in a way that claims that the Turkish
people are looking for peace and cooperation,” Marsoobian, a scholar
of Armenian descent whose parents survived the genocide, tells
Newsweek over the phone from Istanbul, where he is on a fellowship.
“It always is very upsetting to the Armenian community, because April
24 is a solemn day,” he adds. It’s like “pouring a little salt in the
wounds to do it at this time.”

Similarly, Fatma Muge Gocek, a Turkish-born professor of sociology and
women’s studies at the University of Michigan and author of Denial of
Violence: Ottoman Past, Turkish Present and the Collective Violence
against Armenians, 1789-2009, says in an email: “I have been following
the story regarding the billboards in Boston and Chicago with great
disappointment, but not surprise.”

As Marsoobian and Gocek suggest, ads of the kind that appeared in The
Wall Street Journal on Wednesday have cropped up close to the annual
anniversary and garnered criticism before. In 2015, billboards
reportedly went up in Boston, New York, New Jersey and Dallas. The
Boston Globe ran a full-page ad very similar to this year’s in the
Journal—it cried, “Change for progress,” included the phrase “Stop the
allegations” and pointed readers to the Fact Check Armenia
website—even as the paper’s editorial board ran a piece urging the
U.S. to recognize the genocide just a few pages away.

A different full-page ad appeared that same week in the Washington
Post in the form of an open letter from the Turkish American National
Steering Committee claiming there is “no academic consensus” about the
events and that “the politicization of this historical controversy not
only tarnishes the memory of the dead but also thwarts the ultimate
objective: reconciliation between Armenians and Turks.”

The New York Times rejected the open letter ad, based on guidelines
against “advertising that denies great human tragedies.” The
guidelines stipulate that “events such as the World Trade Center
bombings, or the Holocaust, or slavery in the United States, or the
Armenian Genocide or Irish Famine cannot be denied or trivialized in
an advertisement.”

Marsoobian attributes the appearance of such ads to a “lack of
knowledge of historical facts” and “a very large well-funded campaign
to generate this sort of false controversy that there is [an]
alternative interpretation of what happened.”

“Historically, we’re past that,” he says. “The evidence, the
scholarship that’s been written on it, the conferences, all of it—it’s

[in the following two articles, HMG gives their usual reasoning on why
they deny genocide including the Armenian Genoide, then critically
analysed in the Guardian article)
UK Parliament declares Yazidis, Christians as ISIS genocide victims
21 Apr 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

British lawmakers voted Wednesday to urge the government to recognise
the Islamic State jihadist group’s attacks on minorities in Iraq and
Syria as genocide, AFP reports.

Members of parliament unanimously approved the motion – which is not
binding on the government – by 278 votes to zero.

The vote in the 650-seat lower House of Commons calls on ministers to
accept formally that IS actions against Christian, Yazidi and other
religious and ethnic minorities in Syria and Iraq constitute genocide.

But Foreign Office junior minister Tobias Ellwood, who has specific
responsibility for the Middle East, said it was up to the courts
rather than the government to make such a judgement.

“I believe genocide has taken place, but as the prime minister (David
Cameron) has said, genocide is a matter of legal rather than political
opinion,” Ellwood said.

MPs from all parties urged Britain to use its position as one of the
five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to get
the situation referred to the International Criminal Court. 

The Guardian
20 April 2016
Islamic State
Opinion Why won’t the government recognise Isis atrocities 
as genocide? I have a hunch
Giles Fraser 

The barbarous treatment of Iraq and Syria’s religious minorities 
 should be called what it is. Our relationship with Turkey shouldn’t 
 even come into it

Sawsan is a middle-aged Syrian woman from al-Hammidiya, which 
is just north of the Lebanese border. She describes how her nephew 
was crucified to death and a video of his crucifixion was put on the 
internet. He was crucified for wearing a cross. From the same town, 
Amin described how local girls were taken as sex slaves. Isis returned 
their body parts to the front door of their parents’ houses with a video 
tape of them being raped. Alice speaks of how hundreds of children 
were killed and their bodies ground down in the local baker’s shop 
in Doma. 

These are some of the stories that are going to be told tonight at a 
meeting in Westminster, ahead of tomorrow’s vote in the House of 
ommons , when MPs will confirm or deny the recognition: “That this 
house believes that Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and religious 
minorities in Iraq and Syria are suffering genocide at the hands of 
Daesh; and calls upon Her Majesty’s government to make an immediate 
referral to the United Nations security council with a view to conferring 
jurisdiction upon the international criminal court so that perpetrators 
can be brought to justice.”

It may not be coincidence that Turkey is our new best friend, with 
whom we have struck a deal over returning refugees

A similar motion was recently passed unanimously in the US House 
of Representatives. Labour is supporting. So why – as things currently 
stand – is the government intent on whipping its members to oppose 
this motion, even though it is being put forward by a Conservative 
MP, Fiona Bruce? The devil is in the detail.

It’s not that the government is denying that Christians, Yazidis 
and other religious minorities are suffering genocide in Iraq and 
Syria. Its official line is that it’s not for parliament to claim 
something counts as genocide but for the judiciary. And yes, 
genocide is a legal term , invented to describe the particular sort of 
horror that the Nazis perpetrated on the Jewish people – “a crime 
without a name” Churchill had previously called it. As Phillipe Sands 
observes in his forthcoming book about the origins of the term, it was 
first used by a Brit in court in Nuremburg in June 1946, almost exactly 
70 years ago, by the Tory Sir David Maxwell Fyfe in his cross 
examination of Konstantin von Neurath, Hitler’s first foreign minister. 

But the problem with this being simply a matter for the judiciary 
is that there currently exists no process for concerns about 
genocide to pass from parliament to the judiciary. As cross-bench 
peer Lord Alton put it to me: “Having no formal mechanism to 
refer evidence of genocide to the high court simply leads to 
government buck-passing and hand-wringingThey repeatedly 
say that determining whether a genocide is under way is a matter 
for the courts but then refuse to provide a trigger for a referral
Parliament – as Congress and the European parliament have done 
– needs to force the government’s hand. Otherwise we might as well 
rip up the genocide convention as a worthless piece of paper. If what 
is happening to groups like the Yazidis and Assyrian Christians doesn’t 
meet the high technical standard of what constitutes a genocide, it’s 
hard to imagine what would.” 

But there may be more to it than a technical problem of process. For
it may not be any coincidence that Turkey is our new best friend, 
with whom we have struck a deal over returning refugees from 
Greece. And Turkey is profoundly allergic to the “g” word, 
reminding people, as it often does, of Turkey’s genocide of the 
Armenian people in 1915 , the first genocide of the 20th century
Not only that, but many of the threatened Yazidis, for example, are 
supported by the Kurds and Kurdish pashmerga who are seen as 
terrorists by the Turkish government. The suspicion is that our 
Foreign Office doesn’t want to upset the Turks with tomorrow’s 
vote and are thus encouraging the government to whip against 
it on a technicality. 

We really ought to be braver than this. OK, I don’t suppose that those
who are prepared to blow themselves up in the name of their twisted 
values are going to be all that terrified by the prospect of the 
international criminal court. But when religious minorities are set upon 
with such systematic ferocity and brutality, it is right and proper that 
our parliament calls it what it is. The government should withdraw its
whip. It owes it to Sawsan, Amin and Alice – and to hundreds of 
thousands like them.

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