Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  A Rare TV Debate on the Armenian Issue  
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As faithful an Armenian advocate as America's Public Broadcasting has been over the years, at least the television network was open to airing a debate.... this time after having broadcast yet ANOTHER pro-Armenian show, "The Forgotten Genocide,"in 1983. The debate featured two "stars" from both sides, Professors Justin McCarthy and Richard Hovannisian. The following article appeared in the October 1983/5 issue of ATA-USA. (Notes on the film follow.)


ATAA Participates in TV Debate on the Armenian Issue

ATAA First Vice President Taskin Atsi (on left) and Prof. Justin McCarthy

ATAA First Vice President Taskin Atsi (on left) and Prof. Justin McCarthy of the University of Louisville, Kentucky (on right) enjoying themselves after their successful appearance on public television in a historic first debate on the Turkish-Armenian issue. (Photo by ATA-USA)

On June 24, 1983 public television station WETA in Washington, DC aired a live program in which two spokesmen for the Armenians were pitted against two spokesmen for the Turkish point of view. The program was the result of a request by ATAA for equal time on TV following the broadcast of "The Forgotten Genocide," a movie that blatantly distorts history and is most damaging to the Turkish nation and Turks everywhere. Although there were no spokesmen for the Turkish side when the movie was shown, the station insisted that the Armenian side be represented also if we were to appear on TV. After two attempts to get an opportunity for presenting our case unilaterally, just as the previous program had presented the Armenian story unhindered by opposing views, it became apparent that the station would give us access to the airwaves only if we agreed to equal representation by the Armenian side. Now, this looks like questionable arithmetic. It says that one unit of Turkish time equals three units of Armenian time. Nevertheless, we welcomed the challenge.

Sanford Ungar, the moderator, opened the session with a fairly balanced presentation of points of view from both sides. Then he turned to Richard Hovannisian, Professor of Armenian and Middle Eastern history at UCLA, who is a leading interpreter of historical facts with admirable consistency to project images of completely innocent Armenians and completely villainous Turks. Hovannisian denied that the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were seeking independent nationhood and asserted that they were defending their civil rights and seeking equal status because, he said, "they were second class citizens." Since Hovannisian is a historian, he should have known about Cosmidis, Hamparsoum, Dimitris Yowich, Anastasse,Aristidi,Carolidi, Haladjian, Babguian, Trayan, Daghavarian, and countless other Armenians and Greeks who served as elected deputies in the General Assembly even during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Second class citizens indeed!

When asked if the 1.5 million figure is accurate for the number of Armenians killed, Hovannisian said that numbers were not important. He said, "a whole nation died." He asserted that Armenians were moved and lost their way of life in their homeland forever.

Moderator Ungar then turned to Justin McCarthy, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, and asked if he agreed. McCarthy expressed his concern about the way Armenians present the facts. He argued that numbers were important, stating that over 2 million Moslems lost their lives in the conflict. He said what happened was a people problem in which everyone suffered, especially the peasants who really did not want to fight in the war on either side. McCarthy said he was interested in verifiable facts and that he knew of no evidence to show there was a deliberate policy to wipe out the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. He added, "any historian who says he knows the truth is not true to his profession." According to McCarthy, 600,000 Armenians perished due to starvation, cholera, typhoid, typhus, and outright murder, all of which also took the lives of 2 million Moslems.

In response to Ungar's question about American Ambassador Henry Morgenthau's writings, which generally condemn the Ottomans, McCarthy pointed out that Morgenthau never left Istanbul to see for himself and relied on reports from missionaries and heard what he wanted to hear. McCarthy said that even Morgenthau expressed concern about the exaggerations in those reports. He mentioned others such as Admiral Bristol who had his agents visit the eastern provinces and who told a completely different story.

When Ungar asked Hovannisian about the Turks who also died at the hand of the Armenians, Hovannisian claimed that Armenians killed Turks in self defense. He then related his father's experience who, he said, miraculously escaped after having lost 30 members of his immediate family. His father, "when he had an opportunity would kill something," he said. Perhaps Professor Hovannisian could not bring himself to admit those were people — not things his father killed!

Moderator Ungar asked Tarkin Atil, First Vice President of ATAA, why the conflict is still going on, terrorism and all. Atil said that the Armenians had been peddling defamatory information about Turks as facts for years and that there have been no attempts by anyone to correct the record. Atil added that the ATAA was formed four years ago to speak out every time falsification of history occurs and the Turkish people are defamed. When Ungar wanted to know why the Turks do not apologize for what was obviously mistreatment of Armenians, Atil said, "there was no mistreatment of Armenians per se. It was mistreatment of humanity by human beings." He said that the same fate befell Turks and Armenians alike. He asserted that the issue is hot now because certain Armenians benefit from keeping the issue alive. He cited as examples a history professor who wants to be a leader among his people, a man whose livelihood depends on keeping the issue alive, Armenians who expect reparations from the Turkish government to live the easy life, and community leaders who want to keep their people together by the introduction of a common enemy as Hitler did with the German people against the Jews.

Moderator Ungar next turned to Ross Vartian, Executive Director of the Armenian Assembly of America, and asked about Armenian terrorism. Vartian claimed that his organization condemns terrorism but he said there must be recognition that there was violence perpetrated by a government as well. He stated that Armenians basically want two things: recognition by the Turkish government of its wrongs and restitution to the Armenian survivors. He complained that the Turks are not accessible for dialogue to reach peaceful reconciliation.

Ungar switched to the subject of the Holocaust Memorial next and the question of including the Armenian claims in the museum. He asked McCarthy what he thought about the inclusion of non-Jewish examples. "If the museum and the memorial intends to take into account each case of massive death and man's inhumanity to man, then I think this should be one of the things that should be included," McCarthy said. But, he said he also hoped the museum would include all the Turks who died in 1915, 1918, 1922, and the many groups of Turks like the Crimean Tatars, 2 million of whom were killed by Stalin. He mentioned the massive numbers of Turks who were forced to leave their homelands. Referring to Hovannisian's earlier statement about the destruction of a people, McCarthy said, "from what he said It would appear that somehow the Armenians were moved, or killed, and that they are gone, and that this is something that happened to the Armenians." Back in the early 1800's, he stated, there were all kinds of people in the region and, from 1827 on, all of them moved, including 2 million Moslems. He revealed the fact that Erevan, the center of Soviet Armenia today was not Armenian at all, it was Turkish territory. "The Turks left, the Armenians moved in," he said. In Anatolia, he said, the Greeks and the Armenians are gone and replaced by Moslems but, he said, these people are also gone from their homelands. McCarthy emphasized the fact that what happened to the Armenians was by no means unique.


Hovannisian in 2001

  Ungar asked Hovannisian what he thought about including the plight of Turks in the museum. Hovannisian responded by saying that in the 20th century the two most classic cases are the Armenian and Jewish experiences "which are very close," he said. Hovannisian claimed that the Turkish campaign spent enormous resources in the last 10 years and succeeded in raising questions. He portrayed the TV program he was on as an example of this success and seemed to resent the fact that his well known assertions, which went unchallenged for so long, were being questioned. While Vartian earlier had complained about the lack of dialogue, Hovannisian was visibly uncomfortable with dialogue. Monologue seems to be his forte.

Ungar turned to Atul and asked about treatment of the Armenians in Turkey today. Atul stated that there is no persecution and that Armenians have their churches and schools and are treated the same as anybody else. He said that the Armenian Patriarch has said time and again that there is no persecution. He added that the Armenian apologists claim the Patriarch is not free to speak which, he said, is not true. When Ungar asked Vartian if he had any evidence to contradict Atil's statement and wanted to know if Armenians want to leave Turkey, Vartian claimed that this cannot be determined because, he said, "it is impossible to speak to Armenians in Turkey openly." Of course, Mr. Vartian's assertion is preposterous. It shows how much the American Armenian community is out of touch with reality and how deeply immersed it is in xenophobic fantasies. This writer has been in continuous contact with intimate friends who are Turkish Armenians. These Turkish citizens do not espouse the philosophy Mr. Vartian would like to hear, not because they are afraid to speak, but because they love their country and they refuse to be intimidated.

The last topic of the program was the question of American-Turkish relations in the event that the Armenians are included in the Holocaust Memorial. McCarthy argued for the establishment of a group of scholars as a commission to research the Armenian claims and if there was culpability on the part of the Ottomans, which he said he doubted very much, then the Armenians should be included without regard to what the Turkish government thinks. He said, "I'm not a Turk, I'm not worried about what the Turks think. The question is whether it's true or whether it's false." He concluded by saying that a lot more work needs to be done.

We agree that work needs to be done, but by impartial scholars. Professor Hovannisian can be excused his transgressions of historical accuracy because of his strong personal feelings. It would be inexcusable, however, to rely on his work as a source of scholarly information on the Armenian question.




As part of the Armenians' systematic campaign to keep suckering the unwary public, the Armenian cinema’s role in their propaganda web is one the Armenians could not afford to overlook. As Mrs. Oliver Harriman, Chairman of the National Motion Picture Committee, put so eloquently (as reported in The New York Times' February 15, 1919 issue):

"The whole purpose of the picture is to acquaint America with ravished Armenia," said Mrs. Harriman," to visualize conditions so that there will be no misunderstanding in the mind of any one about the terrible things which have transpired. It was deemed essential that the leaders, social and intellectual, should first learn the story, but later the general public shall be informed. It is proposed that before this campaign of information is complete, as many adults as possible shall know the story of Armenia, and the screen was selected as the medium because it reached the millions, where the printed word reaches the thousands."

Yep, the power of the cinema knows no bounds. Exactly why MIDNIGHT EXPRESS caused so much damage in the minds of many Americans and other Westerners ignorant about Turkey.

Oh, the film Mrs. Harriman was referring to? It was this one:


The one Ambassador "Mr. Egomaniac" Morgenthau appeared in... as himself.

The Armenians couldn't be content with the incidental "genocide"-related films made by Armenian-Americans, such as 1981's ASSIGNMENT BERLIN (directed and produced by Detroit's Hrayr "Peter" Toukhanian) and 2002's ARARAT (directed by Atom Egoyan, an Armenian-American of the Canadian variety) or Armenians of other nationalities, such as the Armenian Frenchman Henri Verneuil (Ashot Malakian) who wrote and directed the French TV-movie MAYRIG (1991); no, they had to take matters into their own hands to insure a stream of one-sided politically motivated, one sided “hatred films” which blame a nation without questioning the other side’s arguments.

One way in which Armenians took matters into their own hands was by creating "The Armenian Film Foundation," established in 1979 as "a non-profit, educational and cultural organization dedicated to the documentation on film and video of Armenian heritage and life," according to its web site, which further reports:

The Armenian Film Foundation has been awarded several major grants, including the California Endowment of Humanities (received jointly with the Armenian Assembly), Milken Families Foundation, United States Office of Education, Arshag Dickranian Foundation, Ignatius Foundation, Alex Manoogian Foundation, J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation, and Arco Foundation.

Over the years, the Foundation has also received financial backing from the southern California community, for a variety of projects. These include providing scholarships for film students working on projects of Armenian interest, establishment of an industry-wide networking association to encourage young film makers, and two international Armenian film festivals.

Sounds so nice and innocent, doesn't it? Funded by a good number of wealthy Armenian organizations, as well as government branches, influenced as they must be by the collective power of the many Armenians of California. Their site claims thirteen films have been prepared "that depict the cultural inheritance of the Armenian people," but the primary intention is revealed as the site goes on to tell us: "The Foundation increasingly serves as a primary motion picture resource bank for the Armenian Genocide..."

J. Michael Hagopian

J. Michael Hagopian 

The man behind the Foundation is J. Michael Hagopian, a Californian-Armenian. Mr. Hagopian has made many Armenian-related films, not all directly genocide-related, of course... but I'll bet mention of the "Genocide" is never far behind in any of his cinematic efforts. One of his recent works was 2000's "Voices from the Lake - The Secret Genocide," which was funded "principally" by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the Foundations of the Milken Families, and the J. Roderick MacArthus Foundation.

Mike Connors (Krikor Ohanian)

Mike Connors (Krikor Ohanian) 

His first genocide-film effort was most likely 1983's THE FORGOTTEN GENOCIDE, which is what the debate you read was regarding. It is described as "A classic and definitive film about the first genocide of the Twentieth Century told for the first time by eyewitness accounts of Armenian survivors and rare archival film footage." The 28- minute exercise was later supplemented with an extra 17-minute short. Parts I and II, if you will, were both narrated by television's "Mannix," Mike "Touch" Connors, originally named Krikor Ohanian.



 Other Biased, Armenian Butt-Kissing PBS Shows:

The Armenians, a Story of: Survival (2002)

The Great War (1996)

An Armenian Journey (1988)


"West" Accounts


Armenian Views
Geno. Scholars


Turks in Movies
Turks in TV


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