See also "The Power of Ethnic Haters and the Cowardice of Politicians" at
Pole Opines on the Polish "Genocide" Resolution
The U.S. House
International Relations Committee approved the so-called "Genocide
Bill" (Resolution 596) on October 3, 2000, by a vote of 24-11... blaming
The Ottoman Empire for killing 1.5 million Armenians between 1915-1923. The
following articles which appeared in the American press shed interesting light
on the inner mechanisms that took place, leading to the success of the bill's
passage. How much of the process do you think had to do with
morality, and how much was due to politics?
This resolution was not implemented,
however... I'm not quite sure of the process involved, but I gather its next
stop was the Senate. President Bill Clinton deep-sixed the resolution at
that point, warning that it could would harm U.S. interests.
The Armenians tried many times over
the years to introduce similar resolutions... in fact, the statement of the sixty-nine scholars disagreeing with
the "genocide" notion was prepared to counter one such resolution (H.J. Res. 192)
back in 1985! Persistence obviously pays off.... and to have American
politicians totally open to this one particular example of "man's
inhumanity to man" (when there are countless examples of others
throughout history, as Justin McCarthy mentioned... when he gave testimony to oppose yet another resolution, H. Res 398, in... September 14 2000... confusingly, around the
same time as this one), and allowing for such resolutions to come to the
floor time and time again, did not hurt.
Unusual Gift: A Vote on the House Floor
The New York Times
October 7, 2000
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 — For years, a measure to condemn the mass killings of Armenians in
Turkey 85 years ago as genocide languished in Congress. That was before James E. Rogan’s
seat was in jeopardy.
Now that Mr. Rogan, a House impeachment manager and perhaps his party’s most vulnerable
incumbent, is fighting for his political life in next month’s elections, the Republican
leadership in the House is coming to his rescue in an unusual way.
It is common for party leaders to help embattled incumbents bring home political prizes
— often in the form of bridges, dams and highways. But Speaker J. Dennis Hasten of
Illinois is clearing the way for the House to vote next week on the contentious Armenia
resolution, a priority in Mr. Rogan’s Southern California district, which has the
largest Armenian-American constituency in the country. Prospects for passage are unclear.
By fulfilling a promise to bring up the measure, Mr. Hasten was defying critics who said
he was putting party interests ahead of foreign policy. The Clinton administration said
the measure would damage relations with Turkey, an important ally in the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization. Backers argued that the resolution had bipartisan support, which
included the two top Democrats in the House, Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, the minority
leader, and David E. Bonior of Michigan, the minority whip. But Republican aides
acknowledged that Mr. Rogan’s lobbying and his re-election battle pushed the measure to
“If it weren’t for Jim Rogan, this wouldn’t be coming to the floor,” said John P.
Feehery, Mr. Hasten’s spokesman.
The resolution has been the talk of the three Armenian-language television stations and
five newspapers in Mr. Rogan’s district around Pasadena, Calif. Rogan aides estimated
that more than 20,000 registered voters of Armenian descent live in the district.
Armenians have maintained that thousands of their people were killed from 1915 to 1923 as
part of a campaign by the Ottoman Empire to force Armenians out of eastern Turkey. The
Turks have acknowledged that some 300,000 people were killed, but have said the deaths
occurred when the Ottoman Empire tried to quell civil unrest. The Ottoman Empire became
Turkey in 1923.
Mr. Rogan’s stature has been slipping with Armenian-Americans because they think he has
not paid enough attention to issues they care about. The influential Armenian National
Committee had endorsed Mr. Rogan in the past, but this year was backing his Democratic
rival, Adam Schiff, who also supported the resolution. House Republican leaden hope Mr.
Rogan reaps enough credit for the measure to help sway undecided voters.
“The fact this is of interest to Rogan’s constituents is not lost on the leadership,”
said Representative Thomas M. Davis III of Virginia, head of the House Republican
reelection campaign. “This resolution will be a very tangible debating point for him.”
Opponents are fighting back. Turkey has hired, for $1.8 million, two former chairmen of
the House Appropriations Committee, Robert L. Livingston of Louisiana and Gerald B. H.
Solomon of New York, both Republicans, along with Stephen J. Solarz, a former Democratic
representative from New York, to lobby against the bill.
Armenia’s supporters have mustered a counterattack, hiring former New York
congresswoman, Susan Molinari, a Republican.
The measure, approved this week by the House International Relations Committee, 24 to 11,
has split the Republican leadership. Representative Dick Armey of Texas, the majority
leader, is leaning against the measure, his aides say, although he supports allowing a
floor vote. Mr. Hasten and Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the majority whip, would not
say how they would vote. The resolution has stirred bipartisan concern, particularly among
the Texas delegation because Turkey has threatened to cancel a $4.5 billion deal to buy
145 attack helicopters made by Bell Helicopter Textron in Fort Worth, a division of
Even though the resolution is nonbinding and does not go to the Senate or to President
Clinton for approval, it has ignited opposition. On Monday, the president of Turkey, Ahmet
Necdet Sezer, called Mr. Clinton to complain, just days after the Turkish foreign
minister, Ismail Cem, warned that if the resolution passed, “serious effects of it
should be expected on Turkish-U.S. relations.”
Turkey, officials said, could ground American warplanes that fly out of Turkish air bases
to patrol northern Iraq. Mr. Clinton expressed his concerns directly to Mr. Hasten on
Thursday, aides said.
“I don’t think this would be a good time to be rocking the boat unnecessarily,” said
Representative Porter J. Goss, the Florida Republican who heads the House Intelligence
For his part, Mr. Rogan is trying to play down his role and dismisses talk that the
Republican leaders are doing him a favor, noting the support from Mr. Gephardt and Mr.
“It’s time for the House to answer the question who remembers the Armenians?” Mr.
Holdwater adds: Oooo! A play on words with the presumed
Hitler Quote. Good going, Mr. Politician! It's plain to see your desire to get the
resolution passed had everything to do with your sincere concerns for the Armenians'
plight... having nothing to do with your own political welfare.
Taking On Turkey: Republican Gambit For Armenian Vote Risks
Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
Investor’s Business Daily
October 3, 2000
As House Speaker Dennis Hasten and his Republican colleagues struggle to retain
control of Congress, they have had to endure the indignity of accepting deals —
from raising the minimum wage to new entitlement programs to busting the budget caps
— they would consider unthinkable under other circumstances. It remains to be seen
whether their constituents will reward or punish the GOP at the polls for such
Unfortunately, there is one Faustian deal Hasten has felt obliged to strike that may
help his party in November, but that will surely cost the nation dearly down the
road. In a bid to help Rep. James Rogan’s uphill fight for re-election in a
California district said to have more Armenians than any other place on earth
outside of Armenia itself, the speaker is personally twisting arms to ensure passage
of a resolution condemning the Ottoman Turk government for engaging in “genocide”
against ethnic Armenians early in the last century.
If the full House of Representatives approves this legislation, which was favorably
reported out of a House International Relations subcommittee last month, U.S. ties
with Turkey will suffer serious, possibly irreparable, harm. Estranging Turkey is
about as reckless an international action as the U.S. could take at this juncture.
After all, Turkey is today a pro-Western, secular democracy has proven to be one of
America's most reliable allies. It has also developed an enormously important
strategic relationship with Israel. U.S. interests are especially well served by
having such an ally where it is. In geopolitics, as in real estate, location makes
all the difference. Turkey is situated amid most of the nations, crises and
potential conflicts with which America is concerned at the moment: Iran, Iraq and
the rest of the Persian Gulf; Serbia and the Balkans; the southern Caucasus and
Caspian Basin; Russia, the Levant and North Africa.
hardly equipped to adjudicate the arcane and contentious question of whether the
undisputed murder of hundreds of thousands of Armenians was a centrally planned and
systematic genocidal act by the Ottoman Turk government or was the result of
widespread but uncoordinated ethnic warfare
The very reasons that make Turkey such an asset to the U.S.
explain why it is in the cross hairs of many who oppose American interests and values,
including Russia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. These nations have not only worked to
undermine Turkey abroad, but also have, to varying degrees, supported internal Islamist
and Kurdish elements working to subvert Turkish democracy from within. Turkey’s foes
will be emboldened even as the Turks themselves will be infuriated if Hastert succeeds in
bringing an “Armenian genocide” resolution to the House floor and securing its
approval before adjournment this fall, as he recently promised Jim Rogan’s politically
active Armenian-American community during a campaign swing through that Los Angeles
district. This is all the more regrettable, since Congress is hardly equipped to
adjudicate the arcane and contentious question of whether the undisputed murder of
hundreds of thousands of Armenians was a centrally planned and systematic genocidal act by
the Ottoman Turk government or was the result of widespread but uncoordinated ethnic
warfare. As compelling as Hastert’s considerations are for pursuing this “Armenian
genocide” initiative, they risk a potentially serious rupture with one of America’s
most important foreign partners. To make matters worse, such a rupture would come at a
particularly unpropitious time. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein is emerging once again as a mortal
threat to his neighbors and Israel. Uncertainties about the future course of pivotal
Persian Gulf states such as Iran and Saudi Arabia are exacerbating concerns about, among
other things, future oil shocks and their economic consequences. And Israel is dealing
with a new outbreak of violence as the Palestinians prepare to liberate the rest of “Palestine”
with or without another fraudulent “peace agreement.” A stable, secure Turkey closely
tied to the West is an indispensable counterweight to these and a number of other
worrisome developments. It behooves the House Republican leadership, therefore, to find
ways to secure a renewed mandate without jeopardizing vital national interests.
Frank J. Gafftzey Jr., who held senior positions in President Reagan‘s Defense
Department, is president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C.
Local Politics is
Global as Hill Turns to Armenia
Monday, October 9, 2000
Rep. James E. Rogan (R-Calif.) doesn’t pretend to be a foreign policy expert. A
former state assemblyman and onetime deputy district attorney who made his name
prosecuting rapists, gang murderers and drug dealers, Rogan, 43, has traveled
outside the United States only once in his lifetime.
But this is an age when politics can be local and global at the same time. Thus
Rogan has sided with Armenians in an 85-year-old historical dispute that threatens
to disrupt U.S. relations with Turkey, one of America’s most staunch allies and a
moderate, democratic bulwark against Islamic extremism.
Rogan’s district in Southern California happens to be home to the largest
concentration of Armenian Americans in the United States. Locked in a tight race for
reelection, Rogan has been courting this voting block with help from House Speaker
J. Dennis Hasten (R-Ill.), who agreed in August to push a resolution labeling as “genocide”
the massacres of Armenians that took place under the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to
1923. That resolution was passed by the House International Relations Committee last
week and may come to a vote on the floor this week. But what began as a nod to a
local constituency has turned into an international incident — and the latest
example of the role Congress often plays when it seizes on one narrow facet of
foreign policy. The Turkish government, successor to the Ottoman Empire, objects to
branding the killings as “genocide.” Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer called
President Clinton last Monday to express “grave reservations” about the
resolution. U.S. corporate lobbyists fear that it could endanger billions of dollars
in defense contracts. And U.S. diplomats fret that Ankara might limit U.S. use of
Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey for patrolling the "no-fly" zone over
Northern lraq. A letter signed by 13 former U.S. Cabinet members and military
commanders said adoption of the resolution “would deliver a severe blow to U.S.
interests in the region.” The flap is a case study of the clout wielded by members
of Congress who latch on to a single dimension of U.S. foreign policy with little
regard to broader national interests. Often these members are motivated by a
constituency, contributor or personal passion. Such parochial interests are not new.
But with the end of the Cold War, the breakdown of the congressional foreign policy
establishment, and an administration that has been unable to forge a new foreign
policy consensus, these lawmakers have stepped into a vacuum and acquired tremendous
“The old adage that politics stops at the water’s edge has long since gone by
the boards,” says former representative Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.). “Too many
people place constituent interests above national interests. They don’t see much
difference between lobbying for highway funds and slanting foreign policy toward a
particular interest group.” One former U.S. diplomat joked last week that politics
still stops at the water’s edge, only now it’s the waters of the Bosphorus.
A former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Chas. W. Freeman Jr., laments what he
calls “the franchising of foreign policy,” with various interest groups
dictating areas of policy. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC,
influences policy toward Israel. The Congressional Black Caucus often sways Haiti
policy. Non-proliferation crusaders rule on North Korea. Farmers bend trade policy.
Christian groups dominate discussion of Sudan, whose Muslim-dominated government is
waging war on the largely Christian south. Cuban Americans resist any easing of
sanctions on Havana. Part of the problem is ideological. Without a Soviet foe, the
foreign policy agenda has become diffuse, with congressional power now spread among
committees on banking, finance, appropriations, judiciary and the environment.
Part of the problem is institutional. Senior foreign policy specialists in Congress
have departed, including senators Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-Kan.), Robert J. Dole
(R-Kan.), Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and William S. Cohen (R-Maine). In 1999, first-term
senators chaired all seven subcommittees of the Foreign Relations Committee. Many of
them would have preferred other committee assignments.
Meanwhile, the Republican congressional leadership is isolationist and often
uninterested in foreign policy. One exception was the effort by Senate Majority
Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) to persuade the Clinton administration to sell to Taiwan
destroyers built in a shipyard in his home state.
As a result, individuals can drive policy — even, as in Rogan’s case, when they
are junior lawmakers and do not sit on the foreign affairs committees. Rep. Frank
Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), whose district includes many Indian Americans, uses his
position on the Commerce Committee to promote India’s interests. Rep. Christopher
H. Smith (R-N.J.), who was once director of the New Jersey Right to Life
organization, uses his perch on the International Relations Committee to restrict
funding for United Nations organizations he feels promote abortions worldwide. Rep.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who also has a seat on International Relations,
vociferously reflects the anti-Castro views of her Cuban American constituents. “What
we’ve lost in Congress are the statesmen,” said William A. Reinsch, who has
grappled with Congress as undersecretary of commerce for export administration. “People
who tended to look at the bigger picture, who understood the broader range of U.S.
interests and how at any given moment one would be more important than another, and
who understood that presidents need flexibility.”
The Armenian genocide resolution illustrates this clash of special and national
interests, as well as the stakes involved. Although the resolution is non-binding
and does not have a Senate counterpart, the International Relations Committee
debated it for seven hours in two sessions before a throng of Armenian Americans,
corporate lobbyists, defense contractors, human rights activists and Turkish
Lines outside the hearing stretched down the hail of the Rayburn House Office
Building. “This is the most closely fought election in the House in 50 years,”
said a lobbyist for Turkey. “Control could hinge on the outcome of a single race.
And the speaker has succumbed to the temptation to bring this resolution forward,
unaware of the consequences to the country if it were to pass.”
|The Armenian Assembly of America ... has 7,000 individual and
organizational members and a budget of $2.5 million.
Though Hastert’s support for Rogan was a catalyst,
the resolution is also the product of years of political lobbying by Armenian
Americans, who founded the Armenian Assembly of America as a grass-roots
organization in 1972. Today it has 7,000 individual and organizational members and a
budget of $2.5 million. It grades members of Congress on votes concerning Armenia.
On the genocide resolution, it has retained the lobbying services of former
representative Susan Molinari
Ross Vartian, executive director of the Armenian Assembly, says it has modeled
itself on groups such as AIPAC, the tobacco lobby and the gun lobby. “You look at
their methodologies,” he said. “It’s standard stuff. It’s numbers and
intensity and the quality of your argument.” The Armenian Assembly has also made
allies with Greek Americans and human rights groups, longtime critics of Turkey. In
Congress, Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.), a Greek-American, has been a strong
supporter. The organization has chalked up a string of victories. Armenia, with just
3.4 million people, receives $102.4 million in aid from the United States.
Moreover, Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act bars U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan,
a strategically located oil producing country that has a long-running dispute with
Armenia over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. “Azerbaijan ends up becoming a
very important location, and here we are with 1 1/2 hands tied behind our backs,”
said one administration official. For more than a decade, however, the Armenian
Assembly has sought and failed to win passage of a genocide resolution. Few people
deny that massacres took the lives of hundreds of thousands and perhaps as many as
1.5 million Armenian men, women and children during and immediately after World War
I. But some historians and Turkish officials say it resulted from forced relocations
and widespread fighting in the region. They also say millions of Turks died in the
same region over the same period. Usually the Armenian Assembly has pushed its
genocide resolution around April 24, the anniversary of an initial 1915 roundup of
235 Armenian intellectual and religious leaders who were later murdered. This year
Armenian groups changed their timing to take advantage of the importance of Rogan’s
race to Republican efforts to keep control of the House. Rogan’s district boasts
Armenian Boy Scout troops, churches and community groups; five Armenian newspapers;
three Armenian-language cable TV stations; and more than 21,000 Arrnenian American
registered voters. Armenian organizations are trying to boost their rolls to 25,000,
about 8 percent of the electorate.
Rogan has long wooed these voters. In September 1999, he made his first and only
overseas trip, visiting Armenia for five days and stopping in Rome to meet the pope.
The resolution, which directs the president to use the word “genocide” in
statements marking the event, “is not an issue of foreign policy,” argues Rogan
spokesman Jeffrey Solsby. “This is a moral issue. . . . It is our obligation to
work with the Armenian community and their friends in Congress to make sure they are
remembered and that this atrocity does not occur again on the face of the Earth.”
Rogan’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Adam Schiff, does not intend to be
outdone. Schiff has co-sponsored California legisltion on the Armenian genocide, to
prohibit Turkey from funding academic chairs in Ottoman studies, and to fund an
Armenian film foundation to document the massacres. Two weeks ago, Gov. Gray Davis
(D) signed legislation Schiff sponsored to remove the statute of limitations and
enable Armenian families to file insurance claims for losses that occurred during
“This is an issue I’ve been active on for several years,” Schiff said in an
interview. As for Rogan, Schiff charged, “how does he explain that in 3 1/2 years
he’s never tried to bring this [genocide resolution} to a vote?”
To many policymakers, the stakes seem higher than 25,000 votes
in Southern California.
In a letter to the House International Relations Committee, seven former top
officials and six former military commanders — including former defense
secretaries Frank Carlucci and William J. Perry and former chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili — urged members to consider “the real world
consequences” of adopting the resolution.
The former officials noted that Turkey has helped combat terrorism, contributed to
NATO forces in the Balkans, hosted U.S. and British forces enforcing the Iraqi
no-fly zone and imposed sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s government even though the
sanctions have cost the Turkish economy billions of dollars.
American defense contractors also quietly support Turkey, which plans to spend $20
billion modernizing its armed forces over the next five years. Textron Inc. is
trying to wrap up a sale of 145 attack helicopters for an estimated $4.5 billion. A
Russian diplomat said last week that tensions over the House resolution have revived
Moscow’s hope that Turkey might choose instead a Russian helicopter equipped with
Turkey has also deployed lobbyists, including former Republican representatives Bob
Livingston (R-La.) and Gerald B.H. Solomon (R-N.Y.), each of whom gets $700,000 to
represent Ankara, and former Democratic representative Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.), who
is being paid $400,000. Turkey’s parliament dispatched a delegation to attend last
Tuesday’s session of the International Relations Committee. One Turkish lawmaker
told the committee that the massacres were “indisputable” but that there was no
evidence their purpose was genocide.
Rep. Smith of New Jersey said the Turkish parliamentarian’s denial “made our
case” and showed the need for the resolution. Other committee members bristled at
the thought that they should mute historical facts for the sake of strategic
interests. One asked whether some future German government, in the name of strategic
alliance, could insist that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum be dismantled “brick
by brick.” After the committee passed the resolution by a vote of 24 to 11, Turkey
announced that it would send an ambassador back to Baghdad for the first time since
Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, but it did not link the move to the resolution.
Separately, the leaders of Turkey’s five major parties said they would bear in
mind the resolution when Turkey’s parliament decides whether to renew the U.S.
mandate to use a Turkish base for flights over northern Iraq. The mandate expires
Dec. 30. “What is most important for us is that the resolution should be stopped
before it can overshadow the strategic partnership we have,” Turkey’s ambassador
to Washington, Baki Ilkin, said in an interview. He contended that passing the
resolution would be “a disservice to Armenia” because “Armenia needs Turkey
more than Turkey needs Armenia.” And he warned that “the fabric of our relations
with the United States would inevitably be affected.”
That, however, would be a matter for the next administration, and Congress, to deal
Holdwater adds: If this Res.
596 was the same bill as Res. 398, both bills having been brought up at the same
time, one has to wonder about the ethics of the twenty-four politicians who
voted for its passage... after hearing the compelling testimony of Professor McCarthy. Even if they
were convinced of the genocide's having taken place, surely the points the professor
raised must have created room for uncertainty; a courtroom would have needed far
more evidence before a jury would have voted to convict the killer. A sad day for
Truth and Integrity.
Consider this: Armenian-Americans perhaps spent less than 1.5
dollars per year on average, to get some of these congress people elected
to the U.S. Congress, which totals $ 15 million in 10 years (1991-2001).
In the same ten years, these congress people paid back "their debt" to the
Armenian-Americans by sending $ 1.5 billion (with a"b"!) to that terrorist
state called Armenia… Each dollar invested into the election campaigns of
Pallon and Knollenberg came back as $100 in U.S. aid to Armenia ! Not
bad for a country whose number one export is terrorism and number one
import is American handouts, don't you think?
Samual A. Weems, excerpt from THE AMERICAN CONGRESS SELL OUT!
AMERICAN FARMERS GET NO FARM BILL BUT ARMENIA GETS 1.5 BILLION DOLLARS!, early 2002
The Power of
Ethnic Haters and the Cowardice of Politicians
THE GOVERNOR OF ALABAMA RETRACTED THE
RESOLUTION IN FAVOR OF TURKEY
Washington, 12 October 2001 (17:30 UTC+2)
The director of the US state of Alabama Governor's office announced on October 3
that the August 30 resolution declaring that day as the "Day of Remembrance of
the Tragedy of the people in Asia Minor and also Turkish Republic Independence
Day" is not in effect anymore. The resolution described the Turks as the
victims of the tragic events of the period 1912-1922.
The resolution in question was retracted as a result of the mobilization of the
Greek and Armenian communities which condemned the attempted falsification of
The governor's office issued an apology for the sorrow it caused to Greeks and
Armenians and put an end to the issue by retracting the controversial resolution.
Holdwater: Was this
resolution in favor of "Turkey," or in favor of Truth and Humanity?
In his original
statement Governor Don Siegelman said that many Turks and Ottoman citizens from
different ethnic groups were killed as a result of the Greek occupation in Anatolia.
"With its leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Turkish public showed a heroic
struggle against occupying forces and than found the Republic of Turkey on September
29th, 1923," Siegelman said, adding that recognizing the tragedy of Turks will
be important in preventing human tragedies in the future. (From a Turkish Daily
Greek atrocities (from
1919 until Greece's defeat) are a matter of historical record. And nobody can argue
the struggle of the Turkish nation was a heroic one, with the odds stacked so highly
against the crippling situation. What the governor apparently failed to acknowledge
was the bloodthirsty actions of the Armenians, responsible for ethnically cleansing
over half a million Ottomans, with some Russian help.
ANCA bragged in a
press release that "The retraction came after a major statewide grassroots
effort focused on setting the historical record straight." Among the
"myths" of the proclamation, according to ANCA, was that Turkey enjoys a
long history of friendship and harmonious coexistence with different ethnic groups
under its rule, and that Turkey is a staunch ally of the United States.
stood firm in the face of revisionism and has shown the world the importance of
maintaining historical truths," ANCA Eastern Region Director Arin Gregorian
beamed. With tail between legs, the governor's policy director declared the
proclamation(s) "were retracted due to historical inaccuracies."
Policy Office regrets any pain that may have been caused to Hellenes, Armenians, and
Assyrians world-wide due to historical inaccuracies in the proclamations of August
8th and August 28th, and due to the misinformation reported by the Turkish media.
The Governor’s Office’s considers its involvement in this matter to be
And not a moment too
soon! The governor's office must not have known what hit it, with this thunderous
barrage from the obsessed hate-mongers in all corners. The power of these forces of
evil is nothing but mind-boggling.
Too bad Governor Don Siegelman
did not have the courage of his convictions; no doubt he became acutely aware he
would have been dead meat in the hands of these fanatics, come re-election time. A
sad day in the annals of truth and justice.
A Pole Opines on the Polish
"III Sector" Democracy Journal called Irena Lasota,
president of the Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe (IDEE) to ask her about the
vote of the Polish parliament on the "Armenian genocide". Irena Lasota left
Poland as a political refugee. She visited Azerbaijan many times since 1995, and in
Washington since that time was fighting publicly against the article 907. She is known as
one of the real friends of Azerbaijan.
Ms. Lasota, what do you think of the vote of the Polish parliament
"recognizing" the "Armenian genocide"?
- Parliaments are elected to pass good laws; not to vote on historical facts about which
the majority of the deputies do not have the slightest idea. For almost ninety years there
is a debate about whether it was or was not a genocide, about the number of victims on
both the Armenian and Turkish side, whether the killings of the Armenian population meet
the criteria of the definition of the word "genocide", what ignited the
violence, and other important facts. Very few historians studied this matter, and people
often make up their mind about historical facts based on believe or prejudice. I tried to
read as much as possible of professional books on that matter and based on the facts
advanced by professor Bernard Lewis, Stanford Shaw, and Tadeusz Swietochowski, and after
reading arguments to the contrary - I came to the conclusion that "armenian genocide
" is a political, not historical concept.
I seriously doubt if any Polish deputy could defend his vote with any facts. I could even
bet that many of them could not find on the map the Turkish-Armenian border or answer the
question who was Ataturk. I am sorry, but I am afraid that some Polish MPs would confuse
him with Genghis Khan. Why did they vote? Wrongly understood geopolitical interests of
Poland? Ignorance? Anti-Turkish sentiments growing in some parts of Europe? Christian
solidarity? All of it doesn't justify why such a big country, who was recognized in the
end of 18th century only by the Ottoman Empire committed such a stupid move.
April 23, 2005
The Importance of Genocide