Decency and the Armenian genocide


Shout out to Norm for the heads up: as recounted in the Forward, there is a bill currently before the US Congress which would formally recognise the Armenian genocide. And about time, too. Not surprisingly, this modest measure is being opposed by leading Jewish organisations. They’ve done this on numerous occasions, usually with some mystical invoking of the ineffable uniqueness of the Holocaust, but it is fair to assume the main reason for their hostility is the discomfiture the bill might cause Israel’s military ally Turkey. Norm, who has his moments, is distressed by this, as well he might be.

Turkey poses a bit of a problem for Decency – for instance, if you have a conflict between the secular Kemalist generals and an elected government inspired by (a moderate brand of) political Islam, what do you do? The usual answer is to resort to conventionalist stratagems, such as proclaiming that the AKP has zip to do with political Islam – which removes at the stroke of a pen your dilemma. So how do you reconcile support for Israel, support for the Turkish state and the recognition of genocide? Surely a conventionalist stratagem is called for? Here’s a thought – why not just blame it on the Serbs?


  1. Renegade Eye said,

    August 22, 2007 at 1:38 am

    I changed the link to your blog, to reflect moving from Blogspot. It looks much better.

    I didn’t know Zionists opposed calling the Armenian genocide, what it was.

  2. Idris of Dungiven said,

    August 23, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    If memory serves, the Holocaust museum in Washington DC was going to have an exhibit on the Armenian genocide, but was deliberately blocked from doing so.

  3. WorldbyStorm said,

    August 23, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Nick Cohen covers much of this in “Pretty Straight Guys”. An issue on which he is correct. Or at least used to be 😦

  4. Wednesday said,

    August 24, 2007 at 6:22 am

    Peter Balakian’s book The Burning Tigris has a long section on American involvement in awareness-raising and relief around the genocide. The section is so long, in fact, that you get sick of reading it and start thinking “Why is there so much stuff about Americans in this book about Armenia?” But it does succeed in pointing out that there wasn’t always such a blind spot in the US about the killings. Amazing (and said) what a difference a couple generations can make.

  5. September 26, 2007 at 10:22 am

    In fact, much of the “decent left” has been critical of those Zionist organisations that have let Turkey off the hook about Armenia. Indeed, there has been something of a rebellion within the Jewish community in America, by the pro-Zionist “decent left”, on this issue, as evidenced by the Forward article (the Forward being quite an influential voice within American Jewry), the blog Jewcy, or, for that matter, Norm.

    Of course Turkey poses a problem for the “decent left” – doesn’t it pose a problem for all of the left? Supporting a military nationalist regime is not an option for any of the left, but a democratising party that is passionately neo-liberal can’t be much of a source of ethusiasm can it?

    BobFromBrockley: Armenia and Turkey

  6. November 2, 2007 at 8:49 am
    is a German site relating to the Armenian Genocide. I translated many of the original state documents. On the site you can read how the Armenians were systematically uprooted and marched to death.
    Robert Berridge

  7. Korolev said,

    November 2, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    I think Turkish politics only poses a problem for those on the left who feel duty bound to offer their precious support to one or another pretender to power. Personally, I have no trouble disliking both Kemalist generals and conservative Islamist politicians simultaneously. I just dislike them for different reasons.

  8. robert berridgr said,

    April 12, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    After having to translate the shit which is happening in Armenia to opposition voices it poses the question should the Turks kill them or are they happy killing themselves
    robert berridge hamburg

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