By Ben Cohen
The term 'Holocaust' derives from the Greek 'holókauston' (from holos "completely" and kaustos "burnt"). It is generally used to describe the deaths of 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis during World War Two. Winston Churchill used the term to describe the Turkish Genocide of hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of Armenians in 1915-1917.
In response to the Turkish Governments continual denial of their genocide, a group of highly esteemed international Genocide Scholars wrote the following to Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey on June 13th 2005:
"On April 24, 1915, under cover of World War I, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire began a systematic genocide of its Armenian citizens – an unarmed Christian minority population. More than a million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture, and forced death marches. The rest of the Armenian population fled into permanent exile. Thus an ancient civilization was expunged from its homeland of 2,500 years."
"Wenote that there may be differinginterpretations of genocide—how and why the Armenian Genocide happened, but to deny its factual and moralreality as genocide is not to engage in scholarship but in propaganda and efforts to absolve the perpetrator, blame the victims, and erase the ethical meaning of this history. "
"We believe that it is clearly in the interest of the Turkish people and their future as a proud and equal participants in international, democratic discourse to acknowledge the responsibility of a previous government for the genocide of the Armenian people, just as the German government and people have done in the case of the Holocaust."
The Turkish Government ignored the letter, and has not reversed its stance.
It is of course, conventional in elite American political circles to strongly condemn the genocide of the Jews, but not apparently, the Armenians. Yesterday, George Bush urged Congress not to pass legislation that would label the massacre 'a genocide'. Bush said it "would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror."
Condoleeza Rice echoed his sentiments saying the legislation "at this time would be very problematic for everything we are trying to do in the Middle East".
Thankfully, a House Panel passed the legislation by 27 votes to 21.
For those who thought George Bush was a man of principle, surely the last vestiges of this notion have now been completely destroyed. It is not worth the energy to explain his disgustingly hypocritical and immoral stance on the subject, other than to label him what he is: A Holocaust denier. END