Tag Archives: genocide

Genocide Denial Is Stupidity, Not A Crime

In Turkey, it is a crime to claim that genocidal policies were carried under the Ottoman Empire against Armenians. In several European nations it is a crime to deny the existence of the Holocaust during World War II. In Rwanda, it is a crime to deny the Hutu government in the 1990s carried out a policy of genocide against Tutus. Peter Erlinger, an American professor from William Mitchell College, was asked to provide assistance to a Rwanda opposition leader, Victoire Ingabue who is charged with a criminal act because he denies there was genocide in Rwanda during the 1990s. The American was arrested and he is now charged with genocide denial. The issue is clear, whether it be the Holocaust or Rwanda or Darfur or Indonesia, people have a right to be ignorant. If we arrested all the ignorant people in the world, there would be no one left to run the planet.

To one who endured the genocide in Rwanda or whose parents and relatives were killed, it is painful hearing that individuals still do not believe the reality of this horror. There are occasions in life when one must bite a lip and allow stupidity to be expressed. One never knows when one’s idea’s will be judged to be a crime.

Whatever Happened To Those Armenians?

It is fast approaching a hundred years since the infamous slaughter of Armenians
by forces of the Ottoman Empire, but the people of Turkey refuse to acknowledge any responsibility for the murder of thousands of humans under horrifying conditions. Members of Turkey’s Parliament expressed dismay at the possibility the United States Congress would pass a resolution against the Armenian “genocide” that occurred so very long ago. According to Turkish Parliament Foreign Affairs head, Murat Mercan, to pass such a resolution is an attempt to impose “inappropriate pressure on Turkey.” He warned Americans, “there will be an overwhelming public reaction and outcry.”

Turkish reaction to a Congressional resolution borders on the ludicrous. Congress passes dozens of resolutions each day and most probably there is always someone who doesn’t like a particular resolution. How can any Congressional resolution impose “pressure” on Turkey? Few, if any Americans, even knows if a resolution has been passed and to insist that President Obama intervene comes across as an attempt by Turkey to impose “pressure on the United States.” Let’s have an agreement–we won’t pay any attention to your resolutions and you ignore ours.

Good News–Turkey And Armenia Talking!

For nearly a hundred years Armenians and Turks have argued about numerous issues and although the two nations did have diplomatic relations for a while they ceased ten years ago. Swiss, Turkish, and Armenian Foreign Ministries have just announced that Turkey and Armenia are prepared to enter into negotiations which could lead towards the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations. At the core of their disagreement is the issue of whether or not Turkish forces engaged in a genocide against Armenians in 1915.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played a behind the scene role in urging both sides to enter into negotiations. Hopefully, the people of Israel can learn from the decision to enter into legitimate negotiations that even conflict which has endured for generations can still lead to compromise. The past is over, today we have the opportunity to recast the future. Try it Prime Minister Netanyahu, you might find success.

Turkey Denounces “Genocide” In Uighur

The prime minister of Turkey issued a sharp statement directed at China for what it termed the “genocide” now occurring in Xinjiang province of western China. Prime Minister Recept Tayiyip Erdogan expressed his shock at the death of nearly 200 people and the wounding of about 1,700 caused by mobs attacking one another in the capital city and the ensuing actions of the Chinese army. Uighur exile leaders expressed their appreciation for Erdogan’s remarks Actually, in fairness of Erdogan he specifically referred to the deaths as a “sort of genocide” and wondered why the Chinese government would not take action to end violence.

It is wonderful that a Turkish leader finally has used the word, “genocide,” but, of course, it is disappointing the word was not used in reference to the genocide carried out by the Ottoman empire against Armenians. The death of 184 is horrible. But, to Erdogan, the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians has yet to be resolved. Perhaps, one day the Turkish government will openly use words like “genocide” and allow their nation to move on.

Turkey-Armenia Begin To Talk

Diplomats from Turkey and Armenia have been meeting in Switzerland in an effort to end decades of anger and hate. In a move welcomed by the United States, “the two parties have achieved tangible progress and understanding in this process and they have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the realization of their bilateral relations in a mutually satisfactory manner. In this context, a road-map has been identified.” The two nations do not have diplomatic relations so issuing such a communication reflects a sincere desire on the part of both to get down to the reality of living in the same world and not allowing pain of the past to get in the way of future growth and development. If Israel and Germany can have warm and supportive relations there is no reason why Armenia and Turkey can not heal wounds of the past.

Even as Turkey joined in the announcement, its government recalled the ambassador from Canada because Canada believes Armenians were killed in a manner that suggests genocide. It is time for Turkey to cease getting upset because other nations do not agree with their interpretation of the “incidents” that we believe was mass murder.

Rwanda Genocide Accused Freed In UK

Four men accused of participating in the infamous 1994 Rwanda genocide were freed by a British court on grounds if they returned to Rwanda it would be impossible for them to be accorded a fair trial. The justices ruled to accept the extradition request from the Rwanda government would be in violation of Article 6 of the European convention on human rights which safeguards the right to a fair trial. The men are accused of killing or conspiring to kill members of the Tutu ethnic group. Lord Justice Laws and Lord Justice Sullivan ruled there was concern over the “impartiality and independence” of Rwandan courts. Some witnesses claimed they were afraid to testify in support of the four men because they would then face being placed on trial themselves.

This is certainly a complex issue, the men are accused of participation in the Rwanda genocide but they have a right to a fair trial. We have learned from the Bush administration that accusing someone does not mean the person is guilty. On the other hand, what if they were guilty and escaped punishment because their rights were being protected?

Rwanda Supports Death In Congo

A decade ago, the Tutsi people of Rwanda were attacked by Hutus and subjected to the horror of a genocide in which over 800,000 were killed. Today, according to a UN report, the government of Rwanda is providing military support to Tutsi rebels fighting in the Congo who have helped to kill over 5,000,000 and drive millions of others into exile. The report also cites evidence the government of the Congo is also helping to fuel conflict. As the UN investigating committee notes, “this is the most concrete evidence so far of direct government involvement in militias. For years, Rwanda and Congo have been dancing around the international community, saying prove it. This proves it.”

Among the horrible events discussed in the report is efforts by the government of Rwanda to recruit soldiers, including children and supply military equipment for a war that is genocidal in operation. How can people who endured a genocide just fifteen years ago, support genocide!! On the flip side, it appears the Congo government is supporting the Hutus who kill people in Congo. Who are these leaders?

Violence Continues In Darfur

The government of the Sudan insists that peace and harmony are its goals in Darfur, but for some reason this belief is not being communicated to their militia in the region. Rebel commanders in Darfur have accused Arab militias of attacking villages in the southern part of the region and killing civilians and burning villages. The accusations come on top of ongoing complaints about violence in northern parts of Darfur which have forced thousands to flee their homes. The UN led peacekeeping operation in Darfur confirmed there was fighting in the region. According to Major Ahmed Salah, “I can confirm fighting but between whom and whom has not been confirmed.” However, he did note that his troops were halted by Arab militias.

A member of the Sudan Liberation Movement said his forces had encountered the Janjaweed who are Arab mercenaries hired by the Sudan government to pillage, rape, and burn in Darfur. A Sudan army spokesman said he could not confirm if his soldiers were operating in the region, but they were securing roads in the area. One can only conclude the Sudan government continues its lies and deceit about the genocide that is happening in Darfur.

Soccer Diplomacy Between Turkey And Armenia

A hundred years of hate and conflict separate people in Turkey and Armenia, but the cold winds of anger may have been blown away because two leaders sat down in a stadium to watch a soccer match between teams from their nations. Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Turkish President Gul enjoyed a friendly afternoon at a soccer match and began the process of peace and reconciliation between their nations. Both men are committed that future generations will not have to live in fear and hate because they intend to find a way to achieve peace between the two peoples. “I believe my visit has demolished a psychological barrier in the Caucasus,” said President Gul. Both men promised to work together to normalize relations between their nations.

The leaders avoided any discussion of the genocide committed against Armenians a hundred years ago and focused on issues of today. Ironically, Turkey was among the first nations to recognize the independent nation of Armenia, but the legacy of the genocide proved too strong for a reciprocal feeling.

Perhaps, it is time for a commission of scholars from both nations to develop educational materials that deal with the genocide just as German educators have created numerous educational lessons for teaching about the Holocaust. If German and French educators can jointly work on new versions of the origin of World War I, certainly Armenian and Turkish educators can work on their past relationships.

Sudan Forces Build Up In Darfur

Sudanese troops who are accused of killing more than 30 people in a raid on a Darfur camp have begun to build up their position outside of the camp. Darfurians fear another attack will continue the killing process that invariably is followed by Sudan forces. African Union troops have been alerted by villagers and are attempting to station themselves near the village. A total of 32 camp residents in the camp were killed, including seven children, when Sudan troops entered and began shooting. Naturally, the Sudan government claims their troops were fired on by “bandits” and simply returned the fire. It is not clear whether the seven dead children were part of the “bandit group.”

This is merely one more “unimportant” incident in which several people died because the Sudan government continues its brutal policies. The incident will shortly be forgotten, the dead buried, and Sudan troops will continue killing innocent people. American political leaders might shout, “we are all Georgians,” but, so far, no one has shouted, “we are all Darfurians.”