04 March 2006
In the annals of the genocide scholars, there are many contenders for those who are the most prejudiced, one-sided, Turk despising propaganda advocates. Prof. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas might well have a championship belt in one of his closets.
Let's take a look at where this man is coming from:
When one runs a search for Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, one is rarely at a loss to find his association with the Armenians. For example, a Nov. 14, 2003 ANCA press release tells us:
Dr. Alfred De Zayas, the recipient of the ANC Scholarly Excellence Award, was lauded for his groundbreaking report regarding the applicability of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to the Armenian case. According to his findings, the UN Convention applies retroactively to the Armenian Genocide, making the Turkish state fully responsible for reparations. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. De Zayas teaches international law at several European and North American universities.
And here lies Dr. De Zayas' main value; under the guise of his "expertise" of international law, he goes out of his way to tell us that the 1948 U.N. Convention may be applied retroactively, that the Convention defines the Armenian experience as a genocide, and that reparations deserve to be in line. He suspiciously does not get into the countless other historical episodes of "Man's Inhumanity to Man" from many years past that may equally be subject to the same rules that he opines about; no, he concentrates almost exclusively on the Armenians. Is it any wonder that he is the Armenians' Wet Dream, tackling their obsession from a "legal" standpoint, as Alfred De Zayas does?
He served as a senior lawyer with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (for 22 years, according to the ANCA document), an organization that does not recognize the Armenian experience as a genocide. Now think about that: the very organization that made the rules for what constitutes a genocide refuses to consider what happened to the Armenians as a genocide (despite deceptive maneuvers by pro-Armenians to say otherwise), yet this man still insists that the Armenian experience must fall under the genocide category. And he was a lawyer for the United Nations. What is going on here? Are we to conclude that the U.N. is wrong? Or should we begin to think this man is doing some weasely legal maneuvers to serve his own agenda?
There is an abundance of Armenian genocide contributions by De Zayas plastered over the Internet. We'll concentrate on basically two. But first, let's get an idea of where he stands on Turks.
From his own site, we can read his position on Cyprus. He begins by telling us, "The Turkish invasion entailed without any doubt the crime of aggression, as it violated both the UN Charter and the Nuremberg principles." Let's keep in mind this man is supposed to be an "expert" on International Law. What are we to make of the fact that he has completely ignored the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee giving Turkey and Greece the right to protect their respective Cypriots in the case of aggression? In 1974, it was the Greeks who were the aggressors, following many years of terrorizing the Turkish minority. The coup leader, Nikos Sampson, admitted in a Greek newspaper interview that had Turkey not intervened, he would have exterminated every last Turk on the island. (Eleftherotipia, Feb. 26, 1981.)
Legally, Turkey performed its right to intervene. Even an Athens court agreed Turkey's move was legal. You can read the details on the Cyprus page.
Yet, De Zayas is calling this legal intervention an "invasion," and a "crime." (This shoddy "international law expert" should have consulted how the legality was upheld even by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in a resolution adopted on July 29, 1974, namely Resolution 532 . Moreover, what excuse has he, as a lawyer working with the U.N., when he does not acknowledge the fact that the United Nations never actually condemned the Turkish intervention of 1974 and never called it an "invasion"? Source.) He goes on to compare this episode with what the Nazis did, as established under the Nuremberg trials, regarding the "illegality of aggressive war," as if the Turks simply made this move out of the blue and without provocation, no different than the Nazis, as they stormed through Europe. (He actually goes on to imply that the Turkish leader who ordered the Cyprus move, Bulent Ecevit, should be treated as a Nazi war criminal.)
A victim of Greek Cypriot atrocities. More.
Isn't that incredible? Absolutely no regard for history, no regard for the provocations in place, no regard for legal agreements not in keeping with the professor's agenda. Why, exactly as with the case of the Armenian "Genocide." It's as if these events must have existed in a vacuum.
He talks about the implantation of Turks, comparing the process to the purposeful implantation of Germans in WWII Poland, as if there were no Turkish Cypriots in existence before 1974. He talks about the forceful expulsion of Greeks, as if none of the Greeks moved to southern Cyprus on their own accord. Did the Turks go door-to-door in northern Greek homes, and tell them to get out? I think in the chaotic situation, most thought, uh-oh! We'd better go where it is "safe." If this was the case, is it right for De Zayas to present the picture of forceful expulsion?
What of the Turkish Cypriots who left their homes in southern Cyprus to travel to the north? Were they forcefully expulsed? Or did they similarly travel on their own accord? (In August 1975, Rauf Denktas and Glafkos Clerides, negotiating on behalf of their respective communities, signed a formal agreement, which recognised the population exchanges that had taken place and sanctioned further such exchanges.)
Which side tried to get along with the other over the years, and which side made it impossible to get along?
As with the Armenians, the Greeks committed the aggression. Innocent people were caught in the middle. Yet, in the end, it is always the Turks that must get the blame.
Alfred De Zayas is spoken of as though he is a champion of "human rights." Yet, in his paper, it is only the Greeks who have suffered or have been expulsed. He speaks as though only the Greeks have a right to Cyprus, as though "enosis" were already in effect. To De Zayas, the Turks are not entitled to human rights. The only time he throws a bone to the Turks is when he explains that "Of course, the settlers are human beings," when referring to the "120,000 illegal settlers" who have no "right to stay." Maybe he is referring to the Turkish Cypriots who were living on the island for centuries as "illegal settlers."
A biased (and outdated) Greek site (kypros.org/Cyprus/cy_republic/demography.html) tells us: "It is estimated that over 30,000 Turkish Cypriots have emigrated since 1974." (In 1973, the Turkish Cypriot population was 116,000.) A table for 1992 tells us the "Total Population in the Occupied Areas" was 175,000. The problem is, of course, that such information comes almost always from anti-Turkish sources, and these are the sources one such as De Zayas happilly accepts at face value. To get an idea of "the other side," let's resort to yet another Greek site, having published a 1991 New York Times article, "Fresh Tension for Cyprus: Counting the Newcomers"; the Northern Cypriot president complains, "They are trying to make believe that there are no Turkish Cypriots at all." Further: "Mr. Denktash does not deny that settlers from Turkey have come to Cyprus. But he says that only about 15,000 have taken up residence and produced families. As for the rest, he said, they are either tourists or seasonal workers who don't stay the five years required to acquire Turkish Cypriot citizenship."
The Greek Cyprus government site (cyprus.gov.cy) tells us the southern Cypriot population went up to almost 800,000 in 2004. (willfully underestimating with 87,600 for the Turkish Cypriots.) In 1973, it was almost 500,000. Are we to assume these are all offspring of the original inhabitants? (And how did these original inhabitants get there? For example, during WWII, many of the 12,000 Greek refugees, escaping Nazi persecution, stayed.) If thousands settled from mainland Greece, why should they have the right to do so, and not the Turks from Turkey? (That is, should the population of Turkish Cypriots have remained constant through the years? Interestingly, according to a British book, "The North Cyprus Almanac," 1985: "At the time of the British arrival in Cyprus in 1878 under the Cyprus Defence Alliance between Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire, approximately 95,000 Turkish-Cypriots were residing on the island.")
In addition: "The population does not include over 115.000 Turkish settlers illegally residing in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus." That's right, ladies and gentlemen. Alfred De Zayas is getting his information directly from the southern Greek Cypriot government, as if they must be the beacons of truth, adding 5,000 for good measure. Unbelievable.
Why isn't De Zayas up in arms about the zillions of Chinese the government of China implanted in eastern Turkestan, in an attempt to make the original inhabitants a minority in their own land? We know the answer; the victims are Turks, and De Zayas appears to regard Turks as sub-humans, and not worthy of consideration. But he probably thinks better of Tibetans, whose similar fate has been glamorized by the West. Surely the few thousand Cypriot Turks who settled from the Turkish mainland is a drop in the bucket compared to the many, many Chinese who have been implanted in Tibet. But there's no word on Tibet that I'm aware of from De Zayas. He similarly does not protest over the many Americans who have settled in Hawaii, after illegal annexation in 1898, making the original inhabitants a minority in their own land. (Note that in each of the cases above, the people no longer are in possession of their homelands. With Cyprus, the Greeks are still in possession of lands which they travelled to and settled in over the centuries, thanks to the tolerance of the Ottomans, after conquest from the Venetians. To the best of my knowledge, Cyprus was never owned by any government of Greece.)
Let's get out of this Cyprus discussion. The idea was to inform the reader of how blatantly one-sided De Zayas is. A "scholar," of course, is one who must dispassionately study all sides.
De Zayas got into the meat of the topic with his "The Genocide against the Armenians 1915-1923 and the relevance of the 1948 Genocide Convention," as featured on his site.
Alfred de Zayas, in Yerevan
He begins his "Historical and legal introduction" with "For centuries, the Armenian population of the Turkish Ottoman Empire was subjected to mistreatment and despotism, particularly in the Armenian homeland." Legal introduction? There ought to be a law against this lie that the genocide scholars keep repeating, with no reservation or shame. No. The Ottoman-Armenian population were known as the "Loyal Millet," so prosperous, that when Napoleon asked the French ambassador in "Constantinople" whether it would be possible to stir them up (during plans of war against the Ottomans), the ambassador replied that Armenians were so contented, it would be impossible.
"[M]ore than 150,000 Armenians were killed" in 1896 mainly because of "the resultant ethnic and religious fanaticism deliberately fuelled by the Sultan's policies." (The actual figure was closer to 20,000. It would have been zero, if the Armenians did not rebel.) No mention of the terror groups that the Armenians formed, the purposeful massacres and violence they caused in the hopes of European intervention. No. All of a sudden, after centuries of relative prosperity and contentment, the Turks decided to go on a murder spree.
De Zayas rubs salt in the wound by claiming 30,000 casualties in 1909 Adana, when even Armenians from the period estimated some 10,000 less. His source: Vahakn Dadrian. How appropriate for a "scholar" like De Zayaz to completely take the word of a notorious Armenian propagandist, whose scholarly ethics boil down exactly to what Prof. Guenter Lewy concluded.
De Zayas informs us that a series of "massacres and deportations... took the lives of some 1.5 million Armenians." Fact: Some 1.5 million pre-war Armenians, according to neutral sources such as the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. Fact: One million Armenian survivors, according even to Armenian hard-liners such as Vahakn Dadrian. Simple mathematics: 1.5 million minus one million. Does that equal 1.5 million to you? (Fortunately, you probably don't have a Ph.D., like Alfred De Zayas.)
Alfred De Zayas actually gets into the specifics of the dead-horse Treaty of Sèvres, signed by an occupied puppet Ottoman administration! Does this human rights champion pretend ignorance of the purpose of that treaty, to eliminate the Turkish nation? (He actually writes... this is truly unbelievable... that: "the Treaty remains eloquent evidence of the international recognition of the crime of 'massacres' against the Armenian population of Turkey." Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Alfred De Zayas has actually sunk as low as to tell us this racist and inhuman treaty provides "evidence" of the massacres... and in an "eloquent" fashion, yet.)
The clauses he brings up, not incidentally, such as the establishment of criminal trials and the return of Armenians to their homes were actually fulfilled. Armenians were returning in droves to their homes even before the 1918-end decree allowing them to do so, as observed by missionaries and other hostile foreign agents. So much so that 644,900 Armenians were in what was left of the empire by 1921, according to the Armenian Patriarch. (In 1918 war-end, the Patriarch claimed 1,260,000 survivors still in what was left of the empire. The Patriarch's own death toll — 840,000, as exaggerated as it was — didn't reach the stratosphere as De Zayas' propagandistic figure.)
The troublesome thing here is that we can almost excuse De Zayas for his ignorance, because he is no historian. (Oops! Keep reading, as to what he says about that.) However, this is not rocket science here; anyone can do a little research to get at the heart of the matter. (And it is the duty of those known as "scholars" to do so.) What are we to conclude? That De Zayas is totally inept, or that he knows and only selectively reports his facts?
In typical propagandistic form, De Zayas writes: "No international criminal tribunal as envisaged in Article 230 was ever established." This tribunal was well underway between 1919-1921. The reason why it never went all the way through was because the British — as determined as they were to eradicate the Turkish nation — were pressured to find the genuine evidence, and simply could not. This was, of course, the Malta Tribunal.
At least De Zayas mentions the unmentionable, and refers to Malta. But look at the reason why it failed: "[T]he British government was ultimately blackmailed into releasing them in 1921-22 in exchange for British officers."
If anybody maintained prisoners as hostages, it was the British, as the British Archives themselves spell out. (English Judge Sir Lindsay-Smith said as much, when asked by Sir H. Rumbold: "[A]n abortive trial would do more harm than good," and that the only alternative was "to retain Turkish deportees at Malta as hostages." [FO 371/6504/E. 10023] More.) What De Zayas is doing is dutifully taking the line of Vahakn Dadrian and those like him, trying to find a convenient way to weasel out of the real facts. Here is Dadrian's version.
De Zayas then gets into Dadrian's bread and butter, the 1919-20 Ottoman kangaroo courts. It's embarrassing that an "expert" on "international law" can't tell the difference between legitimate courts and a court forced through an occupying enemy, with the threat that if the criminals don't surface, the Turks would be treated harshly at the Peace Conference. If there was any real "blackmail," it was these false courts.
Getting beyond the realm of his "history," now De Zayas gets down to the legal nitty-gritty. He writes: "In the classic Oppenheim/Lauterpacht textbook on 'International Law', Professor Hersch Lauterpacht noted that the Convention was not only forward-looking but that it had a primary retrospective significance." Here is the relevant line: "Thus, as the punishment of acts of genocide is entrusted primarily to the municipal courts of the countries concerned, it is clear that such acts, if perpetrated in obedience to national legislation, must remain unpunished unless penalized by way of retroactive laws."
Now note how De Zayas is grasping for straws desperately. Firstly, this is an opinion by a legal expert, and not the law. Secondly, Professor Hersch Lauterpacht could well have been referring not to past examples of genocide, but those in the future that escape punishment (and there certainly have been plenty of examples since the Convention has been adopted). That only makes sense; otherwise, are we going to take Italy to court for what the Romans did in Carthage?
Thirdly, what about the basic legal concept of Nullum Crimen? A law must be in place before the crime is recognized.
(Later, he feebly attempts to address this, by referring to a clause stating: "Nothing in this article shall prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations." But criminal in what sense? If enemy forces declare the Turks were behaving as monsters (as the Entente Powers declared in May 1915), and they do so for propagandistic purposes... and later, when they have the upper hand at Malta and can't prove their own allegations... then what course can be pursued? Certainly, it's a crime in any age, when helpless people are deliberately slaughtered. But we need guidelines before we can establish the crime. And these are the conditions as set in the 1948 Convention. And those conditions go against the Armenian episode: "intent" must be proven, and there must be no political alliances.)
Fourthly, and what the above ties in with, is that the crime must be proven. Even the United Nations, the body that wrote the rules on genocide, has not recognized the Armenian matter as a genocide.
Note how De Zayas is twisting so much to serve his agenda. Like Dadrian, he is making us think people made statements that could have had an altogether different meaning, and chooses excerpts and quotations while totally ignoring other realities.
When he boldly opines, "It is precisely because of its erga omnes quality that the crime of genocide cannot be subject to prescription, and that State responsibility for the crime, i.e. the obligation of the genocidal State to make reparation, does not lapse with time," note how hollow such a declaration becomes when he neglects to apply the principle to all the many historical examples that were plain examples of extermination policies. Is De Zayas after the British, French, Belgians, and so many other nations that misbehaved so ruthlessly in their pasts? For example, is he on Russia's back for what the Russians did to the Circassians? Or to the Crimean Tatars?
Why is De Zayas only passionate about the Armenians? (I'm making this statement through an Internet search, where I basically noticed his Armenian concentration. This is not to say he may not have paid lip service to other historical examples. Clearly, however, there is a gross imbalance, regarding his Armenian interest.)
Most troublingly, as he did with the Greek Cypriots, why is there no mention about the extermination efforts of the Armenians? We even saw their misbehavior in recent history, with Karabakh. (Now there's an example where the U.N. was in agreement, regarding the wrong-doers.) The Armenians systematically wiped out their Muslims during the establishment of the post-WWI republic, and they were behind the deaths of some half-million Ottomans, in the implementation of "Death and Exile."
What's going on here?
To further build his case that there must be retroactivity, De Zayas cites statements from the Supreme Court of Israel in their ruling against Eichmann, and U.S. courts support of the extradition to Israel of John Demjanjuk. If we can put aside the special and senstitive nature of the Holocaust (Eichmann was a dead duck, no matter what), here we arrive at an interesting cul de sac.
It is not the nation that can be taken to court for genocide. It is individuals. (And if a nation could be taken to court, for argument's sake, should it be the nation — the Republic of Turkey — that overthrew the one — the Ottoman Empire — allegedly performing the crime?)
He later gets into "The principle of State succession," trying to find examples to support what he desperately wishes to demonstrate, by providing parallels such as Serbia assuming responsibility for Yugoslavia, and Germany for the Nazi regime. If we remember our history, can these constitute as true parallels? Serbia was the dictating force in Yugoslavia, and wound up being what was left of Yugoslavia. [Indeed, when everyone else except Montenegro broke away, Serbia was still called "Yugoslavia" until 2003.] In other words, the state did not change here, it just grew smaller; and Germany's new state was imposed by victorious outsiders. There was no overthrowing in either case.
Crete handed to Greece by Europe, in 1897
De Zayas gives another example, that of Greece bearing a wrong committed by "autonomous" Crete. This regards the "Lighthouse Arbitration (France v. Greece)" case from1956. "Greece was obligated to compensate for Crete's breaches, because Greece was the successor State," De Zayas wrote. Anyone who knows the history of Crete is aware the Cretans were chomping at the bit to declare "enosis" (union) with Greece, throughout the uprisings of the 19th century. When the Ottoman military was kicked out "bag and baggage" in 1898, leaving the Cretan Turks at the mercy of the murderous Greeks (what does the reader suppose happened to these unfortunate Turks? Clue: As an example, when Greece invaded Crete in February 1897, 80 Muslim villages in the center of the island were entirely destroyed . Perhaps De Zayas will instruct us that there is no retroactivity to this mini-genocide), does anyone believe the Allied forces set up on the island were not at one with Greece? Although "enosis" was officially established in 1908, for all intents and purposes, Crete's decade-long "autonomy" was in name only. The 1897 British cartoon above makes this plain to see. The woman (Europe) is throwing a bone (Crete) to her dog (Greece). Greece, in reality, was not the "successor state," but the state all along. A far cry from the Republic of Turkey, which overthrew the Ottomans, made a break wth the past and practically wiped out Ottoman history in the minds of the Turks.
Just like biased Christian Europeans were anxious to please their Grecian lap dog then, the same strategy exists with Cyprus, today. (Imagine! They even made Greek Cyprus a member of the European Union, even though Cyprus isn't part of Europe... to further turn up the heat against Turkey.) Turkey had 345 years of the island's ownership after conquest from the Venetians, and before that, practically everyone owned Cyprus (Assyrians, Sumerians, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Arabs) except for Greece. The British took advantage of the Sick Man and came in temporarily, refused to get out as per the arrangement (what does "international law" say about that, and is there a statute of limitations to bar the Brits from being taken to court, unlike the 1948 Convention's supposed retroactivity?), and illegally annexed the island come WWI. The only reason why there is a Greek presence on Cyprus is because, unlike the murderous Greeks of Crete, the Turks were tolerant. Suddenly, Cyprus has come to be accepted as a Greek possession by bigoted Christian nations, the Turks on the island are not ackknowledged as in existence, and biased parties such as De Zayas do their utmost to maintain the deception and injustice. It is truly an unconscionable situation.
This man actually gets into "Continuation of the Crime of Genocide: the destruction of historical monuments." Appalling. If Turkey had the mind to willfully destroy these monuments, not one would be standing. (I can't confirm, but I recall a statistic to the tune of there being more Armenian churches in Turkey than all of Armenia.) Examples such as "Among the Turkish acts of memory-destruction can be listed the suppression of the name 'Armenia' from official maps and the changing of the names of Armenian villages and towns in Asia Minor, which continued late into the 1950s," now fall into the category of "genocide."
(What is he talking about, suppressing the name "Armenia" from official maps? I hope he's not foolish enough to be talking about present-day Armenia, where certainly that nation would be acknowledged in maps. And there was no nation called "Armenia" before WWI's end, except in the minds of wishful thinkers.)
Has anyone bothered to tell this man that as the years progress, change is inevitable? There is a difference between evilly implementing "memory destruction" and having to bow to the tide of progress and evolution. If the Armenian presence is primarily gone in eastern Anatolia, what responsibility is there to preserve what went on in a bygone time... especially after many years. Armenia and Greece made haste to eradicate all mention of the Turkish presence from their lands. The Turks certainly did not do the same. But after a time, the neighborhood must adapt, according to present-day realities; let's get real, here.
What nation does this? Does Israel have maps with "Palestine" on them? Does the United States record the nations of the Indians in their maps?
Is this supposed to be "genocide"?
De Zayas curiously writes: "Yet another form of continuing the genocide is by negating its historical reality, as if the 1.5 million Armenians of Anatolia had never existed." Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Here, he appears to be admitting the truth, that there really were 1.5 million pre-war Armenians as the total population. Earlier, he stated the mortality was 1.5 million. That means, in his "scholarly" mind, there would have been zero Armenians left.
And look at this:
"Another form of continuing the genocide is by rehabilitating the murderers. In March 1943 the mortal remains of the principal architect of the genocide, Ittihad Interior Minister Talaat Pasha, were ceremonially repatriated from Germany to Turkey..."
He has a point with the example of Dro ("rehabilitated" in Armenia, 2000) as a chief architect of the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Ottomans, but Talat Pasha was no murderer. His telegrams stressed the safeguarding of the Armenians, he dined and played backgammon with Armenian party leaders, and those who really knew him gave a very different picture (A German wrote in 1921 that "Talaat was a statesman, not a murderer"; even Morgenthau spoke well of Talat in his private letters and diaries). How does De Zayas prove Talat was the "Hitler"? Let's reproduce the footnote provided by the "scholar":
50. Walker, op. c i t. , p. 37. David Marshall Lang quotes in his book “The Armenians. A People in Exile” London 1981, p. 27, the telegraph which Talaat, addressed to the Governor of Aleppo on 15 September 1915: “You have already been informed that the Government has decided to exterminate entirely all the Armenians living in Turkey. No-one opposed to this order can any longer hold an administrative position. Without pity for women, children and invalids, however, tragic the methods of extermination may be, without heeding any scruples of conscience, their existence must be terminated.”. Also reported in the Daily Telegraph, London 29 May 1922.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Alfred De Zayas actually points to Andonian's words to convict Talat Pasha! (And to make it worse, he even refers to a newspaper account from 1922's "enemy" London to verify it.)
This is totally unacceptable. Even most Armenian "scholars" know better these days than to stray into Andonian territory.
He then sinks to the level of quoting from Ambassador Morgenthau's "Story" book, relating the infamous insurance story, where Talat asks for the Armenians' money because the Armenians are all dead. Here is what lies at the base of that story. Does the truth matter to Alfred De Zayas?
Getting further into the "red herring" of "The Genocide Convention and the principle of non-retroactivity," our scholar embarrassingly puts the Treaty of Sèvres on the same plane as the London Agreement of 1945. He refers to the opinions of lawyers. Finally, he safely concludes: "[T]he Genocide Convention of 1948 can be applied retroactively." Whoopee!
"While non-retroactivity is a principle that has pragmatic value, it is frequently abandoned in international treaties..." Alfred De Zayas is desperate to make his case, and will point to anything to bolster his agenda.
He concludes with, "Bringing the genocide against the Armenians before the International Court of Justice." If any party needs to be brought to court, it should be Armenia... to force them to prove their defamatory claims, based on propaganda. That goes equally to the totally prejudiced supporters in the genocide industry.
(But what if the judge in that courtroom would be someone like De Zayas? In an interview related below, De Zayas vouches for the integrity of the judges at the Hague. Hopefully, there are honorable judges who can retain their objectivity. Unfortunately, the prejudice against Turks is so thick in Europe, and anti-Turkish propaganda has been so relentless, chances are the judges could be ready to throw the book at the Turks from the get-go.)
Alfred de Zayas reports from Yerevan
In keeping with that last point, armeniandiaspora.com reports (ARKA News Agency - 04/20/2005) that De Zayas was in Yerevan, singing sweet music to the Armenians' ears: "NEW PEOPLE'S TRIBUNAL SHOULD BE ORGANIZED TO CONDEMN ARMENIAN GENOCIDE.": (At the conference "Ultimate Crime, Ultimate Challenge: Human Rights and Genocide.")
"He pointed out that all the Turkish officials concerned with the Armenian Genocide died and, therefore, cannot be punished." Good! He's aware of that.
(And let's bear in mind many of those officials had been assassinated by the Dashnak "Nemesis" organization, just after the acquittal of those held in Malta. Assuming they were guilty of genocide, they paid the highest price. But even a pre-law student knows a person is innocent unless proven guilty, and nobody came up with the proof that these murdered men were guilty.)
"What is possible and necessary today is to settle the historical record, to seek the judgement of the Court of the world public opinion."
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. What the Armenians and their supporters cannot prove with genuine historical facts, they attempt to prove through "the world public opinion." This is a breeze, given the money and obsession of these genocide advocates, and the intense prejudice still existing against the Turks.
Alfred de Zayas cites the 1984 People's Tribunal in Paris as a "good start." Of course. That non-legal entity was near-totally composed of prejudiced and brainwashed parties who concluded the Turks were just no good.
"The results of such people's tribunals must be given greater visibility. I am persuaded that it is possible to take the Armenians out of the category [of] 'unsung victims' and to ensure that the Armenian Genocide is taught in every school and in every university, at least in the United State and in Europe."
Whew! Alfred de Zayas sure is committed to the Armenian cause, isn't he?
(And whoever said the Armenians were "unsung victims"? Armenians have made victimhood into an art form.)
Our "International Law Expert" was interviewed by Aris Babikian on July of 2004 ("Recognition, Restitution, and Return—Modern-Day Turkey's Responsibility For the Genocide"); let's see if we can get a better look at his make-up.
He starts off by telling us that he is "of Spanish descent. I have no connection with Armenia or Turkey or other countries in the region." In other words, he is completely neutral.
An online encyclopedia tells us he is of Spanish-French descent (which explains the "Maurice" part of his first name), growing up in Chicago. He studied and practiced law in the United States, before leaving for Europe in 1974.
So he's an American. Completely exposed to the massive Armenian propaganda perpetuated in the United States, and the anti-Turkish prejudice that follows suit. He wanted to make it sound like he was Spanish, far removed from Armeno-Turkish relations. We know from his writings that he is anything but neutral. How very disingenuous.
"I was first interested in the expulsion at the end of World War II of 15 million German civilians from East Prussia, Ukraine, Silesia, Sudetenland, etc." This is how he became interested in the Armenian story, he says.
Indeed he (co)-wrote a book called, "The Wehrmacht
War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945." De Zayas investigated the suffering of one of the villains of history. (I understand another work of his examining the plight of the WWII Germans couldn't find a publisher, because it's not politically correct to acknowledge the plight of an "evil people." So De Zayas has firsthand knowledge about the hypocrisies of academia.) What a pity such a "contrarian" could not bring himself to look at the Armenian tale with an open mind. One would think he'd have had the makings for it.
Alfred de Zayas
"I discovered the only one of similar severity was the deportation of Armenians from Armenia to Syria, to the desert where they perished. I was also confronted by the massacres that started on April 24, 1915, in Istanbul—a huge topic which, unfortunately, had not entered into the general public consciousness."
Not for lack of trying. Note how he perpetuates the fallacy that the Armenians who were sent to the "desert" all perished, and that the massacres "started on April 24, 1915." That date signified the arrest of the ringleaders of the Armenians' rebellion. Is an arrest now supposed to be a "massacre"?
"As you know, the Convention was already applied retrospectively in many situations concerning the Holocaust. The Holocaust which took place in Europe from 1941 to 1945, occurred prior to the Genocide Convention. Nonetheless, the Germans were convicted of genocide."
Hoo-boy! Of course the Convention was going to be applied toward the Germans, since their crimes are what caused the Convention to be created in the first place. Show us how the Convention would be applied against the British and their conduct during the Boer War a century or so ago, and then we'll be a little better convinced as to how "retroactive" the Convention is meant to be.
"I really think it is necessary to imagine what the reaction of the world community would be if modern-day Germany were still to occupy the synagogues and use them as warehouses or as prisons, as is the case of Armenian churches in Turkey. Or if Germany were to hang the paintings and other items of value of the victims of the Holocaust in its museums. It is a particularly ugly situation. For me, as a non-Armenian and non-Turk, it is difficult to understand why this situation has been tolerated."
What about the Armenian structures that have been preserved? Has this been the fate for every single Armenian building? Is he seriously suggesting everything Armenian needed to be worshipped, even though the Armenians had left by their own choosing? (Remember: 644,900 of the original 1.5 million were still left in 1921, according to the Patriarch. Many hundreds of thousands of others had already left for non-Ottoman lands, on their own accord, and many of the rest later left for the greener pastures of sympathetic Christian countries.) Who was going to pay for all that maintenance? And why?
What is ugly is the parallel he is setting up. How many synagogues were left in Germany at the end of the war? If they had all survived, as much as Germany has bent over backwards to make amends, I doubt they would have all been maintained, with practically no Jewish community to make use of them.
Once again, he tries to present himself as a neutral party, by reminding us he is "a non-Armenian and non-Turk." If he was so neutral, he would also be up in arms regarding the complete absence of the Turkish cultural presence in today's Armenia.
"In the case of the Armenian Genocide, obviously, there is no one that you can prosecute—the perpetrators are dead. On the other hand, you still have an obligation on the part of the state of Turkey to make restitution."
Even if that were the case, it is not up to a propagandist like Alfred de Zayas to make such a determination. There happens to be the nagging matter of the legal document Armenia signed at the end of the 1920 war that the Armenians had provoked (according to First Prime Minister Katchaznouni himself; Armenian propaganda tells us Turkey and Russia worked together to pick on poor, innocent Armenia) with the Turks. As Dashnak Critic Arthur Derounian wrote, referring to the Gumru/Alexandropol Treaty: "Highly significant Is Article 8, wherein Dashnags agreed 'to forego their rights to ask for damages... as a result of the general war,' thus closing the doors FOREVER to reparations for the enormous destruction of Armenian life and property."
"I see no problem in applying the Convention retrospectively to the experience of the Armenian Genocide, because that is in the object and purpose of the Convention. That is what the Convention intends to do."
No, the purpose of the Convention was to prevent genocides taking place in the future. If the "object and purpose of the Convention" was to go after past genocides, then we would have had a whole slew of cases making an issue with just about every nation on earth. Don't give us the silly example of the Nazis to make your "retroactive" point. Of course Alfred de Zayas is going to tell us, "I see no problem in applying the Convention retrospectively..." He has set forth to cherry-pick and twist as much as he could to "prove" what he has set out to establish.
The overriding question is, why? Why the Armenians? And only the Armenians?
"What happened in Armenia from 1915-1916 and later, is without a doubt, genocide. And why a genocide? Because here there was the intent—as in Article 2 of the Convention—to destroy in whole or in part an ethnic group."
Is this fellow supposed to be a real lawyer? One does not prove "intent" by simply stating there was intent. One needs to come up with factual evidence. Alfred de Zayas has embarrassingly demonstrated his sheer incompetence as a "legal expert" by actually pointing to proven forgeries for his evidence.
"It’s a classical instance of a genocide, which already then was seen by the British and French government as a crime against humanity, as they communicated officially to the Ottoman Empire in 1915."
There is his "proof" again. Pointing to the Ottomans' enemies, who were committed, through their secret treaties, to do away with the Turkish state. How convenient for an enemy to propagandistically make baseless charges at the time, and how woeful there are those in the 21st century still pointing to such obviously biased criteria to demonstrate "evidence."
"The intention of the British and French governments was to punish [the Ottoman leaders], and that intent to punish those responsible for the Genocide was laid down in Article 230 of the Treaty of Sevres. The Sultan signed it in the name of his people."
Repeat after me: the Treaty of Sèvres was stillborn. It was never implemented. The Treaty of Sèvres does not qualify as a valid document. The Sultan may have signed this death warrant after having been convinced there was no way out... by the Turkish lackeys of the British (who held the real power; the sultan was a figurehead and perhaps didn't even sign the treaty)... but the "people" rejected it. That is why the Sultanate was abolished in short order.
Isn't it disgraceful the way this man is pointing to irrelevant "facts," simply to bolster his suspicious agenda?
"As you know, I am not only a professor of international law, I have also studied history and I have a doctorate in modern European history. So I can appreciate the importance of legal records as a historical source, and these trials provide additional proof of the genocide against the Armenians. It’s additional proof that is not of Armenian origin, because these are Turkish courts-martial."
OHH! So he is also a "historian." Then Alfred de Zayas truly does not have an excuse. No doubt he has meticulously applied these basic rules of history.
Only an ideologue would refer to the decisions of ersatz courts to support his case. This is like if the Nazis had won, and they pointed to the court decisions of Vichy France under Nazi domination, as legitimate proof of the Nazis' own legality.
"Beyond that, you have all the contemporary evidence of the observers—British observers, American observers, American Ambassador Henry Morgenthau. His memoirs are of great importance. Also the memoirs of Johannes Lepsius and any number of official records..."
We are getting a clearer picture as to why this man is the Armenians' "wet dream." Let's not forget: those who point to propaganda are producers of propaganda.
The interviewer asks:
"The Turkish government justifies the release of the Turkish prisoners by Britain in Malta, stating that after researching the issue the British government and the international community could not find any kind of documentation or proof that Turkey committed genocide against Armenians and were forced to release these prisoners. How realistic is this approach or denial by the Turkish government?"
Alfred de Zayas replies:
"The statement, or rather the position, of the Turkish government is a political position. Like so many political statements, it cannot be taken seriously. It is preposterous. The facts are there. We know exactly how it came to be—it was an exchange for the hostages and nothing else."
Let's correct this putative scholar with the reminder that the above is not simply the "position of the Turkish government," but the position of any objective researcher who bothers to read the British archives. (That is, not just the parts that are comfortable.)
Alfred de Zayas actually says, "The facts are there," in his perpetuation of the lame "hostages" excuse. Just one example, among so many others, as the British Foreign Office themselves put it, "Our difficulty is that we have practically no legal evidence and we do not want to prepare for proceeding which will be abortive" [FO 371/6502/E. 5845]
But to a man like Alfred de Zayas such clarity as to why the Malta process was stalled in its tracks become "nothing else."
"That would not prejudice the fact that the Turkish courts-martial already recognized the existence of genocide and not only tried and convicted Turkish officials but executed three of them. So this is an ex post facto, and a rather weak, argument by the Turkish government. I think most people will just dismiss it."
Let us not forget, referring to these 1919-20 kangaroo courts that De Zayas points to so cheerfully: during the Malta process the British themselves had rejected the findings of these kangaroo courts.
Could you imagine hiring Alfred de Zayas as your own lawyer, when he values the garbage that even the enemies of the Ottomans could not make use of?
The interviewer asks:
"While in your judgment, the Genocide Convention applies fully to the Armenian Genocide, the International Center for Transitional Justice issued their own opinion on it, stating that although it is a genocide, it cannot be retroactively applied in case of the Armenian Genocide vis-à-vis the State of Turkey. Your conclusion is quite different from theirs. How do you reconcile these two approaches toward the retroactiveness issue?"
Alfred de Zayas replies:
"I am not impressed by their line of reasoning..."
Of course he is not going to be "impressed." Such would go completely against his suspicious agenda. And he makes sure to come up with the appropriate mumbo-jumbo to give us the idea his legal opinion is better than theirs. Let's keep in mind that the ICTJ was composed of a body of lawyers (that is, more than one Turk-condemning "legal expert") who relied almost exclusively on Armenian propaganda like Alfred de Zayas. Unlike De Zayas, one gets the impression the ICTJ lawyers did not get as hog wild over the subject.
The interviewer asks:
"The Turkish government also argues that Hitler did not make those statements about the Armenians. During your research on the German archives, did you come across documentation of this statement?"
Alfred de Zayas replies:
"I did not research this particular issue in the German archives, although I have spent months in German archives studying related matters. I did not address this particular topic because it is very well known. The quotation has been documented by many authors and very frequently. So, I did not feel the necessity to repeat the research that has already been done on that particular quotation."
And this sums up the difference between a real scholar and one who is content to accept surface claims. There have been authors (including even the rare Armenian one) who have researched the Hitler Quote extensively, backing up their findings with true scholarship, but these wouldn't make a difference to someone like Alfred de Zayas. If it supports the "Armenian genocide," then it must be made to appear as though it were a real fact.
I am at a loss to understand how people like Alfred de Zayas could allow themselves to be so completely partisan. Isn't it incredible?
"I think Armenians would do well to join forces with other victims, what I would term as “unsung victims.” Take the 200,000 Greek Cypriots who were expelled from their homeland in northern Cyprus in 1974 by the Turks, an action that was condemned repeatedly by the European Court of Human Rights."
Hey, don't get me started on Cyprus again.
(Hold it, I can't resist. According to the CIA Fact Book, there was a total of 265,000 displaced. That means, if our scholar is correct with 200,000 Greeks, there were 65,000 Turks who were also displaced. I wonder if the "European Court of Human Rights" recognized the "human rights" of these people. I guess we don't need to ask why De Zayas does not care about them.)
(Perhaps the Armenians can also join forces with other victims who are truly "unsung," such as the nearly one million Azeri refugees who were expelled in 1992 by... the Armenians. Alfred De Zayas, if you're reading this, please make a note to suggest this idea, the next time you are invited to Yerevan.)
The problem is, the deck is stacked all over with those who have accepted anti-Turkish propaganda so exclusively. We've got all of these prejudiced people in a body such as the European Court of Human Rights, content with looking at only one side of the issue and never bothering to scratch beneath the surface, and then one in their ranks could point to them and say, see? They agree with me, too.
"The rights do not lapse with time—after all, the descendants also suffered trauma. Let’s not forget that if I were a Jewish descendant of survivors of the Holocaust or an Armenian descendent of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, I would be suffering trauma because I would realize what happened to my people. And that is very heavy burden to take through life."
Well, that's the point where you'd need to get a life. What an absolutely simplistic way of looking at this picture. As if these genocide stories are not constantly reinforced, Armenian-Americans, as far removed from Armenia as can be, would have reason to be "traumatized."
More importantly, once again, our human rights champion does not care one iota as to the sufferings of the Turks under the hand of the Armenians. The picture must be maintained as strictly black and white, where the innocent Armenians were solely victimized, and the evil Turks were the victimizers.
Why would anyone choose to go down such a path? There is only one answer, ladies and gentlemen, aside from the cynical and speculative one where a party may be "bought" through the deep pockets of obsessed Armenians; that reason is prejudice.
Regarding attempts of dialogue between Turks and Armenians, our scholar replies that he has a "certain skepticism" because "you cannot start a dialogue on false premises. I cannot see a dialogue without an apology. I cannot see a dialogue without a recognition of the crime."
Isn't that ridiculous? If someone thinks you have injured him, and you hope to make up, are you falsely going to apologize to make him feel better? The idea of dialogue is to hope to come to an understanding. If you accept the position of your opponent at the outset knowing full well it is not the truth, then what is the sense of dialogue?
But according to De Zayas: "I don’t think that it shows any good faith. This is a farce."
There is a farce going on here, all right.
"But I consider it indispensable for Turkey—which has aspiration to enter the European Union and to be considered a civilized state..."
Oh, shut up. Who is this fellow to instruct us on what it means to be civilized?
A better definition of civility is to look at sources with no reason to lie before making irresponsible and defamatory charges of performing the greatest crime against humanity. Pointing to false evidence and committing "Rufmord" is not what I would call civilized.
"If you pretend that there was no genocide against the Armenians, that is essentially defaming the Armenians because that means the Armenians are a bunch of liars, that the Armenians have invented the genocide against themselves. That is a very serious attack against the identity and dignity of the Armenians of today."
Shouldn't a lawyer be the first one to insist on proving the charge before accepting it so completely?
Nobody is "pretending" that there was no genocide against the Armenians. However, what is needed among honorable people before reaching such a serious conclusion is genuine and solid evidence; not hearsay, not canards, and certainly not forgeries.
"But I don’t think that Turkey is really a strategically important country today. It was strategically important at the time of the Cold War, because it was an important checkmate of the Soviet Union. But after the end of the Cold War I see very little importance of Turkey, except if you see Turkey as a ground for American colonialism in the Middle East."
Why are we not surprised to read such a contemptuous statement as this? With the relevance that Islam has taken on in recent years, having a secular and democratic nation on one's side should be of no importance to the West, whatsoever.
There is not one thing that I have come across in Alfred de Zayas' writings where he has given the slightest attempt at fair play for the Turks. His evidence is laughable and propagandistic, he doesn't care about the "human rights" of the Turkish victims, and (to him) if there is anyone at risk of being "defamed" here, it is solely the Armenians.
The reader may form his or her own conclusions, regarding the essence of Alfred de Zayas.
Pigs will fly when Warren Kinsella learns to curb his talent for the ad hominem rant. In this column he justifies the punishment of Holocaust deniers because Holocaust deniers are rabid neo-Nazis. What they say is not necessarily wrong, perhaps, but it is said for bad reasons. What then can justify the punishment of someone who might say it for better reasons? Like all ad hominem artists, Mr Kinsella attacks not the merit of the argument but the merit of the arguer. Mr. Kinsella's facts may be right. His logic is stupid. In the real world, bad people sometimes say things that are true and good people sometimes say things that are false. I think the Holocaust did in fact happen and the evidence for it is compelling. But anything that can be proven with reference to evidence can also be disproven if different evidence turns up. The punishment of Holocaust deniers ultimately threatens the credibility of the Holocaust as a verifiable event. Like all other historical events, it can defend itself without the help of the policeman.
Frederick Dreyer, professor emeritus, Department of History, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.
(On February 23, 2006, Canada's National Post had published an op-ed by Warren Kinsella entitled "Why Irving Can't Be Ignored." On February 24, the Post included the above letter to the editor in response.)
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