19 October 2006

1146) The Future of Turkish and Armenian Relations

To the attention of Chairperson,
Facing History & Ourselves.

After reading a detailed first hand account of your recent 'The Future of Turkish and Armenian Relations' I was disappointed to see that you neither managed to present both views of a historical period nor attempted to suggest methods of solution moving on. . .

I would like to think that your intentions were of good nature and well meaning but what comes out of such one sided and generally (not fully) baseless program is the reason for the current clash of cultures that we are experiencing today. Drop by drop we create a pool of blood.

Mr.Blair was misled by Mr.Bush whos office was influenced by a mixture of misinformed consultants and people with alterior agendas. As a result a chasm never so deep has been lodged in between believers of different religions. Terrorism is far from extinguished growing, in fact the actual source in Afganistan is only re-surfacing. Do you ever thing why we got here?

Because people were presented with one side of the story. What happened to all the WMD? Did more Iraqis die before or now? How do you see the next 10 years for the country ?

While you (we) face history we must make sure that we neither let it be based on people with agendas or half truths. Hindsight is an extremely expensive luxury, you cannot decide to place the vase elsewhere after youve broken it. So what is the way? It is to let the people decide. Present all sides to a story and let them choose. Not politicians, not sponsors, private interest groups or biased employees.

Before you go invade another country or opinion think whether you really have all the facts and no hidden agendas among your contributors. Only then will you have faced history, only then shall you avoid history from tainting the future.

It is my hope that you repeat the event with participants from both sides in a controlled manner on neutral ground and update your lesson plans in line with it. Only then you shall perhaps, with luck, plant seeds of unity and prosperity instead of more hatred and bloodshed. Think about it the next time you face a mirror.

Of course it all depends on what your purpose is. Was president Bush's aim to bring prosperity to the Iraqi people or was it to bring prosperity to the millitary-industrial complex...


Sincerely,

Omer Koker.




judy@facing.org, karen_murphy@facing.org, inquiries@woolwichpoly.greenwich.seh.uk, gocek@facing.org, gocek@umich.edu


Kind attention of, Sue Zamkow,
Chair for the United Kingdom Advisory Cttee., of 'Facing History and Ourselves' - registered (British) charity #1103592 - www.facinghistory.org

cc. Jo Upton, Facing History teacher, Woolwich Polytechnic School


Dear Madam,

We have attended yesterday evening's lecture delivered by Prof. Muge Gocek on the subject of 'The Future of Turkish and Armenian Relations'

Sadly, our impressions of the lecture fell far short of the expected academic standards. Even more frightening is the potential for brainwashing children on the disputed subject of the alleged Armenian Genocide. In our view, just because the lecture was sponsored by an Armenian, it should not have been skewed in favour of one or the either side. Writing or teaching history lopsided is indeed a crime against humanity.

In short, all the material disseminated during the lecture is biased form of the events, without any mention of the genuine Turkish objections based on following:

that,
1) United Nations does not recognise the alleged Armenian genocide,
2) International Court of Human Rights in Hague does not recognise the alleged Armenian genocide,
3) A confirmation from the British Foreign Office (dated the 22nd of February, 2006) clearly outlines that the events of 1915 can not be classified as genocide,
4) Malta Military trials of Ottoman Army Officers (1921-2) could not find any evidence of state sponsored genocide against Armenians and accused were acquitted,
5) The American Government was asked to provide incriminating evidence for the Malta trials and she could not,
6) It is illegal and immoral to accuse a nation without a proper legal judgment at a proper legal paltform. In the absence of legal and moral proof of genocide a charitable organisation can not claim high moral ground nor act judge, jury and executioner.

furthermore,
6) Prof. Gocek has ignored pleas from the Turkish attendants to clarify that the events of 1915 had preceedent of the Turkish Genocide of 5 million people, where of that figure 521,000 Turks were murdered by the Armenians, with the help of Russians, during 1915-1916. She was specifically asked for her explanation of the events of 1878 (mistakely written on the question card as 1868) and indeed further clarified by the inclusion of Russo-Ottoman wars of 1850s onward. She was not prepared to explain the background of events for fear of losing the lopsided focul point of the lecture, but that was unfair as it missed the essence of the dispute,
7) The lecture was timed to almost coincide with the breaking of fast for the Muslim attendees. Whether this was intentional or not, the fasting ended at 6:22pm and lecture started at 6:45pm, with total disregard for the well-being of people who had been fasting without food or water for 13 hours.. This is indeed a gross shortsightedness and a sad one at that,
8) Questions posed by most of the Turkish attendees were not put forward, ignored, and this caused consternation amongst the Turkish attendees. Indeed this is a biased attitude and provocative one too, which led to scenes of anger. Forced feeding of information should not have been chosen as a tool to put forward a untried and untested view!

therefore,
9) We are challenging Prof. Gocek to a public debate on this subject, to be held at a neutral venue, costs shared by both the Armenian and the Turkish sponsors,
10) We demand that the material disseminated by yourselves to schools either be withdrawn forthwith or the Turkish side of the alleged Armenian Genocide is also taught to children. We are sure this what the Department of Education wishes and asks for,
11) In any event, lopsided teaching of history to children and adults alike must stop forthwith and Charity Commission and the Department of Education be advised of the material to be distributed in advance. This is only fair and within the requirements of your charitable status,
12) We wish for fair teaching of history and total elimination of bias and racism in our schools.

Looking forward to your prompt response,


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