08 November 2006

1213) Husband and Wife "Historians" Under Armenian Influence

Let's get to the meat of the matter. Aggressive and unchallenged Armenian propaganda has taken such hold in Western societies, those who know better... many "neutral" historians... have swallowed it all, hook, line and sinker.

Review what is expected of a historian, as Prof. Justin McCarthy beautifully worded it (for the rest, please tune in here):

Historians should love the truth. A historian has a duty to try to write only the truth. Before historians write they must look at all relevant sources. They must examine their own prejudices, then do all they can to insure that those prejudices do not overwhelm the truth. Only then should they write history. The historians creed must be, "Consider all the sides of an issue; reject your own prejudices. Only then can you hope to find the truth."

Who are our guardians against mindless and hateful propaganda? It's historians. Real historians.

The real historians have mostly been scared away after Armenians and their supporters (like Israel Charny) went after their precious reputations with below-the-belt smear tactics.

Who is left? Mainly, those who pretend to be historians. Ones who rely mainly on propaganda, and ones who can't keep a lid on their prejudices.

This page will briefly cover one frightening example and, to a lesser extent, her historian husband. (And the man is not just any historian, mind you, as you'll soon be reading. His case is, in a sense, way more frightening.)

Margaret Lavinia Anderson is a professor at Berkeley, the University of California. One of her specialties is, as the history faculty's web page tells us, the "Armenian Genocide." Her recent research, in her words: "...a project on Germany and the Ottoman Empire from the time of the massacres of the Armenians in the mid-1890s until ca. 1932."

Let's take a look at how she is approaching this matter, as a "historian," from her web page study guide for students, dated Spring 2006.

Among her required books are those from "genocide scholars" Donald Bloxham (The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Armenians) and Jay Winter. Note Bloxham's book came out roughly around the time as Prof. Guenter Lewy's "The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide." Why does our "historian," whose duty is to consider all relevant sources as you have read above, ignore this work? Could it be that Bloxham has settled on the "Destruction" of the Armenians, which may be much closer to her prejudices, whereas Lewy finds such a conclusion as "Disputed"?

Do you get the feeling that Dr. Anderson has made up her mind about this matter, and is only going to rely on the sources that affirm her thesis? Is that what a real historian does?

Bloxham does get points; he vouches for massacres of Azeris that were committed by Armenians (what the Jewish Times found analogous to the Holocaust in 1990), and he does take some of the more vicious hard-liners to count on their scholarship, particularly Vahakn Dadrian. But that's pretty much it. Bloxham, like Anderson, relies almost purely on propaganda; for example, he vouches for a dead count of Armenians numbering 1.2 million. (An impossibility, given that there were around 1.5 million to begin with, and hard-liners concede one million died. The Armenian Patriarch, from his bloated pre-war figure of 2.1 million which propagandists prefer to accept — even though the Patriarch "revised" his figure to 1.85 million elsewhere — didn't go as high as Bloxham. The Patriarch Zaven said, in 1918's tail end, that 1,260,000 Armenians survived, and 840,000 died.)

As genuine historian Justin McCarthy reminds us:

"We must affirm a basic principle: Those who take propaganda as their source themselves write propaganda, not history."

Some of the other works Anderson recommends for students as "Possible Follow-ups":

Stephan H. Astourian, "Modern Turkish Identity and the Armenian Genocide. From Prejudice to Racist Nationalism," in R. G. Hovannisian, ed., Remembrance and Denial. The Case of the
Armenian Genocide (1998), 23-50.

Indeed, a work of true scholarship, mainly relying on one-sided and biased sources. If there is any "prejudice and racist nationalism" involved, no doubt the cited pro-Armenian sources will live up to them.

With the recommendation of the above book, it's apparent Prof. Anderson holds to the "pan-Turanism" theory as genocidal motive. After centuries, for no good reason, the Turks suddenly decided to slaughter Armenians, because of "prejudice and racist nationalism."

Prof. Anderson also will go on to cite Justin McCarthy's "Death and Exile." Has she read this work? If so, why has she dismissed the real historical reason as to why Armenians stopped being the "Loyal Nation"? McCarthy outlined them beautifully, relying on sources that had no reason to lie, as a real scholar would. Here is a taste: Why did Ottoman Armenians & Muslims Become Enemies?

Another recommended work is Mark Levene's "Creating a Modern 'Zone of Genocide': The Impact of Nation-and State-Formation on Eastern Anatolia, 1878-1923," in a 1998 issue of Holocaust and Genocide Studies. "Includes the postwar Turkish massacres of Kurds in the story."

Again, the insistence that Turks behaved in monstrous fashion. Since nationalism is what gruesomely tore the Ottoman nation apart, there was little tolerance for further uprisings. Yes, the Kurds were dealt a heavy-hand during this re-birth of a devastated nation, at times unfairly. But it is not like the Turks said, oh! Let's go kill some Kurds for sport. Once again, it was reaction to action.

Anderson must not have paid attention to the [mis]behavior of the "unmanageable" Kurdish tribes, throughout the years. "Death and Exile" brushed with the topic; here is a taste, with Rebellious as Armenians: Ottoman KURDS.

As bad as these examples are, Anderson actually offers the Wellington House propaganda of the Blue Book as real history. Yes, on her reading list is actually:

James Bryce and Arnold Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-1916. Documents Presented to Viscount Grey of Falloden by Viscount Bryce, (Reprint, 2000).

Toynbee himself decried his work from these years as "war propaganda." And no real historian can regard James Bryce as an objective party.

That is simply inexcusable for a real historian.

Now she attempts to be "fair" by presenting "the other side":

Turkish government's version of these events: The URL for the website devoted to its response to charges of genocide is constantly changing, but if you search google for "Turkey," you will get the Turkish government's website, which allows you to search via "Armenians." At last check it was at ...turkey.org/p_armn00.htm

That link no longer worked, but I searched for what this Turkish embassy's page had to say. I suppose their best shot was a page called "Armenian Allegations." There are some claims made here that I don't care for, but overall the truth-seeker looks at the sources. For example, Bryce and Toynbee's sources for their propaganda book were Armenians and missionaries. Trustworthy? Not by a long shot. In contrast... just a quick glance at the sources here:

"Fact 1": Boghos Nubar. The Encyclopedia Britannica. French missionary Monseigneur Touchet. Would any of these sources have lied for the Turks? Why is Prof. Anderson dismissing these with the strong implication that it's what the "Turkish government says"?

I don't desire to get into the Turkish page, but "Fact 3" appropriately adds, "Armenian Americans purport that the wartime propaganda of the enemies of the Ottoman Empire constitutes objective evidence," and gives Ambassador Morgenthau as an example, explaining why Morgenthau was so unreliable. There is nothing said here that does not conform to genuine historical fact.

What kind of a historian would vouch for Bryce and Toynbee, and dismiss sources that had no reason to lie? It's not like "Turkish propaganda" is offering opinions of Turkish government flunkies. It is not like the "personal opinions" in the U.S. archives, as the British embassy worded it, while desperately seeking judicial evidence to convict the Turks holed up in Malta.

Why is Prof. Anderson allowing herself to be so prejudiced?

Here is where she cites McCarthy and his book of genuine scholarship, Death and Exile. The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922. Anderson comments:

"McCarthy is the most serious of the denialists."

With such childish labels, Anderson is proving herself to be a propagandist with an agenda, and not a genuine historian. And here is where she really goes to town:

Roger W. Smith, Eric Markisen (sic), and Robert Jay Lifton, "Professional Ethics and the Denial of the Armenian Genocide," Holocaust and Genocide Studies 9/1 (Spring 1995): 1-22. Exposes scandal that Heath Lowry, working for a Turkish lobby, coached Turkish ambassador in campaign to deny the genocide and was rewarded with the newly endowed Ataturk Chair of Turkish History at Princeton.

Heath Lowry was working for the Institute for Turkish Studies (ITS), which says on its web page, with good reason: "In keeping with its charter and tax-exempt status, the Institute does not seek to influence legislation." That would not make the ITS a "lobby." A lobbying group would be ANCA or the AAA, sophisticated Armenian organizations that instruct the faithful to perform letter-writing campaigns and the like, supported by large amounts of money behind them. The purpose of the ITS is to further Turkish Studies, mainly dealing with history. It is shameful that Anderson is doling out information strictly along propagandistic lines.

And the only ones suffering from "Professional Ethics," in this terrible paper Anderson has vouched for, were the authors Smith, Markusen and Lifton. Lowry did not "coach" Ambassador Nuzhet Kandemir, but sized up Lifton's amateurish work at Kandemir's request (Kandemir, not pretending to be a historian, needed an authority. Where was he going to go?), where Lifton relied 100% on the work of hardcore propagandist Vahakn Dadrian. A good part of the reason why these ethically challenged "genocide scholars" decided to create a "scandal" was because they wanted to send the message that those who go against their genocide agenda will suffer from below-the-belt tactics. It worked; Lowry was knocked out of the debate, and the episode (largely directed by Peter Balakian) intimidated genuine historians from the study of this topic.

If Lowry was awarded the chair at Princeton, that is because he happened to be one of the few qualified Turkish and Ottomanist historians around, backed up by very scholarly works, several that have been featured on this site. It's not as though the Turkish government could have pushed Princeton University around and demanded the condition that they hire Lowry. As a Princeton Alumni Weekly article from this episode made clear (see last link):

...[Princeton U]niversity spokesperson Jacquelyn Savani said that the $700,000 given by Turkey for the chair "is not the amount of money, given the $4 billion endowment of Princeton University, that should even raise suspicion. The fact of the matter is that not for $100 million could the Turkish government put its man in that chair. Not with this faculty." (Princeton's hiring procedure for faculty is rigorous: tenured faculty members of the department recommend candidates to the Committee on Appointments and Advancements, formed from the faculty at large, which makes the final decision.) Harvard, Georgetown, and the University of Chicago received similar grants, but only Princeton has established a fully endowed chair in Turkish studies.

It's maddening that Anderson would align herself so fully with these despicable propagandistic forces. Why is she doing it?

She is hardly alone, of course. She is the rule, not the exception. But her duty as responsible historian would be to fight these awful forces, not to join them. Even if Lowry was guilty of everything she is telling us (at the expense of her totally ignoring the partisanship of Armenian professors, of course), it is the research that ultimately matters.

To cap off her recommended list is the following work of amazing scholarship:

Constantinople (Ecumenical patriarchate), Persecution of the Greeks in Turkey, 1914-1918 (Constantinople [London, Printed by the Hesperia Press] 1919).

Anderson's bigoted message: Turks.... bad.

Can you imagine the harm she is causing, poisoning the minds of her impressionable students with her prejudices? Can you further believe that she is serving at such a respectable institution as Berkeley? (The second is most believable, but tragic. Her kind is the rule, not the exception.)

(She has signed the July 29, 2005 "Open Letter by 257 Scholars
to President Robert Kocharian of Armenia in Support of Yektan Turkyilmaz." Not that this was a bad cause, as Armenia displayed once again her Dashnak terroristic ways, victimizing the Kurdish Turk... obviously an asset for the genocide club, and club members did not like it when one of their own stupidly got threatened by Armenia herself. What's disconcerting is that the others who signed this letter reads like a Who's Who of the Armenian Genocide Industry. If there is any doubt as to where Dr. Anderson is coming from, this letter helps clear things up.)

As misguided and propagandistic as Margaret Lavinia Anderson unfortunately is, let's take a look at her historian husband, Dr. James Sheehan.

He seems a little more level-headed than his wife, of whom he comments (regarding a paper of his, "The Problem of Sovereignty in European History," where James Bryce sadly gets a nod), "Margaret Lavinia Anderson is my most astute—although not always most gentle—critic." Naturally, a husband is in a most precarious position, but objectively, Dr. Anderson comes across as anything but "astute." if she were, she would force herself to be more open-minded, as real historians are duty-bound to do.

In a paper, "Contested Histories," Sheehan spills the beans on where he thinks the "Armenian" truth lies. But at least he does so fairly, without embarrassingly inflammatory language such as "denialist."

"The fate of the Ottoman Empire's Armenian minority is one of the most active contemporary examples of a politically charged contest over the past," Dr. Sheehan correctly tells us. "Everyone agrees that in 1915, when the empire was engaged in a desperate struggle for its survival during the First World War, a large number of Armenians perished and many others were removed from the towns and villages in which they lived for centuries." True.

At issue is why and how the Armenian population of eastern Anatolia disappeared. One side claims that the Armenians died or were displaced in what amounted to a civil war, in which they were active participants rather than passive victims. Allied with the Russian invaders, they betrayed their country and its army, and killed tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of their Turkish neighbors. The other side regards what happened in 1915 as the result of orders given by the government in Constantinople to cleanse Anatolia of its Christian population—Nestorians, Assyrians, and Greeks, as well as Armenians—by killing the men and driving the women and children into the desert. This was not civil war but genocide, the intentional destruction of a particular culture and community, a foreshadowing of what would happen to Europe's Jews a quarter of a century later."

This is good. He is telling us accurately where both sides of this polarized discussion stand. (Although the fact that the Nestorians and Assyrians — aren't they pretty much the same thing? — and the Greeks were not subjected to a resettlement policy should have triggered his scholarly alarm bells as to how false these claims also happen to be. In addition, wasn't the "genocidal motive" to kill off not just the Christians, but anyone who didn't fit into the Turkish mold? Why then, were the Jews spared? And the Arabs, who also treacherously rebelled, as did segments of all these other populations? Why doesn't our "historian" pay attention to these facts and pure, simple logic?)

Now for the tricky part. Which side does Historian Sheehan go with? Here we go:

Although there are scholars on both sides, I think it is fair to say that the overwhelming majority of researchers outside of Turkey support some version of the Armenian narrative—even if some are uncertain about the term genocide.

We are getting into so much trouble.

Who are these "overwhelming majority of researchers"? Do they fit into the description of real historian that we observed at the top of this page? No. The real scholars, that is, those who dispassionately examine the real facts and not the propaganda, have been frightened away. What we're left with are unscrupulous Armenians such as Peter Balakian who write abominations as "The Burning Tigris," and his "genocide scholar" allies.

These views are upheld by a cowardly media, because everyone knows the genocide scholar is noble, since genocide is the worst crime against humanity. No one stops to think about their faith-based agenda, the hatred and racism they perpetuate or cause, and their harmful "end justifies the means" tactics.

When powerful and influential forces succeed in making their views the common wisdom, that has nothing to do with the "truth." And so far, that is what Sheehan is dangerously vouching for: the sanctity of majority opinion, the kiss of death for any real scholar to give credence to.

There are no shortcuts; the way to get at truth boils down to individual research, where one must scratch deep below the easy surface. A real scholar wouldn't give beans about what anyone else has to say. A real scholar would sit down and begin the long, hard work that is required.

Now Sheehan begins to cement his partisanship, and thus endanger his credibility, by blaming the "Turkish government":

The scholarly discourse, however, is deeply affected by the involvement of the Turkish government, which has vigorously and consistently denied that a genocide—or indeed any government-directed massacres—took place.

Yes, Prof. Sheehan. Instead of sounding so aghast, why not display your historical talents by coming up with the factual evidence that these massacres were government directed? I don't think he's going to do that. Because the "majority opinion," just like his wife, is telling him that "Turks are bad." That seems to be good enough for him.

As a result of government pressures, discussion of the issue within Turkey is difficult and perhaps dangerous; access to relevant archival sources has been limited to those with "reliable" views.

Now he is beginning to sound like a card-carrying member of the Armenian propaganda league.

Is he telling us the material in the portion of the archives that have been made available is irrelevant? What is making him say that? By the same token, why is he not voicing his outrage that the archives in Armenia, and the Dashnak archives in Boston, are totally inaccessible?

What is difficult (that is, hard to stomach) is for one-sided "genocide club" discussions to take place. Balanced discussion has been in existence for a long while. (Here is a 1990 example, where Levon Marashlian participated. Other "club" participants were invited, but shied away.) These days (actually, for years now, but it's getting worse), even purely propagandistic books by Vahakn Dadrian have found a home in Turkey, as the powerful tentacles of the well-financed industry have begun to close in.

In response, Armenians and their supporters have lobbied parliamentary bodies throughout the world to pass resolutions affirming or commemorating the genocide. Up until now, 17 assemblies have voted to recognize the genocide, and in three countries (Uruguay, Argentina, and France) recognition has the force of law.

What a pity that a "historian" is choosing to give credence to the reasons why these resolutions have been finding acceptance, which has nothing to do with historical truth. As if the politicians voting for these resolutions are not swayed by Armenian wealth or intimidation tactics, along with ignorance and anti-Turkish prejudice, and as if it is the job of a politician to put aside real governmental work and endeavor to become a real historian.

Those who hoped that in Turkey the Armenian question would become the subject of scholarly discourse rather than of political proclamations were encouraged by the announcement that a conference on "Ottoman Armenians in the Period of the Empire's Collapse," sponsored by three Turkish universities, was to be held in Istanbul on May 25–27, 2005. An interdisciplinary meeting of Turkish scholars, this was to be the first open and critical discussion of the Armenian question to be held in Turkey.

Perhaps his fact-disrespecting wife has begun to compromise the man's scholarly head. We've just seen, with the penultimate link above, that this was far from the "first" discussion held in Turkey. The ones involved were not "scholars" either... not if we define a scholar as one who considers all the facts before arriving at a dispassionate conclusion, instead of arriving at the conclusion first, backing it up with tainted "evidence." (Like Anderson's Blue Book, for example.) He goes on to tell us that the event was criticized — rightly — as a "dagger in the back of the Turkish nation." That is exactly what it was. The affair was a closed door meeting of the genocide club, where even the attendees were screened to be of like mind. This was no "critical discussion," but a "preaching to the choir."

I thought it was the organizers (from what I had read in a genocide publication at the time these events were taking place), and not the "rector of Bosphorus University" (as Sheehan tells us. Where did he get that from?) who cancelled this show. If the organizers were fearful for their safety, they could have easily hired extra security. What most likely happened was that the club members cancelled the event, so that the outside world may perceive the Turkish government in its familiar role of monster. In any event, the show went on without a hitch (at Bilgi University) just a few short months later, and as key organizer Fatma Muge Gocek told it in an interview, the toadying Turkish government almost begged for the darned thing to be rescheduled. Here is a closer look at the episode.

Sheehan winds up with his having been asked to pen a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Sheehan's Letter

He begins (the letter may be accessed here):
As I am sure you are aware, this conference was to bring together Turkish scholars from several disciplines in order to discuss the fate of the Armenian minority in the last years of the Ottoman Empire.

The fact is, the "scholars" who were Turks or with Turkish-sounding names were only of one discipline. For example, Professor Turkkaya Ataov, an "elder statesman" among historians known years for his "Armenian" work, wanted to attend, but the door was slammed shut in his face. Can Prof. Sheehan cite one example of a "Turkish scholar" scheduled to attend (or attended at the successor conference at Bilgi) who disagreed with genocide industry views? He is welcome to try, but I know he cannot. Why is he engaging in the above falsehood? Doesn't he believe in individual research, and to ask questions, like a real scholar? Or is he simply content to be spoon-fed with all of this propagandistic information?

Sheehan continues:
The American Historical Association is the leading organization of historians in the United States, with over 13,000 members, including a number of prominent scholars interested in Turkish and Ottoman history. Needless to say, the Association does not have a position on the fate of the Armenians, but it is deeply committed to free and open inquiry about historical issues, and especially about those issues that have been charged with political and ideological animosities. The May Conference was to have been a forum in which a variety of voices could have been heard. It is a grave misfortune, both for Turkey and for the world of historical scholarship, that political pressures silenced these voices.

As we have seen, he is dead wrong in stating that this was "to have been a forum in which a variety of voices could have been heard." If only he were more inquisitive, he would have discovered this was an exclusive party for propagandists. As a genuine historian, Sheehan's duty would have been to ridicule such a get-together. (But I think he was genuinely unaware. And that doesn't speak highly of his scholarly chops.)

Now the reader can begin to see that James J. Sheehan is no ordinary historian. Here is the way he signed the letter, following his name:

President
American Historical Association

That's right, ladies and gentlemen! Sheehan represents the creme de la creme of American historians!

Is that true, "the Association does not have a position on the fate of the Armenians"? I'm not so sure. Not when the President of the Association is a willing accomplice for Armenian propagandists, accepting many of their claims at face value.

This is highly depressing, that pro-Armenian propagandists have succeeded so wildly that they now have the American Historical Association as their willing accomplices. The real historians in this bunch are the last resort... the last hope... to fight against the propagandists. Yet. it's clear that many of the would-be historians within this organization have become propagandists themselves.

----------------------------------------------------
© Holdwater
The source site of this article gets revised often, as better
information comes along. For the most up-to-date version, and
the related photos, the reader may consider reviewing
the direct link as follows:

tallarmeniantale.com/GS-Anderson-Sheehan.htm
-----------------------------------------------------

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