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16 April 2008

2425) Is Lemkin’s Legacy Going Unheeded?

Re: “Is Lemkin’s Legacy Going Unheeded?” ,

by Eric Herschthal, Staff Writer, The Jewish Week New York, Jan 19, 2010,


1. Ethocide:

Long troubled by the lopsided coverage of the Turkish-Armenian conflict, the failure of the opinionated but ill-informed writers to see the other sides of the story, the littering of the realms of media, politics, and even academia with persistent falsifications and long-discredited fabrications, and the insistence of the unsuspecting masses duped by such ubiquitous and relentless Armenian propaganda, compelled me to coin a new companion term to “genocide”: Ethocide.. .

On May 7, 2003, I proposed the term Ethocide, coined from the words “ethics” and “cide”, to mean systematic extermination of ethics via malicious mass deception for political, social, economical, cultural, religious, military, perceptional, actual, and/or other gain. Ethocide is a crime of conscience which can be committed by individuals, groups, countries, groups of countries, and/or their combinations. A shorter, more pragmatic definition of ethocide shall be “malicious mass deception”.

2. How ethocidal behavior leads to censorship

Lemkin’s legacy term, genocide, had been conveniently used by ethocidal pressure groups to manipulate public opinion into a pre-ordained verdict (without due process) on any given conflict and/or controversy. Today, many terms and phrases like mass murderer, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and others suddenly gave way, to the term genocide. It is not surprising to hear claims of genocide for crimes that can easily be handled by laws in the books. Withdrawing controversies to the realm of genocide claims at once hurts the free flow of information, civilized debate, and finally, the freedom of speech.

Matters are made worse when the 1948 U.N. Convention on genocide had always been only partially quoted and applied by Armenian falsifiers and their fellow Turk haters. For instance, while definitions of genocide (articles 1-3) are readily quoted, how a genocide verdict shall be reached (described in articles 3-9) are almost always ignored. Why? Because articles 6-9 state that for a genocide verdict to stand, the claimants must prove “intent” of the alleged perpetrators , after “due process”, and at a “competent tribunal”, all of which Armenian propagandists lack.

3. Causes of ethocidal behavior:

When the Armenian could not find any evidence that could stand up to scrutiny of a court room (remember Malta Trials, 1919-1921, where Armenian evidence was rejected by the British crown prosecutors) Armenian fabricated a smoking gun (i.e. the fake Talaat telegrams, invented Ataturk interview, doctored skull photo, manufactured Hitler quote, and many others) only to be exposed in each case. But going to court also meant allowing the accused to tell the other side of the story, question Armenian hearsay and forgeries, and produce rock-solid Ottoman archives disproving Armenian claims. The world would hear about the six T’s of the Armenian-Turkish conflict (tumultuous revolts, terrorism, treason, territorial demands, Turkish deaths at the hands of Armenians, and TERESET, i.e. temporary resettlement of 1915.) All this could be avoided if the court room could be avoided. But how do you get a court verdict without court scrutiny? This Armenian dilemma was solved (or so they naively believe) by the tricky Armenian lobby by designing two new tools:

4. Tools of ethocide:

1) Genocide scholars (mostly retired non-historians and mediocre writers posing as real historians, organized as an organic arm of the notoriously anti-Turkish Zoryan Institute, and funded to some degree by the Cafesjian Foundation, all in the hopes of establishing “credibility by authority”, though perceived—not real—authority;)

2) “Credibility by association” via forced comparisons to the factual , unique, and court-proven, Jewish Holocaust (thus insulting the memory of six million Jews who were killed by the Nazis just for being Jews.)

Instead of ethocidally screaming genocide for spurious events wildly ranging from razor burns to inclement weather, the AFATH community (Armenian falsifiers and Turk-haters) should try a tested and proven alternative: “credibility by facts”.

5. Conclusions:

No one, including this undersigned, wishes to minimize the Armenian suffering and deaths during 1915, but every fair-minded truth-seeker, including this undersigned, realizes that it cannot be viewed as separate from the concurrent Muslim, mostly Turkish, suffering and deaths at the hands of Armenian revolutionaries in the same area and era.

Grieving Armenian deaths and ignoring Turkish deaths is not only selective morality, and thus immorality, but also a biased approach fueled by a purely racist and dishonest history.

Son of Turkish survivors from both paternal and maternal sides

Is Lemkin’s Legacy Going Unheeded?

by Eric Herschthal
Staff Writer
The Center for Jewish History is currently showing an exhibit dedicated to the life and work of Raphael Lemkin. If his name isn’t quite familiar to you, rest assured, you’re not alone. In any event, you certainly know the one word that’s become synonymous with him: genocide. In 1943, Lemkin invented the term. And in 1951, he saw to it that the United Nations make it punishable crime.

The exhibit is a timely one, but you might say it’s timeless too. There is the matter of Darfur, of course, but perhaps just as tragic is the ongoing resistance to what is often called “Lemkin’s Law.” A walk through the exhibit’s myriad of letters, legal documents and grainy recorded speeches gives you a pretty good
Jewish Theological Seminary
understanding why.

From the beginning, Lemkin knew that his task wouldn’t be easy. In 1933, for instance, Lemkin, a young Jewish lawyer born in Poland and then working for its government, traveled to Madrid for a League of Nations conference. His mission was straightforward enough: prosecute the Turkish officials who initiated the Armenian genocide. One million Armenians had been slaughtered at the outbreak of World War I, and Lemkin, a fresh-faced 33-year-old, wondered why nothing was being done. “Why,” he asked, “is it a crime for one man to murder another, but not for a government to kill a million?”

Alas, his timing was off. The year of the Madrid conference, the Nazis seized power, and under Hitler’s watchful eye the Polish government pressured Lemkin to resign. Six years later, the Nazi invasion of Poland forced him to flee, and in 1941 he landed in the United States. He got prestigious teaching posts at the Duke and University of Virginia law schools with the help of sympathetic American professors. But his growing awareness of the Holocaust pulled him out of the ivory tower. He last heard from his parents just after he fled Poland, and by the war’s end, he learned that 49 of his closest relatives had been killed. Years later, he described his march to criminalize genocide as an “epitaph on his mother’s grave.”

What Samantha Power, in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book that also recaps Lemkin’s career, called “a problem from hell,” had for Lemkin become personal. By 1943, he had already coined the term “genocide” — from the Greek work genos, for “tribe,” and cide, for “kill” — but the word went into wide circulation only after the publication of his book “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe,” published in 1944. Once the war had ended and the UN had been created, Lemkin began the next phase of his career: turning a word into a crime.

It’s at this point that Lemkin’s real tragedy begins. Power’s book does an especially good job bringing to life the shameful recalcitrance of even the most civilized governments, particularly America’s, to endorse the genocide resolution. The main sticking point was clear: the U.S. did not want to endorse a law that might put their own government at risk. While respectable institutions like the American Bar Association made a smart case that the UN law allowed for too expansive a reading, it was obvious that the real stumbling block was the U.S. government. Segregation was still allowed in the South, and the government felt that under related war-crime clauses, it might be found guilty.

Of course the U.S. was fine leading the charge at the Nuremburg Trials, which prosecuted Nazis just after the war. But the laws used to indict the Nazis employed the softer “crimes against humanity” clause, a holdover from the League of Nations days. That clause prevented the prosecution of governments for crimes committed within their own borders. “If the Nazis had exterminated the entire German Jewish population,” Power writes, “but never invaded Poland, they would not have been liable at Nuremberg.” Lemkin’s mission at the UN was to close that loophole.

He succeeded, but the legacy of criminalized genocide is disheartening. The UN may have criminalized it in 1951, but the United States did not sign on until 1987. (Lemkin died in 1959.) More recently, the International Criminal Court, which in 2002 became the body responsible for prosecuting genocides, has been severely handicapped. It has still not been ratified by the U.S., to say nothing of Israel, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and China, among others. And even then, it is a court of last resort, summoned only when independent countries do not try criminals themselves.

To date, eight people have been convicted of genocide in a period that has seen millions die in its name. Given that record, it’s worth asking what Lemkin’s Law means if his legacy goes unheeded. He worked tirelessly in the name of the law, but that was only the handmaiden of his larger aim. Justice was what mattered, and it is something that eludes him, and us, still.

Eric Herschthal covers arts and culture for the paper.



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