26 August 2008

2572) Genocide As an Electioneering Tool: Simply Deplorable

One of the most abhorred developments in international politics over the past few years is the use of genocide recognition as a tool for electioneering. What the hell am I talking about, you ask? Specifically, I am referring to the supposed genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Unlike the atrocities of . . Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and, most obviously, Nazi Germany, in which, a consensus amongst non-partisan scholars is that genocide occurred, knowledgeable academics on the subject of the crimes against the Armenian people remain divided. The Armenians claim that the Ottoman Empire systematically attempted to eradicate ethnic Armenians. The Turks claim that the Armenians were in the midst of an uprising attempting to take advantage of a distracted Ottoman Empire engaged in WWI and that the Ottomans were simply trying to quell the Armenian insurgents.

The only thing I can be sure of is that the truth lies somewhere in between. Simply put, if scholars squabble about wrongdoings almost a century ago, it’s unlikely that any new developments would materialize this century that would unequivocally determine which side is right. Then why did France pass a bill in 2006 that made denying the (unconfirmed) Armenian genocide an offense worthy of imprisonment? (Literally if I was still in France, and members of the French government were spying on me, and let’s face it, after my accusations, they probably are, I could be imprisoned for just a tacit inference that the wrongdoings that happened during WW1 were not genocide.

Remember, Germany has a similar law concerning the Holocaust, but there’s just a teenyweeny difference between denying a proven genocide of more than 6 million people in the country that it occurred and denying an unverified genocide in a country more than a thousand miles away). The reason why the French government passed this law is because 500,000 Armenians have immigrated to France since WWI, and guess what, they feel kinda strongly on the subject. This was just a blatant attempt to pander to Armenian constituents (Even more absurd is that France does not insist on Turkey recognizing the genocide as a precondition for joining the European Union! Duplicitous!)

Not surprisingly, our beloved American politicians have not been immune to wielding this disgraceful political tool. Last October, Nancy Pelosi and her stupid pearls tried to pass a bill that would recognize the Armenian genocide here, too. This is doubly idiotic for the United States, because Turkey is an absolutely integral ally in the war against Iraq. Without the support of the Turkish government (namely its air bases, due to their proximity to northern Iraq), this difficult war would be even more formidable. Why could Nancy Pelosi possibly care about Armenians? Not because she’s a great humanitarian attempting to enhance recognition of an egregious historic wrongdoing, nope; it’s because Glendale, California has the largest Armenian population outside of the motherland, and when Ms. Pelosi eventually runs for Senator of California, a hundred thousand votes or so could come in handy! In a rare display of wisdom from our Commander in Chief, W. was able to prevent this bill from becoming law.

Unfortunately, this won’t stop Madame Pelosi from claiming next election that she’s a champion of the Armenians of California. Well, I guess I can’t really fault her; I’d like to be the champion of Kim Kardashian too!



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