3556) Letters To The Editors (June 2015)

Letters To The Editors
  • Irish Independent
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Haaretz Daily Newspaper
  • German Press Office
  • Irish Times
. . .

Ref: Irish Independent

Most reports on Gallipoli failed to note that no visiting head of state asked their Turkish hosts to acknowledge that last week as also the centenary of the Turkish massacre of 1.5 million Christian Armenians,

Armenian Populatiom in the Ottoman Empire on 1.3.1914 was reported by French-Armenian Land Commission as 1.280.000. To kill 1,5 million in 150 days (period of transfer) you must kill 10.000 every day, must have a team of 6000 workers to dig stadium size graveyards; if you kill by shooting you need 100 tons of bullets! Is there any neutral eye witness, official document, reason, place, date, numbers, murder tools, corpses or graves every discovered? No! Even Hitler with all his camps could not kill more that 2-3000 daily. What a palaver? We have official evidence that 200.000 Armenians died in fights against home country serving enemies, another document that 195.000 died of hunger and epidemics under their own Dashnakist government 1918-1920 . We have several official documents that 700 to 800.000 Armenians survived. This leaves a difference of 200-250.000 who died of all reaons inbetween 1914-1922. Elementary school arithmetics Sir! Let documents speak!

Alas, the Turkish government was allowed to impose the same kind of amnesia on Irish and foreign functionaries who gathered at Gallipoli last weekend.
Speaking of “shame and amnesia” I thing you owe an apology to the public if you cannot prove below documents to be fake:

TO HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY – SULTAN ABDUL MEDJID KHAN Emperor of Turkey May it please your Majesty? We the undersigned NOBLEMEN, GENTLEMEN & Inhabitants of I R E L A N D
beg leave most respectfully to approach You Majesty in order to testify our deep-felt thanks and gratitude for the munificient act of benevolence and attention displayed by Your Majesty towards the suffering and afflicted Inhabitants of IRELAND and thank Your Majesty on their behalf for the liberal Contribution of One Thousand Pounds
Lately given by Your Majesty to relieve the wants and mitigate the sufferings of the Irish People…

It has pleased PROVIDENCE in its wisdom to deprive the Country suddenly of its staple article of food and to visit the poor Inhabitants with privations, such as have seldom fallen to the lot of any civilized nation to endure. In this emergency the People of Ireland had no alternative but to appeal to the kindness and munificence of other Countries, less afflicted than themselves, to save them and their families from F a m i n e and D e a t h and Your Majesty has responded nobly to the call, thereby displaying a worthy example to the other nations of Europe, to assist their suffering fellow-creatures in affliction.

For this timely and benevolent act whereby numbers were relieved and saved from perishing, We beg leave again on their behalf, to testify our grateful acknowledgements to Your Majesty and to express an ardent hope that the vast territories which acknowledge Your sway and participate in Your bounties, will be saved from these privations and afflictions which has been our unhappy destiny to endure…

On April 25, 1915, the Turks began the battle against the Allied invaders. But the day before, April 24, 1915, the Turks began the Armenian genocide by arresting, torturing and executing their political leaders.

Turks did not begin any battle the simply defended their own home. On April 24, 1915 about 235 Armenian dignitaries known to be helping revolutionaries were arrested and sent inland by train, about a quarter of them in prison in 3 citiesi the rest in private town homes under police supervision. Some 3 weeks later about 20 of them were let returned to Istanbul. No torture no deths. If you do not trust, read the University Paper of Ara Sarafian, head of Gomidas Institute in London… So close to you!

The American ambassador Henry Morgenthau documented one incident where thousands of Armenian men, women and children were driven without warning from their homes. Most of the men were murdered on the spot. The traumatised and sobbing column of 18,000 women, girls and babies were forced to walk without food or water into the Syrian desert. Along the way, bandits repeatedly robbed and raped the defenceless women. Their daughters were abducted. In one place, babies were piled on bonfires and burned alive. Morgenthau observed that of the 18,000 driven into the desert, only 170 demented, naked women survivors staggered into the city of Aleppo.
There are no such lines in the “Ambassdor Morgenthu’s Story”, nor his diary. My book sells in Athol Books-London; I prove the distortions of Morgenthau in his own hand written diary. Morgenthau never went out of the Istanbul city limits, did not visit any churches. Out of some 760 days he was in Istanbul, on 280 days he had some functions with Jewish affairs, Money trasnefers, philantropy, synagogues etc. The following paragraph is excerpted from P.93 of referred book and the Diary of Morgenthau
" Diary, September 26, 1915: Zenop Bezjian, Vekil of Armenian Protestants, called. Schmavonian introduced him. He was his schoolmate. He told me a great deal about conditions. I was surprised to hear him report that Armenians at Zor were fairly well satisfied, that they have already settled down to business and are earning their living. Those were the first ones that were sent away and seem to have gotten there without being massacred. He gave me a list where the various camps are and he thinks that over half a million have been displaced. He was most solicitous that they should be helped before winter set it. In the evening I had Dr. Schlacht who is in charge of the Sanitary Department of the army around Bagdad. " Do we trust empty words or documents?

Jim Cogan's grim illustration is based on a still from an American film called Auction of the Souls, based on the book Ravished Armenia by a young Armenian girl, Aurora Mardiganian, who had survived. This was a movie film to milk Money with stories of horrors done by Muslims to Chcristans, for more such advertisements see p.164 of subject book for other posters to xonvince Christians help other Christians… Nit much changed nowadays! Armenian Patriarch plus Pope plus German Pastor President (3 Church leaders) make declarations on WORLD AFFAIRS and decide on history as if they have any evidence in holy books or it is withinn their dut yor authority.

"The Turks made little pointed crosses. They took the clothes off the girls. They made them bend down, and after raping them, they made them sit on the pointed wood, through the vagina. The Americans have made it a more civilized way. They can't show such terrible things”

I heard.many palevers of horror, of course none ever proven in any way or evidenced. But the following lnes from Captain Emory Niles US Official records are irrefutable: " but the unanimity of the testimony of alt witnesses, the apparent eagerness with which they told of wrongs done them, their evident hatred of Armenians, and, strongest of all, the material evidence on the ground itself, have convinced us as of the general truth of the facts, first, that Armenians massacred Musulmans on a large scale with many refinements of cruelty, and second that Armenians are responsible for most of the destruction done to towns and villages"

" Amnesia about Armenia compounds the cruelty. We should have spoken out at the Gallipoli gathering. We must not let Hitler have the last word.
There is no word “Armenia” in the book “The Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich” by Willim Shirer. This lie is provem by many sources and dcouments on internet, starting with the refusal of Nuremberg Court, later explanations in www.cwporter.com/ and lately by the US Official Military Records. The document is false, Hitler did not mention of Armenians at all on the referred speech. Your editorial in a way is an insut to the knowledge and logic of the average educated persons.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Link 1

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Link 2

Attn. Mr. Andrew Hollinger

April 23,2015

WASHINGTON, DC— On the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum remembers the suffering of the Armenian people. The Ottoman government, controlled by the Committee of Union and Progress (Ittihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti), systematically eliminated the Armenian ethnic presence in the Anatolia region of its empire. Between the spring of 1915 and the end of autumn 1916, Ottoman authorities arrested, deported, conducted mass killings, and created conditions intended to cause widespread death among Armenian Christians.

Dear Sir, I am much surprised to read this article, in as far that the Hitler Quote is still on the walls of the Museum but with a later addition of the following sentence to release you from the veracity of the sentence: "August 22, 1939 [According to reports received by the Associated Press Bureau Chief in Berlin Louis Lochner] " Is this obscure remark an affirmation or rebuttal? More than 3 years ago I sent my book by registered mail with return receipt which is now also available here:

Chapter 14/2 is solely dedicated to this great lie with various concrete evidences that this a fakery, that your management knew but could not resist the pressure from the White House and the US representative at the U.N. The following paragraph is quoted from p.270 of my book and was duly marked; it still stands open for a rebuttal with documentary evidence, if ever you can!

"Final Question: Gentlemen, more than eight years have already passed. Do you confirm or refute the accuracy of the quote? Please write to the armenians-1915.blogspot.com and inform the public, “which of my documents or evidences are wrong!” I am afraid that the Museum will not have the courage to rectify their own mistake and offer a public apology; consequently all the people, who closed their eyes to the complicities, will have to keep them closed when looking into mirrors! "

The following paragraph from my cover letter of February 6, 2012 could not be replied:

a- The Nuremberg Court was wrong in rejecting document L-3, [the alleged fake text] b- Carlos Porter is wrong in the documents he displays at www.cwporter/com/gl3.htm with explanations
c- And finally Official U.S. State Department history documents are "fake by preference", because "of obvious reasons" which is a convincible proof (?) as much as "overwhelming evidence - accepted facts" etc.

Additional documentation about the quarrels behind doors has been recently uncovered and shared with public here

More than enough irrefutable evidences were given in the chapter and link of

Finally see this

and either explains to the US Military Records that “their findings are all wrong and Lochner is right” or please to see to it that you no longer market and even advertise a false product that sneaked in between Jewish holocaust evidences. If Hitler had ever mentioned the word Armenian it should have been somewhere on records and the index of the colossal research “The Rise and fall of the Third Reich” by William Shirer.

At least 664,000 and possibly as many as 1.2 million Armenian men, women, and children died in massacres, in individual killings, or as a consequence of systematic ill-treatment, exposure, starvation, and disease. Knowledge of these atrocities quickly spread around the world and aroused widespread activism and even protests from representatives of the Ottomans’ World War I allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Sir, this kind of double wholesale figuring without a shred of evidence based on hearsay does not appeal to the intelligence and knowledge of your readers. You should have specified firstly that whatever banditries happened these were done by outside bands out of the control of the Turkish Government (League of Nations General Secretary March 1, 1920) and that according to League of Nations Official Gazette 21.9.1929 200.000 Armenians died in fights against their home country siding with enemies. You should have also clarified that 195.000 Armenians died in Armenia (1918-1920) of deprivations under their own government!

The origins of the term “genocide” rest, in part, in the events of 1915–16 in Anatolia, then part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin highlighted early exposure to the history of Ottoman attacks against Armenians, anti-Semitic pogroms, and other cases of targeted violence as key to his beliefs about the need for the protection of groups under international law. Inspired by the murder of his own family during the Holocaust, Lemkin tirelessly championed this legal concept until it was codified in the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948.

Raphael Lemkin was a simple Jewish Lawyer in Poland, with his mind made up on “crimes against humanity by states” and he propagated his discovery everywhere he went. In 1933 he attended the Madrid Conference which was organized by the League of Nations, but had not heard of the General Secretary Sir Eric Drummond and his important statement of March 1, 1920 about Armenians and Turks. His speeches are on internet and nowhere there is the word of Armenia or a trace of his knowledge of history. He was so aggressive during the Conference that Russia and Germany walked out in protest.

Raphael Lemkin did not see serious WW-2 dramas; if he had, he should have first known the 22.000 Armenian Nazi Legion which helped Hitler rounding up Jews and sending them to death camps (my book chapter 14/1). In 1941 he escaped to USA where he was given a job in the State, since he knew also German and Polish. After the 1945 peace he was among the US delegation which was sent to Germany. He “was told about an Armenian genocide and Lochner’s paper” and he immediately grabbed and used it. His video speech on internet is interrupted because he was about to say that Germans did genocide to Armenians.

An accurate understanding of history rests on objective research conducted by scholars of all nationalities and disciplines. The Museum calls on all governments and private institutions to make freely available complete archives relevant to these events.

An accurate and sincere understanding of history rests on not empty talks and advices but concrete irrefutable documents appealing to the logic and decency of the neutral reader who may not like to be deceived by obscure and foggy talks.

View eyewitness testimonies to the Armenian genocide

The destruction of the Armenians would cast a long shadow into the Holocaust era. During the Armenian genocide, US Ambassador to Constantinople Henry Morgenthau Sr. was deeply troubled by the atrocities and sought to rouse the world’s conscience.

“Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story” book was written 30 months after his departure from Istanbul by Pulitzer Prize winner Burton Hendricks based on drafts prepared by his two Armenian secretaries he took to USA, Schimavonian and Andonian. Morgenthau’s “stories” was skillfully written with words put in mouths, as if they were sound recorded; several parts are belied by his own hand written “Diary”.
See Here

the following words from his diary were never mentioned in his book of distortions, written to form a “moral cause for US to join WW-1”- Diary, Sept.26, Sunday: Zenop Bezjian, Vekil of Armenian Protestants, called. Schimavonian introduced him. He was his schoolmate. He told me a great deal about conditions. I was surprised to hear him report that Armenians at Zor were fairly well satisfied, that they have already settled down to business and are earning their living. Those were the first ones that were sent away and seem to have gotten there without being massacred. He gave me a list where the various camps are and he thinks that over half a million have been displaced. He was most solicitous that they should be helped before winter set in.

Ambassador Morgenthau’s son, Henry Morgenthau Jr., served as US secretary of the treasury from 1934–45. Driven in part by memories of the Armenian genocide, Morgenthau Jr. was a key advocate for the establishment of the War Refugee Board which rescued some 200,000 Jews from Nazi-dominated Europe.

Salute and appreciation for Morgenthau Jr.’s services to Roosevelt! For Jews of Turkish origin saved from the Vichy France, see Chapter 14/1 and 14/2. More than 10.000 Jews were saved by Turkish diplomats.

Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin highlighted early exposure to news of attacks against Armenians as key to his beliefs about the need for the protection of groups under international law. After the murder of his own family during the Holocaust, Lemkin tirelessly championed this legal concept which found broad acceptance in the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948.

Lemkin first heard of Armenians during the Nuremberg trials in 1945. We have no clarification of his family’s murder and/or any part of the Armenian Nazi Legion, which was rumored to arrest Anne Frank.

Perhaps most hauntingly, a novel about Armenian self-defense (Franz Werfel’s The Forty Days of Musa Dagh) was secretly passed from hand-to-hand among Jews imprisoned in ghettos during the Holocaust, who saw in it an inspirational analogy to their plight and a call to resistance.

See P.353 of This

for the rest of the section. ““Franz Werfel knew that he had been conned by forgeries: Abraham Sou Sever was a Sephardic Jew, born in Izmir, Turkey before World War I. He later emigrated to the U.S. and currently lives in California. He has filed a written Deposition and Testimonial in which he tells the truth about the Armenians’ ‘genocide’ claims and their propaganda methods from his own personal life experiences and knowledge. Particularly significant is his testimony on Franz Werfel. Mr. Sever’s notarized deposition has been transmitted to research institutions in the U.S. as part of a written and oral history collection on the Armenian claims for genocide. Here is what Mr. Sever has to say about Franz Werfel and the events which took place on Musa Dagh”


1. “The US Holocaust Memorial Museum aims to rescue the evidence of the Holocaust by conducting and preserving oral testimonies from Holocaust survivors, victims of Nazi persecution, liberators, and other witnesses to the Holocaust”. (Are Armenians holocaust victims of Nazi? Wasn’t them who contributed a 22.000 men battalion to Hitler to facilitate holocaust? Isn’t the Armenian genocide tales’ promotion out shade the Jewish Holocaust FACT?

2. In your page http://www.ushmm.org/ you write: [Museum mark 100 years since start of Armenian genocide]! As an Agency of the U.S. President, haven’t you read Art.6 of the UN Genocide convention? Let me remind you gentlemen: 'Persons charged with genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3 shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to those Contracting Parties which shall have accepted its jurisdiction.'

Gentlemen, is your Holocaust Museum which posted a statement that Hitler never mentioned, or advertises hearsay (genocide) not even being aware that they were the right hand of the Nazis, authorized to act as a self appointed International Tribunal? What verdict or evidence do you have gentlemen? The truth in presented documents shows that your management knew from the very beginning that the “Armenian fantasy” had no place in the Jewish holocaust exhibit. As President Carter had said “IT SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN”. Gentlemen, “you let the Armenian smart swindlers “steal the Jewish Holocaust Show” and now you commemorate their (not even investigated or debated) palaver and let them drive the Holocaust Museum into such extremity of nonsense! Gentlemen, you are aware of truth but have no faces or courage to admit that you were “knowingly deceived”; you have been given new piles of documents and you cannot refute even one word of them! As I had said three year s ago, “how can you look into mirrors?”

3. Gentlemen; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that "any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law". Or is it that you cannot realize that you are advocating hatred? Gentlemen, there are American citizen children of Armenian, Turkish or Jewish ethnicity by hundred thousand which should be one soul: “American” instead of hating each other!

4. If one of your staff cares to read chapters 14/1 and 14/2 of my book which should be in your library otherwise HERE

you will see evidences of Turkish diplomats who saved more than ten thousand Jews from holocaust, and also Armenian troops, their newspaper and General Dro Kanajan (the butcher). Would you spare one feet of space on your walls and show the Turkish diplomat heroes who risked their lives to save Jews where they could? Would you see the documentary “Passport” as additional evidence? Gentlemen if you had taken for serious the messages and documents you received, you could have stopped continuation of these inflicted blunders.

In the absence of a logical explanation for these Armenian lies (you keep advocating) within a week, I will have to ask some of my friends in USA to convey this message to the White House and the Congress or Senate Members they know. Enough is enough Sir; TRUTH shall not surrender to LIES!

The “Reno Evening Gazette” had said it on November 14, 1915 at the end of the prophecy article:

" If this country, therefore, does not want to appear foolish before the whole world, it will refuse to be duped by impossible tales and will let the Armenians severely alone. "

Respectfully and sorrowfully
Sukru Server Aya, (Researcher & Writer) Istanbul, May 7th, 2015

Haaretz Daily Newspaper

Direct Link To The Letter


Direct Link

Review: Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide

100 years ago since the Ottoman Empire ‘ethnically cleansed’ a million Armenians, Thomas de Waal’s account of it, and why it still poisons relations between Turkey and Armenia, is admirably fair
Genocide: a murdered Armenian lies in a ditch as a child watches over his corpse. Photograph: Armin Wegner/Armenian National Institute

Jun 20, 2015

Book Title: Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide

ISBN-13: 978-0-19-935069-8

Author: Thomas de Waal
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Guideline Price: £20.0

On April 24th, 2015, Armenian communities around the globe gathered to solemnly mark a grim centenary. On that day 100 years ago, the Young Turk leadership of the Ottoman Empire ordered the arrest of 250 leading Armenian intellectuals, politicians and religious figures residing in the imperial capital Constantinople (today’s Istanbul).

On the same day, Turkish leaders issued the first explicit orders mandating the mass deportation of Armenians from Turkey’s eastern provinces to the wild deserts of Syria. So began what Armenians simply call “Medz Yeghern” (Great Catastrophe): systematic ethnic cleansing that quickly resulted in the deaths of more than a million Armenians, and the effective destruction of the Turkish Armenian community.

In marking the centenary, President Obama recalled the “horrific violence” inflicted on the Armenian people. In an earlier speech, the US president said that “1.5 million Armenians . . . massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire . . . must live on in our memories”. One might have expected the president to earn high praise for his eloquent words of remembrance; instead, Obama found himself attacked from all sides.

The story of John Mitchel and Jenny Verner may be heroic but their support of slavery has placed their legacy in a moral desert from which the waters of justification have long evaporated. Yet, for romance, for adventure, for suffering for what they believed in, for improbable tragedy, the story of Jenny Verner and John Mitchel is compellingJohn Mitchel and Jenny Verner: a love story more romantic than Gone with the Wind
Mary Russell, award-winning author (and alto sax player). Photograph: Matt KavanaghThat Tears Might Fall, a short story by Mary Russell
Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch with Mary Badham as Scout and Phillip Alford as Jem in To Kill A Mockingbird, directed by Robert Mulligan. Photograph: Silver Screen Collection/Getty ImagesFather’s Day: Dads in literature – the good, the bad and the great

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said his remarks were “unacceptable” while Armenians attacked Obama for failing to describe the Turks’ century-old campaign of ethnic cleansing as genocide.

And yet Obama was hardly caught off guard by the criticism. As anyone familiar with Armenian and Turkish relations knows, the toxic dispute between the two communities has less to do with anything in the world today and everything to do with the events 100 years ago.

It is this fraught subject – what in another context, the German historian Norbert Frei has called “the politics of the past”– that is the focus of Thomas de Waal’s admirably fair-minded new book, Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide.

A number of fine, recent books have revisited the atrocities of 1915: Ronald Grigor Suny’s They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else: A History of the Armenian Genocide makes for particularly rewarding reading. De Waal, by contrast, is less interested in offering a history of the mass killings than in examining how the contestation over the events 1915 came to define the collective identities of Turks and Armenians alike, and how it continues to poison relations between the two peoples.

The story that de Waal tells is not a happy one. On the Turkish side, he describes a powerfully entrenched culture and politics of denial. Whereas Holocaust denial remains largely a fringe movement of hardcore neo-Nazis and anti-Semites, Turkish denials of Medz Yeghern remain very much a mainstream position, the official posture of the state. In Germany, Holocaust denial is treated as a criminal offense; in Turkey those, like Nobel Prize laureate Orhan Pamuk, who dare to criticise the state’s denialist posture, are charged with “Insulting Turkishness” or, as with the intrepid journalist Hrant Dink, gunned down on a street in Istanbul.

And yet in de Waal’s telling, the Armenian response has also been problematic. Covetous of the recognition that Jewish suffering received in the wake of the Holocaust, and inspired by tactics of Palestinian militants, radical Armenian groups embraced assassination as a means of calling attention to the suppressed history of Armenian destruction.

Early assassins targeted figures responsible for the atrocities, but later decades witnessed the killing of many Turkish officials who bore no responsibility for the original crimes and who, at least in several cases, had worked to patch relations between Turks and Armenians. Such killings did little to champion the Armenian cause internationally and made for fractious disputes within the Armenian community itself.

More recently, the independent republic of Armenia has been accused of perpetrating war crimes in settling territorial disputes with neighbouring Azerbaijan; as de Waal suggests, a politics of collective victimisation can too easily come to justify and underwrite all manner of acts of aggression.

Perhaps the most dispiriting aspect of de Waal’s account involves the role the G-word has played in frustrating attempts to bring reconciliation between the two communities. In a book published in 1944, a Polish-Jewish adviser to the US War Department named Raphael Lemkin coined a new term to describe the Nazis’ treatment of Jews in German occupied countries. Wedding an ancient Greek word for group (genos) to a Latin word for killing (cide), Lemkin’s resulting neologism meant to describe something distinct from mass murder, and more grave.

For Lemkin, genocide sought to signify “a coordinated . . . destruction of essential foundations of the life of . . . groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves”.

Within four years of its coining, on December 9th, 1948, the United Nations voted to recognise genocide as an international crime, and today genocide stands, in the words of William Schabas, as the “crime of crimes” – the most serious crime recognised by any legal code.

And yet a term meant to promote historical clarity and legal reckoning has only, according to de Waal, created greater enmity between Turks and Armenians, and has frustrated the difficult task of honestly and sensitively coming to terms with the past.

At the time, Turkey was quite forthright in acknowledging its acts of ethnic cleansing. In August 1915, when Henry Morgenthau, US ambassador to the Ottoman empire, met with Talaat Pasha to protest the Turks’ “systematic attempts” to “bring destruction” to “peaceful Armenian populations,” the Turkish leader blithely responded, “It’s no use for you to argue . . . we have already disposed of three quarters of the Armenians.”

All the same, Turkey has rejected the “G-word” with a vehemence that de Waal likens to national “paranoia”– fearful that the designation, if accepted, would underwrite Armenian demands for reparations and territorial concessions. And so the Turkish state continues to relativise and justify the atrocities of the past as the unfortunate excesses of a war in which all groups – Armenians and Turks alike – suffered greatly.

On the other hand, de Waal believes the Armenian community has also done itself a disservice by drawing a line the sand on the genocide question. Mass atrocity, administrative massacres, ethnic cleansing – seemingly no other term will do, except genocide. While de Waal does not doubt that the events of 1915 fit the definition, he questions what good can come from placing such pressure on a single word.

In exploring the fraught politics of Turkish and Armenian memory, de Waal has delivered an important, balanced but less than entirely gripping book. Great Catastrophe begins and ends as a travelogue, recording the author’s interviews with people from ravaged Armenian communities still trying to negotiate an unassimilated past. The bulk of the book, by contrast, presents a rather conventional narrative history. In the travelogue chapters, de Waal demonstrates good observation and descriptions, but the writing elsewhere is at best workmanlike – flat, anodyne sentences such as “the republic then doubled in size” and “in Diyarbakir . . . society has opened up the most” abound.

Great Catastrophe offers, then, less a scintillating than a necessary read. It admirably demonstrates how contestations over a history of atrocity continue to shape – and distort – today’s politics.

Lawrence Douglas is is a professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College, Massachusetts

Download : Review REPLY by Sukru Server Aya-Irish Times 20.06.2015



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