Generally, Andrew Bolt gets it right. However, when it comes to Turkey and the Armenian genocide, he’s often dead wrong. It seems he has personal sympathies for the Turks, but that should not cloud his perception of the reality on the ground. The reality is that the Turks have eliminated all non-Muslims from the territory they occupy, which Â is undeniable. For that reason there is no need to question what happened, and no wakademic, regardless Â of credentials, should be given the light of day for trying to whitewash the koranic command that calls to “wipe the unbelievers out to the last…”
No. No thanks. We really don’t need anyone to defecate on the graves of the murdered Armenians.
It is shameful of the ABC to so smear and demonise an academic without addressing the facts he’s trying to bring to an important – if highly emotional – debate:
One of the world’s most vocal Armenian genocide deniersÂ will make an address at Parliament House in Canberra next week.
The ABC has learnt that a committee room in Parliament House has been booked by Labor backbencher Laurie Ferguson for a special invitation-only address titled “What happened during 1915–1923?”
The address will be given by Professor Justin McCarthy, an American history professor who many Armenians view with the same disdain as Jews view Holocaust denier David Irving.
The analogy with Irving is inaccurate and disgraceful. McCarthy does not for a second dispute that extent of suffering or the numbers of the Armenian dead. What he disputes is that Turkish authorities at the time deliberately planned the killings, and simply to wipe out the Armenian population. He argues that the Armenian catastrophe was the result of a civil war, with outside interference, producing atrocities and colossal losses on both sides. McCarthy argues Turks acted more from fear than genocidal intent, with the brutality often not directed by any central authority, and the suffering made worse by poverty and lack of food. He accepts the central government did try to deport Armenians from war zones, but argues it tried to prevent massacres, many of which were actually perpetrated by irregulars and locals. In no way is there an analogy between Nazis systematically murdering millions of Jewish civilians simply for being Jews.
It should be possible to debate this without the ABC screaming “genocide denier!” We should actually praise Ferguson for wanting a proper debate from both sides before reaching a conclusion. Or must all such issues be decided by fashion, not reason? Abuse, not argument? And beware the kind of participant who argues for recognition of one genocide to defend the memory of another. Beware, also, those who try to fit this narrative into simply another Muslim vs Christian narrative, with Muslims cast as the villians.
Yes, the atrocities suffered by Armenians wereÂ truly horrific, absolutely evil. (Caution: don’t click the link if you can’t take images of suffering.) No argument about how or why should be allowed to mask that horror. But neither should that horror be allowed to prevent that argument.
In the end, I don’t know enough to declare McCarthy wrong or right, although I’ve heard him speak and find his evidence makes a good case.
McCarthy has unearthed a horrifying and extremely important fact: that in the course of the century between the Greek war of independence and World War I, the Ottoman Empire suffered five and a half million dead and five million refugees. He deems this Europe’s largest lost of life and emigration since the Thirty Years’ War. Christian suffering in this time and place is well-known; McCarthy shows the other side, that “Muslim communities in an area as large as all of western Europe had been diminished or destroyed.” His study minutely reviews the regions and wars, pulling information from foreign and Ottoman sources to produce a compelling account.
Beyond the tragedy involved, this pattern of death and exile has a profound historical importance. To take just three matters that the author raises: It puts into perspective the deportation of Armenians in 1915 and turns this from an act of hatred into one motivated by fear (had the Armenians, with Russian support, rebelled, Ottoman Muslims could have expected to be slaughtered)…
The great Professor Bernard Lewis explains why he can accept there was tremendous suffering, but no genocide – if by genocide we mean the planned extermination of a people:
As I say, I do not know who is right. But I do know who is wrong: those who try to shut down debates with the most vile abuse.
I am not surprised the Turks are upset. For them this is not just a case of Australian politicians, most of whom are desperately ignorant of the facts, formally smearing Turkey. It also represents a threat to Turkey’s security – a meddling in the explosive politics of ethnic and religious division:
BARRY O’Farrell is embroiled in a diplomatic row with Turkey that could potentially impact 2015’s Anzac centenary commemorations followingÂ calls by the speaker of the Turkish government for the NSW Premier to renounce a motion condemning Turkey for the genocide of Armenians…
Grand National Assembly Speaker Cemil Cicek, who holds the country’s second highest office, said parliamentarians should confine themselves to issues involving their own communities.
In May this year, Premier O’Farrell moved a motion in state parliament reaffirming a 1997 motion that “recognised and condemned the genocide of the Armenians by the then-Ottoman government between 1915 and 1922”, and designated 24 April of every year thereafter as a day of remembrance of the 1.5 million Armenians who fell victim to “the first genocide of the twentieth century”.
He did so after lobbying from Christian Democrat MP Fred Nile, whose vote is crucial to the government in the upper house and who moved a similar motion in the upper house after meeting with Armenian Âleaders.
Mr O’Farrell’s closest confidant in cabinet, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, is of Armenian heritage, as is the federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey.
O’Farrell’s motion was simply stupid. There is no call on the NSW Parliament to resolve historical debates with a vote; no advantage to NSW to declare positions on Armenian history; no honor in pandering to religious and ethnic groups seeking advantage in arguments over historical grievances involving events a century ago in another land.