Sunday, October 21, 2007

`Who Speaks Today?'

October 21, 2007
The Hartford Courant
The article below should be read in full. If America is serious on freedom why will it take such a retrograde step by blocking the resolution on the Armenian genocide? Turkey denies the Armenian genocide and it has been armed to the teeth by USA to become the second largest army in NATO. Now it is using this force to destabilize Iraq. With its population of 71 million, Turkey is blockading the little impoverished Armenia of a population of 3 million to finish it off unless Armenians all over the world drop their quest for genocide recognition. Sometimes it takes guts to tell the truth. Armenians have it and are setting an example to the rest of the world.
With survivors dwindling, Congress must take a stand on the right side of history and declare the 1915 slaughter of Armenians genocide

Imagine half the population of Connecticut murdered over seven years, and hundreds of thousands more raped, beaten and driven from their homes. How long would you fight for justice for your family, friends and neighbors?

The Turkish government's stubborn denial has forced the Armenian people of the world to wait for 92 years.

I urge Congress to do the right thing and finally pass the resolution declaring the 1915 massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide.

Why now? Because the last eyewitnesses of this barbaric genocide are almost all gone. Without these survivors, the Turkish government and its powerful and sleazy lobbyists who profit from 1.5 million dead souls will be even more emboldened. No witnesses, no genocide.

We must not allow the truth to go with the survivors.

Two Connecticut survivors died in the past year: Maritza Ohanesian, born in 1905, and Yegsa Mazadoorian, born in 1912, both of New Britain. These women, pillars of the region's Armenian American community, were small children who witnessed mass rape, deportation and murder at the hands of soldiers of the Ottoman Empire.


There are believed to be fewer than 10 genocide survivors left in our state. Who will tell their stories when they are all gone?

Armenians were slaughtered for no reason other than their ethnicity. For us and the rest of the Armenian diaspora, justice delayed is justice denied.

In a civilized world, neither ally nor foe should be given a free pass for crimes against humanity in the name of political expedience. Denial is the final act perpetuating the genocide, far more painful for the survivors and their families than the fleeting moment of embarrassment for an honest Turkish government would be.

Turkey claims to be a great ally of the United States, yet would threaten sanctions for passing a nonbinding resolution stating what genocide scholar Elie Weisel and others know to be the truth: The Armenian genocide happened.

If Turkey is indeed our friend, why should the truth threaten the security of our troops? Twenty-three other countries have passed similar resolutions. It is time for Turkey to live up to its billing as a modern democracy and allow open discussion of its history instead of punishing academics and journalists for such attempts.


Sadly, the Bush administration protects a Turkish government that squelches free speech and denies the slaughter of Armenians rather than mourning the victims.

Acknowledging the genocide would only benefit Turkey. It would enhance Turkey's prospects for much-desired membership in the European Union. Modern Germany fares better today for having recognized the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Adolf Hitler used the Armenian genocide as the model for his mass killings. He pointed out: "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"


John C. Geragosian, D-New Britain, is chairman of the Democratic caucus in the state House of Representatives. He is the only Armenian American member of the General Assembly and is an organizer of the annual Armenian genocide commemoration at the state Capitol.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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