- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Armenian genocide

In her Tuesday Op-Ed column, “Much ado about Turkey,” Tulin Daloglu chastises members of the House International Relations Committee for passing bills that recognize the reality of the Armenian genocide, calling it a political act that potentially can jeopardize relations with Turkey.

The writer conveniently forgets that it is Turkey that has been involved for decades in the political act of denying the reality of the Armenian genocide, with no small measure of encouragement from the West.

It is astonishing to read the column as she tries to justify the prosecution of Orhan Pamuk, the prolific Turkish writer who dared to speak the truth about the Armenian genocide.

With continuous gross violations of human rights in Turkey, Mr. Pamuk’s case provides a clear indication that the so-called changes introduced lately in Turkish laws guaranteeing human rights and freedom of speech are just paying lip service to the demands of the European Union for an eventual membership in the EU, that in fact nothing fundamentally has changed in Turkey.

The House committee members voted with a deep sense of justice and fairness imbedded in American instinct. This act, together with the acts of brave people such as Mr. Pamuk, will send a message to the Turkish government that historic realities must be dealt with and that political relationships based on anything but the truth almost always come with an expiration date.

ZAVEN ZAKARIAN

Roxboro, Quebec

Turkey’s so-called “image problem” is entirely of its own making. In fact, what we have here is a behavior problem which has nothing to do with America’s perfectly appropriate reaffirmation of the 1915 Armenian genocide.

The world community has justly condemned the prosecution of novelist Orhan Pamuk — the latest shameful episode in nine decades of Turkish government suppression of free speech on the issue. Meanwhile, the facts of the Armenian genocide are corroborated by decades of international scholarship and the U.S. national archives.

As one who lost most of my family in the Armenian genocide, I urge the House leadership to schedule a floor vote on H.Res. 316. It is time for the full House to underscore America’s principled leadership by recognizing genocide, past or present.

GERARD L. CAFESJIAN

Minneapolis

Georgia’s burgeoning democracy

In his Tuesday column (“Georgia on the mind…,” Commentary), Tsotne Bakuria missed the mark when he prescribed how the United States should intervene more actively to support Georgia’s democratic transformation.

This is not surprising; his hyperbolically stark diagnosis was based on numerous inaccuracies. Among them: Georgia’s economic situation is dire, but seemingly improving. According to the World Bank, in 2004, gross domestic product and gross national income — both per capita — grew 9.6 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively. U.S. aid for fiscal 2005 is $138.9 million,accordingto www.state.gov; the $300 million to which Mr. Bakuria refers is a recently agreed to five-year tranche from the Millennium Challenge Corp. allocated to much-needed infrastructure projects and small-business development.

As Mr. Bakuria noted, Georgia faces many challenges with a relatively inexperienced leadership. Yet it is the leadership that the citizens have chosen. Public-opinion outlets such as Georgian Opinion Research BusinessInternational (GORBI) have indeed documented President Mikheil Saakashvili’s eroding popularity. This is not license for the United States to sweep in on a white horse. Georgia must rescue itself — as it did with the Rose Revolution. The role of U.S. aid and partnership is not to solve Georgia’s problems; rather, it is to better enable Georgians to create and pursue their own solutions.

MAGGIE OSDOBY KATZ

Cambridge, Mass.

Baltimore County zoning restrictions

As pleased as I am that a major news organization such as The Washington Times has published an article addressing zoning violations, I must criticize the article “In Clarksburg, they made the lots too small” (Page 1, Tuesday) as being too shortsighted. The article addresses the problem of lots for single-family homes being too small. Though I don’t know exactly what the zoning for the Clarksburg area is, I am quite familiar with the zoning for northern Baltimore County, having lived here all my life.

Last spring I even used this topic in a research paper assignment for my technical writing course at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. As many county residents know, most of the land in Baltimore County is zoned under the RC designation for housing. Areas placed in this category are meant to facilitate resource conservation, particularly around the Gunpowder River and Prettyboy Reservoir. The highest-density residential areas under the RC designation, RC-5 lands, require a minimum of one acre per lot. This restriction is even highlighted in the Baltimore County Department of Planning’s official handbook on zoning. During my research, I contacted numerous residents of some of the newer developments in this area and asked them for information on their lot sizes. Though the majority did not respond, of those who did, more than half had houses on lots with less than one acre of land, usually just 0.75 acres and in several instances just 0.6 acres.

Clearly, this problem extends much farther than Clarksburg and probably should be addressed on a state level.

TRAVIS GORLESKI

Parkton, Md.

The Redskins, 2 and 0

Dan Daly needs to make his way out of the cozy press box and join the nosebleeders to get a better perspective of why Patrick Ramsey won’t win football games (“No more St. Joe,” Sports, Sept. 15). Have you ever heard the phrase “That guy gets it”? Well, Mr. Ramsey does not get it. Just ask the 50,000 400-level season ticket holders because it doesn’t get any clearer than from up there. We can see who’s open and where not to throw the ball (Mr. Ramsey’s usual target).

I realize Mr. Ramsey doesn’t have that luxury, but he knows the plays, and we don’t. The job simply was too much for him at this stage of his career, and he needed to be benched. I don’t understand why everyone is getting bent out of shape over a decision that needed to be made. Is it because Joe Gibbs told Mr. Ramsey he was his guy? I bet you he told Mr. Ramsey, “You’re my guy as long as you perform and don’t turn the ball over.” No quarterback can get away with having as many turnovers as Mr. Ramsey has had. Maybe Brett Favre, but he’ll score five touchdowns.

Antonio Brown was a great college player at West Virginia University, did very well for the Redskins at the end of last season, and didn’t turn the ball over in the preseason. We didn’t sign this guy to be a wide receiver; we signed him to keep Santana Moss off the field on punt returns. Now we’ll be holding our breath every time Mr. Moss gets tackled.

Though Sean Taylor certainly has made mistakes over the past two years, he is beginning to rival LaVar Arrington as the most beloved Redskin. This may be hard to believe, but listen to the roars throughout the season as this kid becomes one of the great safeties in the league. Why not put him on offense? Why not reward him for great play? This isn’t Pop Warner, where if you fail a spelling test, your coach benches you for a half. He probably is our best player, so let’s use him every way possible.

Let’s remember that football is a tough sport. Don’t overanalyze promises, cuts and rewarding the unworthy. Coach Gibbs is trying to turn this team into a contender, and so far your ruthless Coach Gibbs is 2 and 0.

BRIAN DALY

Silver Spring

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