- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 14, 2007

Turkey in denial

Tulin Daloglu in “Genocide or not” (Op-Ed, Tuesday) could not be more confused about the reasons why Armenian-Americans want Congress to adopt an Armenian genocide resolution. Not only are they nearly all descendants of the survivors of the Armenian genocide, but they also are in this country because America came to their rescue when the Ottoman Empire was bent on slaughtering them to extinction.

Since 1915, Turkey adamantly has refused to recognize the historic injustice committed against the Armenian people, nor does it want the proud U.S. record of humanitarian assistance that assured the survival of the Armenians to be acknowledged.

Turkey needs to end its senseless policy of denial and be reminded that the Armenian genocide is indeed part of the American consciousness. Do we also need reminders that the United States joined the Allies to bring World War I to an end?

BRYAN ARDOUNY

Executive director

Armenian Assembly of America

Washington

m

Had the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 not occurred, as Tulin Daloglu (“Genocide or not”) implies, modern-day Turkey, as well as much of the Middle East, Europe and even the United States would look very different than they do today. First, the Syrian desert, through which hundreds of thousands of Armenian families with babies and small children were marched out of their homeland into starvation, would not be littered with human remains as it still is today, purposely left there by the Syrian government as evidence of the atrocities committed by the Ottoman Turks during World War I. These atrocities — which along with mass killings, rape and torture constitute genocide, according to Raphael Lemkin, the historian who coined the term after World War II — are further documented by historians, diplomats and major newspapers.

The populations of Aleppo, Syria and many cities in Lebanon — mainly Beirut, which never had significant percentages of Armenians — grew exponentially in the years after 1915. Where are all the descendants today of the Armenians in Eastern Anatolia (Turkey) who were massacred, tortured and marched out of their homeland through great peril and destitution? Virtually anywhere you look around the globe except for Turkey, dispersed throughout the continents as a diaspora, a direct result of nothing short of genocide. It was not simply a “tragedy of war,” as Miss Daloglu puts it, but a premeditated act of aggression for the purposes of extermination, annihilation and mass deportation by the ruling Ottoman “Young Turks.” The evidence is so crystal clear that the only parties that will act to deny the occurrence of this very genocide are those who have a vested interest in siding with Turkish interests.

But there is a sea change forming in the political landscape of the U.S. Congress with H.Res. 106, which recognizes the genocide. Soon, perhaps, American foreign policy will, after 92 years, uphold the truth of what happened on those lands, the killing fields of Eastern Anatolia, to the indigenous Armenian people on their historic homeland. Then we as Americans can convey with clear minds that our government, one that upholds great moral ideals and principles, has done its part in recognizing the first genocide of the 20th century.

Now, if we can only strive to stop the first genocide of the twenty-first century, happening every day in Darfur. Sadly, we know that history truly has a way of repeating itself. Unless massive efforts are undertaken by the great powers, thousands of innocents there will continue to lose their lives as anonymously as the Armenians of 1915.

ARMEN BAHADOURIAN

Kinnelon, N.J.

Kemp wrong on voting rights

In his Thursday Commentary column, “Opportunity to expand civil rights,” Jack Kemp advocates the “automatic” restoration of voting rights to criminals the day they walk out of prison. However, he does not explain why those who are not willing to follow the law should have the right to make the law for the rest of us.

We don’t let everyone vote in this country: not children, not noncitizens, not the mentally incompetent and — at least to some extent in every state but two — not felons. We have certain minimum objective standards of responsibility, loyalty and trustworthiness, and people in these groups simply don’t meet those standards.

The right to vote can be restored, but it should be done carefully, on a case-by-case basis after a person has shown that he or she really has turned over a new leaf. (Half of all released prisoners are reincarcerated within three years.) Mr. Kemp once described himself as a “bleeding-heart conservative.” Fine, but the people who will be hurt most if crime is destigmatized and whose votes will be diluted the most if criminals are allowed to vote are the law-abiding folks in high-crime neighborhoods — people who are disproportionately poor, black and Latino.

ROGER CLEGG

President and general counsel

Center for Equal Opportunity

Falls Church

Pakistan’s ‘taste of freedom’

In response to Arnaud de Borchgrave’s column “Talibanization of Pakistan” (Commentary, April 7), Pakistani society as a whole has rejected the pronouncement of the Red Mosque cleric of Islamabad. Political leaders without exception, religious scholars, human-rights activists, the intelligentsia and above all the media have bitterly disapproved the stance of the Red Mosque to challenge the writ of the government. The leadership of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MAA), has also disassociated itself from the cleric. It is incorrect that they have the blessing of the MMA. So where is the “Talibanization… across the length and breadth” of Pakistan?

Pakistani society should be complimented for the highest level of social resistance against extremism and Talibanization despite the war in Afghanistan.

One wonders where the writer gathered the piece of information that the Chief Justice “declined Musharraf’s request for a ‘five year validation extension.’” No such case came before the Supreme Court. I will leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions.

Let me conclude that Pakistani society is vibrant and has the taste of freedom and democratic culture. It will never allow any group to hold it hostage and impose their views. It will never allow Talibanization to penetrate in its fold. It is equally wrong that there is widespread support for the Taliban in the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan. The MMA leadership seems reluctant to own them; it has already cost them dearly in political terms. In the recent local elections, the MMA’s base of support in the provinces has already eroded considerably.

Strategic depth holds no more relevance to Pakistan especially after the nuclearization of South Asia and the improvement of relations between Pakistan and India. Pakistan wants Afghan President Hamid Karzai to succeed and bring peace and prosperity for Afghanistan. Pakistan has high stakes in the stability of its neighbor.

A peace agreement does not discriminate between the al Qaeda or Taliban terrorists. It commits the tribesmen against terrorists’ activities on this side of theborderandinside Afghanistan.

M. AKRAM SHAHEEDI

Press Minister

Embassy of Pakistan

Washington


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide