Armenians Should Teach Time Magazine a Lesson
Armenians Should Teach Time Magazine a Lesson
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Armenians in the United States and Europe should launch a coordinated campaign to ensure that Time magazine would never again allow itself to be used as a tool for the dissemination of Turkish lies on the Armenian Genocide.
The Ankara Chamber of Commerce had paid around $1 million to place four full-page ads and a DVD in the June 6 issue of the European edition of Time magazine which has a circulation of around 500,000 copies.
The ad pages contain pictures of Greek and Armenian historical sites in Turkey. The DVD insert, which comes in a blank white wrapper and does not carry the mandatory “advertising supplement” disclosure, contains a couple of short ads on tourism and a 70-minute segment that includes dozens of distortions and vicious lies about the Armenian Genocide.
It is very obvious that the real intent of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, and most probably that of the Turkish government hiding behind it, was not so much to promote tourism in Turkey, but to denigrate the Armenian Genocide.
This DVD, more aptly called a piece of hate mail, starts with the following pompous declaration: “The most comprehensive documentary serial ever made on the Armenian Question in the history of [the] Turkish Republic.”
An indication of the extent that the Turks have gone to distort the facts of the Armenian Genocide is that they have prepared this DVD in seven languages: English, French, Turkish, German, Spanish, Arabic and Russian. The Turks claim to have conducted research in the archives of 11 countries, including Armenia. It is noteworthy that while the Turkish Prime Minister keeps repeatedly saying that Armenia must open its archives, Turkish filmmakers are inadvertently proving him wrong by stating that they have access to the Armenian archives!
There are so many lies in this DVD that one does not know where to start. One would need to write an entire book to expose all of the distortions in this 70-minute DVD.
The DVD accuses Armenians of committing genocide against the Turks; collaborating with the Nazis; and distorting documents, while the filmmakers themselves blatantly distort just about every fact. The DVD blames the Kurds for the Armenian killings, while claiming that Armenians were not killed. It misidentifies not only historical sites, but also well-known places, such as calling the Glendale City College, “University of Glendale,” and the Turkish Embassy in Paris, “the Turkish Consulate.” It calls Amb. Henry Morgenthau’s documented reports on the Armenian Genocide, “hearsay.” It cunningly describes as a “published letter” the paid ad against the Armenian Genocide by some U.S. “scholars” who had received grants from the Institute of Turkish Studies which was funded by the Turkish government. It falsifies the interview of Kemal Ataturk published in the August 1, 1926 issue of the Los Angeles Examiner in which he admits that the Young Turks massacred millions of Christians in the Ottoman Empire. It identifies Albert Amateau, a Jew, as an Armenian who allegedly denies the Armenian Genocide. It wrongly identifies an unknown interviewee as Prof. Radick Martirosyan, the Rector of the Yerevan State University. It distorts the words of French parliamentarian Francois Rochebloine who said after viewing the DVD: “My words in there are taken out of context. I did not recognize myself in the way I was presented.” It will not be surprising if the other interviews in the DVD are also distorted.
Adding insult to injury, the narrator claims that Armenian “women and children were to be carried by carriages” during the deportations. It shamelessly states that “food was distributed, shelter was provided and field hospitals which were established by the [Ottoman] soldiers served on the way. Measures were taken for security. The Ottoman state was allocating allowances for those moving despite the dire financial situation of the state. The state orders were that those who were subject to the relocation law would be provided with housing immediately at their destinations. In addition, if necessary, those people would also be provided with food from the ration of the Ottoman soldiers at war, they would be served hot meals and meat.”
It is appalling that Time magazine would accept such a pack of lies as paid advertising and then have the gall to say that it is not responsible for its content. We are not talking here about depriving the Turks of their right to express their opinion. Rather, we are dealing with a clear case of false advertising, hate mail (a hate crime), and fraud (representing outright lies as facts).
Time’s executives either knowingly accepted this fraudulent DVD and turned a blind eye to its contents for the sake of pocketing the $1 million ad revenue or they were negligent in verifying its contents. In either case they have an obligation to set the record straight and make amends. They should either do this voluntarily or would be compelled to do so by a court of law.
The Armenian community should ask Time magazine to:
1) Publish an apology for disseminating this fraudulent DVD; 2) Issue a formal memo to all its divisions around the world not to accept this DVD as an insert (the Ankara Chamber of Commerce has announced its intention to place the same DVD in Time’s Asian and Pacific editions); 3) Issue a written warning to all its advertising executives not to accept any more ads from Turkish entities that deny the Armenian Genocide (just as they would not run an ad that denies the Jewish Holocaust and glorifies Hitler; the New York Times recently rejected an ad from Turkish organizations denying the Armenian Genocide); 4) Destroy the extra 116,000 copies of this DVD that are still in Time’s possession; 5) Agree to insert and disseminate free of charge a DVD prepared by a reputable research institute on the Armenian Genocide; 6) Donate the payment it received from the Turkish Chamber of Commerce for this ad to an Armenian charity.
Should Time reject the above demands, Armenians should then:
1) Cancel their subscriptions and ads; and urge their friends and business colleagues to do likewise; 2) File lawsuits in several European countries (France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland and Germany) where genocide denial or making statements of racial hatred is against the law; 3) Issue a public appeal for funds to pay for the legal costs of these lawsuits.
The most important issue is that Armenians should not remain silent in the face of such an offensive ad. If they ignore it, they would then be encouraging the Turks to place similar offensive ads not only in other editions of Time, but also in magazines around the world. It is somewhat fortunate that the Turks chose to run this ad in the European edition of Time. Since several European countries have laws banning such hate mail, it makes it easy for Armenians to take legal action. Armenians should take advantage of this unique opportunity and make an example of Time magazine!
Justin McCarthy: Excerpts from "Armenian Terrorism History as Poison and Antidote."
The historical truth is that Russian Imperial expansion upset the traditional balance of the peoples of the Caucasus and Eastern Anatolia. All the peoples suffered. In terms of number, dead and deportations, those who suffered most were the Crimean and Caucasian Moslems. If any people were the victims of genocide, it was the Crimean Tatars, victims in their own homeland of a planned extermination begun by Catherine the Great and ended by Joseph Stalin. Yet those who are an too willing to consider Moslems as the agents of genocide seem strangely unwilling to consider Moslems as its victims.
What I have related is, I submit, the truth, albeit in an abbreviated form. It is story of human suffering that, like most such stories, has no hero and no villain, only victims-human victims, whether Turkish or Armenian. But that is not the way the story has been told. Instead of the truth of a human disaster, a great myth has arisen, the myth of the Evil Turk and the Good Armenian. The myth has been perpetuated by stories of the sufferings of the Armenians. The stories are often true, but they never mention the equal or greater sufferings of the Turks. The myth has been generally believed by non-Armenians because it fits wed into a larger, centuries-old myth-the Terrible Turk. To Europeans, who had feared Turks for more than five centuries, the myth of the Armenian genocide seemed just one more example of what they had been taught was the savagery of the Turk. It spoke to a prejudice that had been nurtured by textbooks, sermons, folk tales, and ancestral fears of the horsemen riding out of the East The false image of the Turks was too strong to be affected by facts.
When Turks protested that their side should be heard and that their should be mourned just as Armenian dead were mourned, they found no sympathy and no understanding. No matter the evidence they presented, nothing they said was believed, and soon the Turks ceased their protests against the injustice. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, they busied themselves with the creation of a new Republic, assuming that their success as a modern nation would be the best weapon against the image of the Terrible Turk.
To a great degree, the Turks have succeeded. Politicians and statesmen in Europe and America have welcomed the Turks as friends and allies. However, Turkish silence has done nothing to kill the myth of the Armenian genocide. A vocal, well educated, and media-conscious group of Armenians, believing in their cause and anxious that their children learn to believe as they do, have kept alive the false picture of the genocide. They have succeeded in perpetuating the myth and strengthening its grip. The false picture of Armenian genocide has become the only picture seen.
While I was writing this paper a book appeared in my mailbox. As they do to an professors, publishers send me copies of textbooks in the hope that I will adopt them for my classes. The book, The Modern Middle East and North Africa, by Lois Aroian and Richard Mitchell, is published by Macmillan, one of the largest publishers in the United States. It is obviously being marketed extensively with, I expect, a free copy being sent to every professor who teaches Middle Eastern history. Thousands of American college students win probably read the book.
How the "Genocide" is Covered in a Typical Textbook
The Modern Middle East and North Africa contains a section titled "The Armenian Demise." I will quote only a few sentences from it :
Armenians throughout Anatolia began marching southward or eastward into the Syrian desert wastes. Turkish and Kurdish forces denied them rest, food, and water. Thousands died on the way. Those who did not were often killed when they reached Dayr al-Zor on the Euphrates. Most Armenians caught in the east were killed outright.
The book goes on to state "Historians have not determined how many Armenians died" (a statement that particularly bothered me, since I thought I had done so). The lack of information on the Armenian dead is explained by the assertion that The Ottoman government imprisoned and later killed most of the Armenian educated elite-writers, teachers, businessmen, and prominent clergy who might have written about the event" In the end, despite the avowed lack of evidence, the authors found a number after all-"including perhaps 200,000 executed by the government, historians generally accept that as many as 1.5 million Armenians may have died." Some of what is written on the Armenians in the book is half true. Some is completely false. None of it is completely true.
Of course, one of the great benefits in writing a textbook is that you do not have to prove your assertions. An occasional reference such as Historians generally accept" is considered to be proof enough. Reading the text, one could be pardoned for thinking that only Armenians suffered, since only one part of one sentence is devoted to an of the Moslem dead of the time- "Greek, Kurdish, and Turkish noncombatants in Anatolia died during the war of hunger and disease, but they were not singled out for death in an organized campaign. No mention is made of Armenian or Greek attacks on Moslems, both of which were organized campaigns. Only two paragraphs are given to the entire Turkish War of Independence.
Unlike many books written by Armenian and other scholars, this book is not intended to be an Armenian polemic against Turks. It is a textbook, well-written and attractive. It win appeal to many professors and their students. Thus the myth lives on.
The examples of this type of historical distortion of the history of the Armenians and the Turks are many. The Armenian Question is seldom mentioned in print without half-truths and falsifications. In fact, in the United States and Western Europe we have seen a new wave of false history. Armenian apologists have succeeded in tying themselves to those who wish never to forget the suffering of the Jewish Holocaust, and the Armenian experience has been portrayed as a "proto-Holocaust". Television shows and newspaper articles have repeated and reinforced the old myth, accepted because Europeans and Americans have never been told the truth. A new generation of Armenians is learning the stories that will produce future terrorists.
The lesson is obvious - silence does not work. Historical lies, unless they are countered, will perpetuate themselves. As long as Armenian children believe that their great -grandfathers were murdered by Turks, some Armenian children will kill in what they believe is revenge. And as long as the world believes in Turkish guilt, little will be done to stop the killers.
The solution is a difficult one-the truth must be fearlessly proclaimed. I say fearlessly, because one American professor, Stanford Shaw, and his family have already been physically attacked for his statements on the fate of the Armenians. Given the intensity of belief in the myth of the Terrible Turk, it may be that the truth will not be heard. Nevertheless, the truth must be spoken. Scholars, especially European and American scholars, must call for the independent and unbiased study of history. As they have begun to do, Turks must continue to open all archives and records so that this study can be made, demanding that Russians and Armenians do the same. There will be no quick solution and many years will pass before young Armenians realize that their cause is not just But I believe that, had the true history of the Ottoman Armenians been widely known thirty years ago, there would be no Armenian terrorism today. As historians, it is our duty to insure that thirty years from now the same statement cannot be made.
I began by saying that the best weapon against Armenian terrorism is the study of history. It might he better said that the best weapon is truth.
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