Armenians Should Teach Time Magazine a Lesson

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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!

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