They Simply Had To Let Him Go -nyt19210606

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They Simply Had to Let Him Go

JUNE 6, 1921

By acquitting the young Armenian who shot dead Talaat Pasha of the street in a Berlin suburb where that too eminent Turk was quietly living, the court before which the case was tried practically has given, not only to this young man, but to the many others like him and with like grievances, a license to kill at discretion any Turkish officials whom they can find in Germany.

That was going rather far. Of course, death was about the least of the punishments for his innumerable and most atrocious crimes that was deserved by Talaat Pasha. The world's atmosphere is the more safely and pleasantly breathed now that he is gone, and there will be as little sympathy with his fate as regret his loss. The fact remains, however, that he was assassinated, not put to death with the judicial formality that is the right of even such as ha, and to hold, as the German jurors did, that his taking off was "morally right" both reveals a queer view of moral rightness and opens the way to other assassinations less easily excusable than his or not accusable at all.

And yet -- and yet -- what other verdict was possible? An acquittal on the ground of insanity, the usual device of jurors who do not want to punish a killing of which they approve, would have been more than ordinarily absurd in the case of a man as obviously sane as this Armenian is, and to have hanged him, of even to have sent him to prison, would have been intolerably to overlook has provocation. The dilemma cannot be escaped -- all assassins should be punished: this assassin should not be punished. And there you are! The solution lies further back and long, when German officers in Turkey permitted the massacres of Armenians, though they had the power to prevent them.

A hard copy of this article or hundreds of others from the time of the Armenian Genocide can be found in The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts From The American Press: 1915-1922